Karis: A hole-in-one is a once in a lifetime experience for a golfer–if you’re lucky. Now, one startup wants to turn that luck into cold hard cash by letting golf courses offer payments as high as $25K for a hole-in-one.
Jim: Digital Golf Technologies helps golf courses offer fully automated hole-in-one contest as a way to generate additional revenue and give golfers some added excitement on the course.
DGT, which launched in 2015 and is founded by Redbox founder and former CEO Gregg Kaplan, currently works with around 150 golf courses across the US that install the startup’s HD cameras and ball tracking technology at one of their par 3 holes. Players pay an additional $5 for a chance at $10K, or $10 for a $20K payout. There’s flexibility in the pricing model, CEO Mike Jakob said, and some courses build the fee into the cost of the round so all players are eligible.
Karis: Despite its popularity among its most avid fans, the golf industry in general has been flat over the last few years. The number of US golfers playing traditional courses has been stagnant–about 25 million people a year–over the last five years, and the US golf equipment totaled $2.55 billion in 2015, down 3% from the year before.
DGT sees its technology as a way for courses to generate new revenue, recapture some of the casual fans, and capitalize on some of the wagering that’s happening between golfers on the fairway already.
To grow its team and get its tech in more courses, DGT just raised $4M from VC firms including Modjule, MATH Venture Partners, Hyde Park Venture Partners and other investors. DGT plans to add more features to its gameplay, allowing for closest-to-the-pin, longest drive, and other contests courses can offer at their holes. [More here]