‘A shot in the arm for golf’: Topgolf-like facility expected to open this summer on Knights of Columbus property
QUINCY — Three Quincy men are leasing property at the Knights of Columbus grounds, where construction will begin next month to create a Topgolf-like facility that they expect to open this summer.
Trevor Beck, Nick Hiland and Kelby Rescinito have agreed with Knights of Columbus 583 officials to lease the driving range and par-3 golf course at 700 S. 36th beginning in February. The practice tee areas at the driving range will be converted into 30 covered heated bays inside a 300-foot wide building that golfers can use throughout the year. Players will hit electronically tracked golf balls and automatically scored drives as they play a variety of interactive target games or on simulated courses.
“We looked at it as a good thing for the community,” Beck said. “We’re not putting up a new facility to compete with what the K of C already has. To me, this is a shot in the arm for golf at the K of C that was much needed.”
Beck, a vice president at Town and Country Bank, also owns several residential and commercial properties throughout the Quincy area. Hiland is a sergeant with the Quincy Police Department, and Rescinito is an officer who also handles the department’s canine, Roy.
Beck said the lease with the Columbus Home Association, which owns the Knights of Columbus grounds, is for more than 20 years.
“We’re secure there for many, many years,” he said.
John Veith, president of the association, said the K of C had been struggling to find people to manage the driving range in recent years.
“It’s a win-win deal for both of us,” Veith said. “It’s going to be a lot less work for us, and it’s going to be a great deal for the community to have something like this. I’m sure something like this is going to over real big in Quincy.”
Topgolf, headquartered in Dallas, started in 2000 and has grown to become a multinational entertainment company. It has more than 80 locations in the United States, with the closest to Quincy in Chesterfield, Mo.
The Quincy facility will be named the Range at KC. The Knights of Columbus driving range now is closed. Golfers wanting to take practice swings before playing springtime rounds must wait until the new facility opens — hopefully by Memorial Day, Beck said.
Each bay will have Toptracer technology that allows players to track the distance, height and ball speed of their shots. Each bay will allow players to play virtual golf courses from around the world or play games with friends. They can simply have a good time with friends while enjoying food and drinks, or they can compete against other golfers playing at other Top Tracer facilities.
“I think we have more options than what Topgolf has,” Hiland said. “Toptracer has some different games and more flexibility than what Topgolf has, but it offers that same type of golf entertainment experience, which people will appreciate.”
Hiland recommends golfers visiting the Range at KC to install on their phones the Toptracer app, which offers a feature called “Clubs in My Bag.” As players practice at the range, “Clubs in My Bag” will record the distances hit by each club.
“Then you take that app with you to the course, and you know exactly where you’re at with all the clubs you hit,” he said. “That app will tell you that with the last 10 9-irons that I’ve hit, I have an average of like 142.3 yards.”
Beck also gave an example of a golfer coming to The Range at KC to record a practice session that is sent to a PGA pro.
“Then that PGA pro reviews the session, comes back and says, ‘Hey, the reason why you’re slicing the ball to the right is because you stink, and you need to do this, this and this,’” he said with a laugh.
Beck said the technology in the golf entertainment business is constantly evolving.
“Who knows what they’ll offer next?” he said. “It’s always going to be the latest and greatest because we’re tied into this company.”
Spirit Hollow Golf Course in Burlington, Iowa, offers the Shankopotamus Golf Academy, which has eight bays offering Toptracer technology. It’s the closest Toptracer facility to Quincy.
The heated bays will be built by Cover the Tees, which pre-manufactures its products in an Oviedo, Fla., factory, allowing installation crews to spend only a few days onsite.
Plans also call for a pro shop, a bar and a dining area. Andrew Smith, owner of R&R Golf at 1424 N. 24th, will have a sampling of his company’s wares in the pro shop.
“When Trevor asked me about getting involved, for me, it was, ‘How quickly can I say yes?’” Smith said. “We felt like it was a good kind of partnership to branch our side of the golf world with the entertainment side of the golf world. The nice part about being at The Range is we can have demos and products available to try out.”
Smith also will organize night golf outings on the par-3 golf course like the night events he offered last year at Spring Lake Country Club.
“That’s part of the growth opportunity for R&R this year — to expand and do more golf different courses around the area,” he said. “It’s a pretty awesome experience.”
Beck said his group first looked at buying ground outside of Quincy to build a facility from scratch, but the costs were climbing.
“I don’t remember what supplier we were talking to, but he said something about one of his customers leasing ground,” Beck said. “It kind of made me think, you know, maybe we should think about leasing. We had Nick call a board member we knew out there at the Knights of Columbus and ask, ‘Would you guys entertain a lease to get rid of your obligation out there?’ And it just kind of snowballed.”
Beck said the startup costs for a Topgolf facility, which has multiple levels for golfers, typically are in the $30 million range.
“Obviously, to do that in Quincy is not feasible,” Beck said. “So here we are.”
When asked for an idea of the costs involved in building The Range at KC, Beck simply said with a grin, “A lot.”
Hiland said the goal is to provide a family-friendly facility to eat, drink and play.
“We want it to be fun, and we want it to be easy for people,” he said. “Everybody knows where the K of C driving range is. We want it to be affordable, plus you don’t have to travel two hours to a crowded, busy Topgolf. You’re going to get the same experience here as you would there, but you’re two miles from your house.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Many of you reading this may be asking, “Is the driving range still going to be used to park cars during the annual Knights of Columbus Barbecue in August?” Beck and Veith both said it would, and that agreement was factored into the lease. “We’re going to work around that,” Veith said. “(The Range at KC) just has to be shut down for a few days.”
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