Golf is an age-old ice breaker and deal-closer in the business world, but when it comes to providing lively group activity, the game has undergone a much-needed facelift. New ways to play the ole’ sport pop up regularly. Here are three golf alternatives sure to wow attendees
Topgolf—Tee Off and Bottom’s Up
OK, this one you probably already know about—but it doesn’t make it any less of an above-par team-building experience. Topgolf’s sports entertainment concept has risen in popularity like its 41 venues rise within sight of interstates across the United States, flooding the green with music, light and 13 million annual guests (more than half of which are nongolfers). Rows of high-tech, climate-controlled hitting bays offer private and semi-private event space for groups of all sizes.
How to play: Hit the supplied, micro-chipped golf balls toward targets on the outfield (you’ll be measured for each shot’s accuracy and distance). Order something off the chef-inspired menu. Drink merrily.
Speedgolf—Ready, Set, Golf
No frills here: speedgolf combines golf and jogging for a faster, fitness-oriented golf game. It abides by the same rules and courses as traditional golf, with the added element of being scored on time. Your speedgolf score is your golf score plus the time it takes to complete your round—and yes, you need to carry your own bag. Who, you ask, will want to sign up for an activity like this? Wellness enthusiasts. A group of golfers who think they are very short on time. The executive board of Nike?
Where to play: Many courses offer speedgolf-friendly times at open and close, including Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon and The Lakes at El Segundo in Los Angeles.
Imagine teeing off with a lacrosse stick, a tennis racket or a soccer ball. Now, imagine doing so in friendly competition with fellow coworkers or conference attendees. It goes without saying—all-sport golf is not for traditionalists. But it is a fun, inexpensive, innovative and collaborative way to build team bonding.
How to play: Find a golf course, divide attendees into teams and hand out sports bags to each team, containing footballs, soccer balls, lacrosse sticks, tennis rackets, nerf guns, et all. Players pick their sporting equipment of choice—and meet the challenge of teeing off with said equipment. Once at the green, all team members use hockey sticks to sink the golf ball into the hole. Hilarity ensues. In the distance, the sound of successful team bonding and high-quality networking rings like bells of victory.
Where to play: The Hill Country Golf Club at San Antonio’s Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa offers all-sport golf packages in addition to speed golf, frisbee golf, glow-in-the-dark putt putt, professional golf clinics and the traditional 27-hole championship golf.