Golf’s country club culture isn’t for everyone but it’s a modern necessity towards keeping the sport’s thriving community and more prestigious traditions alive and well. For those who seek the game beyond the country club setting or are just getting into the sport, public courses and driving ranges are more accessible options. However, in terms of versatility and convenience, indoor golfing hits the sweet spot, and this is where Five Iron Golf steps in to offer something new for players of all levels. Five Iron Golf’s vision for indoor golf involves delivering fun and elevating the community through inclusivity, fashion and sports fandom.
So where the country club offers an exclusive oasis in the traditional context — think expansive ranges, finely-aged cigars and blinding white polos — Five Iron Golf’s 360 entertainment model embodies an optimistic deconstruction of the golf space and remixes the narrative for a contemporary set, serving up good, old-fashioned fun for downtown residents looking for an inclusive and dynamic social hub after hours. Five Iron Golf works in partnership with TrackMan, a state-of-the-art virtual simulator that tracks your performance via radar tracking technology in real-time. The space equally serves as a training range for professional and advanced athletes practicing their swings in the early morning, before the evening crowd rushes in.
New York City’s largest 5i location and corporate headquarters can be found in Herald Square right off of 34th Street, conveniently sitting in the heart of the city’s well-trodden tourist shopping court. It’s one of three locations, including the company’s flagship centers in the Flatiron and Financial District — with two more on the way by 2023 in Long Island City and the Upper East Side. Five Iron Golf has already expanded 13 brick-and-mortar operations across the U.S., including one franchise location in Singapore. With plans to develop eight additional locations by 2023, Five Iron Golf has no plans of slowing down and this energy is felt throughout its two floors. Across its 14 virtual TrackMan simulators, 5i Herald Square is grand and playful, peppered with laser tag-esque neon signage and campy pop art that reads “Kiss My Putt.”
The site’s Assistant General Manager, Chloe Collins, mentions she wasn’t an avid golfer before working at the event space, but she’s recently joined a league team and can attest to the space’s heightened sense of inclusion and diverse representation of new players tapping into the experience. “Five Iron is a place that welcomes everyone, which is why I decided to work here,” says Collins. “Whether you have played your entire life or you’ve never even picked up a club — let alone maybe even seen one — it’s a great place for anyone to step into. If you want to just come for a drink or food — we have it all. It’s not just a golf facility; it’s not just a bar or restaurant. It’s a hybrid of all of those, and I think the second you step into the building you feel that energy, that camaraderie between the staff and [patrons]. Everyone is really enjoying their experience here, and that’s the whole point of Five Iron Golf — to be guest-obsessed. I think everyone is having a great time regardless of [their] golf knowledge and experience.”
Lounge spaces are divided per simulator, so for patrons looking to engage with the floor’s casual, drink-friendly offerings — ping pong, shuffleboard and pool lounge spaces — there’s ample room to socialize without imposing on nearby players. “I’m here in the mornings with my trainer mostly,” says 5i member Matthew. He hasn’t taken advantage of The Fitting Lab just yet — Five Iron’s custom club fitting arm — but his 5i membership allows him to incorporate TrackMan into his weekly routine as both a method of training and socializing. “After work, I’ll usually head over with friends and have a few drinks while we play. More than anything, I’m looking to actually see improvements or certain habits in my [performance] and then correct those things. Whether it’s my form [or] stance — I’ll work on reading and interacting with my data through the game,” Matthew states.
If you love golf and you’re looking for a stylish space to practice, Five Iron Golf’s range of memberships appeal to modern lifestyle sensibilities and provide hobbyists an opportunity to practice golf through an experiential lens. League nights are said to rally competitive spirits as members try their chance at winning custom merch, cash prizes and bucket list golf trips to top destination courses. Between the booze, music and fried macaroni balls, the crowd seems to revel in the contemporary lounge experience while also interacting with virtual equipment and premier hardware from some of the biggest names in the golf industry.
New and unique partnerships have also elevated Five Iron Golf’s cultural clout. A recent partnership birthed the menu’s go-to cocktail, The Looper, a scotch-based spritz developed by none other than 5i ambassador Roger Steele. The golf personality and influencer shares the company’s sentiment of championing accessibility and outreach for younger players entering the sport.
Whether you’re dropping by for a seasonal cocktail after work or training for competitive league tournaments, Five Iron Golf’s disruptive entertainment model highlights golf’s rapidly evolving landscape and offers a refreshing spin on indoor gaming, providing unexpected ways to engage with the sport and its emerging technologies. Take it from Steele: “When you come to Five Iron, you have this elevated technology experience around the game, people from all walks of life — socioeconomic [backgrounds], [varying] skill levels. There’s music, there’s drinks — it’s a dope ass vibe.”
Head over to Five Iron Golf’s website to learn more about the brand’s mission to connect communities through golf and tech.