Indoor Topgolf experience coming to downtown Kansas City with menu fit for foodies

A new downtown restaurant will bring golfing indoors with a bank of Topgolf-branded simulators designed for amateurs and experts alike.

The Clubhouse Experience will open Sept. 20 in the lower level of the WallStreet Tower at 11th and Walnut streets. It will include six golf suites powered by Full Swing, which the company says is the same simulator used by PGA Tour pros like Tiger Woods and Jason Day. That will allow serious golfers to virtually play 80 courses from the comforts of being indoors.

“I’m a pretty avid golfer,” said Dan Gedman, chief marketing officer for the new restaurant and bar. “There’s a chance I’ll go down there with my buddies and we’ll play Pebble Beach.”

But like its larger outdoor cousin Topgolf, the indoor suites will also offer more approachable choices for golf rookies. Those include carnival games, zombie dodge ball and radar technology to measure the speed of a baseball pitch. And yes, players do play with real equipment.

Along with Gedman, the Clubhouse Experience is the brainchild of WallStreet Tower developer Jason Townsend and Dave Goebel, the former Applebee’s CEO who now operates fast-casual and fast food restaurants. Todd Walline, longtime chef at the Blue Hills Country Club, is the chief culinary officer for the Clubhouse Experience.

The Clubhouse Experience will blend what Gedman described as “e-tainment” gaming options with sophisticated dining and drinking options. But even with the golf simulators and two indoor shuffleboard courts, the partners aren’t going for a sports bar vibe. The atmosphere will resemble an upscale Houston’s restaurant, and will feature a modern menu fit for foodies, Gedman said.

“The food’s really clever. I’ve been unbelievably impressed with it,” he said. “It’s not chicken wings, it’s Korean fried chicken. It’s not pizza, we have mushroom flatbreads. You will go eat there if you live in that neck of the woods even if you have no interest in the e-tainment.”

Wallstreet Tower is located at 11th and Walnut streets. File The Star

To that end, the entertainment portion of the restaurant will be separated from the dining area with glass, allowing diners to see the gaming area but not hear it.

Previously known as the U.S. Bank Tower and Mercantile Tower, offices in the building were redeveloped into luxury condominiums more than a decade ago.

The Clubhouse Experience will occupy the lower level and include a 3,500-square-foot covered patio. The tower’s location will position the restaurant and bar to draw in business travelers from nearby hotels and Gedman says the team expects to host special events.

Businesses across the country license the Topgolf Swing Suite experience. But the Clubhouse Experience will be the first in the Kansas City area, Gedman says. Harpo’s Bar and Grill in Columbia is the only location in Kansas or Missouri listed on the company’s website offering the experience.

“Nobody’s built a full concept around this e-tainment the way we’re doing,” he said. “We’re more of a food cocktail lead with e-tainment being secondary. So I think it’s unique nationally and it’s definitely unique in Kansas City as well.”

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Kevin Hardy covers business for The Kansas City Star. He previously covered business and politics at The Des Moines Register. He also has worked at newspapers in Kansas and Tennessee. He is a graduate of the University of Kansas