Project Flogton in Action
Oakland, Calif. -- The spirit of Flogton showed itself in smiles during an 18-player, nine-hole test outing on a Monday afternoon at Metropolitan Golf Links.
"The test confirmed my belief that many golfers are not only looking for an alternative to the traditional game, but are enthusiastic about sharing their ideas," said Alternative Golf Association CEO Pat Gallagher. "When I saw the smiles on players' faces, I knew we were on to something."
The diverse group included age ranges from teens to 60s and skill levels including a single-digit handicapper, a women's club champion, a foursome of men with mid-teen handicaps and several players without USGA indexes. USGA indexes ranged from 9.4 to 25.1.
Before the round, the players were equipped with a variety of nonconforming golf balls that claim to add distance or improve accuracy or both, as well as some conforming golf balls ranging from soft to hard. Some nonconforming, superspin wedges also were distributed among the players.
Each foursome was given a flip camera, a spray can of Pam and an instruction sheet describing one format for the first four holes then adding in another set of features for the final five holes.Â For the first four holes: one mulligan per hole and player had the option to use the first shot if it was better, 6-foot bump anywhere, no closer to hole, three-putt maximum. For the next five holes Flogton added: tee the ball up in the fairway, change balls at any time, free drop out of hazards, two-putt maximum.
Footage and testimonials from the outing seeded the launch of Project Flogton and can be viewed throughout this site or at the Project Flogton YouTube library. Here's a sample of the ideas and strategies that emerged over the day:
- Players who strike the ball well but tend to be a little wild off the tee found that lubricating the driver face straightened them out.
- Players who don't usually hit the ball far improved their distance game by teeing it up in the fairways.
- The 6-foot bump was often enough to get a player out of a bunker. The links-style test course did not have a lot of trees or bushes; players could find relief from a lot of trouble on tree-lined courses.
- Mulligan strategy evolved so that it wasn't always used off the tee, as is more typical in recreational golf, but could be used for chipping or, on a par-3, another try at that birdie putt.
- Players found changing balls could be beneficial. One suggested that Flogton balls come in different colors -- say, red for driving, green for approach, blue for putting.
- One player found the flip cams useful for in-round repairs, because he could see his swing flaws right then and there.
- Flogton does not improve a bad swing or reward a really terrible shot. Really terrible shots are still really terrible, and a whiff is still a whiff.
- Players generally improved their usual scores four or five strokes (a 21 handicapper shot a 42, for instance) -- but not as much as they expected to improve when they first saw the formats. The consensus seemed to be that more familiarity with the formats, options and strategies would produce even better scores next time.
"There seemed to be a pretty high level of enthusiasm, especially in the lesser golfers," said PGA Professional and radio personality John Abendroth. "I think for the lesser golfers, at least for now, the format changes have more impact than the ball or the clubs."
Afterward, the players generally gave high rating to the formats for enhancing their fun and improving their scores.
Equipment that could help them even more? They said, "Bring it on."
What are your ideas for Flogton formats and rules? Conduct your own Project Flogton test, tell us about it, and share your feedback to help create formats and rules.