Playing to Win

Posted on January 13, 2017

Our writer tries out Roseville's Topgolf.

I first heard about Topgolf from a friend in Austin, Texas. Cool city, game sounded interesting. My college kid played in Portland. Another cool city. What’s this new game popping up strategically around the country? Then I heard it opened in Roseville, its first venue in California.

I still try to be cool sometimes, and since the Sacramento region made the Topgolf map I did a little research. My Austin friend said, “It’s like a combination of bowling and golf.” Hmmm. I’m not good at either one, but I was nonetheless eager to check it out.

Figuring Saturday night would be packed, I called about a reservation and learned that in order to reserve a time slot, you must register as a member of Topgolf and purchase a limited Priority Pass online for $50. The cost doesn’t apply toward play. “Without a reservation,” I was told, “the wait can be zero to four hours.”

We decided to take our chances. Arriving at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday, my group of six encountered a fellow joyously cruising the parking lot in a golf cart. He delivered us to the entrance with the golf clubs brought by my real golfer friends. Hit with crowded chaos upon entrance, we joined a bunch of other confused newbies.

With a two-hour wait promised, we headed for the rooftop terrace with fire pits and sofas, oversized Jenga, party music and friendly staff members. (It turns out our golf cart driver was only one of around 550 employees.)

As server Angelica Savoy delivered cocktails, I learned the bigger draw. “People come to play, but it’s about the entertainment, too,” she said. I encountered a handful of players who weren’t planning on swinging clubs. Some settled in at one of two full bars, eating and watching sports. Others were shooting pool, gaming on Xbox and playing shuffleboard and foosball.

After an hour of munching on tasty appetizers, we were paged for our second-story golf bay, one of 102 throughout three floors. Each floor has something to offer, but higher bays often mandate longer waits due to the view. Our group preferred a bay with second-story sofa seating over third-floor highboy table seating.

Clubs out! It was time to order another cocktail from our bay host and get serious.

Our instructor explained the computer/scoring system, game options and rules. Comforted that the 10 different-colored targets around the green looked to be 10 to 30 feet wide, I figured I’d certainly hit one. I put my golf lessons to use and grabbed the on-site girls’ Callaway 3-wood. Whack! I hit the 90-foot green-lit target! Not in the center, but the microchip in the ball—matched to my name—indicated a good shot.

The variety of games means the best golfer doesn’t necessarily get the best score. I shockingly won our first game thanks to my ball’s apparent magnetism to the green target. That, and a little help from a friend. “Thanks for forgetting to tap your name, John,” I said. “I got credit for your great shot!”

Warmed by the heater and beer, we all agreed the bowling atmosphere and bantering while watching one another play provided a fun, social night. Topgolf is a cool place to hang out, golfing or not. In fact, I might just stop by again for those amazing Bacon Mac ’n Cheese Spring Rolls.

1700 Freedom Park Drive, Roseville; (916) 200-1002;

Prices run $25–$45 per hour, depending on time slot.


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