Developed in the early 2000s by two brothers attempting to create a fun, non-intimidating way to hit a golf ball but also to make it into a friendly competition, Topgolf, the global leader in sports entertainment is now expanding rapidly and are currently reaching more consumers than any other company in the golf space.
In a few short years after its launch, Topgolf transformed the traditional driving range of the 1990s into a full-scale entertainment venue, offering punters fun point-scoring golf games for all skill levels while serving food and drinks.
Last year, the sports entertainment giant reportedly facilitated on average 35,000 visitors per day at its 41 big-box locations around the world (more than 8 million annual visitors worldwide). That is roughly equivalent to the number of rounds an average 18-hole golf course will do in a year.
The entertainment company is now adding about one new location per month – with Australia’s much anticipated first Topgolf venue set to open on the Gold Coast mid next month. (Topgolf is also working with partners to develop sites in Mexico, Canada and Dubai.)
But this might only be the beginning of the popular real-life gaming experience.
Erik Anderson, executive chairman of Topgolf told GolfWeek in an interview recently that he’s very much aiming to make Topgolf a global brand and a “21st-century sports entertainment media community.”
And with its seemingly ever-growing popularity, the company needs to be on the forefront with the latest technology available. Recently Topgolf begun installing Toptracer technology, the same technology used in TV coverage of the PGA Tour, at its existing facilities. It also is leasing Toptracer to established ranges that are looking to upgrade their guest experiences.
“We’re committed to bringing the best technology to our fans and customers. I think it makes a big difference…” Andersen said to GolfWeek. “What’s funny about a technology like that is you like it if you’re playing games, and you like it if you’re just trying to get better. It’s just more feedback and content to consume in whatever format you want.”
Technology aside, one of the great successes of the company is its appealing demographics in comparison to traditional golf.
Company figures shows that the majority of consumers (68%) are males between ages 18 and 44 (comparably, roughly, 80 percent for traditional golf), but maybe more interesting is that as many as 51% of the punters are non-golfers. This highlights the fact that the bar-like venues are breeding grounds for attracting new golfers who wouldn’t otherwise get a golf club in their hand.
And maybe that is just what the sport needs to start growing again?
Zach Shore the COO, Topgolf International will be presenting at the upcoming Golf Business Forum in Melbourne at the end of July. Click here for more info and to attend and hear what he has to say about the Australian business model.