Topgolf is a well-known entertainment golf driving range in the US and some parts of the world. It has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA. The company does franchises and now has over 70 venues in the United States. It has three driving bays in the United Kingdom and one each in Mexico, Australia, Dubai, and Germany.
How Topgolf differs from regular golf courses brings amusement to many golf enthusiasts. Almost all of the golf equipment of Topgolf (including golf balls) have RFID chips inside of them. But do they use quality golf balls? Many are asking: Does Topgolf use limited-flight balls?
Yes, Topgolf uses limited-flight balls (or short-flight golf balls)! We do believe that Topgolf uses limited-flight balls because they last longer.
Most Topgolf striking bays have a maximum range of just 215 yards. When comparing it to regular golf courses, they have at least 7,000 yards of distance (across), a huge discrepancy. Indeed! What Topgolf management did is to limit every ball flight, compensating for the limited range available.
But you ought to know more about limited-flight balls so you will not think Topgolf is duping you. You should continue reading to know more about these types of golf balls!
What Are Limited Flight Golf Balls?
Limited or short-flight golf balls are balls designed to travel shorter distances than ordinary golf balls. Also, limited-flight golf balls usually cover only 80-90% of the maximum range go-to golf balls usually do.
Topgolf uses limited-flight golf balls because of the limited size of the driving range. It is also ideal to keep track of the balls easily in a small space since they are RFID-enabled.
Other commercially available limited-flight golf balls may travel as short as 75% distance as ordinary balls. The range varies according to brand, make, and material.
Does Topgolf knowingly deceive customers by using Limited Flight Golf Balls? It may be the case for those who do not know the purpose of using limited balls. But we do believe that deceiving is entirely different from entertaining. Keep on reading!
Limited Flight Balls vs. Regular Balls
Many attest that Topgolf balls land on target less than 15 to 20 yards compared to real golf balls. But it is not a big deal in Topgolf.
Everybody knew that Topgolf had a different logic or approach to experiencing golf. All you have to do is land the ball on or near the target to give you a score. This target is nowhere more than 220 yards from the driving range.
It also has something to do with the land or real estate size. Topgolf franchisees operate with a limited land area that is just a fraction of a regular golf course.
The golf driving range game popularized by Topgolf uses electronically tracked golf balls and automatically scored drives. In this sense, it needs a small area to keep electronic signals more accurate and reliable at any time, except in severe weather conditions, like lightning storms.
It is the thrill and excitement that Topgolf offers. Its unique golf feature is what makes customers or players shout out for more!
Performance of Short Flight Balls: The Difference
The average limited-flight golf balls Topgolf uses have an average difference of 10% less distance than go-to golf balls. The difference is not a big deal either for many golf enthusiasts. Not unless you are using Topgolf as a practice range.
But Topgolf is not an ideal venue for golf practices if you are a serious golfer. As mentioned earlier, Topgolf is more of an entertainment center than a training place. The feel is also different for limited-flight golf balls.
One of the most distinguishable differences in performance between limited-flight balls and ordinary golf balls is their spins and launches. The thick cover of limited-flight golf balls makes them harder to spin.
Limited flight golf balls (or range balls) difference of less than 10% distance may not be a big deal for some players. But, in the first place, they must know first-hand that they are using such balls.
Is Bringing Limited Flight Balls to Topgolf Allowed?
No. You cannot bring your golf balls inside Topgolf. Golf balls at Topgolf are modified with chips to track your performance. They also identify the balls you use and deposit the info in their database.
Let us say you use your balls, you will not be able to retrieve them. People are not allowed inside the target range. Also, since your balls are not RFID-enabled, there is no way to track your performance. So, bringing your golf balls inside Topgolf is a waste of time.
Is It True Limited Flight Balls Deliver 10% Less Range? Why?
Yes, it is true! Topgolf golf balls deliver 10% less distance than go-to golf balls. One of the main reasons is the weight of the limited-flight golf balls. They have thick coverings because their material is not similar to the ones used in go-to golf balls.
It is true that “Topgolf balls are flighted” as the company and most players claim. It means that the golf balls Topgolf is using do not go as far as ordinary golf balls.
The embedded chip adds up to its weight, so the balls become heavier. The high-quality material is sturdy and firm. Another reason is that the balls in Topgolf are reused all over again for more than the equal duration of seven rounds for ordinary golf balls.
Topgolf normally circulates their golf balls for several months. Sometimes, some balls may stay in circulation for years. But Topgolf limited-flight golf balls are surprisingly durable!
What is a limited Flight Range Ball?
A limited flight range ball is a golf ball with an intended shorter distance once airborne than ordinary golf balls. But there is no specification as to what range a specified brand should fly.
Some brands have designs to fly as high as 90% distance compared to ordinary balls. Some golf balls can fly as little over 75% of standard-issued golf balls.
Manufacturers of short-flight golf balls usually do innovations to the material, especially the core of the ball. They adopt core materials that can affect how the ball should spin at low ball speeds.
Does Topgolf Provide Unlimited Golf Balls Per Hour?
No, Topgolf does not allow unlimited golf balls at any time. Players or customers are paying for a bay per hour. Players may choose the number of golf balls depending on the price or their membership level.
In many Topgolf locations across America, some venues offer Unlimited Play with unlimited balls during weekdays. The package may cost about $15 per player. However, the duration is only from the morning until noon. Well, that is a lot of time for a group of friends on a holiday!
1. Does Topgolf Ball Wear?
Yes, they do wear! Like any other golf equipment and accessories, limited-flight golf balls suffer the consequences of prolonged use.
Battered golf balls will consequently reach a point where you can notice their nicks and degradation. But you may always ask the Topgolf staff assigned to you to replace damaged balls.
Whenever you notice battered golf balls coming out of the dispenser, it is wiser to ask for replacements. Topgolf uses Callaway-made golf balls because it operates as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Callaway Golf.
In this regard, Topgolf golf balls use RAIN RFID to automate scoring and monitoring. It is quite expensive to maintain this type of system. So, Topgolf ensures their golf balls last longer than any other ball.
2. Do Topgolf Golf Balls Have Trackers?
Yes, they do. The balls have RFID microchips embedded in their cores. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is a wireless communication that uses electromagnetic or electrostatic coupling. RFID can identify objects, animals, or persons even in motion.
The lighting around Topgolf also has something to do with the better performance of the tracking system inside the arena. Sensors need specialized lighting conditions to work accurately. However, lightning storm may hinder their operations.
3. How does Topgolf track golf balls?
The microchip emits a radio signal, especially when the ball is hit. The data is captured by sensors and interpreted by a computer app.
The entire driving range of Topgolf has a network of sensors installed in various stations.
Impinj Technology is the backbone behind Topgolf’s tracking system. Its state-of-the-art gameplay system provides Topgolf with the leading edge in the industry.
Once you hit the ball, the system feeds a computer with the ball’s flight, spin rate, ball speed, launch angle, angle of lie, landing spot, and other parameters concerning your play.
4. Is Topgolf using different balls?
Yes, Topgolf uses different types of golf balls. It uses a unique kind of golf ball that fits with an RFID tracking system. Aside from this cutting-edge feature, the balls are more durable, with a thicker cover, and last longer than ordinary golf balls. The design of these golf balls can withstand repeated abuse without easily deforming or losing accuracy.
The tracking system Topgolf is using also prevents players from stealing the golf balls. The RFID tracking system monitors the location of every ball at any time. It is a unique feature that lets the staff retrieve misplaced or lost balls easily. Since Topgolf uses flighted golf balls, using them elsewhere is useless.
5. Is Topgolf Ball Speed Lower?
Many data retrieved from Topgolf arenas show lower ball speeds, even from high-speed strikers. On average, a player loses about 5-10mph of ball speed in Topgolf. It coincides with Topgolf’s limited flight balls that deliver shorter distances than ordinary golf balls.
6. Is there a ball limit at Topgolf?
Ball limit or unlimited golf balls at Topgolf depend on your membership level or the weekly period. In other Topgolf venues, players can hit unlimited balls in the morning till noon for just $15 per player. Sometimes, peak seasons (like weekends) are limited ball times at Topgolf in other locations.
Walk-in players or customers in some Topgolf driving ranges in the US are offered 20 balls per game. A game may take an hour; depending on how fast or slow you play.
7. Do Topgolf balls damage golf clubs?
Yes, it can happen at any time. Like ordinary golf balls, Topgolf balls may damage a club. But the damage may not be as serious as striking an ordinary golf ball with a driver.
Since Topgolf balls have limited airborne capacity, they do not travel far. However, these golf balls are not ideal for working on iron clubs. Additionally, golf balls with low compression ratios are more susceptible to damaging fairway woods or drivers, especially with frequent off-center hits.
8. How much ball speed do you lose at Topgolf?
You can lose around 5-10mph of ball speed at Topgolf. The thick and heavy Topgolf balls are designed to minimize ball speed to a minimum. It ensures players do not let the ball pass over the netting and roll outside of the driving range.
It is better you know that Topgolf does use limited flight balls on its bays. If you are a first-time customer or player in any Topgolf venue, you already know how their golf balls fly. But also keep in mind that Topgolf play is not real golf.
But since Topgolf is not real golf, it is not a big deal, after all! Many serious golfers will easily find the difference. They take Topgolf as pure entertainment and not a practice range. Topgolf is also an ideal venue for friends and golf buddies to bond and relax while enjoying their passion.
If you are serious about upping your performance, go to a real driving range, get a launch monitor, and do your thing!
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Matt Stevens is the founder of Golfrough.com. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf since he was four years old. Having experienced every high and low golf has to offer, his writing helps the average golfer avoid the mistakes he has made in 28-years on the course.