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Topgolf parent buys competitor BigShots Golf for about $29 million

Topgolf in St. Petersburg, Florida.    (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
By Mitchell Parton Dallas Morning News

Carlsbad, California-based Topgolf Callaway Brands Corp. purchased competing brand BigShots Golf and some of its locations from Invited Inc. of Dallas for about $29 million, the company said Wednesday.

The deal includes one U.S. location owned by Invited, royalties from three franchised locations and development rights for other potential locations. It also includes an agreement with Invited to feature Topgolf Callaway Brands‘ products and merchandise at Invited’s more than 140 golf and country clubs.

Chip Brewer, president and chief executive officer of Topgolf Callaway Brands, said the company has the option to convert its new location and the franchises to its own ball-tracing technology in the near future.

He said that through the deal, the company is further building out and strengthening its future venue pipeline and growing its partnership with Invited, which he called “an important golf equipment and apparel partner,” all for about the same price as one Topgolf location.

“This deal is a great example of the synergies associated with our portfolio of brands and its leadership position in modern golf,” Brewer said in a statement. “It is also just the beginning of what’s possible when two great brands combine their resources and creativity to develop programs that foster growth and further fuel the momentum in our game.”

Invited, formerly called ClubCorp, is the largest owner of private golf courses in the U.S. and is backed by private equity giant Apollo Global Management Inc.

Invited bought a controlling interest in BigShots in 2018. The golf course owner and operator saw BigShots’ hybrid esports and golf game as a way to expand interest in golf, possibly drawing new members to its traditional golf clubs.

Much like Topgolf, the venues are opened through franchising and the experience centers around golf-ball tracking technology, a driving range environment and food and drinks.

The company started or planned to begin construction of a number of standalone golf entertainment venues in 2020 as the pandemic spread across the country.

BigShots Golf has six locations, including Fort Worth and Bryan in Texas. The Fort Worth location was its first in Texas. The brand also has locations in Akron, Ohio; Springfield, Missouri; St. George, Utah; and Vero Beach, Florida.

The brand was set to open a new venue in Naples, Florida, in 2024, but this summer the company pulled out of its agreement with Collier County and terminated its land lease, the Naples Daily News reported.

“The world has changed significantly from the time we initially evaluated the opportunity,” BigShots Golf senior vice president Randall Cousins said, according to the newspaper. “Today, we face increased costs in every major category, including financing, construction, and operations.

“In the past several months, we’ve explored many options to mitigate these challenges and invested several million dollars of sunk cost into development and materials. Unfortunately, we did not find a sustainable solution.”