Searching for a new way to enhance your golf experience? Well, look no further! Topgolf in Edison, New Jersey offers a premier golfing venue with a modernized, high-tech way to play the classic sport. Recently, my friends Ami and Yaron, and my brother Gabe and I, visited Topgolf, where we had a fun and competitive evening.
The idea for Topgolf was the brainstorm of two avid golfers, brothers Steve and Dave Jolliffe, back in 1997. They were frustrated by the monotony and lengthy nature of traditional driving ranges, so they set out to create a new kind of golf entertainment experience. They designed and patented technology that enabled an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip to be placed inside a golf ball, providing a fast and accurate way to track the ball’s distance traveled. They also created a scoring system that rewards points depending on how far and where the ball lands within specific targets. In 2000, the brothers opened their first location just outside of London in the United Kingdom. Initially, the PGA and professional golfers were not supportive of Topgolf because they felt it was compromising the integrity of the game. However, as they observed the positive impact that Topgolf had on encouraging average consumers to get into the sport, their opinion changed. Today, there are over 71 Topgolf locations in the United States, three in the United Kingdom, and one each in Australia, Germany, Mexico, the UAE and Thailand.
Securing a bay to play at Topgolf can be a challenge, and it’s often the biggest hurdle for visitors. During my first two visits, I naively assumed that I could simply pay and start playing, only to be informed that I would have to wait between two and four hours for a bay to become available. Since I hadn’t reserved a spot in advance and the wait was going to be too long, I ended up leaving before I even got started. Lesson learned. This time though, I made sure to reserve a bay on the website the night before. It cost me an additional $15 to reserve a bay. (Prices fluctuate depending on the time of day reservations ranging from $5-$15.) Trust me, though, it’s well worth paying a little extra to guarantee a timely start to your game.
One of the things that makes Topgolf so amazing, besides the advanced technology, is its incredible ambiance. Similar to how Dave & Buster’s has turned arcades into a luxurious outing, Topgolf has managed to transform driving ranges into an upscale experience. Upon walking in, you are greeted with a beautiful waterfall featuring the company’s logo, and a well-lit and immaculately clean main area. It’s like stepping into a high-end hotel lobby. After checking in with the front-desk clerk, who asked if we had a reservation (which we proudly confirmed), we were informed that our bay was still being cleaned up. The clerk instructed us to wait a few minutes and assured us that they would text us as soon as the bay was available.
Near the front desk was a fancy bar selling refreshments, with dozens of televisions set up all around. We each ordered a drink; I chose my favorite, a Shirley Temple soda. (Not all of the drinks are kosher, so be sure to ask before ordering.) After waiting for about 20 minutes without receiving any notification that our bay was ready, I began to worry that we might not get to play Topgolf after all. I decided to reach out to the customer support team who were very friendly and refunded me the cost of my reservation. Just when we were starting to lose hope about playing, we received a text message saying that our bay was ready, and we excitedly headed over to our area.
Stepping outside into the Topgolf area, we saw how humongous the place actually is. Each bay is identical in size, with a width of nearly 7 feet and extending much further. Within each bay area, there is a comfortable couch setup and a personal driving range area on a green platform. Additionally, each bay has its own high-tech screen. We saw golfers driving and smacking balls into the wide-open green area, stretching hundreds of yards. Unique compared to most driving ranges, the green area at Topgolf has various large targets scattered throughout. The targets resemble clocks, with gaps between each hand for the balls to drop down. Shimmering fluorescent lights emanate from the holes, lighting up the course, and tall nets surround the green area, preventing balls from going out of bounds.
Upon our arrival at the bay, we were greeted by a host who explained the rules and different gameplay options, using the screen to demonstrate. We decided to start with the “Angry Birds”-themed game and found various clubs of different sizes and power along the side of the bay. As a novice to golf, I didn’t know which club to use, so I grabbed the driver, thinking it would hit the ball the furthest. After waving my club in front of a scanner, a ball was automatically released. I placed the ball on the tee and whacked it as far as I could. It didn’t go too far, but it did manage to go through one of the closer targets. On the screen, an “Angry Bird” was released in a slingshot, hitting a castle full of “Bad Piggies.” (For more detail on the rules of “Angry Birds” at Angry Birds Mini Golf, check out my February 9 Jewish Link article: https://tinyurl.com/4vn9npky). The screen awarded me points, and there was a virtual replay of the shot providing details such as speed, distance, curve, height, and more of the stroke. The ball’s location in real life corresponded to how it played out on the video game screen. We each took turns hitting the ball as hard as we could while aiming for the targets, and the screen automatically kept track of our score.
After a few rounds, we tried a different game which was simply called “Topgolf.” In total, there are over a dozen games to play, each with varying degrees of skill level. We had paid for an hour of gameplay, but after the first 30 minutes, we decided to stop following the video game and just hit as many balls as we wanted, as far as possible. Gabe hit the ball 181 yards, far surpassing the rest of us. In between each of our turns, we relaxed on the couches, which were insanely comfortable, and not only that but they were also fully heated! It made the experience so much better, creating a great vibe as we sipped on delicious drinks, relaxed in the comfiest, warmest seats, and took turns smacking golf balls. The elegant ambiance of the area really added to the sophisticated feel, allowing us to be fully immersed in the magic of Topgolf.
Personally, I grew frustrated with the wait time for the ball to come out of the hole. nonetheless, I quickly discovered that by waving the club in front of the scanner, more balls would be released automatically. So, I grabbed a bunch of balls and began smacking them one by one. This was different from Bogota Golf Driving Range, which used to provide buckets of balls, eliminating the need to wait. Unlike Bogota, Topgolf charges by time, which has its benefits since it allows for more balls to be hit in a given timeframe. We didn’t use our full allotted time as it got very late, and we left a few minutes before it expired.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Topgolf experience. Even if you’re not a golf fan, it’s a fun and inviting atmosphere for socializing with friends or going on a date. You get a private bay with cozy heated couches, delicious drinks, and a unique golfing game. The only downside is that it’s a 45-minute drive from Teaneck for only an hour of playtime. To make the most of your trip, I recommend checking out Supercharged Entertainment, which recently opened nearby (I hope to feature it in a future article), or exploring some of the local Highland Park kosher restaurants, which are just a 10-minute drive away. In short, Topgolf has revolutionized the golfing experience and is definitely worth a visit.
Pro tip: Visit on a Tuesday night, and take advantage of Topgolf’s half-price promotion, which can turn a $60 evening into a $30 one.
Admission: Morning: $40 per bay. 12-5 p.m.: $50 per bay. 5 p.m.-close: $60 per bay. Half
price on Tuesdays.
Hours: Every day, 10 a.m.-midnight
Address: 1013 US-1, Edison, NJ 08817
Phone: (732) 374-4097
Bananas Comedy Club: Saturday nights at 7:30 or 10 p.m. Admission: $13-$50, depending on the comedian. Renaissance Hotel, 801 Rutherford Ave., Rutherford, NJ 07070
Zachary Greenberg is the TABC track coach. Last year, Zachary’s wife, Ahuva, joined YUConnects as a matchmaker. Recently he watched “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” in theaters. If you have any recommendations of fun places for Zachary to cover, email him at [email protected].