This usually comes as a great surprise to people who don’t know me very well, but I have many witnesses who will attest to it: I am quite terrible at golf. And I don’t even work at it. What can I say, it’s a gift.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to find a place to display my unique abilities, which is why I love Topgolf. The stylish, three-tiered Miami Gardens driving range — equal parts sports bar, restaurant, nightclub and family-friendly party zone — welcomes players of all skill levels.
“When you come here, there’s no right way or wrong way of doing it,” says Erica Glick, marketing manager for Topgolf Miami Gardens. “You don’t have to be good. About 50 percent of the people who come into Topgolf have never held a golf club before in their life.”
Finally, the respect I deserve.
Like a bright, sunlit bowling alley, without the lingering memories of ancient Budweiser, cigarette butts and french fries, a game at Topgolf is played from one of 102 covered bays, lined with comfortable seating for six guests, who strike microchipped golf balls into large targets scattered around the verdant, net-enclosed outfield to rack up points tallied on a digital scoreboard.
The longest drive to the back fence is 215 yards, which a recent contingent of Florida Panthers had no trouble reaching, Glick says. No points for hitting the Kubota driver, she says.
Every bay includes a TV that can be tuned to your favorite programming (yes, HGTV), personal temperature controls (AC and heat) and waitstaff service. They have a full restaurant menu, plenty of beers, craft and otherwise ($4 PBR, $6 Hop Gun, $21 Michelob Ultra pitcher), and cocktails that can be ordered in a GolfBag, a 30-ounce take-home mug for sharing, or not, depending on how your game is going.
The cost to rent a bay varies by the time of day, starting at $25 per hour from 9 a.m. to noon, $35 from noon to 5 p.m. and $45 from 5 p.m. to closing at 1 a.m. (2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, midnight Sunday). So you and five friends playing before noon pay less than $5 an hour. There is a one-time membership fee of $5. They have house clubs (free), but you can bring your own.
Opened on Dec. 29, Topgolf is a popular entertainment venue, and you can/should make reservations at Topgolf.com, though they do take walk-ins (weekdays are best). It’s open rain or shine.
Glick has seen people playing in flip-flops, others in high heels.
“We are super relaxed. We want to make Topgolf affordable and accessible for everyone,” she says. “You can come in here right after going to the beach, after a dinner party. You can come in here whenever you want, in whatever you want.”
Topgolf offers weekly camps for kids throughout the summer ($199, 9 a.m.-noon, lunch included) and lessons for older golfers with PGA-certified instructors.
Father’s Day weekend is the busiest time of year at Topgolf, thanks to a special rate that includes two hours of play for six guests and VIP check-in for $75-$140, but bays are selling out at Topgolf.com/FathersDay. Another option is a Topgolf gift card, which gets you a $10 bonus when you buy $50.
Relief for those unable to make reservations is on the way in the form of Topgolf in Doral, which Glick says will open this summer on a date to be determined.
THE OVER UNDER
Dads aren’t looking for crazy payback this weekend. I don’t ask for much. All I want for Father’s Day is a Seabreacher, the semi-submersible watercraft custom-built to look like a shark and rip over (and under) the water at 60 mph. Boca Raton-based Waterlife Ventures is offering rentals (starting at $105 for 15 minutes) at WaterLifeVentures.com, and you can look them over (they also come in dolphin and killer whale) at a display that is part of the free Father’s Day-themed Mizner Park Downtown Drive Car Show 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at Mizner Park, a benefit for benefit Make-A-Wish Southern Florida. Visit MiznerPark.com.
Screening 7 p.m. Saturday at ArtServe in Fort Lauderdale is “Vanishing Sail,” a 2015 documentary about the last wooden sailboat builder on the island of Carriacou, in the West Indies, who decides to craft one last sailing sloop to teach his sons a vanishing trade. Wooden Boat magazine calls it “a fascinating story of personal perseverance, ribald tales of smuggling at sea and the completion of the beautiful wooden sloop in a race against time to enter the thrilling Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta.” Tickets cost $15. Visit ArtServe.org, VanishingSail.com.
FREE ‘BLACK PANTHER’
The cultural phenomenon that is “Black Panther” resonated with a record-setting audience for many reasons, including the age-old story of two protagonists struggling with the legacies of their fathers. I’ve seen it twice and could easily sit through it again when it screens for free 8 p.m. Friday during Summer Movie Night on the XFINITY East Plaza at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami. Chairs and blankets are encouraged, there will be food and beverage for purchase and free popcorn 7-7:30 p.m. and parking is free in the P2 Garage. Space is limited. RSVP: AAAarena.com/events.
PAPA, MEET MAMA
The new downtown Miami lounge Mama Tried, shares its name, of course, with the Merle Haggard classic. Other reasons for optimistic curiosity: They plan to play country music on Thursday nights (what?!); it’s a partnership of guys who created some of your other favorite places, Dan Binkiewicz (Purdy Lounge, Sweet Liberty, Blackbird Ordinary), Mauricio Lacayo (The Bend Liquor Lounge) and Domingo Murillo (Sidebar Miami); and another partner is Nathaniel Sandler, co-founder and head librarian of the nonprofit Bookleggers Mobile Library, who has placed a collection of books provocatively among the TVs, jukebox, pool table and (authentic) Pac-Man game. This is where you want to use your Father’s Day hall pass this weekend. Visit MamaTriedMIA.com.
DUDE’S GOTTA EAT
The intimate TRP Taste in downtown Fort Lauderdale on Saturday is offering another one of those culinary “experiences” they do so well: The Dude’s Dinner, perfect for the father not easy to impress. The five-course meal, begins with oysters and Bloody Marys and includes Maine lobster shepherd’s pie, prime cowboy steak (with hen-of-the-woods mushroom fricassee), and a concluding toffee brownie with coffee gelato and Frangelico caramel. Cost: $135. RSVP (required): TRPTaste.com.
STANTON ON DECK
What does Dad want really want? Stanton! We want Stanton! (And Yelich, Gordon and Ozuna.) Not happening, but the Stanton South Beach’s new $22 million renovation now includes the Stanton Spa, which is offering a menu of discounted Father’s Day specials, including the Gentlemen’s Facial ($99) and the Sports Manicure/Pedicure ($45). Marlins fans who are particularly stressed can choose the Hot Sea Shell Massage ($99). Visit StantonSoBe.com.
Jason Mewes, the profane, sexist punk half of Jay and Silent Bob, the duo introduced in Kevin Smith’s seminal 1994 indie film “Clerks,” is now the father of a 3-year-old daughter. Payback will be a mother. Currently the co-host, with Smith, of the long-running podcast “Jay & Silent Bob Get Old,” Mewes performs 10 p.m. Friday at the Palm Beach Improv. Tickets cost $22, $45 VIP. Bracketing that show will be performances by comic-impressionist Frank Caliendo at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday. Caliendo, you’ll remember, does a mean Robert De Niro, who has delivered many classic quotes over nearly five decades on the screen, none more memorable than that uttered by Greg Focker’s future father-in-law in “Meet the Parents”: “I have nipples, Greg. Could you milk me?” Caliendo tickets cost $30-$35. Visit PalmBeachImprov.com.
An early Father’s Day gift, one that will benefit all humanity, can be found at Saturday’s Homebrew Class at Craft Beer Cartel in Fort Lauderdale’s Sailboat Bend, where he can learn to make beer while drinking beer. The 1 p.m. class costs $35 (Facebook.com/CraftBeerCartel) … 26 Degree Brewing Co. in Pompano Beach celebrates Man Day 2018 noon-6 p.m. Saturday with a bunch of old-school videos games, music from the Blues Crusaders and the release of Bourbon Barrel Aged Jared's Batch (Facebook.com/26Brewing) …The Father's Day Pig Roast at Ms. Cheezious in Miami includes a free PBR with your barbecue or grilled cheese (not to be missed) beginning at noon Sunday (Facebook.com/MsCheezious) … Due South Brewing in Boynton Beach will combine two of Dad’s three main vices, beer and coffee, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, featuring Coffee Lager, Coffee Caramel Cream Ale and their coffee-and-doughnut porter, Calling All Cars. The old man gets a Dads Love Beer koozie with his first beer, while supplies last (Facebook.com/DueSouthBrewing) … The Father's Day Clam Bake at LauderAle in Fort Lauderdale 1 p.m. Sunday includes a plate filled with clams, mussels, shrimp, salmon, corn and potatoes, chased by a 16-ounce beer, for $20. There also will be a putting green with a free beer for a hole in one (Facebook.com/LauderAle).
HOLE IN YOUR SCHEDULE
The dad-themed 4-7 p.m. Sunday on the Waterfront music series at downtown West Palm Beach’s Meyer Amphitheatre (featuring the Rolling Stones tribute band U.S. Stones) will include, among an array of lawn games, a cornhole tournament with prizes such as tickets to Rapids Water Park, a July 21 concert by the Steve Miller Band at the Hard Rock in Hollywood and the Game of Thrones Live concert at the BB&T Center in Sept. 22. Visit VisitWPB.com.
Support your local caffeinist during the monthly Barista Brawl at Subculture Coffee in downtown West Palm Beach 8-11 pm. Saturday. The latte-art competition, with $250 on the table Saturday, prelude to a $2,500 grand prize, includes $5 drafts and $5 grilled cheese for those not so coffee-inclined. Visit Facebook.com/SubcultureCoffee.
PAPA’S MOVEABLE FEAST
Seems like a good time to remind ourselves that Hemingway Days 2018 are set to take over Key West July 17-22. This world-renowned celebration of Ernest Hemingway is a study in the paradox that was Papa, with a poetry reading, literary discussions, film screenings and a display of wildlife artist Guy Harvey’s pen-and-ink illustrations of “The Old Man and the Sea,” along with arm-wrestling contests, a marlin fishing tournament and the famed Hemingway look-alike contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar. Rumor has it there will be drinks. Visit KWAHS.org.
Public Sounds Collective plays sets at 5:30 and 7:30 Thursday (June 14) during the Norton Museum’s Art After Dark series, this week highlighting the animation work of artists Jen Clay and Chris Doyle (PublicSoundsCollective.com) … Delray Beach’s Drew Tucker performs with fellow vibraphonists Warren Wolf and Sasha Berliner 8 p.m. Thursday (June 14) at Voltaire in West Palm Beach (Facebook.com/ItsNotAXylophone) … Boston Marriage joins Watch Glass at Dada in Delray Beach on Thursday (June 14) at 11 p.m. (Facebook.com/BostonMarriage) … The Andrew Morris Band brings country sounds to the Starlight Musicals series at Holiday Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale 7-10 p.m. Friday (AndrewMorrisBand.com) … Soulful vocalist Nicole Henry puts an exclamation point on South Florida Jazz at Bailey Hall series 8 p.m. Saturday at the Broward College (NicoleHenry.com) … DJ icon Jellybean Benitez spins the back room at Cash Only in Fort Lauderdale 10 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/DJJellybeanBenitez) … Crud, Holly Hunt, Wrong and Shroud Eater break out the hard stuff 8 p.m. Saturday at Las Rosas in Miami (LasRosasBar.com) … Pocket of Lollipops, Holly Hunt and the Jellyfish Brothers are on the bill supporting To Live and Shave in L.A. at Churchill’s Pub in Miami 10 p.m. Saturday (Facebook.com/ChurchillsPub) … Locals Woolbright and Lautlos join Tallahassee bands Wild Planet and houseparty at Two& in Fort Lauderdale 6 p.m. Sunday (Facebook.com/WoolbrightBand), Lautlos.bandcamp.com) … JM and the Sweets bring contemporary soul to Ray's Downtown at Voltaire in West Palm Beach 8 p.m. Sunday (JMAndTheSweets.com) …