Golf

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One Part Golf, One Part Lacrosse = FlingGolf

28 May, 2015

By: Tracey Schelmetic
Non-Traditional Sport Seeks to Expand Participation on Underused Facilities

While the idea of golf may appeal to a lot of would-be players, the time commitment and the serious cultural nature of the sport may prove too daunting. For this reason, golf is showing up in a number of hybrid sports: Frisbee golf has been with us for quite some time, and FootGolf, a soccer-golf hybrid, is also on the radar. Now, say hello to “FlingGolf,” a combination of lacrosse and golf that’s already being played at the Brookview Golf Course in Golden Valley, Minnesota.

Golf courses today are devising ways to remain relevant, particularly to younger players who believe the sport takes too much time to complete, is for retired neurosurgeons or is too demanding with its dress code. (Collared shirts? Madras shorts? Who has time?) Golf course owners, while they would no doubt prefer to keep their courses open only to those who would keep the sport pure, are being faced with a financial dilemma: open the courses to non-traditional players or risk going out of business? While it may not be a decision that St. Andrews in Scotland or Augusta National in Georgia have to face anytime soon, for small suburban courses or those with a lot of competition, the choices are less clear.

FlingGolf may be appealing to courses trying to raise revenue because it requires little by way of investment. Players use a stick that's part lacrosse stick and part golf club play right alongside traditional golfers using the same tees and same greens. The swing they use to hit the ball is similar to the one used by lacrosse players. For Brookview Golf Course, whose “FlingGolf” was recently profiled by local ABC News affiliate 5 Eyewitness News, it was simply a matter or purchasing a few FlingGolf sticks and offering to rent them to would-be players.

“Our head golf pro brought this to our attention last year," Brookview assistant manager Kim Straw told 5 Eyewitness News. "We looked at it, looked at their Web site, got an idea what it was and then just decided -- we're always looking for new opportunities -- so we thought we would offer it at the course this year. We're always looking for ways to get the non-golfer to come to the golf course. With the addition of lawn bowling, added selections in our grill area, we're really opening it up to a lot of different and new people that we weren't seeing at the golf course before."

Brookview didn’t invent FlingGolf, whose proponents say it is to traditional golf what snowboarding is to skiing. (And just as snowboarders can ride alongside skiers, FlingGolf players can play alongside traditional golfers.) That honor rests with Alex Van Alen, CEO of the FlingGolf company and Amesbury, Massachusetts-based PlusOne Sports. Van Alen notes on the company Web site that the idea was born in collaboration with the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, students at the MIT Center for Sports Innovation and at Northeastern University, and “a lot of handholding from Fikst product developers, tool.inc for industrial design.”

Today, the sport is offered at dozens of golf courses in the U.S. (You can find a list of them on FlingGolf’s Web site here.) Would-be players can watch a demonstration of the sport on YouTube.

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