In the previous Hooked On Blog article the opening of a new Top Golf location in the Salt Lake City area was announced. Top Golf is a very successful business model, a “Dave and Busters with a driving range” sort of gig. The atmosphere is one of hot wings, hack golf swings, and flowing rivers of alcohol.
A great business model indeed, but will it fly in Utah?
Utah isn’t just another state. It is planet all its own. As a lifelong non-Mormon resident of Utah I’ve got some insight and comments which Top Golf may have not considered in their Utah location’s business plan. I’ll attempt to pen them in an entertaining top 10 list, without ruffling too many feathers with the local predominant religion.
Ah hell with it. Never mind. Let’s poke some fun…
Top 10 Hurdles Top Golf’s Utah Location Will Face
- 3.2% beer: We Utahns are not “adult” enough to drink beer as strong as the rest of the world. Our legislature has our backs though! Next year the new “wipe the citizen’s asses for them” bill will be passed too!
- Green jello: I hope Top Golf has a great green jello recipe. That nasty stuff is popular here amongst the Utahns. Make a few extra bucks by putting shredded coconut inside. It’s an all-out barf fest!
- Cheap patrons: Top Golf’s servers should have a second job. Utahns are notoriously bad tippers, if they tip at all.
- Black market booze runs to Evanston, Wyoming: IF Top Golf gets a liquor licence (see #5), I hope they’ve factored lower profits on booze sales into their business plan. The state runs the booze here. Citizens as well as businesses who have liquor licences must buy from the state and it costs far more than in neighboring states. Top Golf could do like the rest of us heathens: make a monthly top secret drive up to Evanston, Wyoming and fill the car up with cheap booze. Just hope to hell you don’t get caught by the highway patrol. Oh, and pick me up some bottle rockets and throw $10 on the lottery for me while you’re up there.
- Liquor licence: There are a fixed number of liquor licences available and all sorts of funky laws and regulations involved in getting one. Top Golf should be brushed up on the ever-changing, ever-bizarre Utah liquor laws. You know, do the macarena and recite shakespeare in latin backwards. Also, make sure the Top Golf location isn’t within 98 square miles of a Mormon ward house or no booze licence for you.
- Extra highchairs and booster seats: Utahns looooove to procreate. The average children per household is 17 here in Utah, not to be confused with the number of wives. When families come with all their babies (and wives), Top Golf had better have enough highchairs and booster seats ready to roll.
- Ice cream: Does Top Golf serve ice cream in their current locations? One SURE way to assure profitability in Utah is sell ice cream. Lots of it. Bank on it.
- Snow: We get snow here in Utah, usually quite a bit. It’s damn cold here for half the year too. The Utah Top Golf location must have some kind of heated bays or enclosed structure or there will be NO customers in the winter!
- LOTS of appetizers: We have a very strange law here in Utah with regards to selling any drinks stronger than 3.2% beer (yes I know that comes as a surprise). It is illegal for a restaurant to serve alcohol stronger than 3.2% beer unless the consumer is ordering food. Most restaurants with bars here get around this dumb law by offering a 99 cent order of chips or some other cheap appetizer. In fact, one can order a drink and get around the law by simply telling the waiter that he/she “intends” to order food at some point.
- Zion curtain: The idiots in the legislature think that if an under age person sees an alcoholic drink being poured, that the under age person will lose all control and begin drinking. So they passed a law that restaurants who serve alcohol must erect a “wall” between the seating and the bar. The restaurants made a mockery of this by first making the wall two feet high, as the legislature didn’t specify the height of the wall. After the legislature changed their rules on height, restaurants made the wall glass! Top Golf may need to erect one of these walls, known as a “Zion Curtain,” so that youngsters can’t “see” drinks being poured. When I was under age I saw my mom and dad pour cocktails every day at exactly 5 PM and look how I turned out. Oh, perhaps I’m not a good example.
- (Bonus) 21-year-old telepathic servers: Top Golf should only hire telepathic servers over 21 years old. It is illegal for a server in Utah to ask the customer if they want to see a wine list. Only if asked can the server give the wine list to a customer. Further, and I experienced this personally, the server must be 21 or older to give the customer a wine list. I had a 19 year old young lady as my server at a restaurant once who I asked a for a wine list. She told me she could not give it to me because she was under 21, and had to go get another server who was 21, who I then had to once again ask. My reaction was, “so it is illegal for you to give me a piece of paper with printed letters in the alphabet which form words, one of which is wine?” Her answer, “yes.” So there you have it. An under age person might lose all self control if they so much as read a word related to alcohol! Welcome to Utah.
There you go Top Golf. Hope these items above help you succeed because it is quite obvious the local government doesn’t want you to if you sell alcohol!
The golf industry is “struggling,” right? Tell that to one of, if not THE fastest growing golf companies in the world, Top Golf. Top Golf is a driving range on steroids, complete with all sorts of fun ways to hit balls and enjoy some food and frosty beverages.
Top Golf has announced plans to open a massive location here in the Salt Lake area, in the city of Midvale. I do my grocery shopping at a store right next to the location which is about five minutes from my house. How convenient.
I find it very telling that a successful company sees fit to INVEST in the Salt Lake golf industry while the city of Salt Lake is desperately trying to close courses which are losing money. Can you say mismanagement? I would presume that Top Golf does some pretty detailed research before they decide to dump millions of investment dollars into a new facility, to make sure it will be successful. I’m happy to see that the Salt Lake area is worthy of such a venture.
I do understand that Top Golf isn’t exactly real golf. You can rent clubs and you’re in a sort of a “Dave and Busters” or “Buffalo Wild Wings” atmosphere. The good ways it is not like real golf is that anyone can participate, and it doesn’t take 4-5-6 hours to play. I hear Top Golf can be as expensive or even more than a round of golf however.
It is sad that the city has screwed up its golf division so badly. During the years when the golf courses were making profits the city diverted those funds to its coffers and funded other money-losing amenities like tennis courts and who knows what, rather than saving the money for improvements or a rainy day. The courses and the supporting infrastructure now need improvements while at the same time that rainy day came. Now there’s no money, so the city’s answer is to close the courses.
That is stupid.
Not well played Salt Lake City.
What will happen to the land if they do close any courses? The land will be turned into a park or sold. Yeah great. A park generates NO revenue, unlike a golf course which generates cash flow through tee times, driving range, food and beverage, leagues, and equipment/apparel sales. A park would not produce any tax revenue or generate any kind of economic flow. And a park would not employee the number of people a golf course does. Think about a golf course’s staff: pro shop, food and beverage staff, maintenance. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars per course in employee income (taxes, spending money, and so on) which will simply go away from the city/state economy.
Maybe the courses are in the red a little bit in this down economy, but the total dollars lost between taxes, wages, tee times, range balls, food/beverage, retail sales, will have a far greater impact on the local and state economy. Unfortunately the city mayor and council can’t think past their initial bean counts it would seem.
Golfers are also mad that somehow the “bike loving” mayor managed to find some $8 million in city funds to pay for bike paths but can’t find a fraction of that to keep the courses running and fixed up.
Say, how many dollars does the city bring in from bike revenue? I’m guessing about zero.
First Tee- Pebble Beach
I’m getting so many contribution offers here it is mind blowing. On a daily basis I receive 5-10 “offers” from “writers” who have “been reading my blog for years” who want to contribute fantastic content my readers are going to love! There are so many generous people out there! I’m so humbled and thankful. I’m sure the only reason they want to write for HOG is because it is such a well respected golf site, full of great and useful content. I’m sure their only motivation is “exposure” and “contributing.” So exciting! I’m absolutely positive that great content will happen to have an outgoing link or two, you know, in exchange for the great article! Yay! No problem.
Yeah, how dumb do you think I am?
Most of these writers have amazingly and coincidentally penned 100% perfect search engine optimized content, keyword rich in the subject of their expertise. That subject isn’t necessarily golf. It could be cosmetics, online gambling, mortgages, erectile dysfunction.
Obviously Google’s latest algorithms are setup to favor links which come from site articles, rather than advertisements or banners. As a result, I get a flood of “offers” of this great, SEO bait.
Typically I respond with a nice one or two sentence note, “thanks for the kind offer, but I do all my own writing. Good luck.” But it is getting so out of hand that I’ve decided to write this post and send all the would-be HOG contributors here to read it.
How about you buy me a round of golf at Pebble Beach in exchange for this article? Here’s the skinny…
I’ve decided that I can be bought. If you want to place one of these articles let’s first call it what it is, a PAID advertisement or advertorial. If any of these “generous” writers are willing to pony up what it will cost me to play a round of golf at Pebble Beach ($500), I’ll happily post their piece, and even let them put that outgoing link in with a “do-follow.” If you don’t know what a do-follow is, no matter. The link will be valid for one year and after that the article will be deleted, or can be renewed for another round at Pebble!
If you are one of the few real writers, simply looking for a real outlet to publish your work and you don’t have the cash to buy me a round at Pebble:
“Thanks for the kind offer, but I do all my own writing. Good luck.”
Use No-Chipping Sign as Target When Practicing Chipping
While at the practice putting green last week I found a golfer there practicing his chipping. After watching him for a few minutes I realized the brilliance of what he was doing. He was using the “no chipping” sign as part of his chipping practice. He positioned his landing spot to be just over the no-chipping sign, and he would try to chip in such a way that the ball would land just over it, then release nicely to the hole.
I highly recommend using the no-chipping sign as a golf training aid when working on chipping. I’ve used the no-chipping sign for my short game drills ever since and I’ve noticed quite an improvement in my short game stats.
Why is your brand new shiny pitching wedge as long as your old 8-iron? Because it IS an 8-iron.
Hot off the presses is the announcement that TaylorMade just came out with a new set of irons. Kind of a bummer really. I hadn’t even taken off the plastic off the set I bought yesterday and now they’re already obsolete, due to these new LONGER ones which came out today. Now the question is, do I buy the new ones from today knowing that tomorrow’s model will be even better and longer? I poke fun, but that’s the sad state of the golf equipment industry.
Comparing mid 1990’s iron specs to the new TaylorMade Aeroburner 2015 irons.
Golf marketing has completely bastardized the equipment world. Marketers will go to great “lengths” to sell clubs. Most of the manufacturers and their marketing firms are guilty of falling into the trap of promising more and more distance, not just TaylorMade. Marketing will continue this practice so long as the consumer believes he/she will gain more distance.
Take a look at the photo above. It compares iron specifications up to the mid 1990’s with the new TaylorMade “Aeroburner” irons.
Some golfers seem to be aware that the lofts are getting stronger year after year, but most don’t seem to notice shaft length. In the photo above look at the old pitching wedge as an example. The 1990’s model PW was 52 degrees, and had a 35 inch shaft. The Aeroburner 2015 pitching wedge is 43 degrees! NINE degrees stronger. But that’s not all. Look at the shaft length. The new PW is the same length as what an 8-iron used to be.
A good friend of mine was so excited when he bought his RocketBalls irons a while back. “I hit my 7-iron as far as my old 5-iron,” he excitedly told me. Once I explained that his new 7-iron and old 5-iron were the almost the same specs he wasn’t as excited. In fact, he was mad.
Name Irons By Lofts/Lengths
The new Ben Hogan has started doing this a bit, though I’ve had this concept in my mind for years. Either the numbers representing irons should have a fixed area in the spec table, or the numbers should be removed from the club and replaced with the loft and shaft length. That way when comparing clubs, one could only claim to be longer against other clubs with the same specs.
“Hand me the 46!”
So, the TaylorMade 5-iron above would be called a “22” for 22 degrees in loft. Perhaps add a 38.75 to the name: 22-38.75. The closest club in the 1990’s chart above would be between a 2-3-iron, but the shaft length closer to a 1-iron.
Limit Loft/Length Ranges for Iron Numbers
As an alternative there should be limits as to what numbers can be put on what clubs should be put in place. In another 5-10 years at the pace we are on, a pitching wedge will be 20 degrees, and we will all be hitting them 200+ yards.
It would be a good idea to have rules in place stating something like “A 7-iron is a club which features a loft between (pick your numbers) 34-37 degrees and would include a shaft length between (once again, pick your numbers) 36-37 inches.”
Why the Gap Wedge Appeared and Why We Will Need More of Them
Of course, neither of my ideas above will happen. So irons will get stronger and stronger. The distance between a lob wedge, usually a 60 degree club, and a pitching wedge will increase. That’s why the “gap” wedge was invented. The gap wedge filled the growing gap between pitching wedges and sand wedges and gave golf club manufacturers another club to sell.
We are going to need another gap wedge. Let’s call it a gap gap wedge.