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In the company's most recent patent, it was described as "a tethered ball toss game in which a number of tethered balls arranged at both ends of a series of cords and secured to the ends of the cords by knots are tossed from a prescribed distance toward a number of horizontal bars." This is one in a long string of patents on the topic. The game is played by throwing a bola of two golf balls connected with a rope at a ladder type structure. The top rung is worth 3 points (called a Flingy Pongy), the middle rung is worth 2 points and the bottom rung is worth 1 point, with the goal of the game being to get exactly (and not over) 21 points.
Matt Peterson discovered the game on campgrounds in the early 1990s and believes it probably originated in such locations. Others speculate that the bola is a stand-in for a live snake, which cowboys in the western United States or caballeros in Mexico used to throw at fences or branches for points.
A "ball and ladder game" had been patented in 2001 by Pennsylvanian Robert G. Reid, a postman who had played the game with his family for decades before deciding to file for patent in November, 1999. Reid sold his patent to Ladder Golf LLC, recorded in the patent office in March 2005, and the company began manufacturing the game. The company sponsored a tournament in San Diego in April, 2005, featuring 32 teams.
Although the title is a registered trademark in the United States by Ladder Golf, LLC., the term is also sometimes used generally to describe the game. The term has also been utilized to describe a variant on traditional golf in which the lawn is marked to resemble a ladder, about 40 or 50 feet long, with a putting hole placed at the ladder's end. Competitors attempt to putt the ball into the hole with the fewest number of strokes, neither straying beyond the side lines of the ladder nor exceeding a pair of rungs in a single stroke.
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