Drive Shack to be first-to-market in Richmond ahead of Topgolf

The Goochland location is Drive Shack’s third nationwide. (Photos by Michael Schwartz)

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to add an opening date for Topgolf’s Richmond location. 

A frontrunner finally has emerged in the race to open two high-tech driving range and entertainment facilities in the Richmond market.

Drive Shack on Tuesday announced its $25 million, 65,000-square-foot venue will open for business Sept. 20 at 1647 Four Rings Drive in Goochland.

The facility features 96 bays.

That puts the New York-based company ahead of its larger competitor, Topgolf, which is nearing completion of its $25.5 million, 48,000-square-foot facility at 2308 Westwood Ave. in Henrico, just west of Scott’s Addition.

Topgolf, based in Texas, said this week it plans to open in Richmond on Oct. 4.

The Goochland location is Drive Shack’s third nationwide, joining outposts in Raleigh and Orlando. Topgolf has dozens around the country and internationally, and more than a dozen others in the works.

The Richmond area is the first market anywhere to have locations from both brands.

Drive Shack opening first is not a surprise, as it had a head start on planning and construction. The publicly traded company’s plans in Goochland were first made public in spring 2017.

One of the patio/deck areas.

Built on 13 acres owned by the Pruitt family, the sprawling facility features 96 hitting bays stacked across three floors, where customers hit balls northward at targets, with Route 288 running parallel in the distance. Players’ shots are tracked by Trackman devices, which help keep score and stats.

Bays are rented for $25-$45 an hour depending on the time of day. Each bay can hold six players.

The facility also has multiple bar areas, a restaurant, arcade games, event spaces, a rooftop deck and offices for Drive Shack staff. Its property abuts the northern end of a new Audi dealership-anchored commercial development, where plans for a hotel are also in play.

Drive Shack in Goochland is run by General Manager Michael Matley, who previously worked for Topgolf in Virginia Beach. He was tasked in recent weeks with hiring 300 workers.

The location also comes with multiple bar areas and a restaurant.

Matley, addressing the crowd at a media preview at the Goochland site Tuesday evening, said his crew is making a point to work with other local businesses, including having a Drive Shack house beer brewed by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery, which keeps its West Creek facility two miles up the road.

While Drive Shack got a head start and both sides played down the idea that there was a race to open first, Topgolf gained plenty of ground in recent months, even after going through the process of purchasing its land for $5.7 million and getting approvals from Henrico County.

In addition to its three-story driving range, Topgolf also is planning a 14-hole mini-golf course on the Westwood site.

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Brian Ezzelle
Brian Ezzelle
1 year ago

Not a golfer, but how is this different than Target Golf, that failed near Short Pump back in the early 2000s.

Byron Knowlson
Byron Knowlson
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Ezzelle

In my experience it almost helps to think of TopGolf as a food and beverage venue or sports bar that happens to have a driving range versus it being a golf centric venue. I recall reading that over half of their revenue at each location is from food and drink sales. When I’ve been to other locations there are as many, if not more people there just hanging out enjoying a drink and some food versus serious golfers there using it as practice. I don’t remember the old Target Golf that well, but I dont recall anyone other than more… Read more »

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
1 year ago
Reply to  Byron Knowlson

The bigger story is which will close first. This market is too small too support both venues.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 year ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

Michael; I don’t know, I think there is still a niche for sports bars. I think the market swung way to far with it’s total collapse in the Richmond market. Plus I think to get people out of the house these days you have to offer an “experience”. A big flashy place with a driving range would fit that bill. Plus they are far enough apart to draw from different pools, Drive Shack gets the west end and Goochand, Top Golf gets Scott’s Addition downtown and Manchester. I don’t see a conflict, especially with West Creek adding apartments. The biggest… Read more »

Zach Henderson
Zach Henderson
1 year ago
Reply to  Byron Knowlson

Yes, think of this as a modern day sports bar/ events venue with a pseudo bowling alley feel (a la Uptown Alley), but with a driving range instead. I would even venture to think that the avid and/ or older golfers may not like it – the target audience would be your casual or even non golfer with families and corporate events. The mini golf will certainly help draw for Topgolf.

How about that Top Golf tower sign? Seems a little low for optimal 195 traffic viewage. Sure the city had something to do with that.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey
1 year ago
Reply to  Zach Henderson

Top Golf is actually in Henrico County and not the City. Can’t blame the City for everything…

Rick Tinsley
Rick Tinsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Byron Knowlson

The old target golf was a traditional driving range with simulated greens. You played 18 holes and If you hit to a green and missed it then you had to chip a short shot to a green and keep doing it until you got it on the green. It was not automated, you had to judge weather you hit the greens or not. You would then putt on a 18 hole course after you left the range and the strokes it took you to get on the green and the putts were your score on each hole. Basically the honor… Read more »

thomas block
thomas block
1 year ago

Top Golf is opening about two weeks later. That’s public info.