Jared Solomon interview

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CEO and Co-Founder Five Iron Golf. Fun and accessible urban golf for all
Posted on
January 11, 2023
by
M. James Ward in
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The Solomon Bio

Jared Solomon was born and raised outside of Philadelphia. He graduated from Hamilton College with a philosophy degree and aspirations of shaping a business from the ground up. After pursuing his JD from Columbia Law School, Solomon started working as an equity option market maker in New York City, where it was nearly impossible to play golf.

He and three others started Five Iron Golf in 2017 and since then have been on a mission to modernize urban golf while making it fun and accessible to all.

Jared Solomon interview

The Solomon Story

The path that I took to get to where I am today is an interesting one. At the beginning of my professional journey, I played professional poker during the early stages of internet poker and my career. My strategies for playing quickly developed and led to incorporating game theory, analyzing data and more into my own poker game. I really enjoyed learning the game that way.

Fast forward to when I was working as an equity options market maker in New York City, I started playing golf on a simulator. The instant feedback and data that playing golf on a simulator provided was very similar to what I liked about developing my poker game. I started taking lessons from Mike Doyle on a simulator in the back of a men's clothing store. Looking back, the simulator golf experience was a great way to be introduced to the game and helped crystallize the idea for Five Iron Golf, especially for city-locked golfers like myself.

I have always had the entrepreneurial spirit; I had previously worked with various business ventures from limousines to sports drinks. I love finding solutions to problems and enjoy the personal relations that come from business.

Once I had the vision for Five Iron Golf in my head, I assembled a team consisting of Mike Doyle, my wife Katherine and long-time friend, Nora Dunnan, to create the Five Iron Golf foursome.

We started in 2017 with our first humble location on Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District in New York City. We came up with the name for Five Iron Golf from our first location, “Five” comes from Fifth Avenue and “Iron” comes from Flatiron District, a city-focused nomenclature that echoes the community thread that runs deeply through our brand. Five Iron Golf delivers a dynamic, entertaining and inclusive way to experience the game of golf.

Jared Solomon interview

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What was the genesis for Five Iron Golf?

As an avid golfer myself, I know that people are at the heart of the game, and those people are also at the heart of Five Iron Golf. I wanted to create a place for the avid and entertainment golfer. I thought, “if we relentlessly put the customer first, we will develop a loyal community of super-users who will fuel future growth.”

Five years later, we still place that same emphasis on the power of creating a community across all of our Five Iron Golf locations. Since 2017, we have grown to have 15 locations across the country with one international location and a second opening in Spring 2023.

We continue to provide the best-in-class experience, technology and service offerings to all guests.

 

How does Five Iron Golf differentiate itself from your competition?

We have created a true ecosystem and culture at Five Iron Golf that no one else has. We are a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to play. We are a place people come to practice and/or play.

We offer our guests lessons, custom club fittings, events, virtual golf leagues, bag storage, a locker room with showers, curated food menus, full-service bars and so much more. When you step into the Five Iron Golf ecosystem you are instantly entertained and given the tools needed to improve your game, while having fun. It’s something that is unique to Five Iron Golf.

We have created a space for golfers of all levels and really perfected the eater-tainment concept at all of our locations.

 

Who is your customer?

Everyone!

 

What steps are you taking to locate them and keep them engaged?

We believe that the best way to attract new customers is to build a strong brand that is rooted in customer service and loyalty. This idea is what we build Five Iron Golf on and what we continue to provide to all guests today.

When someone comes into a Five Iron Golf, we want them to leave thinking about their next trip back from the positive experiences they just had.

 

Instruction is provided at your locations -- outline the scope of involvement and the process followed for individual improvement.

All of our locations have awesome and qualified golf pros who teach on industry-leading technology, providing accurate data and real-time feedback to support instruction.

Lessons range from 30-to 60-minutes and can be scheduled individually or in small groups, whether it be for a group of junior players or a fun date night activity. Customers can purchase a lesson package to work with their instructor over time at a discounted rate.

Five Iron Golf also has a program for golf leagues. Explain how the program works?

Our Five Iron Golf league is the nation’s largest indoor golf league. Teams or individuals can sign up to play in a six-week league with a week seven set aside for playoffs.

Teams will compete on Monday / Tuesday nights at all of our locations. We have four seasons throughout the year and a National Championship winner at the end of each season. The winning team receives a stay-and-play package from our sponsor -- Casa de Campo.

The Five Iron Golf leagues are a great way to meet other golfers in your community.

 

Plenty of companies tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach followed.

We are equipped with a National Customer Service team of over 30+ associates to answer questions via phone, web, email and direct message.

We implement a “Customer first” approach with everyone who walks through our doors. Our teams at all Five Iron Golf locations execute a comprehensive service plan. We welcome guests and escort guests to their sim, provide a premium golf experience and delicious food and beverages delivered with top-notch service.

We have recently implemented an in-sim ordering system for more ease to the guest during their Five Iron Golf experience.

We are always focused on creating the highest quality experience for our guests through all channels and touchpoints during their visit to Five Iron Golf.

What role does customer feedback have and how does Five Iron Golf encourage it?

Our customers are the backbone of the 5i community, they create the vibe, fill our sims, they are our members that hit balls in the morning and come back for happy hour after work.

We send surveys to league players and members, and welcome feedback with our remote customer service team.

We are constantly re-evaluating the guest experience from all angles to ensure we continue to meet our customer’s needs.

 

The company has expanded to a number of locations with one slated for Singapore. How much future growth is expected and slated for '23?

Our goal is to have 30 locations open by the end of this year. Our first international location in Singapore is already up and running so we are excited to follow with our second international location in India.

Five Iron Golf India is slated to open this year.

 

Best advice you ever received -- what was it and who was it from?

From my wife Katherine. She was the one who told me the concept for Five Iron Golf was a good idea and encouraged me to start it.

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For more info go to:

www.fiveirongolf.com

Photos: Courtesy of Five Iron Golf

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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