“When all of this ends, and the Covid era is behind us, I predict a huge release in pent-up energy and enthusiasm, and the world will socialise like never before.”
So said Matt Grech-Smith, one of the co-founders of crazy golf concept Swingers, in the opinion piece he penned for us way back in September last year (read the full thing here).
Now it looks like Matt’s predictions of a swinging return to form for IRL experiences are coming true, with news reaching us that two new outposts of Swingers will be launching in the USA later this year – the brand’s first outside the UK.
Swingers’ winning combination of crazy golf, creative cocktails and street food has been upping Londoners’ first-date game since 2014, evolving from a warehouse pop-up to two permanent locations in Oxford Circus and the City of London.
Despite having spent the majority of the last year closed, Matt’s spirits were high when he spoke to us in September, having sold over 25,000 tickets when lockdown restrictions were briefly paused for six weeks.
And this optimism seems to be justified – following a $20 million investment from Cain International, Swingers will open in Washington DC’s Dupont Circle on 11 June, followed by another location in the new Virgin Hotel in New York City’s Flatiron District, which is set to open this autumn. We also hear they’ve got a few other US projects in the pipeline.
“Having spent a few years getting our blueprint for our immersive, competitive experience right, bringing it to the States was a natural next chapter and one that we think will capture the imagination and sense of fun of D.C. and New York City,” says Matt. And with the Dupont Circle outpost set to feature a clubhouse, five cocktail bars and immersive, multi-sensory elements, it sounds like they won’t be short on either.
So what does this mean for experience designers everywhere? Aside from giving those based in DC and NYC a chance to sample Swingers’ signature golf madness for themselves, it’s also a heartening vote of confidence in a return to real-life experiences as pandemic restrictions ease.
Having established guidelines for dealing with Covid in its London hubs in 2020 – such as reduced capacities, enhanced cleaning and a new app for table service – Swingers is providing a glimpse at a brighter future than we’ve experienced these last 12 months. Bringing their A game, indeed.
For more information visit the Swingers website or follow at @SwingersLDN or @SwingersUS on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. Matt is also a member of The WXO’s Founding Circle – check back here regularly for more opinion pieces and insights from him and other experts in the experience economy.