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If you haven’t taken a moment to watch the world’s first preview of Planet Oasis (or whatever it’s come to be named by the time this prints), the future entertainment utopia promised adjacent the shiny, new Tanger Outlets in Delaware County, you owe it to yourself to click. It’s information overload. An ultra-bright Black Mirror-esque [...]
Kevin J. Elliott

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If you haven’t taken a moment to watch the world’s first preview of Planet Oasis (or whatever it’s come to be named by the time this prints), the future entertainment utopia promised adjacent the shiny, new Tanger Outlets in Delaware County, you owe it to yourself to click. It’s information overload. An ultra-bright Black Mirror-esque commercial of a fantasy that promises to have it all—indoor skydiving, multi-million dollar e-sports arena, motocross, laser tag … a saltwater lake. Should this happen, central Ohio would have to be the center of the universe.

Of course, we are not, but that doesn’t mean our region has a dearth of options for your discretionary entertainment budget.

The new Topgolf in Westerville promises a lot: high-tech, climate-controlled, driving range bays, chef-inspired menus, thousands of widescreens blasting original content shows and golf tutorials, live DJs and music from a rooftop patio.

In a sleek, modern, monolith that appears as if a spaceship landed right next to our new Ikea—it delivers.

Now with 41 locations, the primary reason for Topgolf’s success is the focus on its brand. Though it feels more casino than country club, with plenty of neon and cobalt, the action of driving golf balls into the night sky, and into a very real game of lights and targets, is something anyone, regardless of your time on a course, can find both cathartic and joyous.

“Half of our guests are non-golfers who have never swung a club,” says Topgolf communications director, Morgan Schaaf. “This is everyone’s game and we pride ourselves on being a place for everyone.”

Surrounded by couches and tables and energetic, sometimes singing and dancing, servers, the driving bays are the true draw of Topgolf. Should you bring in a party of six, there is a menagerie of golf-themed games that make sure to differentiate for all ages and skill levels. With a complete array of clubs—from the heaviest of drivers to the smallest of wedges—players have their choice of nine competitions, from their signature game, Topgolf, which uses microchip technology to track and score various points on the course according to which targets are hit, to something more traditional like TopScramble, in which teams form and take the highest individual score after each round. There are also games that reward for distance, TopDrive, which rewards the farthest shot, and TopChip, which rewards points for accuracy. There’s even Quick9, a game that gives each player three shots at each target, with the highest score the winner.

Much like bowling, or curling, pinball, and axe throwing, Topgolf is a specialized form of sport that takes a second to learn and a lifetime to master—so the replay value is inherent.

Though I don’t see myself frequenting the mothership more than a few times a year, it was easy to see the draw for golf enthusiasts. Unless the temperatures reach negative degrees (which we all know they will at some point), it could easily serve as a year-round training facility, opening at 9 a.m. for early birds and closing at midnight for a round with dinner and drinks. Safe to say the venue’s bread-and-butter will be corporate events, private parties, and night-long bay rentals.

Regardless, Topgolf’s facility is so massive, it should never be an issue to find a comfortable space to stretch out and practice your swing. That is until Planet Oasis is finally a reality.

For more information and reservation options visit topgolf.com/us/columbus.

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Community

Clintonville shop earns “America’s Best” award

614now Staff

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Clintonville's Johnny Velo Bikes has been named one of the top bike shops in the nation according to an industry source.

Johnny Velo Bikes has received an America’s Best Bike Shop award from the National Bike Dealers Association (NBDA). The shop is among only six in Ohio to earn the distinction.

“It's an honor to be recognized as one of the best bike shops out of more 4,000 shops in the country," owner John Robinson said in a statement. "We've only been in business for two years, but we've worked very hard to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for our customers."

The NBDA's America's Best Bike Shops program identifies and rewards bicycle stores in North America against the highest performance standards in the industry. The awards are issued based on an application and secret shopper process, with shops scored on layout and design, staff and management, training, marketing, and community involvement.

Contact John Robinson at 614-333-0012 or [email protected] for all your bike-related needs. For details on the shop, visit www.johnyyvelobikes.com.

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Arts & Culture

Maker’s Space: Kato Mitchell

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Following an initial disastrous experience with attempting to refurbish a personal pair of sneakers with acrylic paint years ago, a friend noticed Mitchell’s persistence, aiding him to perfect his craft. Though he began with primarily focusing on restoring his friends’ worn-down sneakers, Mitchell’s business, Work The Custom, has expanded to designing apparel in any range.

Just months after being highlighted as cleat designer for Braxton Miller’s Charg1ng summer football camp in Dayton, Mitchell’s clientele has accrued some big names in the sports world, and he has no intention of stopping. (614) caught up with Mitchell to learn more about Work The Custom, and his hope for reconstructing apparel in Columbus and beyond.

(614): When did you decide to transition from football to design?
KM: I’ve always had a passion for drawing and art, [but] I just lost my vision when I took actual art classes and didn’t like what we were doing. After college, I didn’t get any NFL calls, [and] I was trying to figure out what else I would love to do every day, and fell back in love with art.

What was your leap from “this thing I do” to the thing to do? How do you promote your work? After I realized how many people wanted to show who they really are with art, and I was someone who could help do that, that was my ironing point. I promote my work through Instagram and Facebook for the most part, but I do go to sneaker events from time-to-time to pass out business cards.

Is this your primary gig, side gig or hobby? How did it come to be?
It’s my side gig for the moment, but trying to grow and learn to make it my full-time career. I had a pair of shoes that were beat up and didn’t want to buy more so I painted them, but one of my friends taught me the game and how to prosper from it.

What life changes do you feel have propelled your work? How have your customizations evolved? Playing football for a place like Ohio State and doing work for Buckeyes in the NFL and for the OSU football team has helped grow my work faster and further. My customs have evolved just by me growing up and seeing different things, learning different things, practicing everyday, and being able to adapt.

Do you have a specific audience that you want to appeal to?
I want my work to be for everyone. My work can range from baby shoes to youth high school players of all sports, to walls of homeowners and businesses, to shoes for pro athletes.

What ingredients come together to make Columbus a fertile ground for makers, designers and creatives? Columbus is a growing market and very friendly. It has new businesses starting every week and everyone is trying to help everyone else.

What’s your six-word creative story?

Work The Custom is coming fast!

To get in contact with Mitchell, or to see more designs, follow him on Instagram at @katowork19.

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Sports

Twitter Reacts: Bucks score #1 spot in first official playoff rankings

Mike Thomas

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The first official rankings for the 2019 College Football Playoff were announced yesterday, and the Buckeyes have landed at the top of the pile. The ranking marks the first time the Buckeyes have held the #1 spot since the inception of the playoff system.

Needless to say, social media is abuzz with reactions to this historic moment for Ryan Day's squad. Enjoy this roundup of reactions to the announcement from around Twitterverse, and Go Bucks!

https://twitter.com/11W/status/1191906549750489088
https://twitter.com/BarstoolOSU/status/1191906673960652800
https://twitter.com/lawschoollex/status/1191909159815524353
https://twitter.com/CaliBuckeyeGuy/status/1191906878181105664
https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/1191906381999353856
https://twitter.com/ArrogantBuckeye/status/1191907918691622913
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