San Diego-Based Callaway Acquires Majority Of TopGolf, Paving Way For Area Location

October 28, 2020

San Diego-based golf equipment and apparel company Callaway has acquired the company behind Topgolf driving range and entertainment venue, paving the way for a Topgolf location in downtown San Diego.

Carlsbad's Callaway Golf Co. has entered into an agreement to purchase the remaining majority stake in entertainment and driving-range chain Topgolf Entertainment Group in an all-stock deal valuing Topgolf at $2 billion. Callaway had already owned 14% of Topgolf after first investing in the company in 2006. The merger is expected to be finalized in first quarter 2021 pending approval from both companies shareholders, and upon completion of the deal, Callaway will own approximately 51.5% of Topgolf. 

 "Together, Callaway and Topgolf create an unrivaled golf and entertainment business," stated Callaway's president and CEO Chip Brewer. "We’ve long seen the value in Topgolf and we are confident that together, we can create a larger, higher growth, technology-enabled global golf and entertainment leader."

Founded outside London in 2000 by brothers Steve and Dave Jolliffe, Topgolf is a redesigned driving range that uses microchip technology inside golf balls to make driving balls its own unique game. The company currently operates 63 locations around the globe, most of which also house an event space, restaurants, bars, and multiple entertainment rooms. The purchase by Carlsbad-based Callaway will likely be a catalyst in pushing forward a San Diego location.  

Topgolf International has proposed a $40 million, 68,000 square-foot facility for San Diego's bayfront in the space where the rental car companies were sited before relocating to their new headquarters. The Port of San Diego board of directors voted in November 2019 to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Topgolf. Then, in February of this year, the Board asked staff to hold off on entering into the ENA and requested additional financial information from Topgolf. The Port continues to await the additional financial information from Topgolf before determining next steps. Topgolf has informed Port staff they remain eager to pursue the East Harbor Island location, but due to COVID-19, are currently focusing on their existing operations. Port staff remains in conversation with Topgolf.

The plans for the San Diego location of Topgolf call for a three-level indoor/outdoor building to be constructed with 102 hitting bays in addition to gaming areas, an all-day restaurant, multiple bars, event spaces, parking for 450, and a public deck with prime views of downtown San Diego's skyline. Topgolf has been trying to negotiate a location to open a San Diego branch since 2015. The earliest the San Diego Top Golf would open would be mid-year 2021.

Topgolf also owns Toptracer, a tracking technology used during television broadcasts to allow viewers to follow balls' locations as they fly through the air. This technology is also being used at modernized driving ranges to allow golfers to see their balls flight as they practice on screens and smartphones.