Incorporating the Topgolf Phenomena into Private Clubs

Top Golf

All we hear about today is the excitement Topgolf is creating in the golf world.

In McMahon Group’s recent Pulse Survey completed by almost 350 club managers, 49% said they want to create a Topgolf experience at their club. However, it is important to note that true Topgolf is really much more about entertainment than real golf. It is a place to relax, be with friends, enjoy food, drinks and then use a golf driving range game as the excuse to be there. It is said that 70% of Topgolf patrons are not golfers. They are there to have a good time and they are generally a younger crowd. For country clubs attempting to latch on to this phenomena, it is important to note that 70% of country club members are golfers and at the average age of 54.

The needs and demands for a private club version of Topgolf are very much different.

At a country club version, which we call NightClub Golf, the golf balls have to be regular balls, not the low flight balls used at Topgolf facilities. The full outdoor driving range has to be used so members can actually see their ball in real flight even though a simulator allows a person to play a computer golf game on a screen.

The country club version should become the golf center of the club. The golf shop should be located adjacent to it, the golf training/conditioning/fitness facility should be located within the facility, the indoor/outdoor golf lesson bays should be incorporated into the facility and finally, there should be a bar/lounge/pub/patio within the facility for members to socialize before, during and after their use of the golf hitting bays. In reality, everyone should consider the outdoor driving range as a huge outdoor room that can now be used morning, noon and night, all year long, as both a golf practice area, computer game area and entertainment center. This new facility for private clubs has us, again, learning from our for-profit cousins, just as we have learned so many times before. A question every club board and manager should be asking is, “Should we be adding this new dimension of recreation and entertainment at our club?”

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About Christian Clerc

Consultant & Designer

“Christian joined McMahon Group in 2015 as a club consultant. He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a Masters of Architecture and Masters of Urban Design, where he served as treasurer for the Graduate Architecture Council. Christian’s past work experience includes manufacturing, construction, and property rehabilitation. He completed his B.S. in physics from the University of Dallas, where he was social chair and treasurer of the UD Rugby Football Club. He is currently a LEED AP, BD+C.

He is assisting our clubs with strategic and facility planning. His past work, research and education provide an insightful framework to the social value of technology and he enjoys following technology transfer across industry marketplaces. This appreciation coupled with an abiding delight in the complexity of creation, both physical and social, are inspirations to his strategic and design insights. He is one of the most junior members of the McMahon Group, listening and learning from a team of great mentors and great clients. He also has transformed the McMahon survey report data into a templated data depository that enables in-depth market research of the Club industry and is currently leveraging unique access to this industry data to create exploratory data visualizations.

Christian enjoys spending time outdoors, occasionally finding time to canoe the meandering rivers found throughout Missouri’s countryside. He is a member of the St. Stephen Protomartyr Men’s Club and currently serving on Pastoral Council. He is participating in  Contemplative Leaders in Action (CLA), which is a young Jesuit leadership group that integrates prayerful discernment as foundation for decision-making. The majority of his extracurricular time is spent with his beautiful wife and their three young daughters.”

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