AMESBURY – A sign of how far FlingGolf has come on its path to becoming a major sport, ESPN this weekend will broadcast two FlingGolf events three times over three days, including once in a prime time on Sunday and again on Monday night.
Starting at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 5, ESPN will broadcast a replay of the New Swarm FlingGolf Open and the Longest Fling Competition that was held May 21 and 22 at the American Classic Golf Club in Lewes, DE.
“They seem to like what we are giving them,” said founder and CEO Alex Van Alen. “It’s just the beginning of our relationship with ESPN.”
FlingGolf combines aspects of lacrosse, baseball and hockey with golf. It is played on golf courses and follows golf rules. But unlike traditional golf, players need only one FlingStick to play, not a bag of clubs. The FlingStick replaces the driver, irons and woods, wedges and putter.
The Worldwide Leader in Sports will broadcast 23 edited minutes of the tournament and the longest fling competition along with an explanation of what FlingGolf is at 6:30 a.m. There will be encore presentations at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 7, and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 8.
The tournament and competition drew 41 players from 17 states and the Oneida Nation.
By broadcasting the events three times, “ESPN has done us a solid,” said John Pruellage, New Swarm’s president.
The first broadcast on Friday will be part of ESPN’s annual Ocho programming, which for 24 hours allows ESPN 2 viewers to experience what the network calls “seldom seen sports.”
Called the Ocho, because August is the eighth month when many major sports are on hiatus, ESPN2 will broadcast 14 and a half hours of live sporting events plus videotaped events like FlingGolf’s tournament and competition.
The live events at the Rock Hill Sports & Event Center and Manchester Meadow in Rock Hill, SC. will include axe throwing, dodgeball and wiffle ball plus some truly off-the-wall events like bed racing and corgi races.
After seeing a YouTube segment on the first Longest Fling Competition in Quincy, ESPN contacted FlingGolf. Van Alen said he thought it was a junk email and almost did not respond to the network’s invitation.
Van Alen, Pruellage and vice president Steve Bloom see the ESPN recognition as the beginning of a long-term relationship that will attract and encourage players worldwide. The company, with headquarters at CIWorks in Amesbury, recently orchestrated a Global Fling Friday where athletes played rounds of FlingGolf starting in New Zealand and ending on the U.S. East Coast.
Van Alen said he is most encouraged by the number of players who are training to be professional FlingGolfers. They are spending hours every week practicing. A few have gotten good enough to attract financial sponsors.
In another sign of how far FlingGolf has progressed, several of its professionals have adopted nicknames like Austin Ebersole, a pro at the American Classic Golf Course, is now called “Showtime. Mike Edwards of Greenville, PA, is known as “Big Cat.” And Jack Bovich from Leaves, DE, goes by “The Irish Twin.”
The New Swarm Open was underwritten by two sponsors, Ice Shaker and Sun Bum skin care.
For the New Swarm Open and Longest FlingGolf Championship, winners took home the New Swarm Cup and LFC Belt, plus $1,500 each. Players coming in second and third place also won cash prizes.