By Jason Bruno
Headquartered in Jupiter, Florida, PopStroke is a golf and casual dining concept created in partnership by PopStroke Entertainment Group, Tiger Woods (TGR Design) and newly announced to the fold – TaylorMade Golf. PopStroke combines synthetic turf putting surfaces, natural landscape elements and a casual dining food experience. Five locations are currently open, four in Florida and one in the Houston, Texas area. There will be four more opening in ’23, two in Arizona – Glendale and Scottsdale, and two more in Florida – Tampa and Delray Beach. We visited the Orlando location the Sunday before PGA Show began.
I must admit, I was skeptical of the concept before arriving at the Orlando location. Rick Young (from Score Golf in Canada) coerced me to join him, and it wasn’t an official media visit, just two die-hard links lovers wielding their gamer blades and rolling the rock at Tiger’s new entertainment venue.
The first check in the win column for us was the one price/play as much as you desire business model. For $25 you gain admission to the facility and can play the two courses (and other activities) for as long as you like. You can bring your own putter, or an use an official Popstroke model from their pro shop. PopStroke will supply each customer with an official logo’d TaylorMade golf ball to use for the day, and keep afterwards.
There are two 18 hole putting courses, both inspired by Tiger Woods’ younger days with his Dad Earl known as “Pops”. The TGR Design team created both the Cub Black course (tabbed as the starter layout), and the Tiger RED Course (the more advanced design for experienced players).
At the Orlando location, Popstroke created their golf wonderland on a footprint of just over an acre smack dab in the middle of a shopping mall, it’s outstanding use of the parcel – turning what would be an asphalt parking lot, into a pseudo green space. We arrived to a packed house, but play flowed quite nicely throughout the day, never waiting longer than a moment or two between holes. (Above) A young couple begins play on the 1st at the Black course.
You’ll notice in some of the images, the diversity of people we observed throughout the day. We witnessed just about every age and ethnicity out there, as well as a “Sweet 16” party, elderly couples, wounded vets, PGA Club Professionals, and even some serious die-hards grinding away in what looked to be a big $$$ game behind us.
Download the PopStroke App and keep score – a giant leaderboard posts up on the jumbotron screen mounted above the eatery for all to see. PopStroke carries a wide variety of craft beer, wine, ice cream, and food items to enjoy on or off the course. Simply order drinks on the app, and the server will bring them directly out to the hole you’re playing – brilliant.
After round 1, we surrendered to the fantastic scent of grilled food at the PopStroke sports bar/restaurant. Typically, this is where so many of these types of entertainment entities fall woefully short (TopGolf & Driveshack come to mind). The food and spirits at PopStroke is a strength instead of a liability to the business model – completely top shelf as it should be. Both of us chose different versions of the Build Your Own Burger, shared an appetizer of Truffle Fries and acknowledged that the food was exceptional (above – a tray of deliciousness about to be served.)
Toronto’s own Rick Young (Score Golf in Canada) plays the 13th hole on the Black Course. Notice the contours, side boards and kick panels everywhere – these serve several purposes aside from aesthetics. These raised margins allow for golf balls to stay in the field of play, and putts hit at a range of speeds will funnel back towards the target. Additionally the surrounds accommodate participants a place to stand while observing fellow players and waiting to move to the next hole.
The pro shop is stocked with a variety of flatsticks, Taylormade golf balls and Coca Cola products. The facility also includes Ping Pong tables, Corn Hole and a Children’s Playground on the premises.
As the Sunday evening rolled on, many families exited for home, but Younger and I decided to play one more round while watching the NFL divisional playoff between the Bills & Bengals, and we simultaneously watched Jon Rahm win on the PGA Tour in Palm Springs on the big screen.
In total, we spent over five hours at the facility – played 54 holes of PopStroke golf, enjoyed a delicious lunch and had an absolute blast for less than $50 per person. A true community vibe, music, kids and smiling faces. I walked in a skeptic, and on the way out was already planning a family outing at the location back home in South Florida. Put PopStroke on your must visit list, and clear the day’s schedule because you won’t want to leave.
For more info: https://popstroke.com/