Topgolf looking at McAllen, Rio Grande Valley

Topgolf, which has locations popping up across the country, is actively looking at McAllen.

Zach Shor, Topgolf’s vice president of real estate development, confirmed the Dallas-based company is not just peeking at the Valley.

“The interest is genuine,” Shor said. “We’ve been looking at McAllen and the Valley as a whole for over a year now, and we’re serious about it. We think it’s a phenomenal market.”

Topgolf’s name can be somewhat deceiving.

“At its core, Topgolf is an entertainment venue with top-shelf food and drink options, a lively atmosphere, friendly staff and plenty of things to do away from the driving range,” the Cincinnati Enquirer wrote in its July 29 review of the Topgolf that opened there recently.

Another Topgolf just opened west of Portland. That location’s director of operations, Jay Molinar, told The Oregonian on July 27 that it is a golf facility but more of an entertainment facility.

“I’m not trying to get people to make a choice between us and a green grass course,” Molinar told The Oregonian. “I’m more interested in trying to get people to choose between dinner and a movie and coming here. That’s who we really look at at our competition — the family entertainment center.”

There are currently 28 Topgolf locations, in places like Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Oklahoma City, Tampa Bay, with others set to open soon in Charlotte, Fort Worth, Jacksonville, Nashville and Orlando, among others.

But Topgolf has recently expanded to smaller markets, like Virginia Beach, and is looking at many others.

“They started looking at border regions probably two years ago,” said McAllen Director of Retail and Business Development Rebecca Olaguibel. “Last I heard they announced for El Paso. When a retailer looks at the border, they usually start with El Paso then travel south. I always keep an eye on El Paso, so that’s really encouraging.

Olaguibel has provided Topgolf with traffic counts, bridge crossing numbers, airport statistics and other numbers to help the company study the area.

Topgolf hasn’t specifically told Olaguibel about locations they’ve looked at. But a potential home could be the corner of Expressway 83 and Ware Road, or thereabouts, neighboring Dave and Buster’s, which Olaguibel was instrumental in bringing to McAllen.

“We started researching Topgolf in 2014,” Olaguibel said, which is when she moved over from the Convention Center to her current role with the city. “We have been targeting them since that time and they were on our radar even before that. It’s one of the concepts we’d absolutely love to have in McAllen.”

Shor said it has the potential to be a great fit.

“It could be really great for the Valley,” Shor said. “And it could be really great for Topgolf, too.”