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UNI professor kickstarts golf game invention

July 8, 2018

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — For Austin Maginnis, it’s all fun and games. And it’s a lot of work.

For a year he’s been working to find just the right combination of businesses to get his invention off the ground.

Three years ago, Maginnis designed the Flop Shot, a backyard golf chipping game similar to a bean bag toss game. After building a crude prototype, he realized the game could be both.

“It’s the ultimate backyard game,” said Maginnis, a construction management professor at the University of Northern Iowa.

On the belief others will think so too, he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for production.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports that Maginnis, a 30-year-old Mason City native, got the idea after years playing a nine-hole golf course in Nora Springs. After so long, the course became too familiar, he said, so he and his buddies would have chipping and putting contests after playing a round.

Knowing he was on to something, he had a more streamlined prototype 3D-printed at TechWorks in Waterloo and patented the Flop Shot in 2015. Within a month Maginnis received an offer from a company in New York. The company would do all of the leg work — finding a manufacturer, marketing, the works — and Maginnis would get 3 percent of the royalties.

That company sat on the project for a year and half, Maginnis said, its interest distracted by the manufacture of suddenly everywhere fidget spinners.

Maginnis took back his Flop Shot and took matters into his own hands.

“Since this time last year I’ve been sourcing” manufacturers, marketing firms, packaging companies and more to get the Flop Shot up and chipping. “It’s been a grind.”

Save for manufacturing, help getting the product in the backyards of consumers will come from local firms, including Mudd Advertising, Impact Marketing, Around the Corner Productions and others.

Maginnis’ degree in construction engineering from Iowa State University came in handy in building the Flop Shot. No stone was left unturned — slope, surface, materials and production processes have been considered to the Nth degree.

“This product is ready to hit the streets,” Maginnis said. “Ideally, this is a Christmas 2018 run.”

But first, Maginnis needs the capital.

Money for the prototypes came from his own pocket.

“This project hasn’t been cheap. I do a lot of side hustles,” he said.

He’s got a construction business on the side and is the goalie coach for Waterloo youth hockey teams.

Somewhere in between, he’s working on a master’s degree in business administration and is a husband and a father.

“It’s pretty crazy,” he said, smiling.

He hopes to raise $50,000 in his 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

“Everything is ready to go. I just need the backing,” he said.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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