By Ken MacLeod
FlyingTee, a $22 million three-story golf and family entertainment complex, was announced today as the centerpiece of the Creek Nation’s remake of Riverwalk Crossing in Jenks, and as a complement to the planned Margaritaville Resort at the nearby River Spirit Casino complex.
FlyingTee is the brainchild of RW Restaurant Development, a subsidiary of Oklahoma City-based Origin, LLC. Managing Partner John Vollbrecht said his company will be announcing specifics about the technology to be used in the new venture’s golf games soon. Unlike competitor Topgolf, FlyingTee will not utilize computer chips in golf balls, but will use scanning technology similar to Track Man to analyze shots for a variety of games and contests.
Edmond-based professional golfers Scott Verplank, Bob Tway and Gil Morgan are investors and advisers in the project. Morgan said today that the technology in FlyingTee’s golf games will appeal to both the serious golfer and those out for a night of family fun.
Morgan said the company was poised to launch a similar venture in Oklahoma City until Topgolf, which operates three-level driving range and entertainment complexes in the United States and Europe, announced plans for an Oklahoma City site, which is scheduled to open this summer.
The FlyingTee will be a 53,000-square foot facility built on the site of the current movie theater complex, which has closed and is scheduled for a rapid demolition. The range tower will eventually face north on the Arkansas River towards downtown Tulsa. Once completed, projections are that it will employ 110 to 150 persons.
Muscogee Creek Nation Principal Chief George Tiger said the Creeks were thrilled to announce the Flying Tee and that it would serve as the anchor tenant for Riverwalk Crossing when the FlyingTee opens in early 2016. The project is a financial partnership between the Creeks and RW Restaurant Development, which hopes to take the concept to other markets as well.
"There’s nothing like this in the state of Oklahoma," Tiger said. "People of all ages will want to participate. This is just the beginning of a new and improved Riverwalk Crossing."
Vollbrecht said the comparisons with Topgolf are obvious, but that his project is significantly different.
"People see that it’s a three-story range and automatically think Topgolf, but in terms of the technology it’s going to be completely different. It will be similar in that it attracts non-traditional golfers. Golf is a struggling industry and a lot of people don’t have six hours or $100 to go play 18 holes. Anytime you can build something like this to make it more of an entertainment, that is a benefit."
The bottom floor of the entertainment complex will house a sports bar that Tiger said he hopes will become the venue of choice for Tulsans to go watch a game by their favorite team. The second floor will offer rotisserie dishes, craft cocktails, signature wines and local beers, with corporate meeting rooms and a rooftop bar on the top level.