3’s Golf – Justin Timberlake Invests in New Entertainment Concept
In the past few years, golf entertainment offerings have exploded. Leading the way is Topgolf, with its aggressive growth in the high-tech, new-age driving range space while companies like Puttshack, Puttery, Popstroke, and Swingers are among the miniature golf entertainment concepts coming to market. Drive Shack and Big Shots are still trying to grab market share.
There hasn’t been a company that has attempted to bring the par 3 short course movement beyond the realm of high-end resorts and private clubs. Until now.
8AM Golf, the holding company whose portfolio includes GOLF Magazine & GOLF.com, Nicklaus Companies, Miura Golf, True Spec Golf, and GolfLogix, has invested heavily in a concept called 3’s that combines accessible par-3 golf with hospitality and entertainment amenities. Justin Timberlake, one of the world’s best-selling music artists, an iconic songwriter, producer, actor, and an avid golfer, has been an investor and partner in 8AM Golf since 2020 and is part of the group working to bring the lighted, 12-hole facilities–complete with food & beverage and entertainment–to major metropolitan markets.
“Making golf more accessible, less intimidating, and more fun is a passion of mine, and that is exactly what 3’s accomplishes with its relaxed, ‘all are welcome’ vibe,” said Timberlake, who regularly plays in charitable golf tournaments, sponsors golf-related events, and has been an investor and developer in other golf properties.
3’s was developed in 2019 by David Sezna, who has over four decades of experience in golf and hospitality management and opened the first location in Greenville, South Carolina in 2020. While Sezna will remain the day-to-day visionary behind the concept, 8AM plans to leverage its industry knowledge, connections, and expertise to pursue new locations-likely in the Southeast, like Nashville, Tn.; Charleston, SC.; and Tallahassee, Fl.
“There’s this white space in short course par 3 concepts, which a lot of people have been speaking about for the past several years. But you don’t really see anyone out there turning it into a business,” said CEO Hoyt McGarity.
“At 8AM we love this space. If you go to Pinehurst and play the Cradle, it’s just so much fun. The greatest experience. And we’re looking at how you bring that to the public, kids, and family fun centers. 8AM is dedicated to being best-in-class. We believe 3’s is a great fit for our company as we move into hospitality and entertainment, leveraging our synergies for greater growth across the game we love.”
8AM is looking to bring the 3’s concept to both existing golf facilities-perhaps transforming an underperforming municipal course-and open space in select markets. The planned footprint is roughly 20 acres, with the lighted course having twelve par 3 holes that range in distance from about 70 to 140 yards, along with lively music, bar areas every few holes, a driving range, and a Himalayas-style putting course.
“We’ve had people reach out from Las Vegas to California,” says McGarity. “We looked around the world at every par 3 concept we could find from here to Japan. We settled on 3’s because we thought it had a lot of great things going for it.”
Par 3 courses have become increasingly popular at resort properties in recent years, offering a shorter. less-time consuming amenity for golfers of all ages and abilities. Pinehurst is among the most prominent examples with the addition of the popular Gil Hanse-designed Cradle, while Tiger Woods reworked the par 3 Hay course at Pebble Beach Golf Links which reopened in 2021.
“3’s is a creative culmination of my 40 years of loving golf, food and beverage, hospitality, and most importantly, making it fun for all,” says Sezna. “Saying that I’m excited to grow with 8AM and JT would be a huge understatement. Our opportunity with 3’s together is unlimited.”
For more visit 3s.golf