By John Strege
ORLANDO -- When the principals in JustOne Golf were doing their research, they learned that 75 percent of golfers confessed to gambling in some form on every round. That in combination with the popularity of hole-in-one prizes typically offered at charity golf tournaments convinced them they had an idea worth pursuing.
The brainchild of Steven Rattner, a co-founder of the leveraged finance company Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette, the JustOne Golf is at the PGA Merchandise Show marketing a means by which golfers will have the opportunity to place a wager on a par 3, with an opportunity to win anything from $20 to $1 million.
"We install a Teeosk on a par 3 on the golf course, along with high definition cameras," principal Tom Lynch said. "It enables the golfer on that par 3 to play a variety of golf games. It could be a pure impulse play. They walk up to the tee and touch the screen, enter their registration and put their credit card in. They can play for as little as $5 or play for amounts above $5.
"Let's say you want to play for $10. You Immediately get a free drink in the clubhouse. it also enables you play our flagstick game. If you hit it within the [length of the] flagstick, you lay the flagstick down and the cameras record that you've done it, and you get a coupon in the pro shop for a $20 credit."
If you play the hole-in-one-game for $10, the payout for an ace is $40,000. "This enables the course to have this every day," Lynch said.
It does not violate any state's gambling laws, Lynch said. "We've done a lot of legal research. This is a game of skill. It's not a game of chance."
The high-definition cameras are similar to those used by Homeland Security and crime protection, Lynch said. Each time, a golfer makes a play, the hole is monitored at a OneGolf facility and the action is taped.
JustOne Golf does not offer the $1 million hole-in-one prize yet, but it is in the plans. The cost to play for $1 million will be $250.