After a hugely successful debut in 2014, the Topgolf Pairs Pro-Am is being held for the second time on Tuesday 7 April 2015 at the company’s state-of-the-art facility in Addlestone, Surrey. To raise its profile, recent European Tour winner and Ryder Cup player Oliver Wilson will be in one of the teams competing for the new title.
The format sees players literally shooting the lights out, and last year Wentworth-based PGA Assistant Professional Stuart Boyle won with his partner Chris Paul. Boyle thought it was a great idea, commenting, “It was terrific, really different. Everyone was having a great time, there was a great atmosphere, music playing, all really chilled. Your mates are sitting in the bay watching you hit your shots while chatting away with drinks to hand. It’s a great way to do a very different kind of Pro-Am!”
The feedback has encouraged the organisers - Topgolf’s own PGA Professional Jamie Savory and PGA Regional Secretary, Sam Smith - to make the event bigger and better for 2015. So besides adding Wilson’s star quality, the event is now open to 32 pairs and a prize fund for the Pros of £1,600.
The unique event starts in the evening at 7pm with a ‘shotgun’ start and it will all be over including the prize giving by 10pm. Entry to this refreshingly different approach to competitive golf is a mere £80 per team.
The professionals and amateurs compete in three different types of shoot-out, aiming at the equivalent of illuminated, electronically managed dartboards to score points with micro-chipped balls. Each time a ball hits one of the targets, the score is automatically registered on a board in the teams’ bays.
With each player hitting 20 balls per format, the premium is on accuracy. The first format, TopPressure, has players pitching at the 50 yard targets to take out the nine different segments including the centre ring. With the remaining balls, the successful players then go for the next level for double the points.
The second format, TopBreak, is like snooker with low scoring red targets at 25 yards, followed by high scoring coloured targets with the furthest at 240 yards offering ten points. The third game, TopGolf, was about scoring as many points as possible, with each player aiming their last set of 20 balls at targets set up with six concentric rings, and points varying according to distance.
Topgolf’s Savory commented, “Last year proved we’d created something really special, with much of its appeal being a real fun evening out that doesn’t impact on anyone’s working day. The competitors loved being able to eat and drink, while sitting around waiting their turn and watching their mates.”
“This year Oliver Wilson is joining us and like Topgolf, he’s very keen to help junior golf wherever he can, so some of the teams will also comprise of juniors from Wentworth’s scholarship scheme. Oliver’s also going to do a short Q&A session just before we start, so we’re encouraging people to come along with their kids and see what he has to say, as well as compete or watch!”