The second Topgolf location in Maryland opened June 21 near National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Md., joining a similar facility in Germantown, Md.
Baltimore is scheduled to get its own Topgolf sometime in 2020 with the golf-oriented entertainment center currently under development just north of the Horseshoe Baltimore Casino and just east of Russell Street.
The National Harbor Topgolf follows a template that's been popular around the world. The Dallas-based company now has 55 Topgolf locations from Orlando and Las Vegas, to the United Kingdom and Australia. On the horizon are more in Canada, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
The shorthand description of Topgolf is that it's a high-tech golf driving range, but that falls woefully short of the complete picture.
While hitting a golf ball may provide the central action, the integration of novel technology provides the wow factor and the entertainment hook.
Participants aim their shots at circular targets that are arranged at varying distances. The golf balls are equipped with microchips that allow the ball to be tracked for accuracy, distance, height and more. A computer-calculated points system immediately spurs competition among friends.
Video screens display the results of each shot, along with points earned, and even replay the shot in animation. The instant scorekeeping allows for several types of competitions among groups who can rent the driving bays that serve as lively conversation pits. Players can also change the type of game they want to play.
In addition to the golf-oriented entertainment, eating and drinking are major parts of the experience as well as big-screen TVs and high-energy music.
At Topgolf National Harbor, there are more than 100 driving bays located on tiered levels. The 65,000-square foot, three-level facility also features a rooftop terrace with a fire pit, and about 200 high definition TVs are located throughout the complex so players don't have to miss an important sports event on television.
Topgolf National Harbor is open seven days a week starting at 9 a.m., Sunday through Friday, and 8 a.m. Saturday. The facility closes at midnight Sunday through Thursday and at 1 a.m., Friday and Saturday.
The cost of a bay ranges from $26 an hour to $50 an hour, depending on day of the week and time of day. Up to six people can play in a single bay and the cost is per bay, not per person.
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