I’m GOLFING! I can’t believe it...I’m GOLFING!! Me! And what’s more, I’m having a great time! This place hits a hole-in-one on every level - and I’m not just talking about the 4 levels of hitting bays! I’m referring to two swimming pools, five bars, staging areas for live music, a sports book, private VIP suites and more. Add to that the fabulous food by Executive Chef Chris Vaughan, and you’ve got another great Vegas experience!
This is Topgolf!
Light years beyond your ordinary driving range, Topgolf feels more like a futuristic nightclub/dayclub with a state-of-the-art driving range attached. The complex takes up over 105,000 square feet, and has a bit of a Jetsons look to it, with an entrance marked by geometric angles trimmed with purple-blue neon. To one side, are the 107 hitting bays which look over a large field of artificial turf, containing various targets and surrounded by safety netting. The bays can accommodate up to 6 people in a comfortable conversation pit-type setting. They’re equipped with men’s and women’s golf clubs, TV screens, a touch screen for scoring, and a “green” from which to hit the micro-chipped balls that track each shot. To my mind, however, the best feature of the hitting bays is that you can order food and drink, which is brought to your bay by cute, friendly servers, helping to create a party atmosphere.
I had scheduled a meeting with two lovely young women, Alissa and Michelle, who promised to show me around Topgolf and join me for lunch. That’s why I was here - to sample and review the food. I swore they’d never get me to swing a club at a ball, no matter what! Food I can do! Golf? Sorry!
The tour was impressive! There are four floors to the Topgolf facility - the first two are family friendly, while levels 3 and 4 are for adults 21 and over. Our tour included The Yard - a large all-purpose space where one can watch the oversized multiple flat-screen TV display on the far wall, place a bet with the sports book, and even attend performances by local and well-known musical acts. Adjacent to The Yard, the Birdie Bar had a country club feel, plus a smaller stage for more intimate acts. The third floor included the main pool, complete with cabanas, which sat at the edge of the Pool Bar, where tiled benches in the water let guests enjoy swim-up cocktails! Perched above the main pool, is a smaller, glass-walled pool, allowing swimmers to be seen underwater! We saw the Chairman’s Suite, a spacious VIP room with comfortable furniture, a dining area, and a retractable glass wall, so guests can tee off, and on the lower level there were meeting rooms, the Callaway Fitting Studio, where guests can be custom fitted for clubs, and the Riv Bar, with an old school Vegas look modeled after the now-gone Riviera Casino. Our tour ended with us settling into our own hitting bay for lunch.
The menu was fairly extensive - craveable starters, salads, wings, flatbreads and more. More than mere bar food, these were sophisticated takes on American comfort food, but with Asian, Mexican, and Italian influences! We ordered quite a few dishes to share.
As we waited for the food, the girls asked me, of course, if I’d like to try a little golf. I protested, naturally - I was that kid in gym class who was mocked mercilessly for my lack of athletic ability. But they assured me this was a no judgement zone. Nobody cared what any of the other players were doing. Alissa and Michelle told me that 86% of Topgolf guests are not avid golfers. So I plucked up my courage, selected a club and took a swing. To my surprise, I connected! I even hit one of the targets. I did it again. I was having fun. All in all, I took about 10 shots - my furthest going about 88 yards, and I didn’t miss the ball once! I really enjoyed myself!
The food arrived all at once. We first sampled the Crispy Rock Shrimp - lightly battered and fried shrimp, with a citrusy glaze and a scattering of red chili flakes for heat, served with an Asian aioli, and a refreshing apple and celery slaw, which balanced out the spiciness. We also tried the Yellowtail Sashimi - raw slices of fresh amberjack, clean tasting and tender, served with crispy garlic, jalapeño, ponzu, and surprisingly, avocado ice cream, which added a smooth, cold, creamy element, and elevated the dish beyond the yellowtail you’d get in most sushi restaurants. Next came Topgolf’s signature dish, the Mushi - delicious spiced chicken, drunken beans, cheddar, and cilantro rice, wrapped in a soft jalapeño tortilla, garnished with avocado crema and a dollop of sriracha. Savory, mildly spicy, with an herbal pop from the cilantro, the mushi was served in slices, resembling a Japanese maki roll. Definitely one of my favorites! Michelle had ordered the Roasted Garlic Flatbread, with olive oil, spinach, roasted garlic, and ricotta. Light and crispy, the freshness of the spinach created balance, so the garlic had bite, but never overpowered the flatbread, and the shavings of Parmesan cheese added pleasant sharpness. From the selection of Sticks To Share, we chose the Pork Pibil skewers, with Oaxacan mole, cotija cheese, and a smoked corn aioli. The pork was full-flavored, with a lovely smokiness and subtle heat. We also had the House Marinated Steak skewers, which were juicy and tender. The ponzu added a lovely tanginess to the beef, and the shishito peppers, which are currently very popular, added a verdant quality that was mild and sweet, with an occasional dash of spiciness (about 1 in 10 of the peppers is spicy.) Another excellent choice was the Crispy Sea Bass Sliders - beautifully fried pieces of lean, flaky sea bass, on cottage dill rolls, topped with butter lettuce and a delicious sweet/tart tomato jam, and a spicy remoulade sauce on the side. These were a refreshing change from the typical mini-burgers that you expect when sliders are offered on a menu. Finally, to finish off the meal with something sweet, we chose the Injectable Donut Holes - 24 warm, airy donut holes, dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with three large syringes filled with chocolate sauce, Bavarian cream, or our personal favorite, raspberry jelly. A sort of DIY dessert, we just grabbed a donut and pierced it with the tip of the syringe, injecting it with whichever filling we desired - or combinations of fillings! Yum!!
Again, I’m not a sports enthusiast, but I am a fun enthusiast and above all else, Topgolf is just fun. And with spring and summertime weather soon approaching, I can see myself gathering up a bunch of friends - locals and visitors alike, to enjoy cocktails on the rooftop bar, swim in a transparent pool, share delicious small plates, and yes, even play a few rounds of golf...all while the lights of the Las Vegas Strip glow nearby.
Topgolf, I’ll be back!