A great way to add value to your tournament packages is to offer a couple of hole-in-one contest options.

Special contests can add to the golfers’ enjoyment during a tournament and if a lucky golfer hits that “once in a lifetime” shot, the excitement level of the entire event will go through the roof. Everyone at the course will be talking about it and your local paper may even run a story on it. However, this situation could take a terrible turn for the worse and all of the excitement could come crashing down on top of you if there’s a problem with your hole-in-one insurance. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you:

Step 1: Make sure that you are working with a legitimate hole-in-one company.

How long a company has been around and their reputation is a good marker to start with, but the most important aspect to look into is if they are properly underwritten. Proper underwriting is something that isn’t usually asked about because people often assume that all hole-in-one coverage is the same. Check your company’s website to see if they list an underwriter or if they refer to their underwriter as being “A+” rated but don’t actually give a name. If a hole-in-one company doesn’t have enough confidence in an underwriter to list them on their website, should you have confidence to book your hole-in-one insurance through them?

Step 2: Confirm that your coverage is 100% underwritten.

Next, you need to make sure that your insurance is underwritten, too. You may assume that, but there are some companies that use an umbrella policy. This policy will kick in at a certain value, say $50,000, but up until that value your policy is not underwritten by anyone. Unless you ask if 100% of YOUR contract is underwritten by a reliable company, you still have to worry.

Companies that take advantage of these loopholes may only refer to their service as hole-in-one coverage and never actually mention the word “insurance”. Believe it or not, some companies will actually list in the contract that “this is not an insurance policy” and “you are not purchasing hole-in-one insurance”. If you don’t confirm that you are purchasing hole-in-one insurance then you are leaving yourself exposed to the risk of paying out a large value prize on your own.

Step 3: Make sure to look over ALL of the tournament and contest specifics.

When you are setting up your contract be sure to confirm the details of your hole-in-one insurance. Having the correct tournament name is important if you are having multiple events or regular play happening on the same day at your course. Check the date or dates of the tournament. That’s especially important if it’s a multi-day event but the hole-in-one-contest is only occurring on one of those days (i.e. Day 3 of a Member Guest Tournament). Confirm the witness requirements for each contest hole and who will be providing those people on the day of the event.

Make sure that the main prize hole selected is referring to the correct hole at the golf course. This is particularly important if you are at a 27-hole facility or if you switched the routing of your course recently. Confirm the yardage requirements for the main prize hole for both men and women. Women may only be allowed to play 15 yards shorter than the men or they may be allowed to play up to a certain yardage. Most companies will provide bonus hole-in-one prizes on the remaining par-3 holes and it is important to discuss those yardage requirements as well.

When you verify the total number of golfers for your insurance policy, be sure to ask the tournament if there are any professionals playing. Most contracts will be written to cover amateurs only, but you do have the option of including any club or tour pros that may be playing for an additional fee. The total number of shots allowed will usually have a variance built in to account for any last minute changes, and knowing that variance is important to assure every golfer in the event is covered.

Step 4: Get a copy of the signed, countersigned, and paid contract.

If you are setting up the insurance yourself this is an easy step to complete. If the tournament organizer is setting it up, then the golf course should require a copy of their contract to assure that proper insurance is in place. When you have their contract in hand you will be able to double check if everything we covered in step three is correct. The hole-in-one company’s underwriter and policy number should be on the contract as well, making it easy for you to confirm that your tournament is working with a legitimate company. Even if it wasn’t you who arranged everything, it is still your reputation on the line if the company doesn’t pay out the winner.

This is a lot of information! Is it worth my time to have hole-in-one contests?

Yes. Hole-in-one contests increase excitement to an event, are proven to raise participation numbers, and increase your tournament revenue. As long as you have golf tournaments at your golf course, organizers are going to ask about having hole-in-one contests. As PGA Professionals, we are looked to as experts in the industry, including tournament operations and knowledge about hole-in-one insurance. If you take the time to ask the right questions the first time, you can protect yourself for every event that follows.

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