There is a lot of excitement in Augusta with the announcement yesterday of Topgolf bringing their brand of entertainment to I-20 and Riverwatch Parkway. From a marketing standpoint, the location appears to be a perfect fit for the company.
Visitors to Augusta National pass the proposed location on their way to the course every April, giving the Topgolf access to the hordes of media and wealthy CEOs who descend on Augusta each spring.
Those who follow Topgolf say to expect the company to move slowly, securing the best possible deal they can negotiate on all fronts.
It will be interesting to watch the development unfold.
According to entrepreneur.com, the number of golfers in the US peaked at 30 million in 2005. It has steadily dropped since, the magazine states, and participation is now “at 23.8 million, with a particularly steep drop among young people. Since 2006, there have been more U.S. golf course closures than openings every year.”
English twins Steve and Dave Jolliffe created Topgolf, a high tech indoor driving range for golfers and non-golfers alike. In fact, Topgolf states roughly ⅔ of their guests are non-golfers, male aged 18-44.
Topgolf creates large, bold resort style facilities around the country, generally taking its time laying the groundwork for a new location. Municipalities around the country have offered the successful chain incentives to move in and revitalize an area, whether it be an abandoned water park or deserted mall.
While the agreement between Topgolf and the city of Augusta has yet to be announced, there is no doubt taxpayers will be stepping up to the plate to entice the golf emporium to build in our city.
Here are a few examples of deals Topgolf has cut with local municipalities across the country:
Albuquerque- $2.6 million economic development package
￼Denver- $3.75 million tax incentive package
Omaha- allowed developers of TopGolf to charge an extra 1.75% in taxes on food, beverages, and other sales, in addition to city and state sales taxes, and Omaha’s 2.5% restaurant tax.
Birmingham- $1.5 million in financial incentives
El Paso- $5.1 million tax rebate