Last year my wife gifted my son and I gift cards to the new-to-Kansas City attraction known as TOPGOLF.. TOPGOLF is basically an elevated driving range with various targets which you can hit to score points while competing against your friends. Sounds fun, I know, but the constant hassles are not worth the energy and time spent.
Depending on where you live, the hourly rates may differ from the ones in KC. Here the cost is $25 an hour if you go before noon, $35 an hour between noon and five o’clock and $45 an hour after five. We got there at 11:30 a.m. and were sent to one of the elevated tees. We were going to play for two hours (thinking since we were there before noon that the cost would be $50.00) but learned that, even if you’re there before noon, once the clock strikes “12” the price goes up. Not wanting to pay $60 we elected for play for 90 mins at a cost of $42.50.
My son “signed in” to the game and his name appeared on the screen. We tried to “add a player” but were unable to. I finally signaled one of the employees and he came over. We explained the situation and he said that I’d have to pay $5.00 to add my name. I told him we had already paid for the time and he told me that there is also a $5.00 charge to come in. It reminded me of the old casinos here in Kansas City -when they first opened you had to pay a $15.00 “docking fee” to go inside. That’s right…you had to give them money for them to allow you to spend your money! I agreed to pay the five bucks and we began hitting balls.
At TOPGOLF, if you want a ball you have to wave your club over a sensor, which then has a machine spit a ball out. Sadly for us, you had to wave your club over the sensor repeatedly…sometimes five or six times…before a ball came out. The constant wait for a ball obviously ate into our time. Also, we would alternate our shots but sometimes, even though I was noted as the player up, after I hit the ball it would suddenly change to my son and award him the points. At 12:15 everything stopped and a message on the screen told us we had 15-minutes left to play. As we had signed up for 90-minutes we were surprised to see this. After a few minutes I tracked down the same employee. Again he came over and pushed some buttons. “You only paid for an hour,” he told us. “No,” I said, “we requested 90 minutes. The cost was $42.50.” Again, he had to push some buttons. The whole exchange probably took another five minutes off of our playing time. I mentioned that and he shrugged. It was obvious he could care less. I jokingly said to my son, “well, this isn’t going to look good in my write up.” As if I had flicked a switch, he immediately showed some interest in us, asking if there was anything he could do for us. I told him “no.” A few minutes the manager approached us and asked the same thing. I explained to her all of the problems we had had and how we had probably lost 15-minutes of our time to glitches. Obviously she felt that, despite hearing about all of the problems we had had, none of them qualified for the “something I can do” request to be followed up with actually doing something. No “I’m sorry, let me extend your time” or “I’m sorry, let me get you a pass to come back another time. Like the previous employee, she just shrugged. She walked away, we finished up and left.
Maybe when everything is working properly TOPGOLF is a fun time. But if I’m going to drop $45, I’m going to play 18 holes.