Actually, I forgot about this doozy of a grow-the-game program, too.
Al was hatched in high-profile fashion eight years ago when former CEO Scott McNealy and friends appeared at the PGA Show, followed by a media tour to promote this game savior—including a lively episode of Talkin’ Golf with Rod Morri and yours truly debating McNealy.
I’d blissfully forgotten about this grow-the-game initiative until seeing it mentioned in this Golfweek item on McNealy hosting a President Trump fundraiser.
The group behind Flogton (Notgolf backwards) wanted to sell you non-conforming equipment to make the game more accessible. They believed excessive regulation by the USGA was stifling growth.
Some of their ideas sound incredibly absurd just eight years later and in a world more open-minded to distance regulation:
Probably the best aid right now is a low-friction face, created by either lubricating the face of the club and ball or by applying a stick-on face to the driver. By simply reducing the face/ball friction, you can reduce slices and hooks by over 50 percent.
Ah, a lubricant. Why didn’t I think of that?
Flogton has test wedges that increase spin 100 percent, just by improving the grooves and adding friction-inducing surfaces. With new, soft-but-durable-skin balls, we believe we can give “the rest of us” the ability to stop a well-hit ball on the green just like the pros.
The entire push faded fast. Which should be an important reminder for the governing bodies this fall when issuing their distance report: golfers want to play a version of the game in line with the traditional golf as we know it. The majority value rules to protect a reward for skill.
Flogton failed because the founders were attempting to profit off the game and blow a hole in the rules for a buck. Golfers, or aspiring ones, were not attracted to a dumbed-down, Al Czervik-friendly version of the sport.
It’s heartening to know something so short-sighted was a failure. It’s even more heartening that just eight years later, the array of “solutions” praised at the time no longer seem welcome now that so many more realize the game’s issues have more to do with time and cost than with ease of play.
So where is McNealy’s in 2019?
When you want to read about flogton from the AltGolf.org site it has vanished. Even the domain is now available, however, given the rise of the Alt Right, here’s guessing no one is in a hurry to claim this URL: