REVIEW: Mistwood Golf Dome with Toptracer
As most of the country braces for another cold winter season, a golfer’s need to find an offseason practice option begins to heat up. Mistwood Golf Dome in Bolingbrook, IL is the latest look into what artificial intelligence and budding technologies can offer to the game of golf, and it might be the most unique driving range you’ll ever experience.
Driving ranges in high pressure domes is nothing new. Multiple exist in the Chicagoland area alone, but what Mistwood Golf Dome offers is truly unique to North America: Toptracer technology.
In many ways, this technology expands the scope of the dome to something much larger. If you’ve watched a minute of modern golf coverage on TV you’ve seen the “tracer graphic” line that follows a player’s golf ball once struck. This is usually accompanied by another graphic, usually in the corner of your screen, that includes data like shot distance, launch, and ball speed.
Toptracer brings all of these qualities to each hitting bay in the golf dome, for an affordable hourly rate.
The concept is simple and incredibly impressive. When you hit a shot at Mistwood’s dome, Toptracer’s four-camera system tracks your golf ball and displays its characteristics on a TV screen at your bay. Depending on the game mode you are using (there are six different options), you’ll receive statistical outputs exactly like what is seen on professional telecasts.
“This is a way to take the dome to the next level,” says Andy Mickelson, PGA director of golf at Mistwood Golf Course in an interview with Forbes. “It lets average golfers see their ball flight displayed just like it is on PGA Tour telecasts for the pros. We want to enhance the practice experience and engage avid golfers. This is also an excellent way to bring in non-golfers and convert a lot of them to become regular players. We’ve been open a week now and people are already coming back to see how their latest numbers compare to the last time.”
Having visited the dome multiple times since its renovation, I can honestly say this is the driving range technology that will change your perception of what’s possible in a practice facility. Despite being owned by Top Golf, I found Toptracer to be significantly more enjoyable than its larger, louder, and more expensive full-size range cousin.
It costs roughly $20 less per hour than Top Golf
You can play replica golf courses from the convenience of your hitting bay
You get instant data feedback on every shot you hit
There’s no need to purchase additional golf balls or brave the weather
Mistwood’s McWethy’s Bar provides full meal and beverage service while you hit
What I enjoy most about this technology is the ability to take your data home with you via the Toptracer mobile app. Despite the app’s weaknesses — you do not get individual shot data, but rather cumulative averages — it instills a sense of wanting to improve your stats every time you return to the dome.
While nothing will ever take the place of improving your game by playing actual golf courses, Mistwood Golf Dome with Toptracer is hands down the best alternative option you’ll find. For more information, visit the dome’s official website at MistwoodGolfDome.com.