Florida on a Tankful: Topgolf in Tampa the game's next generation

By Scott Fais , Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, June 01, 2017, 5:51 AM EDT

Like a traditional golf course, Topgolf has an outspoken pro.

"Don't give me that little cuddly puppy swing,” golf pro John Aguilar shouted at Scott Fais.

If you think the game of golf is for those with their own clubs and wearing pressed polo shirts, think again. 

Inside this outdoor box made of nets, the game of golf is reinvented for the next generation. 

"You are going to go after this thing like it's going to mug you,” John said of Topgolf, that stands for "Target Oriented Practice."

John helped rewrite the rules atop this three story structure. Here, 100 people can take a swing at the same time in what looks like an open-walled strip mall.

Visitors will first swipe a membership card inside one of 100 “bays,” complete with a driving range, flat screen TV and high top table.

One-by-one, 20 balls spit out from a dispenser when a golf club is waved over a sensor. Once a ball is lined up, visitors will whack it into giant targets in an outfield.

"Every ball has a chip in it,” John explains.

That allows users to have their score recorded and presented on a screen back in the bay. It’s golf and a giant game of darts rolled into one. Yet John says, there's no points for how you look.

"You can come out here barefoot, tank top, shorts, nobody cares,” John explains, adding, "You're a little overdressed” taking a second look at Scott Fais in his polo and plaid shorts.

For beginners, John can show you the proper form.

"When I come down, you're going to turn that right hip with me. And come down,” John shares, as he takes control of Scott’s arms, as if he was a batting coach in a baseball diamond.

With a whack, Scott sends a ball sailing towards a target.

“And there we go!” John said proudly after Scott sunk a ball inside what looks like a giant horizontal dart board.

Just like miniature golf, you don't have to bring your own clubs. At Topgolf, every bay comes with almost a dozen clubs helping you get your best shot.

The action can leave you hungry. A full menu can be delivered right to your bay. 

Highlights from the full service kitchen include a delight called “Mushi,” which is short for “Mexican Sushi."

For dessert, get ready for the “Injectable Donuts.” Diners will put down the golf clubs long enough to pick up oversized plastic syringes, full of cream, chocolate and a raspberry filling.  They then squeeze the tasty goo into a donut hole.  Once filled to capacity, the filling will pour out, signaling it’s time to pop the donut hole in your mouth.

You can eat and play all at the same time. And at Topgolf, even your dog is welcome to watch.

"This is golf for everybody,” John said.

Know Before You Go: All players must register for a membership card before playing. Prices may vary but can start as low as $5.

Topgolf Tampa

10690 Palm River Rd.,
Tampa, FL, 33619

Tankful on Television:

Catch Florida travel stories like the one above on Television four days a week across Central Florida. The award-winning Florida on a Tankful with Scott Fais airs on News 13 Thursday through Sunday. See new segments in the Bay Area as well on Bay News 9. Stories air beginning at 6 a.m. on both channels as a Spectrum exclusive.