Topgolf Takes Aim at Las Vegas

Golf, entertainment facility to set up shop behind MGM Grand

“Win-win” isn’t a phrase you hear a lot in our city. Yet that’s how Scott Sibella, president and COO of MGM Grand, described the resort’s new alliance with Topgolf at a news conference Wednesday announcing the facility’s groundbreaking.

A sports-entertainment company that uses modern technology to take the run-of-the-mill driving range to the proverbial next level, Topgolf is in 15 cities in the U.S. and U.K. But company executives insisted at Wednesday’s news conference that the Las Vegas location—to be built behind MGM Grand’s convention space—will be the organization’s flagship location when it opens in spring 2016.

“No matter how good you are, you have to step up your game in Las Vegas,” says Randy Starr, Topgolf’s Chief Development Officer.

To that end, this will be Topgolf’s largest facility, with 105,000 square feet spread across eight acres. Golfers will have access to 102 hitting bays on three different levels, and each ball will have a microchip embedded in it. The point of the microchip: to tally points for distance and/or accuracy—in other words, a lazy afternoon of smacking golf balls with friends turns into a competition.

Of course, this being Vegas, Topgolf will offer a lot more than just fancy driving ranges. For starters, there will be a VIP area on a fourth level, featuring cabanas surrounding a water feature. Also, all four levels will have a bar—which will serve such concoctions as a Melon Mulligan out of a souvenir golf-bag glass—and there will be a full-service restaurant, a “locals lounge,” a stage for live music and, yes, a DJ.

YWS, the design team behind Hakkasan, is creating the space.

As for how Topgolf will impact MGM’s bottom line, well, it just continues a trend in which casinos seek out ways to draw new crowds and add non-gaming activities. If you believe Sibella, his property has just struck the ball on the financial sweet spot.