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THE FRINGE
Within Range
Golf-entertainment centers are springing up all over the place 
  Jim Gorant // 11.5.2019



The growth of non-golf forms of golf continues apace.

BigShots Golf—a tech-driven, bowling-alley-inspired, full-service driving range—broke ground last week on its second location, this one in Fort Worth, Texas. Another company, OnCore Golf, announced in July its plans to open a “golf and sports entertainment” complex in Buffalo sometime in 2021. Drive Shack has four ranges up and running across Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. They’re all chasing Topgolf, which invented the category and has blossomed to 57 facilities. 


The golf industry is agog over these developments, and it’s easy to see why. Many of the patrons are new to the sport, and the thinking is that as these first-timers get the feel for swinging a club, they’ll eventually become full-fledged golfers. That theory has yet to be borne out, but it is clear that people are drawn to these facilities because of all the ways they are not like golf: They’re less formal, more social, faster to play, and serve tasty food and beverages.

So, what’s a “regular” golfer to do about all this? Go try out one of these places, and bring along some friends and family. Maybe they’ll get into the game for real or maybe they’ll simply be able to better appreciate what they see on TV when they watch the pros. At the very least, you’ll have fun.

Photo credit: Courtesy Topgolf





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