Topgolf is not so much about golf as it is a technology-driven entertainment experience. In fact, more than half of the people who visit Topgolf venues are non-golfers. And only eight percent classify themselves as avid players of the game.
The new Topgolf in Pharr, the 50th location in the franchise, features three levels with 72 stations from which to whack balls out into a large area filled with targets. Groups can face off in a variety of pre-programmed games where the results are displayed on large screens in each bay. It’s not unlike bowling alleys, where non-bowlers can go to have fun without getting too wound up about how well they play.
“It’s fun. You swing and you miss it and you laugh,” said Stephanie Canales, marketing director for the new Pharr Topgolf. “People come together for a playful experience where they can spend time with their friends, and enjoy food and drink as part of the fun.”
Technology is at the heart of Topgolf. Players hit golf balls with microchips inside toward targets with special sensors. Distance and other data are transmitted back to the game screens in the individual bays through a system developed by Topgolf known as TopTracer. Instead of buying a bucket of balls like at a traditional driving range, players are charged by the hour and can hit as many balls as they can squeeze into their allotted time. The balls are dispensed one at a time through an automated system that tracks what player is hitting what ball.
In Topgolf’s signature game, players score points by hitting the microchip-equipped balls into the targets. Points are scored on how accurate the shot and how far it is hit.
When she got the job in Pharr, Canales was already familiar with Topgolf from playing at the San Antonio location. “It’s just like the best experience,” she said. “I love to see the people come in an experience it and have so much fun.”
The new facility brings 350 full- and part-time jobs to the Valley. “This is a great thing for the community,” Canales said. “The city of Pharr has been very, very welcoming. We are eternally grateful to them.”
Topgolf has sports bars that serve food accessible from every level. Spacious event rooms with full-service catering options are also available. Food is as much a part of the experience as hitting golf balls, and Canales said there is a special Rio Grande Valley connection in that the company’s director of culinary operations, Severina Delgado, is a Valley native.
“Our menu is chef driven,” she said, adding that three chefs prepare dishes at the Pharr location. “All our food is made fresh. It’s delicious and at very good prices.”