Five years ago, Jeff Kowaslki would tell someone who he worked for and then have to explain what that company did.
Now, the branding has taken care of itself.
Kowaslki, the director of operations for Topgolf Myrtle Beach, has had four-plus months of people here explaining their excitement in the project to him.
“I’d show them pictures,” he said Wednesday during what he described as the facility’s “dress rehearsal” — an invitation-based, two-hour function to unveil the property. “Not now. Now there is a buzz.”
And that buzz is building toward Topgolf Myrtle Beach’s opening. Kowalski intimated that the location (at the corner of 29th and Grissom) would open as early as next week. Two employees also said they have been instructed to prepare for a soft opening Monday, although Kowalski did say that there were some final items to address first.
Either way, it’s close, and its impact along the golf-rich Grand Strand is expected to add to the market’s identity with the game.
For those who haven’t visited one of Topgolf’s 52 previously opened venues around the world, it is a two-decade-old company that includes covered hitting bays, allowing players a driving-range type of experience in virtually any weather conditions. During Wednesday’s event, for instance, rain fell nearly throughout without making a difference to those taking their shots at the color-coded targets. That’s also where Topgolf has set itself apart from a standard range.
Using a fairly simplistic technology, tracking chips are place in every ball, giving golfers not only distance on each stroke, but also points based upon how close to the targets that ball gets. It turns the normal driving range experience into a mini-round of sorts, where friends can compete against each other.
The three-story Myrtle Beach location is somewhat unique in that it only houses 72 bays, versus the 100-plus for nearly every other location, nearly all of which are in much larger markets. This one broke ground April 3 of last year, and it also boasts three different event spaces, two full-service bars and the capacity for live music and DJs.
The cost for a one-hour bay rental will start at $25 for a regular group of up to six people, cheaper than a trip to the movies. However, like the add-ons of a theater concession stand, Topgolf certainly has the ability to stretch the wallet in a hurry. An extensive food and beverage menu offers everything from pretzels with beer cheese and cheese fries all the way up to oven-roasted chicken with citrus beurre blanc sauce prepared by the handful of in-house chefs.
It allows some variance in how much you want to spend. Typically, the bigger your party, the more ways you can save, and large-group functions are quite reasonable.
That was one of the first questions for Murrells Inlet resident Bryan Blaszczyk, who recently moved from Charlotte. He had gone to the location there multiple times, so he had already navigated the experience and knew what to expect in terms of what it could cost (bay rates here are roughly half as much, by the way).
“The other difference is the location. Charlotte is off the beaten path. This is one is a prime location,” Blaszczyk said. “I think it’s great for the area. It’s close to Broadway at the Beach, so it’s a location people can just stop in, even to just check it out. It’s so close to everything else.”
In advance of opening, Topgolf’s high-traffic location has already started to attract attention.
“People have been coming to our door for the last week because they think we’re open since we’re training all these people,” Kowalski said. “Sadly, I’ve had to turn them away.”
He won't have to for much longer.