The golf and football worlds do not frequently collide. However, that is about to change this weekend.
Topgolf Live is coming to the University of Minnesota campus for a four-day event beginning Thursday at Huntington Bank Stadium. Fans who purchase tickets can hit golf balls onto the field, enjoy food and drinks and tour certain areas of the stadium.
Topgolf installed Toptracer technology inside Huntington Bank Stadium, which gives fans the same experience they would receive at a Topgolf location. Each shot is tracked and earns points based upon where the ball lands.
Players arrive at the stadium and are equipped with Topgolf balls, a 9-iron and pitching wedge. Golfers can earn points for hitting six different targets that are spaced between 60 and 140 yards from the tee box. The event allows fans of all skills levels to play golf, compete and see the stadium.
“This game is built for non-golfers too, so if you’re bad at golf, it is still going to be fun,” said Topgolf Senior Product Manager Michael Tomasik. “You’ll see fans that come out here that would normally sit way up [high in the stadium], they just kind of want to experience the stadium.”
Topgolf Live sets up inside college and professional stadiums across the country. Most recently, the event spent more than two weeks at the University of Georgia. The tour has also stopped in Florida, Baylor and South Carolina. Tomasik said Topgolf chooses locations with iconic stadiums and passionate fanbases.
“We pick stadiums that we have good relationships with. We pick iconic stadiums and we want to go somewhere where we’ve got an emerging presence in the market,” Tomasik said. “We opened our first venue in Brooklyn Center and that’s been killing it. We’re always looking to build the brand.”
Once Topgolf employees arrive at the stadium, it takes about two days to set up the entire event. Staff members spend an extensive amount of time constructing the large bay platform. Each piece of the deck weighs about 200 pounds and is engineered to handle all of the fun.
“It is four trailers worth of gear and we have twelve people that tour with it. You have to be able to understand that there is going to be a thousand people on these decks and that the load can be handled when people get excited and jump up and down,” Tomasik said. “We’ve built a really safe platform system. And, of course, getting power in these abstract locations and internet. There are things that we’ve definitely solved already.”
Not only that, but the Topgolf Live event requires an incredible amount of technological infrastructure. Staff members install cameras, set up internet and bring all of the Topgolf technology to stadiums. It is one of the main reasons why fans can now experience the Topgolf concept at different locations.
“With the ability to trace golf balls with cameras, it enables you to go [different places], We have been to Dubai with this model. Baseball, football, soccer stadiums, golf tournaments too,” Tomasik said. “You can really put it wherever you want now versus before where we had to use RFID chips in the balls to play the game.”
Once fans arrive, they enter their information into the system, hit balls and compete against others. Top performers’ names then appear on the video board. Tomasik said fans who purchase tickets can expect a very unique and exciting experience.
“We will have the music going full blast. It will be very much like a Topgolf experience. They will be serving food and beer,” Tomasik said. “It will be dialed up for sure.”
I had the opportunity to play Topgolf in the stadium on Wednesday night and can echo Michael’s statement. The energy and college football atmosphere perfectly combine with the typical Topgolf experience. It does not matter if you are a casual or die-hard golfer, I guarantee you will have fun!
You can purchase tickets for the event by clicking here. There are a variety of different tee times available each day.
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