Area Golf: Hole-in-One Contest to Hit 3 Local Courses – Brainerd Dispatch

The odds of a hole-in-one are 12,500 to 1 according to

If a golfer is lucky enough to hit an ace on three courses in the area, they could win some serious cash prizes.

James Leary is the COO of SmartPin which is based in Lake Elmo and a national hole-in-one competition and closest to the pin.

SmartPin technology uses a camera that is integrated and placed in a standard flag.

Holes where SmartPin technology is used in the area are hole #7 on the lakes at The Pines at Grand View Lodge, hole #2 at The Preserve at Grand View Lodge and one hole at Gravel Pit Golf.

The contest runs throughout the fall season and will start again in the spring.
How the contest works is as follows: when a golfer plays a course with a SmartPin hole, they have the option, through the SmartPin app on their phone, to turn on the cameras for a fee of $5 per shot.

If a golfer hits a hole-in-one and is the only ace of the day, they win at least a $10,000 jackpot. If no one wins, the jackpot increases. If there are multiple Aces, the pot is split.

“It’s like a powerball for golf,” Leary said. “Just instead of having to buy a ticket, you just have to throw it in the hole.”

Leary said a consolation prize is called the gimmie game in which any golfer who hits their tee shot inside the 6-foot-wide orange circle, which is digitally drawn on the SmartPin app, wins a $250 gift card for the golf course shop. Like the hole-in-one contest, if there are multiple gimme game winners, the $250 is split equally.

“What’s fun and engaging is that this is a national competition,” Leary said. “Right now we’re based in Minnesota and we only have a handful in operation, but as we continue to grow, that jackpot will continue to grow exponentially. And one day someone could make a hole-in-one at The Pines or The Preserve and it could be worth up to $50,000.

When Leary was director of golf at the Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo, he was approached with the SmartPin idea and came on board.

“We spent a year developing the prototype and then filed a pending US patent application,” Leary said. “We then spent the next year through the pandemic doing field testing and getting feedback. Then this year we tested the Gimme game and the beauty is that the pin can detect if the ball is in the hole or close to it and text me from anywhere in the world and I can see the video 90 seconds later to check it out.

Currently, SmartPin is installed on five courses nationwide, including three in the Lake District. The other courses are Black Sand Golf Course in Beulah, ND, and Timber Creek Golf Course in Watertown. They are configured to work in 10 states.

Besides money, if a golfer hits a hole-in-one via SmartPin, they will receive a video sent to them to relive the experience for free.

Leary added that for a limited time, there is a free local contest for golfers playing at any of the area courses for a grand prize of $1,000.

Chuck Klecatsky, director of golf at Gravel Pit Golf, said having SmartPin on his golf course will bring in more business.

“We’ve known them for a few years now,” Klecatsky said. “We saw them at a sectional event a few years ago and love the technology and the chance to hit an ace and win a prize. We think it fits well with our par 3 golf course.

“At the moment we are going to try it on one hole and in the future we might try several holes. Once people start to get to grips with the technology and the experience, we think it could attract customers . »

CONRAD ENGSTROM can be reached at 218-855-5861 or [email protected] Follow on Twitter at