All I wanted to do on Saturday night was smack some golf balls around with my friends at Topgolf (1700 Freedom Park Dr., Roseville), which I’d heard was really cool.
The three-story driving range with giant targets scattered across a 240-yard outfield caught my attention.
Three-and-a-half hours later, I was a whole lot less excited.
Here’s the story.
When I arrived at 6:30 p.m., I was immediately disheartened to learn there was a three-hour wait to get in.
I guess it was my fault for not calling ahead.
Oh, wait, I did. Four times.
All day Saturday I couldn’t reach anyone at Topgolf. I left a voicemail, but they never called back.
No answer at a place that busy should’ve raised some red flags for me. But, hey, I’m a nice guy.
Some friends and I met at the mall.
We couldn’t meet at Topgolf because their parking lot was completely full, even though the place is surrounded by empty land.
While deciding whether we wanted to wait three hours, we discovered a loophole to get in sooner.
On its website, Topgolf advertises a $50 Priority Pass that allows members to get on top of the bay list (the bay is the individual area where each party plays) for a specific date and time.
One of my friends was willing to shell out the $50 because he really wanted to play on his birthday.
I was suspicious because it was unclear whether the pass covered a whole party or just an individual.
And when I called Topgolf for clarification, no one answered.
So we headed back over to find out in person.
Outside, I consulted a worker who told me that a Priority Pass wasn’t going to do anything. She said when she was last inside, there were already 18 people in line with the passes.
Just the news I wanted to hear.
But the website still showed an open 8:30 slot, so I went inside just to make sure the pass wouldn’t help.
When I walked in, I spotted three employees standing behind guest services doing nothing. I asked one how long the line was.
She said she wasn’t sure how the reservations worked and to ask guest services.
Even with cutting half the line, it still took me 15 minutes to speak to someone at guest services.
Could I get in right away if I booked a slot with a pass? Yes, I could.
Finally, some good news! But it was followed by some bad news.
I couldn’t book the reservation at guest services.
So I spent another 15 minutes adding my debit card to my account online. It took forever because the WiFi was poor.
By the time I booked the reservation, it was too late for the 8:30 p.m. slot. And the next opening was at 9:45.
Like I said, some good news followed by more bad news.
Deciding to wait since we had already invested so much time, we got dinner and ate birthday cake.
We returned at 9:30 p.m. and lined up to purchase memberships for the rest of my friends and confirm my reservation.
After waiting a minute or two, we reached the front, told the employee my name and showed my emailed receipt.
With a puzzled look he searched for my reservation. It wasn’t there, even though my receipt showed otherwise.
After some more searching, he found my reservation number. Once again he had a puzzled look.
“You’re not Miranda, are you?”
The only thing I could do was laugh.
Topgolf’s system had switched my membership and reservation with someone named Miranda.
At this point the employee left to consult his manager. And it somehow took 10 minutes for them to return.
In a couple more minutes we resolved my reservation ($50), bought my friends memberships ($5 apiece) and went to our bay ($45 an hour at that time of day), arriving 20 minutes past our reservation’s start time.
Even when we got there, there was still more waiting. We each had to pay for the hour we planned to play. It was a very awkward, slow experience, and the system didn’t accept cash, which was all some of us had brought.
“You guys could have done this downstairs at the front desk,” the woman handling our transaction told us. “It would have been a lot quicker.”
Of course, no one had told us that.
I enjoyed the time when I was actually playing. But I had to leave 25 minutes into my hour to get home by my 11 p.m. curfew.
Since I’d told my mom I’d be back around 10, she was really not happy.
I don’t think I’m going back to Topgolf any time soon.
—By Adam Dean