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.
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.
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.
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.