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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

Topgolf

Category

Corporate Headquarters

Dallas, Texas

Website

Key Employees

Erik Anderson, Executive Chairman
Dolf Berle, CEO
Eldridge Burns, General Counsel
Chris Callaway, Chief Development Officer
YuChiang Cheng, President, Topgolf Media
William Davenport, Chief Financial Officer
Andrew Macauley, Chief Technology Officer
Craig Kessler, Chief Operating Officer
Becky Fine, Chief People Officer
Ron Powers, President, Topgolf Swing Suite and Lounge by Topgolf
Ben Sharpe, President, Toptracer and Toptracer Range

Profile

Topgolf Entertainment Group is a global sports and entertainment community that connects nearly 100 million golfers and non-golfers alike in meaningful ways through the experiences and innovation it creates.

What began as a technology that enhanced the game of golf now encompasses a range of unmatched experiences where communities can discover common ground, with brands that include Topgolf venues, Lounge by Topgolf, Toptracer, Toptracer Range, Topgolf Swing Suite, Topgolf Studios, Topgolf Live and World Golf Tour (WGT) by Topgolf.

 

Topgolf is the next-generation driving range, combining golf with food, drink, music and games to create a sports bar-like atmosphere. (Photo courtesy: Topgolf)

 

As one of the world’s fastest-growing sports and entertainment brands, Topgolf has paved the way for fans to enjoy industry-leading technology and innovative experiences, entertaining more than 20 million guests annually at nearly 60 flagship venues across the U.S. and internationally, including three in the United Kingdom and one in Australia. Additionally, the company plans to open venues in Mexico and Dubai in 2020.

Topgolf’s multi-level venues offer an environment that is lively, fun and non-intimidating, where guests can play point-scoring games using microchipped balls that instantly show performance data (including accuracy and distance) on a screen in climate-controlled bays while enjoying a chef-driven menu, top-shelf drinks, big screen TVs, flexible private event spaces, music and more. Topgolf locations also feature year-round programming, including events for kids and families, social leagues, golf tournaments, lessons and other fun activities.

Topgolf Entertainment Group’s special blend of technology and entertainment builds and connects communities not only in-person, but also virtually and digitally.

Toptracer is a proprietary, ball-tracing technology that is the backbone for a data-driven driving range experience. Swing Suites are indoor, multi-sport simulators that Topgolf licenses to a variety of hospitality and entertainment operators. The Swing Suite technology also powers the recently introduced Lounge by Topgolf concept, an elevated bar and restaurant experience complete with indoor virtual entertainment bays.  WGT and Topgolf Studios are part of the Topgolf Media division, which includes Topgolf’s rapidly growing online games, original video content and sponsorship businesses that extend reach into the virtual world.

Topgolf is helping boost both off-course golf participation and interest in on-course play. In 2018, there were 23 million off-course golf participants, a 16% increase from 2016. Of those, there were 9.3 million off-course only participants in 2018, with the majority playing at both on- and off-course locations.

“Topgolf is always thinking of how we can help get clubs in the hands of new players, prepare them to transition to green grass and inspire them to enjoy golf in all of its forms,” said Erik Anderson, Topgolf’s co-chairman and CEO.

In 2019, the company announced franchise agreements to open venues in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and in numerous Asian markets. Topgolf Entertainment Group CEO Dolf Berle said he looks forward to introducing Topgolf venues and proprietary Topgolf technology to new countries “so that new communities across the globe can enjoy a truly unmatched experience.”

 

The outside hitting area at Orlando’s Topgolf location. (Photo courtesy of Topgolf and Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC)

 

Topgolf was started in the U.K. in 2000 and the company came to the U.S. in 2005. Callaway has been an investor in Topgolf since 2006.

 

NGF Takeaways

With the combination of a high-level sports bar, multi-level driving ranges and technology, Topgolf created its own category and, in turn, has helped influence how golf participation is measured.

Having previously established a limiting definition of golf participation as on-course play at a green grass facility, NGF now tracks off-course engagement (including venues such as Topgolf) to get a more accurate measure of golf’s total consumer base.

Relatively unknown in the U.S. a little more than a decade ago, Topgolf’s expansion and resonance are remarkable. And with each new facility adding roughly 500 jobs, the company’s progress is a significant industry boon. Yet the company’s reach continues to expand far beyond its primary venues, establishing presences in stadiums, casinos, malls and now even traditional driving ranges.

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