The Swingers Mini Golf Course is a quaint escape from the city
There is a secret garden in the middle of Manhattan. No, we don’t mean a hidden corner within the sprawling grounds of Central Park or one of the many leafy community parks spread throughout the city. It’s a magical area located just a few blocks south of the Empire State Building, located in the middle of NoMad, called Swingers, Crazy Golf Club. Although all the plants inside are artificial, this immersive mini sports experience transports you to the English countryside, where you find yourself in a 1920s golf club with whimsical touches reminiscent of Wonderland, street food and curated cocktails at your disposal. This is no ordinary miniature golf course, CEO and co-founder Matt Gerrish-Smith, along with his business partner, Jeremy Simmonds, has made sure of that.
New York isn’t the first Swingers location under Grech-Smith’s belt. There are multiple venues spanning two continents: two courses in London and one in Washington, DC. But the founders don’t think of the brand as a chain. “Each space is designed specifically for its design and to maximize the guest experience,” says Gresh Smith. Beautiful house. Gretsch Smith explains that the flagship location in Manhattan has to be “bigger and better” than their other courses, because a lot of people walk into the space with the preconceived notion that a mini-golf course called Swingers will be tacky. Instead, they find something extremely over-the-top, and practically Wonka-esque.
After spending their time searching for the perfect location, Grech-Smith and Simmonds finally found the perfect location in the basement of the Virgin Hotel, a windowless level ideal for creating an experimental industrial space. The 23,000-square-foot subterranean floor creates an immersive retreat, forcing guests down a set of modest stairs and turning a corner into a glamorous, buzzing space. “We love giving people a amazing “The moment they walk through the doors,” Gresh Smith explains.
Although the course is indoors only, there are ‘indoor’ and ‘outdoor’ sections to further represent the feel of the club, and capture the aesthetics of the charming summer houses and extensive gardens. “On playgrounds, we go for lush greenery, which means trees, flowers and creepers everywhere, giving the feeling of a lush secret garden,” says Gerrish Smith. In the bar spaces, the décor tends to be grand, with large chandeliers, exquisite furniture and polished wood floors.
The gorgeous interior design isn’t just limited to physical decorations, the team used every possible foot of the massive space by projecting a giant landscape along the wall. “It runs alongside the Waterwheel Playground and is about 50 feet long,” says Gresh Smith. “It depicts the Swingers countryside stretching far into the distance. Clouds drift by, steam trains run along the bridges, and birds swoop. At about five o’clock in the evening, the sun begins to set and then the stars come out and light up the buildings.”
The only barrier to visiting the Swingers virtual park is the age limit of 21+. “The beauty of the concept is its accessibility. You don’t need to have played before, you don’t need to have any athletic ability, mini golf is a great way to level the playing field!” Gresh Smith says. Wheelchair accessible, they encourage anyone of any generation (over 21) to come and play, whether it’s for a first date, an office party, or just a group of friends getting together. “We’ve even thrown 80th birthday parties!” He adds.
Megan is associate editor at Beautiful house She writes about interior design, pop culture, and furniture.