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Dads Night Out review: TopGolf

Last night a few of us got together at TopGolf in Wood Dale for a Dads Night Out...here's my thoughts--

It's been a decade since I last hit a golf ball and last night reminded me how frustrating a game it is. You never know whether your shot is going to go exactly where you intended or somewhere ridiculous. Call it a personality trait...I love about running or biking that you get out of it exactly what you put into it. Run 20 miles, be able to run 20 miles better next time.

That said, this is pretty much a driving range on steroids.

The basics go like this...you buy a card with money loaded onto it. It's $7 per game plus $5 for the card. So under $20 per person got us 2 hours of play. They have clubs to borrow while you're there, too. Or you can bring your own.

Your first visit should be to the centrally located ball machine to grab a basket, insert your card, choose how many games you'll be playing, then wait while the machine matches the technology inside the ball to you and dispenses it. When you arrive, they assign you a hitting area on one of several levels--it also has a table, chairs, racks for your golf bag, and a computer screen. Worth noting this time of year, too, is that the areas are heated. Though I'd say the 30 degree temp last night was the edge of the comfortable range. Had to keep hands warm a bit...especially while drinking a beer.

There are several games to choose from...variety, chipping, driving. And targets are laid out by color with flags. One of our complaints was that at night it was hard to tell what target was what. Especially from the first floor. The computer instructs you to aim for particular target areas so you need to know where you're aiming. After you run your ball through an activation beam and hit, the computer assigns you negative or positive points.

It took us until nearly closing (1.5 hours or so) to play 5 of us on one game while ordering drinks, talking, and trash talking. So we didn't really have enough time to play the second game's worth of balls we paid for. I'd also say the computer system could do a better, more obvious job of instructing you where to aim. You have to look for a small flag at the edge of the screen and there is significant lag in the time it takes to calculate points.

We opted not to order food, but there is a server who will come to take your order. They had a beer special for $3, which is ok. I'd say in this day of craft beer and extensive beer menus that they could offer a wider selection of brews on tap. The facility is nice, clean, and the staff was helpful for the most part. Not overly amazing, but nothing to complain about really either.

The place was doing a pretty good business on a cold Friday night and we'd come back to play again maybe. The crowd was pretty young and male, but quite a few women around. Next time, I think we'd like to play from upstairs for a better view of the targets. Overall, a pretty fun evening for some dads to get out of the house, shoot the breeze, and enjoy themselves.

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