Planned for about 25 acres of the sprawling 190-acre West Palm Beach public course, the city will be the home to the first ever Topgolf built on an actual golf course.
It’s a technology-infused, socially-friendly, three-story driving range installed in the southwest corner, along I-95, near Forest Hill High School.
“We have an opportunity to grow the game with a Topgolf facility and the golf course side-by-side,” said John Sanford, a golf course architect for American Links.
American Links won the $86 million bid to redesign the historic municipal course.
“The big picture here is to introduce new players to the game of golf through Topgolf,” Sanford said.
In 2016, according to the National Golf Foundation, a new record was set for first-time golfer participation. It broke a record that was set 15 years ago when Tiger Woods was in his prime. It’s up 1 million from 2011.
“It’s an economic impact not only for Palm Beach County but the whole state of Florida,” said Palm Beach County Sports Commission Senior Director Tom Colucci.
There’s more than 160 courses in Palm Beach County alone, according to Discover the Palm Beaches.
“What we’re looking at is, how to keep the young millennials involved,” Colucci said. “It’s created a new interest in the game of golf.”
In a survey of Topgolf players, the National Golf Foundation found more than half of non-golfers gained interest in playing traditional golf.
West Palm’s Topgolf will physically connect the two.
“I mean literally you can walk out of Topgolf you can walk right onto the real practice facility and walk onto the first tee and play golf. That hasn’t been done before,” Sanford said.
The city will own the land but the developer will pay for the upgrades. A hotel is also part of the plan. It’s expected to add 600 jobs.
Right now the city and developer are in lease negotiations. No completion date has been set.