Golf entertainment center Drive Shack tees up for opening in West Palm Beach
WEST PALM BEACH, FL. (The Palm Beach Post) – The county’s first golf entertainment center, Drive Shack, is weeks away from opening, next to Palm Beach International Airport.
General Manager Jon Stone said Wednesday the three-story, 96-bay driving range, with food and drink, and meeting and party areas, is scheduled to open this fall. Workers are pressing through the final stages of construction.
Inside, they’re installing bowling center-like seating in the hitting bays, shine-coating the floors and putting finishing touches on the lobby, bars, kitchen and patios. Earth-movers are contouring the 220-yard fairway and installing targets and artificial turf, as well as cameras and radar to let players track shot speed, ball spin, distance and trajectory and score their games.
Still in the works: a cool-air blowing system above the bays, so players can golf and eat in comfort from the open-sided building.
Skilled golfers will want to hit from the ground floor, for a more golf course-like experience, Stone said. The rest might prefer teeing off from the second or third floors, because the height adds 15 yards to a shot, he said.
Golfers won’t just be whacking shots for distance. There will be close-in targets for kids and beginners, and a variety of computer-assisted games for all ages, that test accuracy.
Kids can aim at a virtual monster to save a princess. For adults, there’s a Blackjack game where, by hitting targets, they turn over cards, as in 21.
You can play a virtual golf course shown on a screen, based on real courses around the country. Once you hit the ball, the computer shows where the shot would have gone, had you been on that course.
Seventy-five percent of guests will be non-golfers, by Stone’s estimate. People in the industry see golf entertainment venues as a way to break down barriers that discourage people from trying the sport.
TaylorMade clubs will be provided at no cost, or you can bring your own. Instructors will be available for those who want them.
Prices per bay for an hour, for up to six people, will range from $30 from 9 a.m. to noon; to $40 from noon to 5 p.m.; and $50 from 5 p.m. to closing. Drive Shack also hopes to drive revenues by offering ribs, burgers, poke bowls, fresh sandwiches and salads.
There’ll be Instagram posing spots, arcade games, big-screen TVs, and Drive Shack is considering features like yoga classes and comedy nights, Stone said.
The facility resembles another recently completed athletic complex in West Palm Beach, the Fitteam Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, in that both are girded by masts and netting, to keep stray balls from introducing themselves to vehicles. At Drive Shack, the nets are 160 feet high, reinforced to withstand hurricanes and topped with red lights to ward off aviators.
As major leaguers training at the ballpark need things to do during their downtime, Stone said, he’ll reach out to the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals and others to attract them to the venue, promising to get the stars in and out without undue attention.
The golf entertainment venue enters a competitive industry. Rival Topgolf, with 66 centers open or planned, is in Miami Gardens and Doral and has been considering one beside Interstate-95, on a corner of West Palm’s municipal golf course, an added feature of a city plan to rejuvenate the course.
Drive Shack has just one center open, in Orlando, with West Palm and two others more scheduled to open this year, and one more next year. The company also owns many traditional golf courses, some of which it is selling to finance the entertainment golf expansion.
The West Palm Drive Shack’s management team is scheduled to complete its training Sunday in Orlando.
The company is looking to hire 400 people in West Palm. Stone said it has reached out to local high schools, Florida Atlantic University, Kaiser University and Palm Beach Atlantic University and is working with the Urban League. He said he has been talking with PalmTran about adding a bus stop for Drive Shack workers and other visitors.
View original article published by The West Palm Beach Post here.
Written by: Tony Doris