This is a multi-part interview with Matt Vinge who is the Director of Golf Instruction at TopGolf Chicago which is located west of O’Hare Airport in Wood Dale. Matt has over ten years of experience in the golf industry as a teaching professional and golf club fitting expert. He has also been one of the headline speakers at the Chicago Golf Show for the past couple of years. TopGolf Chicago is a revolutionary sports and entertainment complex that combines golf with great food and a fun environment 365 days a year. You can learn more about Matt and TopGolf at www.TopGolf.com.
Chicago Golf Report – Let’s start by you telling us a little bit about TopGolf, the game itself and we will kind of work into the facility and your Teaching Academy.
Matt Vinge – Picture a normal driving range, 250 yards long and about 100 yards wide. Now, add two more tiers to a normal driving range, so we have three tiers. Every level has 25 bays to hit from. So, you have about 80+ bays to hit from including 4 bays where that are totally covered indoors, they are called our executive suites where we have 4 big screen TVs in there and we can sit over 100 people in there. It’s mainly used for a lot of event space for executive numbers.
Now, after the normal driving range part of it, you see the range which is about 240 yards long, about 100 yards wide with 11 different targets. There are four different targets in the first 25 yards and they look like dart boards and then there are two 50-yard targets, same thing, they look like dart boards. There is one 90 yard, 125, 150, 185 and 240-yard driving target.
Every golf ball has a microchip in it. You are trying to hit these microchip golf balls into each target. What is going to happen is similar to a bowling alley where you get your scores kind of pushed back to you on the screen that you are sitting at, and the closer you get to the center of those targets, the more points you get because all the targets out there are kind of trenches; so when you go in to the target, the reader inside the target will read your golf ball that’s specifically signed to you and then state back to the bay itself and you will see your score.
You can get scores as low as three points all the way up to 10 points the further out you go, and also we have for TopGolf itself two bar and restaurants. We do quite of a bit of events as well.
Our first floor bar, the Four Seasons Grill, has American food and Mexican food. The second floor space is our Bayview Lounge, which is more of a restaurant type atmosphere. We have a poker tournament every Wednesday, we have karaoke every Friday. We also have a rooftop deck where we’ve had over 220 people up there for a 4th of July party to watch the 4th of July fireworks from 3-4 different surrounding areas.
In addition, you can play up to 5 people per bay, so you are not just hitting golf balls by yourself at the driving range. The whole idea is for you to share it with a couple of your friends and compete against each other.
While you are competing with each other, you can see exactly how you are doing against your friends or your family or whomever. Meanwhile there will be a waiter and waitresses serving you food and beverages, whatever your chose you are from our bar or full menu again ranging from breads to pasta, you name it, with specials everyday of the week. Our General Manager has been all through the restaurant business, so one of things that people really love about TopGolf is our food.
Chicago Golf Report – How do you let your students leverage what TopGolf has to offer?
Matt Vinge – Well one of the things that is great as far as practice here at TopGolf is you are actually getting feedback on how far your golf ball is going. The different targets at different distances give you great feedback immediately.
So for instance, there is a game called TopPressure which is like cricket and darts. There is a 50-yard target on to 250-yard targets which obviously is your scoring area. There are 8 little sections, like 8 slices of a pizza, and when you are hitting your 50-yard shot, you are not always going to hit in directly in the center. You may hit in the back left, back right, front right, you know all sorts all over the place. This game really gets you focusing on pin placements like back left, back right and so on.
Another good way to work on your game is to utilize the feedback you get from TopGolf. If I hit that one 140 yards consistently, then I know that’s my 9-iron. We teach out students to groove their distances so they can get out of their minds. And so they kind of get everything out of your brain because obviously the golf course is about not having to think about anything, you are just doing it. The guys on the tour, when they are playing, are not really thinking about, okay I keep my left arm straight and turn my hips first and shift my way to my left or anything.
699 W Thorndale Ave
Wood Dale, IL 60191