How a Topgolf outing helped an NBA team get back on track

December 26, 2018
The Minnesota Timberwolves pose for a photo during a recent Topgolf outing.

Topgolf is all the rage right now, with serious players and non-golfers alike enjoying the laid-back, fun-first atmosphere the high-tech driving ranges offer. It’s the perfect venue for a birthday party, a work event, or, in the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves, a bonding mission for a struggling NBA team.

According to the Star Tribune, many players on the Timberwolves attributed their 114-112 upset win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in part to a recent group outing at a nearby Topgolf.

“You got to be able to communicate, talk about what we need to do better but just kick back. It was everybody just understanding, putting in their two pieces to the puzzle and trying to relate to one another. I felt it was great,” reported Minnesota forward Taj Gibson.

The night before the game, the official Timberwolves Twitter feed shared a photo of the team in a raised Topgolf hitting bay with the message, “Full squad outing.”

They followed it up by sharing some videos taken during the team-bonding event, including this smooth “practice swing” by Andrew Wiggins.

Teammate Tyus Jones was at least able to make contact with the ball, sending a Tiger-esque stinger straight down the center of the range.

Robert Covington, who was traded to Minnesota from the Philadelphia 76ers in November, noted that the evening at Topgolf was an important step to bonding a team that features several new faces.

“It’s building team chemistry. It’s very important for teams that want to be successful. You need stuff like that,” Covington said. “You need outlets, that way you can have fun. It doesn’t have to be all about basketball. Taking your mind away from basketball instead of having to be by yourself all the time.”

Whether or not modern twists on golf are your kind of thing, there’s no doubt places like Topgolf are great for growing the game, and attracting a new generation of athletes and sports fans.