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Short Game: Par 3s, Topgolf offer golfers alternative


2201 E. Fourth St.

Fort Worth 76102


Golf is a great game. Golf is also a lengthy game, and there’s not always enough time in the day to do what we have to do (work) and what we’d love to be doing (golf).

While one could work without golfing, one cannot golf without working – with few exceptions. But for those of us who do not own our own course, the cost of playing a round can range anywhere from that of a good burger to a meal at the most elite steakhouse.

And in order to earn the money to play, we revert back to the work that leaves less time to play. Makes for a quandary, doesn’t it.

Of course, there’s always disc golf as a less expensive alternative. But for those whose aim with a Frisbee is even worse than it is with a 2-iron, that’s not really a viable option.

Benbrook has a lighted par-3 golf course, and Rockwood has a par-3 course alongside its beautifully remodeled 18-hole course (which I also recommend the next chance you have enough time and can get a tee time).

“It’s cheap and you can bring your own beer,” said golfer Greg Wescott of the Benbrook Par-3. “Plus, I’m starting to learn and this is a good place.”

Golfer Tony Split likes par-3 golf because “I work on my short game, mostly.”

And the newest alternative to “big golf,” as it is sometimes called, is Topgolf. Here, participants score points by hitting micro-chipped golf balls at giant dartboard-like targets on an outfield.

According to Shelby Tidwell Solberg, a spokeswoman for Topgolf, the company’s 2017 global statistics included 13 million visits worldwide and over 250,000 lessons taught, with an average visit lasting two hours for an average group of four people.

“Topgolf truly is everyone’s game,” Solberg said. “The great thing about Topgolf is that it appeals to all ages and all skill levels during all seasons. More than half of our guests describe themselves as non-golfers.

“Topgolf is also a social experience meant to create moments that matter. You can enjoy the game of golf without a dress code or having to spend hours on an 18-hole course. Grab a drink, enjoy a chef-inspired meal, be moved by the music and have a great time in our climate-controlled bays.”

And playing Topgolf can improve your play. While it exists as an alternative to regular golf, it has inspired folks to hit the more traditional links, Solberg said.

“According to a 2017 National Golf Foundation survey, 29 percent of golfers say that playing Topgolf leads them to play more traditional golf,” she said. “In addition, 53 percent of non-golfers surveyed say that playing Topgolf has positively influenced their interest in playing traditional golf.

“Probably the most impressive finding was that 23 percent of new golfers surveyed who have been playing for three years or less started playing golf after their first Topgolf experience. Of those, nearly 75 percent say Topgolf influenced their decision to play golf.”

And, it can be cheaper.

“Typically, Topgolf is a less expensive alternative to traditional golf,” Solberg said. “At Topgolf, bays are rented per hour, so you are not charged per person. Pricing can vary based on venue.”

For example, the prices at the Fort Worth Topgolf are $25 per hour for a bay from opening (9 a.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. on Sunday) to noon, $35 per hour from noon to 5 p.m., and $45 per hour from 5 p.m. to close.

“Groups up to six can split the cost of a bay, so that means it can cost as low as $4.16 per person,” she said. “Add in food and drinks, and the cost still comes in lower than a typical outing to a golf course.”

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