I was introduced to golf courses with a fun and active family game we called monkey golf. With cousins, parents, brothers, dogs and friends, we would head out in the late afternoon on a local course in Maine and play 5 or 6 holes, one club for each player, largely making up the rules as we went, and with everyone getting a chance to participate. We weren't that quiet and we weren't that good. A golf course was a fun place to be.
While there are many reasons to get kids and athletes out on a golf course, fun is where it starts. It is great for me to see FlingGolf bringing new players to courses across the country and beyond. Whether they are 6 or 66, it is a fun, athletic way to enjoy a few hours with friends and family, get some good exercise and enjoy some healthy competition. It is also great to see golf courses making some great new revenue.
Several years ago, I bought a used Jai-alai basket, grabbed some golf balls, and took them out to a soccer field for a throw. I knew right away that, with the spins and arcs of the flying ball, and my ability to make all kinds of swings and shape the shots, I had a fun new sport in my hands. Having played lacrosse in high school, I started working on shafts and designing different heads to see where this could go.
So I knew it was really fun to play and people loved doing it, and the excitement was building, but the number one question was, “Will golf courses allow a different sport to be played alongside golf?” I had gotten some good feedback from some local courses, then I visited Walt Lankau, the former President of the National Golf Course Owners Association, which counts over 7200 courses in its membership. I built some early prototypes in my barn (see below), then I worked with product developers to prove the function and I tried it out on a few local courses with a handful of friends. After a lot of feedback I worked with an industrial designer to really nail down the look. 200 yards was our holy grail in order to really create a viable sport, and it was an unbelievable feeling to be able to fire a golf ball that far and control the shot at will. (Take a look at the video on our homepage here for some pro lacrosse players firing 240 yards.)
Walt’s enthusiasm for the new sport, his understanding how snowboarding brought millions of young, athletic riders out to the slopes, and how many golf courses are looking for that same boost, put me in high gear to bring FlingGolf™ out. Course owners don't need to make any changes to their course, and players can learn well enough to get out on the course in less than a half hour. The fact that you can play FlingGolf right alongside golfers, even in the same foursome, has made it very easy for courses to adopt.
We launched our sales in late Summer 2014 and FlingGolf™ is already being played in over 40 states, several provinces in Canada, several countries in Europe, and now in Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. We have a great team at PlusOne Sports that is dedicated to providing players with the best possible equipment, and course owners with the opportunity to welcome a new generation of athletes to their courses. We hope you'll get a FlingStick in your hands and join the new, growing community of players and courses that are leading the way!
The Original Headquarters and Manufacturing Facility
(aka "The Barn")
FlingStick Darwinism (aka "Evolution")
Our New Manufacturing Facility
(OK, only a couple rooms here, so far!)
The Cool Stuff
The prototyping process, and now the process of producing in quantities the FlingStick™, and development of the sport, have been a team effort with many, many amazing people and businesses to thank.
They include early encouragement and advice from my many friends and widespread family, the Enterprise Center at Salem State University, students through the MIT Center for Sports Innovation and at Northeastern University, a lot of handholding from Fikst product developers, tool.inc for industrial design, and an awesome crew at Mechanica for creative and enthusiastic branding efforts.
Three local golf courses let me try prototype after prototype on their courses, first with a chuckle, then with curiosity then with a helping hand. These are Candlewood, Lakeview and Cape Ann. Many videos and photos were taken at Cape Ann.
Alex Van Alen. Alex has spent the majority of his career working the conservation and recreation fields. Prior to starting PlusOne Sports and developing FlingGolf™, Alex was CEO of an organization that was instrumental in bringing the first sled dog race in 30 years to eastern Massachusetts, attended by over 10,000 people, as well as developing a popular running, kayaking, horseback riding, mountain biking event. Alex's vision is that FlingGolf™ is the leading factor in creating an energetic, youthful and athletic atmosphere on golf courses worldwide. Alex is married, has 2 sons, and enjoys the open water.
VP & GM
Stevan Bloom. Steve is the Vice President & General Manager focusing on supply chain, partner & product strategies, business operations, market & sales development and overall scalability. He has worked in product and leadership positions with numerous international companies, start-ups, M&A targets, and companies looking to scale. He has led global and domestic teams of various sizes bringing new solutions across many verticals and channels. He has founded and co-founded many start-ups. His experience encompasses military (combat), medical and healthcare, software, hardware, and non-profit sectors. When he's not flinging, he's hiking, kayaking, enjoying time with his 2 sons and great food with his wife.
Manufacturing and Production
Todd Kopp. Todd is the founder of CoreAthletics which makes training tools for champions. His passion for creating functional devices has enabled FlingGolf to accelerate the prototyping and production of our incredible FlingSticks.
FlingGolf Board of Directors
Alex Van Alen, Chairman of the Board.
M.L. Carr. NBA Champion and former Boston Celtic, M.L. Carr is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and corporate spokesperson. Following his retirement, Carr launched M.L. Enterprises, a sports marketing, motivational speaking and business consulting firm. He became a spokesperson for Bank of Boston, New Balance, Putnam Investments and Massachusetts Financial Services. He is currently President of The Dream Company, LLC.
Jeff Rutchik. An expert in global experience marketing, branding and design, Jeff is an entrepreneur working with companies; from start ups to Fortune 100s, to drive brand awareness and growth. Currently serving on the Board of Directors for Mass College of Art+Design and symGLASS, an innovative product design and manufacturing company. Jeff is also the Founder & CEO of BEAMStudios.
FlingGolf Advisory Board
Mike Abbott. With over 20 years in the Action Sports world, as CFO/COO of Burton Snowboards and later at Specialized Bikes, Mike's vast experience helps propel the vision of bringing a cool, athletic sport to golf courses.
Walt Lankau. Walt has served for over 20 years on the board of the National Golf Course Owners Association, several of those as its President. He is also the owner of the Stow Acres Country Club in Stow, MA. Walt's early support of FlingGolf™, and understanding its potential impact for golf courses across the country has been important in the sport's acceptance.
Jimmy Van Alen. CFO, Nanigans & Partner at ARB Ventures. Jimmy has successfully advised, grown, and managed financing of many entrepreneurial start ups over a 20 year period. His thoughtful strategy has been instrumental in organizing the company.
Admiral (Ret.) Mark Boensel. As Commander of the Jacksonville Naval Air Station and then Commander of the Navy Region Southeast and Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, Mark led work forces of thousands of personnel responsible for operations, training and quality of life for hundreds of thousands of individuals. In these capacities, Mark became an expert on fulfilling soldiers’ health, welfare and recreation needs. Mark leads our efforts to introduce the benefits of FlingGolf to the Military.
PlusOne Sports Counsel
Peter Finn, Esq. Rubin and Rudman.
Intellectual Property: Fish Richardson