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Golf may be one step ahead of ski in one intriguing aspect.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

The other day I was thinking about my options for playing a quick 9-holes with some co-workers during an upcoming trip to Colorado when I remembered the little par 3 course in Eagle Vail.

As I checked prices and hours, I soon stumbled onto this paragraph on the home page:

“Check out the new and popular games of Foot Golf and FlingGolf at the Willow Creek Par 3. Bring your soccer ball or flingstick and get ready to have some fun! Play golf like never before with a soccer ball or lacrosse-style flingstick. “

Now I’d heard of foot golf, but a flingstick? What in heavens name was that? A quick google search later I’d found my answer.

I’d highly recommend digging into FlingGolf a little bit and the way they market themselves on their website, but let me point out a few things that have stood out to me.

Position Against the Difficult of Golf, not Courses
They carefully separate the difficulty of the game from the place that you play it so that they can align their brand with courses as both the place to try it (for participants) and a new revenue stream (for courses). In fact, in one in one video the FlingGolf GM actually calls it a “new sport for golf courses”.

Courses are Embracing It
And the courses are getting on board. According the website more than 15,000 golf courses in the USA allow FlingGolf. If your course doesn’t, they have a team that reaches out and tries to get them on board.

Recognize the Two Types of Players
But more than anything else, they get that there are two powerful forces at play with any sort of new-sport adoption.

The first are the people who just want to have some fun and not get stared at. To this group they speak with everything from their guarantee – “if you can’t find a place to play, get a full refund” – to the way they label courses on their locator map (“you won’t be the first”).

But there is also group who takes pride in being the first. It boldly going where no golfer has gone before. Some people love that, they thrive off it. And to them, they present the challenge to be that person for a golf course in their area by “Liberating” it from traditional golf.

To me, that ability to speak to both groups while also aligning with the courses is where FlingGolf gets it 100% right.

The Lesson
Listen, I no idea if ski bikes or Snoocs or Flingsticks or whatever have any chance of making a dent on growth and participation for a sport likes golf or ski. If golfers treat fling-golfers like we treat folks in jeans and starter jackets, maybe it’s all academic.

But if there is any hope or value in a simpler or easier or more accessible version of an original sport that supports and enhances the rest, you can’t ignore the culture of the sport you’re trying to change and the deeper reasons why someone may or may not want to do something none of their peers (or anyone at the mountain) will have done or be doing.

In that respect, FlingGolf has done that while virtually every ski-alternative has not, and I’m incredibly intrigued to see how it plays out.


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