Saturday, January 19, 2013

Can Crowdfunding Work for Golf?

Imagine being PAID to PLAY two terrible rounds of golf, missing the cut and still walking away with $3M.



Imagine being PAID to PLAY brand spanking new Nike clubs for $250M, and after only 18 holes giving up on them and switching back to a competitor's brand.



Now imagine you are trying to play on the mini tours in the US, living out of your car, flipping burgers to make enough money to PAY to PLAY a tournament where the winnings won't pay the rent.


Something just doesn't seem right.  People used to say that golf was a more financially-fair sport compared to hockey, football, baseball and basketball, because if you didn't play well, you didn't get paid.  Obviously Tiger and Rory don't live by the same "no play, no pay" rules as normal tour players.

Now, I'm not saying they don't deserve the money they make. Golf is a business and equipment manufacturers and tournament sponsors can invest their money any way they like.  But you'd think that there would be more clauses in these contracts to ensure that they get their money's worth.

Golfers have a long history for "giving back" so I think Rory and Tiger should return half the money.  They didn't perform well enough to play 4 days, so they should only get paid for 2. 

In fact, what I'd love to see them do is donate half the money to those who really need it - the struggling mini-tour men and women who have talent, but not the resources and support to take their game to the level needed to compete for the big money.

I've often thought that if I didn't have to work for a living, I would like to run a Crowdfunding Foundation for golfers who aren't born with a platinum putter in their piggies.

I know of a number of foundations in the UK and a Trust Fund in BC, but what about the US?

There are a ton of pro golfers trying to raise money for their dream career.  Donations trickle in for some, but it's still only pennies and it's not leveraged.  A foundation could use social media and micro donations to grow a fund for the collective and loan it to "qualifying" players for their "Big Break".

Imagine if the foundation was also supported by those in the business of golf. What if the Golf Channel/NBC, equipment manufacturers and successful tour players PAID so new pros could PLAY.

The more I think about it, the  more I think it could work.  I would call it the Big Break Golf Foundation.  Has a nice ring to it don't you think?  :)

Golfgal

Image of player with female caddy © Chris Van Lennep | Dreamstime.com

8 comments:

savanna said...

I don't think there is any sport that is financially fair. It's all business, business, business, driven by supply and demand.
Having said that, those guys working their socks off to get onto a major tour do deserve a break and it doesn't matter where it comes from. Could it be done through crowd-funding? A 'long shot' if you ask me but worthy of an effort.

Dave Andrews said...

A noble concept and it could have some promise. As a big fan of the women's pro game, I've seen many young players with potential forced to give up their dream because of a lack of money.
The other problem is the relatively low purses, even on the LPGA. The #100 plyaer on the LPGA in 2012 only made about $50,000. When you subtract about $25,000 in traveling expenses, coaches, caddies, entry fees, etc. it doesn't leave much to live on.

Gerry Wendel said...

Great idea! I say go for it. There's plenty of talent out there (in pretty much any industry or sport) that never gets a chance because they don't have the $$s to gain the exposure they need.

Gayle Moss said...

Thanks so much for your comments Savanna, Dave and Gerry.

It certainly is a long shot, but the more I think about it the more I think it could work with a little help from those who can afford it.

If Tiger and Rory started it with half of their appearance fees this weekend they would not only get great PR (which Tiger could still use) and maybe a tax exemption, they could change the face of golf as we know it. Imagine who might be the next Tiger, Rory, Annika or Lorena. If we started now, those young folks may be representing their countries in 2016.

Cheers
Gayle

Bill Ranson said...

I'm currently running a crowd fund page to raise money for this year. It's tough out there, tougher then people think. I'm playing practicing, teaching all along with taking care of my kids. I'm all for crowdfunding of the 1000's of struggling talented players just trying to pay the bills.

Here is my link:

gofundme.com/BillRansonGolf

good luck to the Pros out there!!

Bill

Peter said...

Hi

We actually run 2 crowdfunding platforms for Sports & Entertainment, ThrillPledge and ThrillCapital. We are working on a similar project at the moment to that which you discuss, it's essentially a fund for young New Zealand Golfers. Happy to speak with you about it If it's of interest send me an email to petermackness@thrillcapital.com

MIklós Breitner said...

It is very likely that 2012 was the year of crowdfunding. As it is getting harder to get loans/capital in traditional way, crowdfunding is gaining momentum. This why I believe equity based crowdfunding (the supporters get in exchange shares of ownership/equity in the company) and reward based crowdfunding (the supporters get tangible products, services in exchange of their financial support; e.g. annual golf course membership for x years) can be viable solutions to many small and mid-sized golf courses. In case of equity based crowdfunding in the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission should lift the current limits on private-equity investments and let companies sell stakes to crowds of investors online (golfbusinessmonitor.com/golf_industry/2012/12/how-to-crowdfund-a-golf-course.html).

Here are some smaller crowdfunding projects from the golf industry:

Help your PGA or any other golf player: http://www.involvedfan.com/golf/. Josh Creel (Cheyenne, Wyoming) and George Zolotas (Florida) are looking for some help.

The Mobile Golfer - they want to develop a golf mobile application: http://www.hackerscentralonline.com/mobile-golfer. (http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-mobile-golfer-app?website_name=themobilegolfer)

Golden Gate Park DGC: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/golden-gate-park-disc-golf-course-beautifcation-phase-4;

Club Catcher - they have already raised 4,189 USD. They are looking for 185,000 USD: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/club-catcher-never-lose-another-golf-club?website_name=theclubcatcher.

Finally, I found an interesting crowdfunding case in Oulu, Finland. The local golf course was built by crowdfunding: http://www.golfbusinessmonitor.com/golf_industry/2013/01/crowdfunding-in-a-finnish-golf-course.html.

Kenny Wilson said...

Your great article gave me an idea and hope to raise money with crowdfunding for our organization.

We have started a non-profit org to support golfers from developing nations make it in the golf industry, from caddies, instructors, and PGA Tour Pros.

We will organize country clubs in affluent areas to adopt a golfer who does not have access to highly competitive golf tournaments and gain experience on that level.

check out our website for more information!

DevelopingGolf.org