Check out the new Topgolf in Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills — Michigan's first full Topgolf location does not have an opening date yet, but it is already a hit.
"If you love golf," said Patty Prescutti, 61, of Milford, "you'll love this."
The four-seasons outdoor golf simulator and bar near Great Lakes Crossing Outlets gave a sneak peek to media and corporate planners Wednesday at the new three-level, 65,000-square-foot venue featuring 102 climate-controlled hitting bays, three bars and 3,000 square feet of event space.
"We are a sports entertainment venue with something for everyone," said Brian Birckbichler, Topgolf director of operations. "We've done birthday parties for 5-year-olds and for 85-year-olds and everything in between."
Birckbichler said he hopes the venue at 500 Great Lakes Crossing Drive on the corner of Interstate 75 and Joslyn Road will open its doors to the public in a week and a half.
"I want it to be 100 percent perfect and ready to go," he said. "It's about 96 percent right now."
The venue features heated and air conditioned patio space with lounge and high-top seating overlooking a football field-size driving range with neon-lit holes. Guests pay $25-$45 for an hour depending on the time of day for up to six people to hit golf balls.
Each hitting bay has six game options, artificial turf and a laser sensor machine that releases balls with the touch of a golf club, which the venue provides. Memberships and indoor seating also are available.
"It's fun," Brandon Bland, 31, of Oxford said after taking a swing with a group of friends. "Is it challenging? Well, I'm winning."
Brad McClellan, 37, of McClellan works around the corner and said he had waited in anticipation for its opening.
"It seems like it's a great event space and a game for everyone at any level," he said.
The venue opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 11 p.m. on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. Birckbichler said hours will be extended during the summer.
Its menu is not public yet, but prices will range between $8-$13 and include high-end bar favorites from hamburgers and nachos to quesadillas.
Wednesday's event featured roast, chimichurri grilled portabello steaks, roasted brussel sprouts, garlic whipped potatoes, mac 'n' cheese and Nashville hot-fired chicken. Event pricing starts at $24 per guest for food and $20 per guest for three hours of golf.
"I like that it's a little more upscale than other bars," Marissa Pierce, 37, of Flint said while grabbing a bite.
Auburn Hills officials have said the new spot represents a $12.5 million investment in the city. Topgolf hired 500 full- and part-time workers at the 16-acre property. The venue plans to hold another recruiting event in January when students at Oakland University and Oakland Community College return for the semester.
Birckbichler said Topgolf was ready to come to Michigan following success at its Midwest locations in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; and Naperville, Illinois.
Last fall, it also opened a “swing suite” at the MGM Grand in downtown Detroit, featuring three simulators, lounge seating, HDTVs and food and beverage service.
The Auburn Hills location, Birckbichler said, was ideal given that it neighbors Michigan's mall, is off I-75 and is close to Detroit.
The cold climate does present its challenges, but the business has heated targets and a specially made snow plow to keep guests golfing all year round.
"We use simulators frequently during the winter," said Kyle Nolen, 28, of Waterford. "This is better because you're outdoors, you have the games, and it feels more like real golf."
For newcomers, Topgolf also offers golf classes with Professional Golfers' Association-certified instructors starting at $29 per person.