Dallas-based ClubCorp has upped the driving range experience by combining golf with technology at Drive Zone, which debuted last week. Located at Brookhaven Country Club in Farmers Branch, the interactive range also features putting greens, an outdoor lounge, and a full-service menu.
ClubCorp owns and operates over 200 clubs across the country, with amenities varying depending on the club. Drive Zone at Brookhaven is the first of its kind for ClubCorp, serving as a more personalized and entertainment-driven range. Unlike the traditional driving range, Drive Zone adds technology that allows players to analyze each shot or participate in various games. Drive Zone bays have couches and TVs under a pavilion for multiple people to enjoy at once.
The Drive Zone uses the same ball tracking system, Toptracer Range, used by Topgolf. ClubCorp CEO Dave Pillsbury says that while the experience is similar to Topgolf, Drive Zone’s compressed, miniature version is brought to life in a club environment.
Before teeing up, each golfer can choose an interactive game to play on the touch screens. For example, with virtual golf mode, players can experience 18 holes on courses from around the world without ever leaving Drive Zone. They can amp up the competition with the longest drive mode, a game that calculates which player hits the farthest. Or, simply play in training mode to track data such as ball speed, launch angle, and hang time.
Drive Zone is opening as ClubCorp transitions its CEO. Pillsbury replaced Eric Affeldt as CEO on June 1. Pillsbury, a 30-year veteran of the industry, has a laundry list of experience with golf companies, including Nike Golf, American Golf Corp., and the PGA Tour. He says he was drawn to the position because it provided the chance to be a part of something special at an iconic company.
“I’m most excited for the opportunity to help take a 61-year-old company to the next level,” he says. “I’ve been in about all dimensions of the business, and ClubCorp is really an amalgamation of all of those experiences.”
Drive Zone is not limited to members of Brookhaven Country Club and can even be rented out for an event. Pillsbury says Drive Zone represents the kind of innovation that the company will pursue in the future, and hinted at “some very big plans” in the technology sphere. He says ClubCorp will continue to expand experiences for members—no matter how old they are.
“When you see moms out here with their kids, it adds a dimension of value where the family is more involved with the club,” he says. “So it’s not just playing golf: It’s aquatics, it’s fitness, it’s tennis. And it’s alternative entertainment like the Drive Zone that involves golf, but creates a broader experience for more members of the family, in particular, kids.”