The golf life of a New Yorker isn’t always glamorous.
Tee times are hard to come by and difficult to reach. Practice opportunities are few, and interest from your non-sicko friends is limited. The places that are worth the journey — schlepping your clubs out of your closet, down three flights of stairs and through crowded streets — are often only seen alone.
But the Big Apple golf scene is about to get a jolt, thanks in part to the most electric player the game has ever known — Tiger Woods — and the sport’s new celebrity patron saint, Justin Timberlake.
On Monday morning, Woods and Timberlake announced the creation of a sports bar and indoor golf experience in the heart of Manhattan, just a few wedge shots from Grand Central Station. It’s called T-Squared Social Club — a nod to Tiger’s first name, and Timberlake’s last — and it is unlike any other hangout in the city. (Click here for a full photo tour.)
It’s hard to know where to begin with T-Squared, but perhaps a good place to start is the floor. Shoebox-living New Yorkers will be awed by the bar’s cavernous, 22,000-square-foot footprint, which spans an entire city block between E. 42nd St. and 43rd St. (In a feat beyond the comprehension of most New York City eaters, the bar is large enough to have entrances on both streets.)
T-Squared, formerly an Emigrant Savings Bank branch, is prime Midtown, but a tourist trap it is not. The space is befitting both Woods and Timberlake’s investment in the sport, which has expanded tremendously in recent years. Timberlake, a golf nut, worked closely with his strategic partners at 8AM Golf (also the holding company behind GOLF.com) to conceptualize and execute the vision behind T-Squared. The new space joins 3’s Golf as one of JT’s recent investments into the exploding golf entertainment space. Woods, meanwhile, leaned on his partners with the hospitality management company the Nexus Club to help modernize the space, which features an open concept, 24-foot ceilings and four separate dining areas.
T-Squared sports fans will be enticed by the space’s suite of gaming goodies, which include four multi-sport Full Swing golf simulators and state-of-the-art hitting bays, a duckpin bowling alley, and dart boards. T-Squared immediately becomes one of the city’s only indoor golf entertainment offerings, not to mention one of its glitziest. As Woods said in a release, “Justin and I thought it would be cool to create a place that combines our favorite things.”
Speaking of sports, it’d be a good idea to keep your fall weekend schedule clear. Commandeering the wall in T-Squared’s main dining room is New York City’s largest indoor television — a 200-inch behemoth that can be split into four separate telecasts or, in the case of a really big game, tweaked to beam in one movie theater-sized broadcast. It’s hard to have a bad view of the mega-screen from anywhere in the dining room — I tried — but T-Squared installed 35 other flatscreen TVs just in case of any issues.
A few of my colleagues and I attended the bar’s soft opening, where we sampled cocktails from the bar menu crafted by renowned mixologist Rael Petit. The tequila-based Little Red Corvette is expected to be an early menu favorite, as is the smoldering Smoked Old Fashioned. The dining room(s) won’t serve food until the restaurant’s official opening on Sept. 20, but a quick peek at the menu revealed a few nods to the home city, including Tiger’s take on the Bodega-favorite chopped cheese.
Golf is at the center of everything T-Squared, evidenced by the center-of-room hitting bays and state-of-the-art simulator equipment. For those hoping to find a place to tee it up with their buddies in Manhattan, there’s much to like in the more than 100 worldwide courses and high-tech swing data offered in each of the bays. For non-golfers, the remaining 21,000 square feet provide ample opportunity for enjoyment — and the hitting bays can be converted for basketball, football, baseball, rugby or dodgeball.
No, the New York City golf experience might never be anyone’s definition of glamorous. But at T-Squared Social, it’s okay to forget that for a little while.