With dual responsibilities as a marketing and recreation manager for our 3rd generational family retreat center, I am tasked with coming up with programs and activities to attract guests and keep them entertained. I am always on the hunt for something that will improve the guest experience… and our bottom line. That is why I was intrigued recently when a guest told me about “the next best thing” in recreation: FlingGolf (a.k.a. Fling Golf).
At first I thought this was another form of disc (Frisbee) golf. But after a brief internet search, I learned it is more of a golf/lacrosse hybrid. Using a custom-designed stick, players scoop up and then hurl a regular golf ball on a regular golf course from tee to hole. According to the sport’s founder Alex Van Allen, who designed and introduced the sport only a year ago, people are already playing Fling Golf all over the US, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and several European countries.
Even armed with this supporting evidence, I was still skeptical. It sounded kind of wacky and even a bit dangerous. Would regular golfers go for having others flinging golf balls around them? My other concern was its “differentness”. Like many retreat centers, we are known for being a simple operation with traditional activities. Our guests like things as they are and are cautious of new fads that could alter that vibe. So I knew I would have to try it for myself, if I was going to introduce it to my team and then to our guests.
After a few initial attempts in my backyard to gain confidence that I could maintain some control, I ventured onto our short pitch-and-putt course for a real test. To my delight and surprise, I found after 15 minutes of practicing the basic motion and timing of release, I could direct the ball to go much closer to the green than I ever did with a regular golf club.
So in February, as part of an email blast announcement for our 2016 opening weekend celebration in late April, we included a note about FlingGolf. Then in early March, we increased exposure to our guests with a direct mailing piece with a digital twist. We incorporated an “augmented reality” app into a FlingGolf image. When you scan the photo with a smart phone, it comes to life as a video demonstrating this new sport in action.
Whether it catches on as both a new attraction and a revenue generator only time will tell. That fact that anyone (like me!) can pick up this new sport in a short amount of time and have fun doing it certainly should help its’ growth. And for such a small investment, it certainly is a low risk addition with a significant potential payoff. Check back with me this fall to find out how it goes. From past history, I know guest smiles will be one of the best analytics I will use to determine whether it was a success.
Here is the demo video we used with our 2016 Spring Newsletter.
About the Author
Guest blogger Jonathan Bellingham is the Group Coordinator at Capon Springs and Farms, a family-owned retreat center in Capon Springs, West Virginia. For over 80 years, Capon Springs and Farms retreat center has hosted individuals and groups seeking rest and refreshment in a full-service resort setting on 4,700 acres. When Jonathan is not outside “flinging,” he can be reached via email.
Click here to view more information about Capon Springs and Farms or to request a quote.
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