Topgolf eyes Northwest Arkansas location

Topgolf – Naperville, IL / PRNewsFoto

It looks like Texas-based driving range and sports bar chain Topgolf is considering opening a location in Northwest Arkansas.

The company this week announced plans to build Topgolf facilities in several small- to mid-sized markets around the country, including NWA.

The chain currently operates 21 locations across the U.S. and has “dozens more” that are planned to open in 2017 and 2018.

Other markets under consideration include New Orleans/Baton Rouge, La.; Huntsville, Ala.; Providence, R.I.; Ft. Myers/Naples, Fla.; Greenville, S.C.; Albuquerque, N.M.; along with McAllen and El Paso, Texas.

Zach Shor, the company’s U.S. vice president of real estate development, said recent openings in some smaller markets have proved successful enough to give them confidence to continue expansion in similar areas.

“Our openings in Oklahoma City and Virginia Beach have shown us that Topgolf can thrive in areas that are less densely populated than we had originally been targeting,” Shor said.

For those who aren’t familiar, Top Golf is sort of a hybrid between an advanced driving range and a restaurant/sports bar/night club. Players hit golf balls containing microchips that track their shot’s accuracy and distance. Points are awarded for hitting targets in the outfield. The venues also serve food and alcohol, host occasional live music events, and are set up with plenty of TVs for watching sports.

Most locations feature three levels, with more than 100 hitting bays that can host up to six players at a time.

Wednesday’s announcement did not specify what types of sites they’re looking for, but noted that the company is flexible and can adapt to local challenges like available acreage, demographics, and climate.

Shor said “interested city officials and real estate professionals who have questions about the development process” should contact the Topgolf real estate division via email.

We’ve reached out to Topgolf for more specifics, and to find out how far along they are in evaluating the area. We’ll add any new information here once it’s available.