Fling Golf
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.

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