Two new golf games are rolling to market

June 14, 2019 04:58 PM

For most dads, playing an entire round of golf, or watching the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this Father's Day weekend might take way too much time. There's always mini-golf or a couple of new golf games you can add to your repertoire.

One was created by two fraternity brothers from the University at Buffalo – Chip Down. The other was created by a family from Selkirk – Bumper Golf.

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"Our goal behind creating it is to get more people involved in the game of golf," said Joseph Ricciardi, CEO of Chip Down on the golf-inspired backyard game. "Here we bring this to the backyard in different party settings, tail-gating, things along that nature."

It combines golf, badminton, darts and horse. The golf ball is replaced with a shuttlecock and the idea is to aim for concentric circles.

"It allows the user not to worry about shanking a golf ball or curving it in the wrong direction, whatever the direction the feathers are pointing in is the direction the projectile's going to go into," said Ricciardi. "So it makes it easy for everyone playing to actually have a fair shot at the game."

Ricciardi and Bernard Cohen were fraternity brothers at SUNY Buffalo and got the entrepreneurial spirit, making prototypes and earning $50,000 in seed funding through several competitions. It sells for $59.99.

We went "through five different product iterations and perfect it, work with manufacturers overseas and get this thing to become an actual product in real life," said Ricciardi.

As for Bumper Golf, Gary Krueger of Selkirk made custom golf clubs through Golfsmith for 20 years, but wanted to find a new way to market a game. Man's best friend helped.

"One day, we were dog-sitting and I forgot to close the basement door and the dog went and sort of tore up my putting green," he told us. So born was a new design that included another favorite game of his, bumper pool. It took about a year to design.

"It's amazing how hard it is to get a golf ball to bounce," Krueger said. "When you golf and hit it off a tree, that's pretty easy to bounce, but when you're hitting it slow," it's another story.

It took two years to patent it. He's sold one to Saratoga Golf & Polo.

"It can help you spot putt and also it goes against golfing etiquette where you can play defense so you can knock the ball away," Krueger said.

His daughter Alaina, who just earned a degree in Physical Therapy from Sage College, is also part of the company whose mission statement includes a key word: "fun."

"It can kind of be a training aid or it can be a fun game for people who might not otherwise be interested in putting and golfing," Alaina said. "And that's been what he said the whole time was we want this to be fun and the minute it doesn't become fun - that's when we're doing something wrong."


WNYT Staff

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