We say it all the time, but we do truly believe it: Austin is an amazing place to raise a family. With this in mind, we’re on a mission to go discover all the things which make our town special. To help get out more without getting overwhelmed, we came up with the Austin Bucket List project. Each year, we pick 10 things we’d like to do in Austin — with or without our kids. That sounds doable, doesn’t it? Then, we document our adventures here, with the idea of getting each of you inspired to do the same.
As a native Austinite, I have a soft spot for Peter Pan Mini-Golf. We’ve gone quite a few times and have had a great time. That said, we live in north central Austin, which happens to be about five minutes from the Domain and Topgolf, which is a huge, two-story part driving range, part “golf entertainment center”, complete with servers who bring you food and drinks while you play.
I know next to nothing about “real” golf, so although Topgolf was always in the back of my mind, we never made it there until recently. A mom from school had a girlfriend in town and was looking for something fun to do after school one day and had the idea to go. So, we loaded up 3 kids and the three of us moms after school and headed over. Once school got out, we took my golf-playing husband on a weeknight the week of Father’s Day for a fun family activity. Here’s what I learned after my two outings at Topgolf:
- When you arrive, each person purchases a membership card for a one-time $5 fee. You use this card to keep track of your scores and to hold the value you purchase to play the games. The Junior card, which is the membership card for 12 and under, also gives you access to KidZone events and a free Birthday Menu item.
- Then, you head on over to the concierge, so that you can find out where your bay will be located. Think of a bay as a nicer version of what you would have at a bowling alley when you head over to your lane. Each bay can fit up to 6 players, and the cost is per hour. The price is $20/hour for each bay before 6pm, Mondays through Thursdays, and jumps to $40/hour after that. On Fridays through Sundays, the price per hour is $20 before noon and $40 after that.
- You don’t need to have your own clubs. Both men’s and women’s clubs are provided at each bay. If you need to use left-handed clubs or need kids’ clubs, you can request them. My husband brought his own, as many patrons do, and there is a place to put your golf bags in each bay if you bring your own.
- If you have to wait, there is an indoor lounge with a pool table. The kids played pool while the adults got beers when we went after school.
- If you are beginner, it’s helpful to go with someone who knows how to play. The staff can help get you set up and suggest what game to play, but after that, you are mostly on your own. The first time I went with friends, they were able to help advise me on which clubs to choose, but there was a lot of trial and error. The second time, when my husband came with us, he was able to help me with my swing and I felt much more confident.
- You can choose from several different games, but each ball is microchipped and most games involve trying to hit close to one of the 11 targets located across the course and getting points based on how close you get. As a beginner, I mostly focused on connecting with the ball and wasn’t really concerned with where the ball landed.
- The more, the merrier and the earlier the better. Although we had a fun time going with just the three of us, I enjoyed going with a group, which also means you have more people to split the cost of the bay with. I know that Topgolf gets busy, so I also liked going after school, which happens to be half the price of going at the dinner hour. Compared to playing a full round of golf at a country club, I’m sure Topgolf is a good deal. But if you are a beginner like me, I’m happy to just go for a few hours and hit some balls with friends. During the summer, kids 12 and under can play until 11am for 1/2 off from Mondays through Thursdays.
After not making it to Topgolf for years, it’s funny that we went twice in two months. My husband, who is the golfer, after all, said he would love to come back a few times a year. I think it would make a great Father’s Day outing and I’d definitely go again with friends for a few hours one afternoon. Hopefully, by the next time I visit, I’ll be able to tell the difference between a driver from an iron.
Have you been to Topgolf? Any tips on going with the family?
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.livemom.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Nicole-Basham-Sara-Marzani-Photography-livemom.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 9-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life”, or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.[/author_info] [/author]