Sunday, September 7, 2014

Top Golf: The Colony, TX

When I lived in the Dallas area I drove through The Colony on my way to the office.  It isn't a very big town in the scheme of things but it is sandwiched among other suburbs and it isn't always easy to tell when you have exited one and entered another.  I'm not even sure what there actually is to The Colony outside of the fast food/retail area along the highway.  On this highway you find Top Golf, you can't miss it.  The first time I came back after moving, I noticed they were building some large monstrosity right on the highway and as time passed it revealed itself to be this massive 3 story driving range.

I couldn't get a good shot of the building from the other side, which is the side that faces the highway, due to the position of the sun when we were there.
The company I work for has close to 100 employees but there are only 6 of us that work for this one side of the business that includes me.  Out of the 6, three of us don't live in Dallas (two of us don't even live in Texas).  Of the remaining 3, one travels and works from her Dallas area home so it isn't very often that all 6 of us are in the same place at the same time.  So, when we are, we are trying to make an effort to get together after hours to do some team building. 
The last time we decided to team build, 5 of us went to dinner.  We spent a grand total of $60.  I think my boss might have been embarrassed for our little group since other teams frequently meet and spend a LOT more than that.  When I called him about this outing he said yes but on one condition:  we must spend a minimum of $100.  I told him we would have Marci along this time (making our full 6) and that we would make her eat $40 worth of food if needed.
Once we all arrived, all but one of us had to buy the required membership.  This cost $5 and it never expires.  When the lady was working on mine she asked if I wanted to receive email marketing from them and I said no based on the fact that there are none of these in Montana.  "We are building 40 more this year in the US and overseas."  This statement depresses me more than I can explain but either way, I tell her my answer is still no as I doubt that any of them will be in Montana.  (What I really mean is that I HOPE none of them are.)
Aside from the three level driving range, this is also a restaurant and bar so for our little team building exercise, it is a one stop shop.
We were hoping to be on the 3rd deck and we are.  That is the view out to the highway, which you cannot see because of the orange pizza place in between.
We are here at about 4pm on a Tuesday so it isn't very crowded.  There were people in the stall next to us and they grew distrustful of Linda because twice she shanked balls that came a little close for comfort. 

A woman who works the golf part of the booth comes by and says if we don't get started we will be forfeiting our booth shortly.  I explain we don't know what to do (only one of us has been here before).  She recommends a particular game and helps us get set up.

Assuming you are right handed, there are clubs right at the booth.  You pick your club and walk onto the artificial turf mat which has a tee on it.  You wave your club at the top right area and a ball comes out the chute.  Tee up and hit it.
The object is to hit it into one of those rings.  Each one gives you a certain number of points.
If you are left handed, you must request clubs.  Kawiana is left handed but starts out hitting right.  She later decides to give left a try.  It took a long time to get them to come by again and get us clubs and then they didn't set up a left tee.  She went back to hitting right. 
One mistake we made right away was to not follow the order of our names as they appear on the screen.  Before you hit (regardless of the order you choose to go in), you have to click your name, it doesn't automatically advance to the next person like it does at a bowling alley.  Some of us apparently never played baseball or softball since they can't remember who they "bat" after and need to be reminded a lot.  Some of us can't remember to click our name.  So at the end, Kawiana had a lot of extra balls to hit when the rest of us were done.  Somehow, she kept getting skipped, even though she seemed to go when she was supposed to each round.
The week before the trip, Marie and Marci and I have a text exchange about footwear for the outing. 
Are flip flops okay?  Only if you want me to laugh at you, I reply.  We aren't going shopping, this is golf.  But, as a man in the office observed, as long as you pay, you can probably wear whatever you want.  And they did.  Both of them.  The blue tennis shoes are Linda's.  But Marie and Marci weren't the only ones.  The girls in the next booth are also wearing shoes that are very impractical for playing golf including one in high-heeled wedge sandals.
Here I am getting ready to hit, wearing sensible tennis shoes.  David and I took golf lessons right before we decided to move to Montana.  I never even made it to play a full game before we moved (and I don't own my own clubs, I have my son's hand-me-downs with no bag to put them in).  I realize something very quickly...I have forgotten almost everything they taught me.
I think we are on round/hole 6 before I manage to score at all (I was the last one get off of zero).  It was about this time that Marie announced that she is done playing because she is bored.  I may think this place is a huge eye-sore but I definitely didn't think it was boring.  And she wants me to clarify here: she was bored with the golf part, not the company.  We peer pressured her into continuing while we get food and drinks.
Aside from the less than friendly and helpful woman working the golf part, our waiter for the food/bar was not the best ever.  Right away he tells us he doesn't want to be there and can't wait to go home.  He doesn't check on us regularly or refill our water.  We are barely going to make the $100 at this point which wouldn't have been a problem had he been reasonably attentive.  We ordered some appetizers to share and might have ordered more (and definitely would have had other drinks) but he couldn't be bothered.  When he passed us off to another waiter when it was time for him to go, suddenly we get good service from the new waiter.  As we are wrapping up to leave.
The big winner?  Tim, our gratuitous male, wins with a score of 105.  He wins pretty handily too with Kawiana coming in second with 70.  I end up in 4th following a comeback after being the last to score. 
Five out of Six team members might recommend Top Golf for a fun and non-boring time in the future.  Even though the service here could be better, the company was good and I personally thought the appetizers were pretty good (and despite everything, we managed to make it slightly over our $100 minimum).  I can't vouch for the drink quality since I am a teetotaler (pun intended...get it?  at a golf place?).  The golf is easy to do in whatever you happen to be wearing and they provide everything.  You don't have to play or know how to play golf either, of our 6 only Tim had ever played before if you don't count my lessons - which I don't. 
In the parking lot afterwards, Marci made a good observation about our experience at Top Golf:  It's like bowling, but golf.


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