TopGolf’s For “Everything” Are Sweeping The Nation

In the year 2000, a small British company was formed that would transform sports entertainment forever.

Who I’m talking about?


original topgolf location

21 years later, Callaway would acquire them for $2.6 billion.

And now we’re seeing the emergence of TopGolf-influenced models, such as “TopGolf for Pickleball” or “TopGolf for Basketball”.

Let’s Dive In 👇

A Quick Look at TopGolf’s History

Topgolf was founded under the name of ‘Target Oriented Practice Golf’ by Steve Jolliffe and Dave Jolliffe in 2000.

The twins found driving ranges boring and wanted to gamify the experience.

So they implanted an RFID chip in golf balls to provide exact distance and location — a proprietary and patented technology.

rfid chip in golf ball

The first few years were slow, but in 2005 they found partners to open 3 locations in the United States.

There was no looking back from there:

  • 2021: 70 venues and $1.2B in revenue
top golf revenue

In 2021, Callaway acquired the remaining 86% of TopGolf valuing the deal at $2.6 billion.

Sports x Entertainment Venues

The inclusion TopGolf brought to driving ranges led to new types of businesses (even in golf).

Puttery – adults-only mini golf mixed with craft cocktails and upscale eats


Five Iron Golf – a unique indoor urban golf experience where you can wine, dine, and play on virtual courses

Puttshack – upscale, tech-infused mini golf experience pairing modern technology with crazy courses and cool vibes

TopGolf’s for Everything

TopGolf’s success has inspired a new wave of entrepreneurs.

Chicken N Pickle (website)

A unique, indoor/outdoor entertainment complex that mixes pickleball with leisure.

Chicken N Pickle
7 locations in the Southwest

JumpShot (website)

The basketball version of TopGolf is set to launch soon.

Upscale entertainment venue/ restaurant & lounge.

Basketball Version of Top Golf jumpshot
1st location coming to Atlanta

Home Run Dugout (website)

They don’t even try to explain it any differently than “TopGolf for baseball”.

Scroll through Twitter and you’ll see people complaining about the 3-hour waits.

Topgolf of Baseball home run dugout
2 Texas locations

TOCA Social (website)

Then there’s TOCA who is a conglomerate in the soccer space — they’re now trying to create the “TopGolf for soccer”

toca social is the topgolf for soccer
1st location coming to Dallas

Related: TOCA’s founder Eddie Lewis talks about this on the podcast

Why Now?

Kids grew up playing sports and hanging out in arcades — now they’re grown up and want to do the same thing.

These TopGolf businesses perfectly intertwine:

  • social hangouts
  • food & drink
  • sports

It’s also great for growing interest in a particular sport…

topgolf venue

Of the 30 million guests that visited TopGolf in 2021, 50% identified as non-golfers.

Meaning TopGolf likely introduced golf to 15 million new people in one year.

And of those 15 million people, a large percentage are now more interested in playing on a real course and/or watching golf.

TopGolf’s Business Model

It will be interesting to see how these TopGolf-inspired models work — the golf version has inherent advantages beyond just being a first-mover.

TopGolf breaks its business into three units:

  • Topgolf (venues)
  • Toptracer (tech bays)
  • Topgolf Media (what it sounds like)
toptracer topgolf tech
TopGolf Tracer at a random driving range

The venues have a lot of up-cost fronts, but they’re not that hard to replicate (even in new sports).

Where TopGolf shines is with its RFID and Toptracer technology. TopGolf competitors are even utilizing the Toptracer bays in their facilities.

Besides the actual venues…

What advantages will a “TopGolf for Basketball” or a “TopGolf for Soccer” really have?

Going Forward

TopGolf is an incredible business that showed the power of sports — yet it will be hard to replicate (even in completely new sports).

I don’t have a stat on this…

But businesses that try to build a replicate model in other verticals such as:

  • Uber for ____
  • TikTok for ____
  • AirBnB for ____

…have extremely low success rates.

Driving ranges were in need of innovation (and golf was in need of more inclusion).

It will be interesting to see how these other TopGolf-inspired businesses turn out.

I will say…

All of these companies mixing sports with entertainment are GREAT for the industry.

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