Topgolf has already pretty much reinvented the idea of driving ranges, and now the company has launched a new product that takes on a related golf category, indoor facilities built around simulators.
The Lounge by Topgolf shares the same base concept as the indoor sim-driven facilities you might have in your town or city, but with money, brand and marketing muscle to add far more tech and bling than what local owners will typically do.
I mention this because Topgolf has become a big buyer of digital signage and LED tech at its primary facilities, and while the Lounge concept has a much smaller footprint, they also have an LED virtual sky and screens that are central to the player experience.
The first venue opening is in the Seattle area. It has a 9,200 square foot upscale restaurant, bar and indoor lounge, as well as an outdoor patio offering panoramic views of suburban Kirkland.
The venue has four entertainment bays and a VIP bay – all powered by Topgolf’s own version of the camera and sensor-based tech that reads and analyzes your golf swings as you hit into a screen, illuminated by a projection system.
Interesting move by Topgolf. The primary concept is amazing, but between land costs, taxes and the capital investment needed to build out one of these things, launching one in a city involves a number with a lot of zeroes.
This, by comparison, would require a relatively modest investment and is the sort of thing that could grow rapidly via franchising. The sim golf places I have been in were all intensely local, and would not even get a reading off a Bling-o-Meter (invented term, so don’t search for one on Amazon).
The screen tech also allows people to play games other than golf, including baseball pitching and shooting hockey pucks.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.