Five Iron Golf Nabs $20 Million Investment From Enlightened Hospitality | Franchise Mergers and Acquisitions


Five Iron Golf has 24 locations open nationwide. With the $20 million from Enlightened Hospitality Investments, the brand looks to expand further.

Five Iron Golf SVP of Strategy Morgan Dunnan wants golf to be the new bowling. “With bowling, someone says ‘Let’s go bowling’ and no one’s like, ‘I don’t bowl,’” he said. But with golf, the response is often the opposite. “Part of our goal is that when somebody says, ‘Let’s go to Five Iron to go golfing,’ there’s not that reaction of ‘I don’t golf.’”

The company is a virtual golf franchise with a full-service kitchen and bar. The “eatertainment” brand, which started franchising in early 2023, has options for experienced and novice golfers alike, including classes and various game settings.

“We are definitely geared to being very welcoming and enticing for somebody who’s never picked up a club, as well as people who play all the time,” Dunnan said. “I was talking to somebody the other day; they had never played and they came in and it was just the joy of being able to hit it forward just a little bit. It’s something that we take a lot of pride in and are really excited to see.”

Five Iron Golf received a $20 million minority investment from Enlightened Hospitality Investments to further enhance the brand and expand it beyond its 24 locations. The company announced the deal, signed last fall, in March.

Danny Meyer co-founded EHI, which backs Chip City, Slutty Vegan and AI ordering brand ConverseNow, among other companies.

Related: Why Shake Shack’s Founder Bet On Chip City

The New York-based company has locations spanning 13 states and four countries. Dunnan and co-founders Mike Doyle and Jared Solomon opened the first Five Iron location in the Flatiron District in New York City in 2017. The location originally had four simulators, but following its popularity, opened another six by leasing the floor below.


Morgan Dunnan is Five Iron’s SVP of Strategy.

Enhancements for Five Iron could include the implementation of Chip City cookies or Salt & Straw ice cream, another EHI investment, for private events, Dunnan said.

“It’s a nice future vision of what we can do to enhance events, but also review and improve our F&B program with people who are second to none,” he said.  

The brand’s locations range from about 7,000 to more than 16,000 square feet. Five Iron recently opened another corporate location in New York City on Park Avenue, spanning 16,390 square feet. The unit has 15 golf simulators and two bars.

Related: An Inside Look at 4 Emerging Experiential Brands

The golfing entertainment space is growing, with options like 124-unit franchise X-Golf or 80-plus-unit Topgolf, which doesn’t franchise. X-Golf’s gross sales ranged from $450,741 to $1.3 million in 2022, according to its Item 19.

Franchised locations, Dunnan said, are usually in the 7,000 to 9,000 square foot range, which allows eight to 10 golf simulators, plus a bar and kitchen.

The investment required to open a Five Iron location ranges from $1.4 to $4.2 million.

“We think we can bring Five Iron to all areas of the country and be really successful,” Dunnan said. “We’re excited to keep growing and spread the love of golf to more and more communities as we grow over the next few years.”

Source link