You’re at your favorite driving range. You pull out the big stick and smash one down the middle. A few seconds later, a monitor in your hitting stall displays the distance and flashes your name as the winner.
A fantasy? Not at Top Golf Kingstowne near Alexandria, Virginia. The first of its kind in the States, this popular driving range, formerly known as Mid-Atlantic Golf Center, has converted to a Top Golf practice facility.
Here’s how it works. Instead of a green, you aim for a target area, a flat surface with sectors where the golf ball falls down into a collection area. The balls have a tiny computer chip embedded inside. When you hit the ball on the virtual green, it falls down into the collection area and signals the distance to a monitor at your hitting area. You get points based on accuracy and distance. There are 11 targets ranging in distance from 20 to 260 yards.
The facility includes a café/bar/lounge, retail center and conference rooms. The staff was very helpful. I ordered lunch and ate it at my stall that included a table and comfy chairs.
As someone who has whacked it around for over 30 years now, I still say the average golfer will improve their game more by just playing and working on your short game. But sometimes you just want to have a little fun. Top Golf, with plans to expand to 150 sites throughout the U.S., offers that and more.