Have you ever picked up something other than a lacrosse ball with your lax stick and thought to yourself, “I wonder how far I can throw this?” It’s ok, you don’t have to answer, I know you have. We all have. The lacrosse stick is a nearly perfect tool to launch almost any object. It’s like a one-man catapult turning you into a human trebuchet. I would say nearly every lacrosse player at one point or another has thrown a rock into the woods or a water bottle in the trash or a stray glove to a teammate. For Alex Van Alen, founder and CEO of FlingGolf, it was golf balls.
Playing lacrosse and golf in high school just outside of Philadelphia, Alex along with his brothers and neighborhood friends would mash up all sorts of games and sports equipment, including golf balls and lacrosse sticks. As Alex took on a career, the fun and games of lacrosse golf took a hiatus but never truly faded in Alex’s mind. Fast forward a few years and Alex revisited the idea and became obsessed with throwing a golf ball 200+ yds. Initially looking to Jai Alai and the large wicker glove or cesta for inspiration (much like STX did with the Ultra Power and its Power Ramp), Alex began prototyping to develop his golf ball throwing stick. After several iterations, the FlingStick was born.
Designed to be an all-in-one stick, the FlingStick is the only “club” you need to play FlingGolf. You can tee off, make approach shots and even putt—all with the one stick. Similar to a lacrosse stick, you can use over hand, sidearm, and even low-to-high throwing motions for distance and to put different spin on the ball. And unlike golf shots, learning to make shots with a FlingStick is much easier and the process is much more forgiving. And for lacrosse players, the throwing motion is very similar to throwing a ball with a lacrosse stick.
“It’s amazing how fast people can pick it up, particularly for lacrosse players,” Alex Van Alen said. “They just don’t have an issue. It’s a slightly different technique, but it’s two or three balls and you got it.”
Professional lacrosse players in particular have embraced FlingGolf. Having partnered with the Boston Cannons as far back as 2016, FlingGolf has gotten many players from the MLL, PLL and NLL out on the fairways launching golf balls. A Major League Lacrosse tournament saw Jeremy Sieverts claim bragging rights while a Premier Lacrosse League FlingGolf Challenge had Garrett Epple crowned the winner. Even at the time of our interview, 2020 NLL MVP Shayne Jackson and the Georgia Swarm were holding their own golf tournament down in Atlanta with FlingSticks in hand.
Played on over 1,200 courses, FlingGolf has been well received at most, if not all, courses. From local community courses to Pebble Beach and St. Andrews, the FlingStick has been welcomed by the golfing community as it helps get more people out enjoying the sun and fresh air and filling up those tee times!
The next exciting step for FlingGolf? The May 14 episode of Shark Tank airing on ABC at 8 pm ET. Alex and his FlingGolf team made it through thousands of applicants to get their chance in front of the Sharks. A huge opportunity to take FlingGolf to the next level, Alex made the most of the experience.
“It was a lot of nerves and adrenaline, but it was a really fun process. I enjoyed it.”
Will any of the Sharks bite at the chance to partner with FlingGolf and grow this fast-paced alternative to golf? Make sure you tune in tonight support Alex on his journey and find out if he was able to make a deal!