Virtual golf and entertainment go-to Wedge brings the beloved game indoors

Crafting a future where tech and sport intertwine.

Wedge is part virtual golf venue, part resto-bar and full entertainment spot (All photos: Wedge)

Before we begin, if your first thought at the mention of virtual golf is to imagine standing awkwardly in one’s living room, clutching a video game controller and swinging at an intangible  2D ball, then it should be noted this is far from the tragic Wii Sports affair you have in mind.

While cyber sports (not to be confused with E-sports) may have once alluded to mindless fun before a TV screen with little to no substantial similarity to the real-life inspirations, it has since evolved into a genuine means of building prowess and forging kindred community, both core objectives of Wedge, says the golf simulation and entertainment lounge’s co-founder and CEO Tom Sarginson.

Tucked away on the third floor, among the busy shoplots, of Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur, Wedge is part virtual golf venue, part resto-bar and full entertainment spot. Here, customers are welcome to pick up real clubs and hit real golf balls, belt out their favourite tunes with the karaoke machine, and savour bites and sips by local F&B vendors like My Pizza Lab and Tap Tap. It is a seamless blend of high-end technology, leisure and sport, cheerfully dubbed by Sarginson as “New Golf”.

The lounge opened its doors to the public in February. However, Wedge is not Sarginson’s debut foray into the realm of digital golf. In fact, his story and the making of the brand goes as far back as 2008, when he and a good friend started City Golf, an entertainment-based indoor golf site that was a rare find at the time, particularly in Southeast Asia.

Despite City Golf’s subsequent expansion into Singapore, Sarginson left the industry in 2012 and “did not think much about it” at the time. It was not until after the Covid-19 pandemic that opportunity came knocking again. Upon seeing young people in search of a happy midpoint between getting out of the house and staying comfortable and in touch with tech, he had his “Aha!” moment.

“I thought ‘Hold on — there’s something here’,” he says. “I had this experience [with City Golf] in the past, and perhaps now’s a better time because [back] then it was just after the financial crisis too and it was probably a bit early for virtual golf to take off. Whereas now, the sport has really started to boom.”

This surge in demand and interest in golf is real, especially beyond the traditional 18 holes. Looking at the statistics in the US, the global leader in golf, it was plain to see what kind of spaces golfers were starting to drift towards, and Sarginson was quick to pick up on the trend. “Last year, 48% of all golf balls were hit off course and indoors. So, that means on driving ranges, indoor golf, mini golf and Topgolf.”

As with countless other industries, golf’s move away from the outdoors meant a greater incorporation of tech. At Wedge, this comes in the form of in-house Full Swing simulators, which Sarginson says boast “amazing playability and accuracy”, thanks to the implementation of dual-tracking technology, which enables users to measure the club and ball data of each swing.


The inner lounge features warm wood floors and ambient lighting

Utilised by professionals like Tiger Woods, John Rahm and Jordan Speith, the simulators are nothing short of exceptional. Their draw is further amplified for golfers residing in the Klang Valley, as this novel rendition of the sport not only resolves the issue of affordability that may come with country club memberships and booking rates, but also allows them to get their swing in without worrying about inclement weather.

With a growing number of indoor golf locations in the city, one probably wants to know what sets Wedge apart. The answer lies in the brand’s focus on bringing in an “all-encompassing 360° experience”, as mentioned by Sarginson. From dining options to endless games and activities to try out, the business has proved itself an all-round powerhouse centred on helping visitors make good memories with their loved ones.

Ever mindful of its clientele, the Wedge lounge’s contemporary and open design, a stark contrast to other dimly lit and secluded venues, reflects its young and vibrant demographic. With the help of interior designer and artist Shan Shan Lim, Sarginson and his team pictured a comfortable layout that would pay homage to golfing gems around the world while evoking a sense of being at home.

In his words, golf is “becoming a fashionable game, and [Wedge] wants to create a space where fashionable people will hang out and not just play golf, but be in a space that fits with the rest of their lifestyle and what they want to achieve with their values and personal brand”.


Colourful and modern, the front seating area prompts bonding with friends and family while waiting for a turn with the simulators

Though only a few months old (at least in the physical sense), the business already has exciting projects on the horizon. With second and third locations set to open later this year in Petaling Jaya and Bangkok, Wedge also has eyes on Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Manila in the not-so-distant future.

In the end, after the day-to-day operations and big aspirations, the heart of golf will always be the community and connections formed over the game, a sentiment that lies in the bedrock of Wedge. It has clearly been passed on to Sarginson’s children who, with their reported adoration for the game he so treasures, are chips off the old block.

This article first appeared on Aug 21, 2023 in The Edge Malaysia.


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