Tee time at Thornton’s TopGolf

Activity center hosts demonstration day ahead of grand opening


As his golf ball sailed off over the green fairway, Nick Nizam turned his back to it, focusing on the computer screen behind him. Computer graphics showed the golf ball’s path as it sailed toward the target, noting the ball’s speed, the distance it traveled at the time it spent aloft.

It was pretty good shot.

It was what most of the golfers at TopGolf Thornton’s demonstration did on July 31: They’d swing, and then turn to the video screen to see how their shot measured up.

“They’ll all have them eventually, but we have it now,” said Dennen Van Wagner, operations manager for TopGolf Thornton. “If you watch golf on TV now during a golf tournament, it’s the same thing.”

The Thornton TopGolf, one a dozen across the country to have the new Top Tracer, officially opens Aug. 9.

“We have it now, before even Centennial, but it’s going to be retrofitted in,” Van Wagner said.

The company opened their doors for local businesses and city officials, giving them all a chance to try out the company’s newest branch at 160th and Grant St. It’s the second TopGolf in Colorado and one of 51 across the country.

The brand combines the best of a night club — with music, drinks and food — with an automated driving range. Players pay between $26 and $50 per hour for a bay — prices rise depending on the time of day and customer demand — and get the use of a set of clubs, game demonstrations. The onsite restaurant and bar provides food and drinks, and all you can eat meals start at $24 per person.

The official opening and ribbon cutting is still set for mid-August, but the company brought in the local crowd July 31 to test out their menu, their drinks and their equipment.

The three story driving range features room for 102 golfers to tee off at the same time — 34 golfers per floor. The driving area overlooks a fairway dotted with 10 targets, ranging from 25 yards — to practice chip shots — to 185 feet all surrounded by a 70-foot-tall fence.

Players can select a computer-guided game out of nine choices. They’re scored on how close their drives come to the flags at the center of each target.

The Top Tracer system relies on a series of digital cameras mounted along the third floor roof that track the ball’s speed and direction leaving the club, then monitor it as it flies across the fairway.

“It’s able to keep track of all the balls at once,” Van Wagner said. “Even if everyone, all 102 players, tee off at the same time, the system can keep track of each of the balls.”

Moving north

It’s been a long time coming for the activity and the second Thornton location. Initial plans had the three-story driving range going up along 136th Avenue, near Thorncreek Golf Course. Neighbors objected and that sent the company out looking for a new location.

They eventually settled on the Larkridge Development north of the Northwest Parkway, just south of Thornton’s new Costco Wholesale warehouse and a Tile Warehouse.


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