Metro area has golfing options besides traditional 18 holes

You may never play like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or even the 10-handicap at your public course, but there are more options for enjoying the sport of golf than ever before.

And you don’t have to play a traditional round that could set you back well over $100 and last almost six hours. The metro area offers lots of ways to mix golf and entertainment. From multi-million dollar complexes to throwback mini golf courses, you can get your golf fix in Atlanta without a yearly pass or country club membership.

Here are some options:

Topgolf

The new Topgolf entertainment complex that opened in Alpharetta in May is basically an upscale sports bar with more than 200 TVs and a menu ranging from sliders to Southern staples like shrimp and grits. It’s also a nightclub where you can hit golf balls embedded with microchips in a driving range dotted with targets.

After you sign up for a $5 membership, the high-tech golf balls know who you are and keep track of the score you accumulate during your visits. Each section of the target has a reader that detects the microchip in your ball, and that’s how you score points.

Topgolf offers leagues and tournaments, but nongolfers also are encouraged to come out and soak up the party atmosphere. On weekends you will find serious golfers working on their game, but at night singles, couples and groups come out to play and be seen. Weekdays, you find office workers stopping by on their lunch hours and after work to hit a few. Parents can register children for the free Kidszone.

Topgolf charges by the hour, at prices ranging from $25 to $45, depending on the time of day. Through Aug. 28, it is offering half-price deals to member players under 12 before noon Mondays through Thursdays.

Even with more than 100 hitting bays on three levels, golfers sometimes will find a wait on Friday and Saturday nights, but that gives you time to eat, drink and mingle with fellow members.

In July, Topgolf International Inc. announced plans for a second metro area location about 3 miles from Atlantic Station at 1600 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd. N.W., Atlanta.

Topgolf, 10900 Westside Parkway, Alpharetta. One-time $5 membership. Fee to hit balls is $25-$45 per hour. Hours vary; check the website. topgolf.com.

Driving ranges

You may not have time to play 18 holes or even nine, but you can work on your game at one of the dozens of public driving ranges and practice facilities in the area, such as Northcrest Golf Driving Range in Doraville.

The range features 150 tee boxes and well-positioned lighting for night play. The range faces east, so you have shade at noon and the sun is behind you in the evening.

There’s an early bird buy-one, get-one-free special on buckets of balls before noon on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends. Small buckets of balls are $7 and large buckets are $14.

Northcrest Golf Driving Range, 3545 Northcrest Road, Doraville. Summer hours: 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. northcrestgolf.com.

Practice facility

Golfers can hone their game and get a history lesson at the Alfred Tup Holmes Golf Course, near Adams Park in Atlanta. This newly renovated course is located on the site of a Civil War battlefield and is named after a civil rights pioneer who helped desegregate Atlanta’s public golf courses in the 1950s.

There’s a practice green and bunkers to work on your sand shots, and use of the practice facility is free. Playing 18 holes on the course on weekends costs $45 for adults and $30.25 for juniors and seniors. “Super twilight” rates after 4:30 p.m. run $19.25 per player.

Alfred Tup Holmes Golf Course, 2300 Wilson Drive, Atlanta. Call 404-753-6158 for tee times. alfredtupholmesgc.com.

FootGolf

Courses in about 35 states, including a few in Georgia, are giving FootGolf a try. It’s a combination of golf and soccer and is scored just like normal golf, but played by kicking a regulation soccer ball on a golf course that is shortened and laden with 21-inch holes.

Old Union Golf Course in Blairsville offers FootGolf alongside traditional golf.

“We opened our FootGolf course May 1, with nine holes open right now and nine in the planning stages,” said Ryan Scott, Old Union’s director of golf.

Scott said that on a recent Saturday, 50 FootGolf rounds were played, with players coming from Duluth, Marietta and Hickory, N.C.

You can play nine holes at Old Union for $8 and then replay the same nine again for $5 more. Nine holes takes less than an hour to play, so many golfers play a round of FootGolf after 18 holes of regular golf.

Old Union Golf Course, 78 Scores Point, Blairsville. Call or visit the website for tee times. 706- 745-4653, olduniongolf.com.

Mini golf

Miniature golf or “putt putt” has been a staple in the South for almost a century. Many courses offer a theme to go along with the golf. The Fringe at the Area 51 shopping center in Roswell offers two tough traditional courses that feature replicas of actual sites and buildings found in historic Roswell.

Rates are $7.50 for kids and $10.50 for adults to play both courses.

The Fringe, 5100 Commerce Parkway, Roswell. Call ahead to see if the course is open in inclement weather. 770-518-0788, a51fun.com.

Goofy golf

Goofy golf is mini golf with a difference, such as monsters, scary music and strobe lighting.

You could say Monster Mini Golf in Marietta is a bit goofy, but you can’t deny it’s fun. Kids will love the animated props that surround the 18 holes of golf. Adults will love the course, which is tougher than your average mini golf course.

The cost is $7 for kids and $8 for adults.

Monster Mini Golf, 2505 Chastain Meadows Parkway, Marietta. Closed Mondays. Open 2-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays, 2-10 p.m. Fridays, noon-10 p.m Saturdays, noon-8 p.m. Sundays. monsterminigolf.com.

Fantasy golf

Ever dreamed of playing with professional golfers? One Atlanta company allows you to do just that.

Private Professional Golf was founded by two Atlanta-based pro golfers, Derek Oakey and Bradley Smith, who arrange for average golfers to play in a private setting with touring professionals and golf legends from around the world.

Rates start at $500 for a round in Atlanta with a touring professional and can go up to $5,950 for an all-inclusive trip to Mexico to play with a number of pros.

Private Professional Golf has worked with Champions Tour member Allen Doyle, Chris Kirk of the PGA Tour, and European Tour player Richie Ramsay, among others.

Private Professional Golf. privateprofessionalgolf.com.

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