SmartPin Hits The Jackpot

By Rhett Arens







Get ready to cash in the next time you cash it! Ace Golf Technologies LLC is launching its SmartPin and SmartPin Progressive Hole-In-One Jackpot nationwide on July 1. Make a hole in one and you may win enough cash to buy your golf buddies drinks for days. Install a SmartPin at your facility and share in the new top-line revenue generated.

Golf, like all sports, is looking to add excitement and build new engagement with players and course operators—the new “entertainment” aspect of the sport is undeniable. With respect to the history and foundations of the game, technology brings opportunities and SmartPin is a perfect example of blending applied science to skill with an end-result that will have players setting their alarms to get up and back to the course.

SmartPin was developed by ACE Golf Technologies (AGT), which was founded by a group of Minnesota based golf industry veterans and enthusiasts along with a healthy dose of millennial, high-tech savvy. SmartPin has turned the tables where instead of you watching that arcing shot approach the pin from the tee box, the pin is actually watching your ball you. This has tremendous ramifications for pumping some fun into those par 3s. The propriety technology records, tracks, captures and autonomously verifies a golf shot from the perspective of a flagstick. Who knew surveillance could be so fun?

As with most of today’s advancements things start with an app. The SmartPin is powered by an app developed by Apparation, LLC called Ace App. It runs on the web and can be accessed from a smartphone or any any device with internet access. There are no downloads and required data is automatically updated, making golfer interaction efficient and user friendly. The flagsticks themselves include a smartly configured components package into a sleek pin design that includes: four wide-field view cameras for 360 degree visibility at 1080 HD resolution; an 8-core multi-processor for real-time video encoding with A.I. ball detection; a multi-carrier 4G network connectivity and high capacity batteries for all-day, continuous use. Modifications for no-touch protocol are also available. In a nutshell all of this technology and connectivity creates a nationwide SmartPin Progressive Hole-In-One Jackpot! This is where the fun begins.


Imagine courses all across the country, and eventually the world, pooling antes that build to significant jackpots and then watching the payout from anywhere your phone has a signal. Should there be more than one hole in one recorded in a single day those winnings will be split equally. Automatic emails will go out as subscribed via social media to the participating golfers. Those posts will be synchronized across Facebook, Instagram, and AGT’s YouTube channel. Posts will include announcing new partner facilities, celebrating jackpot payouts, and other exciting updates. All of this post sharing with the intent of increasing participation by highlighting the increasing jackpot amount in real-time. Given today’s trend towards high-tech carts and a healthy appetite for on-course electronics, the new SmartPin concept should dovetail nicely into today’s well-connected foursomes.

The SmartPin also generates new opportunities for the golf courses and to insure these objectives are met, AGT CEO Jim Leary is overseeing the strategic marketing and rollout. Jim’s experience as a golf professional coupled with an extensive network of golf industry professional’s puts him in a strong position to bring AGT’s flagship product to market. Leary’s broad background, which includes working in multiple geographic regions (Midwest, East Coast, Southeast), general manager at the Royal Club during renovation and the first year of operation, along with serving on the boards of the South Florida Section of the PGA and the Penn State University PGM Alumni Association, brings a wealth of front-line knowledge to the AGT team.

Jim sums up his expectations like this, “The SmartPin National Progressive Hole-In-One Jackpot adds excitement to every round of golf by connecting golfers across the country. As the Jackpot grows, so too will the anticipation for the next payout. A SmartPin Ace provides a golfer with a permanent video reminder of the occasion and the jackpot payout will certainly ease the burden of buying post round drinks. Thankfully, tradition doesn’t necessitate you buying drinks for SmartPin golfers across the country… at least not yet!”

Hole-in-one verification is a primary focus through the first 12 months of the new product launch. SmartPin will continue to enhance capabilities and develop additional revenue opportunities for the course businesses. Initial ideas like a National Closest-To-The-Pin Contest Qualifier where SmartPin has the ability to measure the distance a ball comes to rest from the hole is one. Another is a National Shootout where social networking is leveraged to generate interest and participation both in the pro shop and at those par 3s. Of course there is the souvenir video, and who doesn’t want a video of their own personal, against all-odds moment? There is also the potential for standalone contests at sponsored events being hosted by individual facilities. This is another course management opportunity to drive excitement and revenue around a given hole or event. Down the road corporate partnerships and advertisements can be integrated into the network of SmartPin users to grow strategic partnerships, present branding opportunities and promote additional income streams. As the SmartPin business model is self-funding, there is no need for courses to purchase hole-in-one insurance.  


Beginning on July 1 this year, a start-up SmartPin Progressive Hole-In-One Jackpot of $10,000 kicks things off and will be in-waiting for those patrons playing at the first wave of participating courses. Those phase-one installations are underway and will primarily be located in the Midwest and Florida. It’s not hard to imagine the ante growing quickly and eventually being paid out with winners announced, videos shared, smack talk engaged and smiles all-around. For a $5 entry fee, that is a big bundle of excitement. You’ve not only hit the jar, you’ve hit the jackpot.