Recreation Report: Topgolf National Harbor Opens

Living outside of Old Town, I still am amazed by the steady expansion of National Harbor and the surrounding area. Since 2008 we have seen the construction of the Gaylord National Convention Center, Tanger Outlets, MGM Casino, and the massive Capital Ferris Wheel. While there is plenty to see and do on the other side of the Wilson Bridge, there is a new challenger emerging to the highly competitive entertainment field with the grand opening of the Topgolf National Harbor.

There has been significant buzz about Topgolf coming to National Harbor and it is now officially open for business. After the success of their first franchise in Kingstowne, Topgolf has seen a meteoric rise, now operating 55 locations in the U.S. and globally. After taking a sneak peek, I can say that this will instantly be one of the premier locations, rivaled only by the Topgolf in Las Vegas.

Adjacent to the Tanger Outlets, my wife Brittany and I were treated to a Vegas-level experience while attending the press and media event prior to the Grand Opening last month. Our greeters were the Washington Nationals mascots as the presidents were there to welcome us to Topgolf!

This place has a lot of similarities with the MGM Casino down the street. With bright neon lights, TVs everywhere (200+, it took me a while to count them all up), pulsating music, and a fun atmosphere, there is certainly a lot to see and do while you’re there. When you first pass through the front doors, you are received by a great sight line of the multi floor golf bays, high ceilings, and adjacent sports bar with 10 TVs, which together give the space a modern, sleek look. With high-tops centrally positioned in the bar, this is definitely a place where someone who wanted to grab lunch or dinner or just catch the game could definitely visit.

We also hung out at the roof top terrace, complete with a full bar, plenty of seating, and fire pits, and, during our trip, a full band getting the crowd going on the main stage. It is an excellent option for hosting events, which is a sizable part of Topgolf’s business model.

For those that are not familiar with the Top Golf concept, it is an entertainment venue whose foundation is their driving range. When you walk in you are offered the option to reserve a golf “bay,” which is a place to hit golf balls, surrounded by seating. The bays can be reserved online and in advance, and allows you to hit by yourself or bring a group. It’s comfortable to seat six people.

Let me say, this is not your father’s driving range. This is truly a state-of-the-art experience, where you are first given a player’s card, which regulates how many golf balls are given and offers different games that your group can play. These are not ordinary golf balls. Every golf ball has an electronic chip in it to measures distance and flight path after every swing. Each bay has a screen that that allows you to track the flight of the golf ball and keep scores, if you opt to play one of the many games that are offered.

The beauty of the Topgolf concept is anyone can play, regardless of ability! There is enough fun and games to attract all levels of golfer. Fun stat of the day alert: there were 24 million people that played “golf” last year and eight million of them didn’t not go to a traditional golf course. That means that people are looking for entertainment ideas beyond what can be found at the local golf course.

Don’t forget there are great food options, too, (to include healthy!) with a full-service restaurant and a wide selection of local and craft beers. I think my biggest surprise was the level of service from the staff during this soft opening. Bring all of this together and it provides a great year-round entertainment option. Brittany and I will definitely be back!


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