FlingGolf Before Shark Tank
John Pruellage and Alex Van Allen officially founded FlingGolf in 2014. The product received praise and support, so John and Alex grew the company until they decided to go on Shark Tank. They made a deal with Daniel Lubetzky; however, the deal did not close, and FlingGolf continued operating on its own. The company grew even more successful after Shark Tank in 2023, as customers and golf courses alike sought FlingGolf. FlingGolf grew rapidly as it became available in over 34,000 courses worldwide.
Golf is a beloved sport for many; however, many of the younger generations show little interest in playing. Slowly, golf became more exclusive, accommodating almost exclusively to fans of the sport. Alex Van Allen, in 2012, came up with the idea of creating a new gimmick of golf, one that mixes in lacrosse’s style of hurling the ball and putting the ball as in golf. This new golf-lacrosse hybrid could be played on any golf course without needing to change anything. Alex named it FlingGolf.
Alex Van Allen and John Pruellage came up with the prototype for FlingGolf in 2014. The prototype was a simple golf club, except the end had a cup-like hold to latch the ball and fling it. FlingGolf was simple and easy to learn; rather than striking the ball with the club, the player would have to fling the ball like in lacrosse across the course. The FlingGolf club could also putt the ball like a traditional golf club, making it a flexible yet different version of golf.
After designing their prototype and demonstrating it to golf experts, Alex and John presented their FlingGolf club prototype to the National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) 2014 annual conference. Members at the conference loved the idea, and Alex and John received support from many golf course owners. They even received many offers from golf course owners to add their FlingGolf product as part of the golf course. Walt Lankau, an NGCOA board member, fully supported them, claiming that golf, as a sport, was in decline, and FlingGolf would help generate new interest in the sport.
With support from the NGCOA and golf enthusiasts, Alex and John decided to go on Shark Tank to find a business partner willing to help FlingGolf find its way to every golf course in the world.
FlingGolf on Shark Tank
Alex Van Allan and John Pruellage were on season 12 of Shark Tank seeking $300,000 for 10% of their company, FlingGolf. They demonstrated the product. Alex explained that because golf courses don’t need to change anything to accommodate FlingGolf, many courses have started using FlingGolf as a way to entertain everyone, even if they’re not golf enthusiasts. Daniel Lubetzky tried one of FlingGolf’s Flingsticks himself. The Sharks liked the idea and most were interested in the product.
John claimed that they sold Flingsticks to over 300 courses across the country at the time of filming. He also explained FlingGolf’s business model. FlingGolf sells Flingsticks to both consumers and golf courses. John said that resorts that use FlingGolf could advertise it to everyone coming in, providing an alternative to families and kids who don’t usually play golf.
Robert Herjavec mentioned Bad Birdie, a golf apparel company he invested in, and stated that golf as a sport had started booming since Covid-19 restrictions took place. Alex and John agreed and said that FlingGolf had sold more to consumers than golf courses overall.
In 2019, FlingGolf made $143,000 in sales. In 2020, the company made $142,000 in sales within the first seven months. The cheapest Flingstick costs $25 to produce and sells for $119, while the more expensive Ballistick costs $35 to produce, and sells for $179. Alex claimed that the Covid-19 Pandemic slowed the company down, but they managed to quickly get back on track. As of the time of filming, FlingGolf had raised $2 million, $1.5 of which was raised by John and Alex.
Mark Cuban didn’t believe there was enough traction for his investment to be worth it, so he was out.
Lori Greiner thought the valuation was too high, so she was out.
Kevin O’Leary believed that the product was “poopoo on a stick.” He was out.
Daniel Lubetzky offered $300,000 for 33% of the company, promising to use his connections to help FlingGolf.
Robert Herjavec was also interested; he offered them $300,000 for 33.3% of the company.
John and Alex asked for a counteroffer of $300,000 for 20%. Daniel agreed to go down to $300,000 for 25%, and John and Alex accepted his offer.
FlingGolf Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
John and Alex’s deal with Daniel Lubetzky didn’t close, and the co-founders had to grow the company on their own. Within 48 hours after the Shark Tank episode aired, FlingGolf outperformed its average monthly sales. Golf course owners were asking for FlingGolf on their courses, and customers had never been more enthusiastic about the product. FlingGolf grew to the point that it was played in renowned golf courses across the nation, such as Torrey Pines, Pebble Beach, Chambers Bay, and more.
FlingGolf did so well after Shark Tank that it launched its first tournament in May 2022: The New 2022 New Swarm FlingGolf Classic, officially sponsored by ESPN. FlingGolf found its way into over 34,000 golf courses across 31 countries on 6 continents. FlingGolf was quickly becoming an official sport played on your average golf course.
Not only was FlingGolf receiving support from the average consumer, but military bases have been avid fans of the sport. FlingGolf became widely popular in the US Airforce, along with Germany, South Korea, and Japan’s military. FlingGolf also allowed those handicapped or in wheelchairs to enjoy the sport using accessible Flingsticks.
It appears that John and Alex proved the Sharks wrong by persevering and rapidly growing as a company and sport. FlingGolf even commented about their Shark Tank appearance saying, “we’ve been going strong ever since.” In 2023, FlingGolf has expanded its collection of Flingsticks and available courses. Flingsticks now range from $89 for the Junior Flingstick, to $249 for the Signature Series.
FlingGolf made $1.3 million in sales in 2021, which has greatly increased as of 2023. Now in 2023, after Shark Tank, FlingGolf is taking over golf courses and becoming a family favorite for many. The sport is rapidly gaining traction with tournaments, sponsors, and a growing audience. John and Alex have certainly proven the Sharks their company’s worth and will likely continue their success in the future. For more information and updates about the company, visit FlingGolf’s website here.