CBS 42 brings you an inside look at Topgolf Atlanta ahead of Birmingham opening

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) -- With the opening of Birmingham's Topgolf weeks away, CBS 42 traveled to Atlanta to give Alabamians a first look at what to expect in the Magic City.

When city leaders first heard from Topgolf, developers predicted the location would serve as many as 450,000 in the first year.

The company also cited a third-party audit that projected an economic output of $264.5 million over 10 years.

"Our midtown location and Alpharetta location here in Georgia is going to be very similar to what you can expect from the Birmingham venue," said Gina Silva, Senior Marketing Manager of Topgolf in Atlanta.

Despite a chilly weekend afternoon when the Atlanta Falcons had a home game, the parking lot at Topgolf remained packed.

"Friday and Saturday there's a big crowd that comes around like just have fun, drink, watch the games," said Onassis Matos, who was visiting the Atlanta location with his girlfriend.

Birmingham leaders hope to see similar crowds near uptown where visitors of all ages could breathe new life into an area in need of development.

"In Alpharetta the wait is a couple hours I know on evenings and weekends," said Dana Bergman, who visits both Georgia locations.

Bergman is a member of a Minnesota Vikings fan club. The group meets at TopGolf to watch games. For visitors, the location offers more than just golf.

"It's like bowling. You don't have to be a great bowler to go and still have a good time and you don't have to be a great golfer to go to still have a good time," said Bergman.

So how does it work?

Visitors can rent time by the hour. Golf clubs are available for use at the venue.

Guests are often in groups and can watch scores on a game monitor. All of the balls are micro-chipped to keep track of distance and scores.

While visitors can choose to make games competitive, having fun is the objective.

Some games measure how far a player can hit the ball, others check accuracy. Users can aim for large, multi-colored targets, similar to darts.

"It's fun. You try, it's like targets on the field you just try to hit the target," said Bergman.

More than half of Topgolf's visitors aren't golf enthusiasts. With two bars and a full menu of food, it aims to attract those who aren't just interested in the teeing off.

"You don't have to play golf at all, you just have to go and have a good time and hang out with your friends," said visitor Tori Catalpho.

The tall poles and nets from Birmingham's future location grab attention from Interstate 20/59.

Leaders hope it brings more folks uptown, even for a winter opening. It is heated inside.

"Typically, it will be about 30 degrees warmer on our tee-line than it is outside and it is covered so even when it's raining, you're good," said Silva.

Topgolf previously announced hiring for 500 jobs. Many have already been training ahead of the expected opening later this year.

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