Spend the day with kids at TOPGOLF Charlotte and introduce them to a new love of golfing. It’s a great activity for parents and kids to do together.
I still remember being a little confused when my parents signed me up for my first golfing lessons at age 12. Golfing seemed like such an Old Folks Sport. It was something my parents did on the weekends as a chance to escape us for a few hours and hang out with their friends.
My golfing skills never really took off, but I remember my mom encouraging me that it was a sport I could play for a lifetime.
To be honest, outside of being wicked good at put-put mini golf, I never really did put those golf lessons to good use in my adult life. That is, until TOPGOLF opened up in Charlotte.
A visit to TOPGOLF has been on our radar for months. I thought Tim and I would make a date night out of it, but our oldest daughter attended a friend’s birthday party there and hasn’t stopped begging to go back ever since.
We had gorgeous weather on the radar for winter break, so we finally snagged our opportunity to go test things out. It was so much fun and we learned a few tricks about having a successful day at TOPGOLF with kids.
I’m pretty sure if this place had existed when I was first taking those golf lessons?? I likely would have become an avid golfer! I know my girls absolutely can’t wait to go back.
Everything you need to know about TOPGOLF Charlotte with kids:
First, what is TOPGOLF and how is it different than miniature golfing?
TOPGOLF is a giant golfing complex with three tiers of open-air golfing bays. It’s a little like a giant golfing range on stilts.
The greens are surrounded with crazy tall netting to catch the balls from the surrounding lands. There are six large circular golf holes that are color-coded by difficulty. Each hole has a webbed grid that makes up the wider target around the hole.
The TOPGOLF golf balls have microchips that sync with digital scoring screens in each private bay. When you hit your golf ball onto the playing field, the chip will register where it lands. Make it into any of the webbed net grids surround the holes for various points.
What is available in each golfing bay?
Each golfing bay accommodates 1 – 6 players in a group. They feature:
- a table with 6 chairs
- all the golf clubs you need for both men and women
- a private scoring screen that syncs with the balls
- a large tv
- the tee
- a digital release ball server
What you need to do before your first visit:
We mistakenly thought we could walk right into TOPGOLF and get a bay as long as we got there early on a Saturday morning. WRONG.
Before your first visit to TOPGOLF, be sure to:
1. Visit their web site and make a reservation. This allows you to jump to the top of the waiting list. We didn’t make reservations and ended up having to wait for 30 minutes to get a bay on one of the top tiers. There was no wait if we would have been ok with the ground-level tier, but the kids were excited about being up higher.
2. Become members: Register each player on the web site and pay for your membership fee. This is a one-time $5 fee you only ever need to pay that first visit. It creates an account for each player to sync with the scoring system at the facility.
For kids under 12, there is a Junior Member option. I added our girls under my phone number but with their own birthdates.
3. Download the TOPGOLF app to your phone. You can log in with your member information to access your account. This will also let you see your game scores.
4. Decide how long you want to play. You will pay per hour, not per game. With kids ages 9 & 12, an hour and a half was the perfect amount of time for our first visit.
Safety tip for kids and tricks for having a smooth visit:
There was a lot to figure out on our first visit and the kids were so excited to get playing right away. It took a little bit of chaos before we had to set a firm family golfing rule:
HAVE YOUR KIDS SIT AT THE TABLE WHEN IT ISN’T THEIR TURN TO SWING!
There’s a big red line marking the safety zone on the ground behind the tee area. That means practically nothing to over-excited kids.
After a couple of way-too-close-for-comfort swings and mommy nearly having a heart attack, we decided kids’ bottoms had to be planted in chairs before any adult could take their turn swinging the golf club.
With that rule in place, the rest of the playtime went smoothly and was super fun for both of the kids.
How the game play works:
There are several different games you can choose from on the scoring screen. We started with the basic TOPGOLF game our bay manager suggested. Basically, if you hit the ball anywhere in the target zone, you score some points. It was perfect for kids and parents alike.
1. Each player has a tab on the score screen. The first player selects a golf club, taps their name and steps up to the tee zone.
2. The player taps their club on the ball release device and a ball rolls onto the green. Set it up onto the tee and swing.
3. The player can take as many swings as they like before the second player gets to go. It’s not at all like bowling where each player gets a specific amount of chances in their turn. It is up to your group to decide the cadence of the turns. Our family decided on two swings per turn to keep it moving.
4. The score screen will automatically tally the points from each swing per player. There are 20 swings per player per game.
In the hour and a half that we played, we were able to get two full games in for our party of four with a little time to spare.
Plan to order drinks and food!
Part of the fun of TOPGOLF over another golfing option is the fact that your group can hang out at your private bay table and nibble on delicious food while taking turns playing golf.
There is bay-side service and it was a fairly short wait for anything we ordered. Our server was super attentive and speedy.
We got sodas all around since we were there with the kids and it was only 11 am, but for an adult night out or later in the day there was a full bar menu with cocktails, beer, and wine.
We sampled a few nibble items from the appetizer menu. The soft pretzel bites came with mustard and queso for dipping, our youngest inhaled them. We also ended up ordering two servings of the fried mac & cheese balls, they were SO GOOD the first batch disappeared in a blink.
The menu features more than just appetizers, I spotted flatbreads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and so much more. They even have a weekend brunch that featured chicken & waffle sliders, french toast, and other sweet items.
You can check out the full menu here.