While traditional golf courses experienced an uptick in play throughout 2020 due to COVID-19, venues such as X-Golf and Topgolf are seeing a massive surge from a younger demographic that’s drawn to technology and entertainment.
X-Golf has expanded to more than 25 locations in 2020 and has new openings planned in cities across North America, Blooloop reported. Each location features state of the art simulators employing X-Golf America’s proprietary technology—a combination of camera systems, infrared lasers, impact sensors, and gaming software.
Customers can replicate all golf shots, including short game, Blooloop reported. The software performs over six thousand calculations per second, measuring ball speed, direction, launch and spin, alongside impact and path of the club used.
Offerings include private lessons, standard tee time, tournaments and special events. The kiosks act like virtual golf clubs, with competitions and leagues, and membership, Blooloop reported. The simulators can cater for all skill levels. All locations have bars and restaurants, serving beer, wine, spirits and various food options.
“Continued interest from new and existing franchisees this year has been incredible, especially given the circumstances of 2020,” said Ryan D’Arcy, President and CEO of X-Golf America. “Our organic growth has been fueled by offering an unmatched simulator experience in the industry. Our superior technology combined with operations expertise will further X-Golf’s capability to build the singular brand in a segmented marketplace.”
A new connected platform is also being launched in advance of 2021, Blooloop reported. This will integrate X-Golf’s technology across all venues and allow players to personalize their experience. They will be able to track data, work on developing their game from tee to greens, and compete for prizes and experiences.
Golf in general is expanding rapidly with indoor ranges, whether real or virtual, taking over from outdoor courses, Blooloop reported. Topgolf Entertainment Group began with three venues in the UK in 2000. It expanded to the US in 2005 and by 2019, Topgolf owned, operated or franchised 58 venues across the United States, the UK and Australia. Players hit golf balls that contain microchips that can track the accuracy and distance of each shot.
Topgolf Dubai, based at the Emirates Golf Club, opened this month with 96 climate-controlled hitting bays and three fully serviced restaurants and bars, Blooloop reported. It was joined by TopGolf Monterrey in Mexico. The company expects to expand further into central Europe and Asia in the coming years.
TopGolf has pushed the boundaries of golf even further, launching its collaboration with Angry Birds this October, Blooloop reported. The mobile game is brought to life in a VR-like environment using Topgolf’s Toptracer ball-tracing technology. Players partner up with an Angry Birds character to earn points and stars, based on the speed of the ball.
“As a company that blends technology and entertainment, we’re always looking to create new, fun and dynamic experiences for our guests to enjoy,” said Lynda Firey Oldroyd, Chief Customer Officer of Topgolf Entertainment Group, in an interview with Forbes.
“We see Angry Birds at Topgolf as something that does just that and think it will be a game-changing addition to our existing game play lineup.”
Traditional golf courses have been in decline with shrinking memberships forcing many clubs to sell their courses, Blooloop reported. 2020 did see an upturn in interest due to Covid-19, but indoor golf is reaching a much wider, and younger, demographic. Firey-Oldroyd says that 50 percent of Topgolf’s guests are non-golfers aged between 18-34.
“We pride ourselves on making sure Topgolf is inclusive and we love introducing the game and the fun to people from all walks of life and communities,” said Firey-Oldroyd. “The Angry Birds partnership is an example of how we’re looking to bring exciting, new elements to Topgolf, which will appeal to a wide array of guests, including those who might not be as familiar with our brand.”