We made it through the holiday craziness. That means we made it once again to the day that marks the end of the craziness, My Husband’s birthday! It was on January 2nd and since it’s right after new year’s it’s hard getting everyone together yet again. On top of that he doesn’t really care about his birthday or getting gifts. Our main group of friends that we tend to do most activities with always makes a big deal over their birthdays and plan these big events for their birthdays. Since in addition to Matt’s birthday one of them has a birthday the week before and one has a birthday the week after New Year’s it’s like birthday overload.
This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I personally hate when people make a big deal over their birthday. Except for the normal big one’s like 21, 30. 40, etc. I’m happy to grab a drink or a meal and celebrate your day, but I do not like when people want you to do expensive activities. I don’t want to spend a fortune because it’s your birthday. I might be in the minority on this, but when there’s a birthday to celebrate every month it’s just too much.
So, since the 2nd was on a Tuesday and my husband took the day off work we decided to go low key and to try a new activity. It was so much easier than trying to organize a get together with all our friends. We could have “time traveled” (is that the proper way to say you’re celebrating your birthday not on your actual b-day? One of our friend’s uses that term and I’m not sure about it, haha), but we were busy for the next two weekends.
I kept hearing about this place called Top Golf. There’s been one in Tampa for a few years, I believe, but they just opened on up in Orlando. It’s on I-drive which is not our favorite area to venture to because it’s usually so crowded and the traffic is horrible, but we were going mid-day on a Tuesday, so we crossed our fingers and hoped it wasn’t going to be too bad. I guess we got lucky because traffic on the way there was fine except for the GPS telling us our exit was a left exit and it wasn’t, so we went on a little detour around I-drive.
I made a reservation for a bay online just incase and we choose to go at 11:30 because you didn’t have to pay a fee to reserve the bay. From 12-close you must pay $50 to reserve your bay and that fee doesn’t go toward your fee for playing. I get charging a reservation fee and keeping it if the party doesn’t show up. If you do show up it would be nice if that fee went toward your play time.
They text me about 10 min before our scheduled time to confirm if we were going to be on time or if you we needed to extend our reservation by 15-30 min. I thought that was nice of them, even though we were on time and our bay was ready immediately. It wasn’t busy when we were there, so we had the ability to choose where we wanted to be, they originally had us all the way on the end, but we wanted to be more toward the center. Also if you went during busy times, reserving your bay doesn’t guarantee it will be ready when you arrive it just puts you on the top of the list for the next available bay. Also, if you reserve two bays they are not guaranteed to be together.
According to the site the only way to guarantee your bay is ready at a specific time is to book a party or VIP access. I looked at those plans when a friend mentioned doing their birthday there. They are expensive, around $600 just to reserve the bays. On top of that there is a $500 food and drink minimum you must meet, plus the fees to play the games. They didn’t end up doing the birthday party there because that all adds up to A LOT of money!
Once we got to our bay there was someone waiting to explain the process to us. You must buy a lifetime membership for $5 which is just a card you scan when you come to play, and it imputes your information into the system. It also keeps track of your stats every time in their app. According to the app if you do this part before coming you only pay $4, so if you want to save a dollar you can do that.
What is it exactly?
Basically, it’s a driving range that they added these huge targets that you are aiming to hit your golf ball into. The balls are micro chipped, so you get points depending on where yours lands. They also give you details on the distance each ball traveled. We are not golfer and you don’t need to be to have fun. You just hit the ball and hope for the best. I think my farthest ball only went about 40 yards. The farthest target is about 200 yards out.
Once you hit your ball the screen shows you how many points you received. If you don’t hit a target you don’t get any points. If you land in one of the inner rings of the targets, the point for your next ball will be doubled. A game consists of 20 shots for each person and the screen keeps track for you. The recommend you do 5-10 shots and then switch players so the game moves faster and you can get more games in.
Clearly based on those scores we are definitely not golfers. There were a lot of missed balls and our aim was terrible. Hopefully if we went more that would improve.
When you go up for your turn you need to make sure you tap your name on the screen so your scores don’t go on someone else’s game. Don’t worry if you accidentally forget this step you can edit the scores on the screen but then you are wasting game time fixing it.
Once your up in the bay there’s a box on the right hand side that shows you the layout of the targets and there’s a small circle that looks like a camera lens that you wave your golf club in front of and it spits out your golf ball. There are small white tees you can use or you can place the ball anywhere on the green you would like.
Do you need your own clubs?
I’m not sure if people bring their own clubs, I would assume if you are an avid golfer you probably would. However, you don’t need your own to be able to participate. In each bay there is a set of clubs for use. Upon request you can get kid clubs or left handed clubs. They made sure to ask if we needed either during our check in.
How much does it cost?
The fees for playing are also on a scale. If you play before 12 pm it’s $30/hr, from 12 pm-5 pm it’s $40/hr, from 5 pm-close it’s $50/hr. Those fees are per bay not per person and you can have up to 6 people in each bay. We ended up playing for two hours from 11:30 am-1:30 pm. It cost $70 for the three of us that were playing, and we played about 4 games.
Is there food and drinks?
Yes there were a couple bars in the venue. A huge one when you first walk in where you can sit and wait for you bay to become available. There are also smaller one’s on each additional level that are open to the outdoors. In addition each bay has someone that takes orders while you play.
The food was decent for the price. The burrito wrap we ordered was not that tasty, but the drinks and other food was good. The best thing we ordered were the doughnuts. They were doughnut holes that came with three syringes that let you inject flavor of your choice into the center. The choices were chocolate, Bavarian cream and cherry.
For the best deal and to get more for the price you are going to pay, go early. I don’t know if I would attempt to go on a Friday night because paying for a reservation seems pointless with your time not guaranteed. There is no limit on the time you can stay in a bay. As long at the party keeps paying they can stay as long as they want. I feel this leads to the potential of waiting for hours even with a paid reservation. That is not worth my time when there’s so many other activities to choose from.
I also found that if you have AT&T right now for a limited time you can get a code from their AT&T thanks program. With that code you can get a second hour of play for free on Sundays for a limited time. We might have to take advantage of this before it ends.
Is it worth it?
Depending on when you go, Absolutely! We went early in the day and it was definitely worth it. We had a blast despite not knowing anything about golf. My Husband was skeptical he would have a good time and after we left he said he was surprised by how fun it was. We will definitely be planning to do this again.
If you go on a Friday night though I could see it getting expensive with reservation fees, game play, food and drinks. With the max per bay of 6 people even divided up that could doesn’t come out too bad per hour. However with that many people in a bay you’re going to need a few hours if you plan to play more then 1 game. I’m not saying to stay away from prime times, just be prepared for the cost so it doesn’t surprise you when you check out.
Have you been to Top Golf? How did you like it? let me know.
I’m always look for new places to explore so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments?