Will Bryan/College Station ever get a Top Golf?

UPDATE FEB 2020: BigShots Golf has announced they will be opening in BCS. We’d like to believe they used our data research but they for sure came to the same conclusion we did a year ago when this was simply speculation.

KBTX Story Feb 2020

BigShots Press Release 2021 Opening

BigShots-Golf-Bryan Texas

There have been plenty of exciting rumors that BCS was destined for a Top Golf. Maybe you heard that rumor? Perhaps you bought new golf shoes like we did? A few months later, we heard that a BigShots Golf was coming to town. So, we bought a new driver and putter. All these rumors and whispers have us asking much bigger questions. This article examines what kind of area could support a Top Golf or a BigShots Golf. We will compare the Spring, TX Top Golf and the single BigShots Golf location in Vero Beach, FL.

Company Profiles:

Jason Payne, an avid golfer and tech-industry veteran, founded BigShots. He hired Libby Godlove as Senior Vice President in 2019 (recently). Her experience includes working at Top Golf where she managed their supply chain. So, she should be a real asset to BigShots. Top Golf has around 65 national/international locations, and they’re growing.

First, let’s look at the number of customers that visit each location.
It’s easy to see that Top Golf stands out as an establishment that thrives on a broad audience — almost 382k customers in the last 12 months. BigShots Golf, by comparison, only opened its facility in early September 2018. So, if we double their six months of being open, they will likely serve around 120k customers in their first year.

Next, the distance customers travel to reach each business would also be a helpful data point. With Bryan / College Station city density numbers, a new golf facility would need to bring in a majority of the customer base from within a 25-mile radius or less. This chart represents how far customers travel. BigShots draws almost 70% of its client base from within 10 miles from their Vero Beach location. Their price point is considerably less than Top Golf and more accessible to surrounding neighborhoods. That accessibility factor favors a BigShots in BCS. 40% of Top Golf’s clients live nearby – which means they depend upon surrounding areas to boost their daily sales. They are a destination location. Their customers travel to them; a businessman courts a client from across town, etc. BCS can’t offer much surrounding population: pastures and cotton fields aren’t going to help.

Length of Stay

chart showing the % of overall visitors by the hour, both places attract the most business between 6 and 9 pm

Hours of the Day

his chart shows the % of visitors and the avg. length of time they stayed. 104 minutes avg Top Golf and 121 minutes avg Big Shots

Days of the Week

this chart shows the % of visitors by day of the week, with most visits Friday – Sunday

Travel Routes

here we are looking at how far people are willing to travel to Top Golf in Spring, TX and the routes they most often take

Fun Stuff:

Let’s dig in! Below are the details, and I will emphasize what stands out most. (zoom in to see all the details, due to the size of the image a desktop might be needed for best viewing results)

Top Golf March 2018 to March 2019

I’m reasonably sure that BCS would have a similar trade area population if BigShots were to open here. Age demographics almost flip. The majority of BCS is younger, 18-34, and is much lower than the 65+ that Florida is known for — retirees. They will ‘suffer’ the same summer drop that most restaurants and retailers do in BCS, but I think it would still be survivable.

The median household income at $47k/yr is very doable here in BCS and another plus for BigShots to move here. TopGolf’s median household income is 63K a year, whereas the area around BigShots is 47K – the BigShots numbers more closely match those of Bryan-College Station and would offer the community a more approachable/accessible price point.

Closing Point:

Man, I love golf! I also believe a short course like ‘The Playground’ at Bluejack would be an exciting addition to BCS (Tiger, if you’re reading this, I’m free tomorrow!). But, that’s doesn’t seem likely as I’m not aware of any plans in development. However, a Top Golf / BigShots style of family-friendly golf also makes for a great golf experience. Top Golf and other larger chains are set up to run at a particular size — they only offer a massive/impressive facility. They don’t have business plans or even architectural drawings for smaller-footprint facilities. (Comparison point: The Home Store on HWY 6 did eventually after some years develop a smaller store format, and thus built their smaller scale store in College Station). I believe the data supports that a BigShots would be profitable in College Station.