Corrections or additions?

This article by Barbara Fox was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

September 8, 1999. All rights reserved.

Golf Gone Wrong? Be Prepared

If you stage a golf tournament for your charity or trade

group, you typically offer the participants a day of golf, a few


a good feeling from helping the charity — and a shot at some kind

of prize. If you have a hole-in-one contest, it might be a very big

prize, sometimes cash, sometimes a car. To avoid sleepless nights,

you buy hole-in-one insurance.

That seems easy enough, but apparently it’s not. Take the case of

the trade group that held a tournament at the Cranbury Golf Club in

May. One player thought he had won a Cadillac with his hole-in-one

on the seventh hole.

The judges were at the seventh hole, the advertisements referred to

the seventh hole, and the contestants were teeing off at the seventh

hole. The competitive distance (the blue tee) on that hole is 163

yards, a not impossible feat. But after the judges had given out the

keys to the Cadillac, the organizers realized that the hole-in-one

insurance had been written for the fifth hole. The blue tee distance

on the fifth hole is 211 yards — a nearly impossible feat.

The winner, a Long Island resident, wants to keep his Cadillac and,

according to an Associated Press story on August 18, is suing the

business association, the bank that sponsored the event, and the


dealership. He is not suing Cranbury Golf Club because — in a

departure from the usual — the club was not involved in the


Nick Mongello is representing the association, and Josef

Saloman is the attorney for the disgruntled golfer.

The whole mess is an object lesson in how not to plan an event.

Frank P. Licato, who played in the tournament, has an independent


agency in South Plainfield (908-757-5500) and is the president of

the Central Jersey Chamber of Commerce. "It was a shotgun


he says, "and I remember two people were riding around in a cart

yelling that we got a hole-in-one."

Licato did not write this tournament’s hole-in-one policy but reveals

that such premiums can run from $100 to thousands of dollars,


on the cost of the prize, the number of golfers, and the yardage at

the hole. Only holes with a par three are used for the hole-in-one

contests. If the hole is a par four, one assumes, no one would ever

sink it in one stroke.

You pay the same, whether you buy the policy through an agent or


from an underwriter, such as Hole in One International in Reno, Nevada

(800-827-2249). Licato says that when he writes a policy, he makes

sure it works: "I give a copy to the golf pro and make sure that

everybody adheres to the conditions."

The conditions vary according to the cost of the prize. At a minimum,

the tournament must provide an official witness, over the age of 21,

and requirements ratchet up from there:

The witness must not be a player in the tournament.

The witness must be on the green to watch the ball plop into

the hall.

The witness must be a golf pro.

For the most expensive prizes, you will need to station someone

on the green to videotape the swing and the ball rolling into the

hole, then swear an affidavit that it was the same swing. Some


reserve the right to give the golf pro a polygraph test.

Another way to offer prizes, says Bob Larkin, is to go to an

independent service such as the Tournament Connection, a division

of Somerton Springs, based in Pennsylvania but with a pro shop and

driving range on Quakerbridge Road. Larkin works at Cylogix at 14

Washington Road, and when his fellow employees stage golf tournaments

he acts as liaison to Frank Umani of the Tournament Connection


For a fee of $1.35 per person, Umani provides tee packages and donates

prizes. For instance, if 24 to 60 golfers are playing, the package

includes opportunities for two hole-in-one prizes (a getaway weekend

and a set of clubs) plus general prizes: two clubs, some gift


and a discount on other items purchased at a Somerton Springs pro

shop. Among the requirements for the hole-in-one prize: the hole must

be longer than 150 yards.

If this account has whetted your appetite for golf competitions, here

are some of the fall tourneys. Go to U.S. 1’s website,

for more. And since every golfer downplays his or her own skill, use

this quip from Licato when someone asks you about your handicap:


shoot in the low 70s — and if it gets any colder I quit."

Saint Peter’s University Hospital, Fiddler’s Elbow Country

Club, Bedminster, 732-745-8542. Golf and doubles tennis. Monday,

September 13, 7:30 a.m.

Biotechnology Council of New Jersey, Fairmount Country

Club, Chatham, 609-890-3185. Golf and tennis outing, $250 for golf,

$195 for tennis, $80 for picnic buffet. Awards dinner with Jeff

Swarz, analyst, Eagle Partners, and Caroline Copithorne,

analyst, Prudential. Monday, September 13, 8:30 a.m.

Carrier Clinic, Cherry Valley Country Club, Skillman,

908-281-1460. Women’s outing — nine holes of golf, therapeutic

massage, kick-boxing exercise, and a manicure. $125 full day; $50

luncheon. Tuesday, September 14, 8 a.m.

Lawrenceville Main Street Project, Lawrenceville School,

609-896-2978. Golf scramble ($75) and tennis clinic ($35), plus picnic

only, $15 Friday, September 17, 1 p.m.

American Repertory Ballet & Princeton Ballet School,


Brook Club, 732-249-1254. Golf ($250), round robin tennis ($125),

lunch, cocktails, buffet dinner. Hole in One sponsor is Saturn of

Bordentown. Tuesday, September 21, 10:30 a.m.

Princeton Chamber, Bedens Brook Club, 609-520-1776. Golf

($250), tennis ($125), $65 for dinner. Tuesday, September 28, 11


New Jersey Bankers Association, Forsgate, 609-924-5550.

A golf outing preceding a consumer credit conference, $130 for golf

only. Thursday, September 30, 7 a.m.

St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton Country Club,


Golf ($350), tennis ($150). Hole-in-one prize is a Lexus. Monday,

October 4, 12:30 p.m. .

Association for Advancement of Mental Health, Cherry


Country Club, 609-452-2088. Golf, $250. Tuesday, October 5, 10:45


Central Jersey Builders Association, Mountainview Golf

Course, 732-968-4744. Golf, $135. Tuesday, October 5, 11 a.m.

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