Tee Time Entertainment is now open at 520 E. Broadway (Route 66).

The driving range bays are for families and friends as much as serious golfers.

Entertainment – not just golf – is the name of the game at Tee Time

Bob Foos

The ribbon-cutting on June 27 was the culmination of four years of planning and training by Tee Time owners Jonathan Johnson and Kellen Grantham.

Are you reluctant to try Tee Time because you’re not a golfer, or a great one anyway?

“This place is for golfers and non-golfers alike,” maintains Jonathan Johnson, co-owner of Webb City’s newest attraction. “And I will say the non-golfers have the most fun. They just want to come in and whack balls.”

The name is Tee Time Entertainment – not golf for that matter. In addition to the high-tech driving range that gets all the attention with its poles and netting and targets that light up at night, there are pickleball courts, a BIG-screen TV, drinks and a restaurant.

“We just want it to become a community hot spot,” says Johnson.

Pickle ball, corn hole, other games on the lawn and a really big-screen TV are the attractions besides the driving range.

“I’m lovin’ it,” says City Administrator Carl Francis, who with the City Council, guided Johnson and his partner, Kellen Grantham, to the Centennial Retail and Industrial Park. The 8-acre site that extends from the front of the building at 520 E. Broadway to East Street was purchased by the city from owners of the old G&H Redi-Mix plant.

Francis had been trying to obtain the G&H property, primarily because it was an eyesore, and for its proximity to Centennial Park. He says he had Tee Time in mind as that process was completed.

The city required $300,000 payment up front but is reimbursing that amount now that the project is complete.

It was two years ago that Tee Time received a special use permit for the property.

Francis says Tee Time is a “great addition to Centennial Park – a great addition to the City of Webb City.”

He says he believes it will “attract people – people who have never been to Webb City.”

It was unusual for five chambers of commerce (Webb City, Joplin, Carthage, Carl Junction and Neosho) to hold a joint ribbon-cutting for Tee Time on Thursday, June 27.

Francis says he’s hoping Tee Time will spur more growth. “We’ve already had an inquiry from another entertainment facility.”

The restaurant/bar is another place to hang out.

A nicer driving range

The idea for Tee Time began some four years ago when two College Heights classmates thought there should be more to do in the Joplin area.

Johnson says he and Grantham were originally going to do a nicer driving range with a food shack.

They met with Toby Teeter, the former Joplin chamber director, who told them to make it year-round and “make it nice.”

“That was too much,” Johnson says they thought at the time. “We decided to stick with our idea and adding to it.

“It got to what you see now.”

Johnson and Grantham moved to Rogers, Ark., in August 2022 to work for Topgolf Northwest Arkansas. Johnson stayed 6 months, and Grantham stayed 14 months.

From that, Johnson says they gained knowledge about the operation of such a facility. “It was very insightful. We learned a lot of what to do and what not to do.”

Rather than just do golf, they decided to add a courtyard and make it like the Chicken N Pickle franchise.

“Originally, we were going to Joplin, but they were a little difficult to work with. So we got in touch with Carl (Francis).”

‘You don’t have to hit the golf ball right’

Tee Time is the third Centennial Park project Goforth Construction has completed. The first two were Sleep Inn and Suites and Flat Creek restaurant.

Samuel Jones, the site superintendent, is also an enthusiast of the driving range.

He is a regular golfer, but no one else in his family is. And yet, on a recent outing… “My dad beat me!”

Co-owner Jonathan Johnson.

There are 19 bays, with each accompanying up to eight players. Clubs (left- and right-handed) are provided for men, women and youth.

Put the head of your golf club in front of an opening and a ball comes out.

Cameras detect balls the instant they’re hit and can calculate the distance they’ll go before they hit the ground.

Games, such as Go Fish, encourage the whole famly to have fun. “You don’t have to hit the golf ball right,” says Jones. At night, the targets light up.

You pay by the hour.

Overhead heaters will allow the driving range to be open even in winter.

Jones says he’s excited to watch sporting events on the big screen.