FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Alan Moyer is no Captain Kirk boldly going where no one has gone before.
For one thing, Moyer is the PGA Professional at Cobblestone Golf Course in Kendallville, Ind., rather than a Star Fleet captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
Still, he's taken an old idea and turned it into a good new one. It's called Ultimate Best Ball (UBB for short), and if you have a computer, a smart phone, a tablet or just about any kind of electronic device, and like to play golf, you can play ... and make money ... and get some cool deals.
"This has never been done before," Moyer says. "I've tested it for 18 months at Cobblestone. It doesn't favor any skill level. I've had little old ladies who couldn't break 110 at the top of the leader board. I've had people who played horrible and still won money."
Moyer's idea was simple: "create a game for everyday players at golf courses everywhere."
He decided to do this online, because basically everything is done online except shaving your head (trust us on this). He uses a mobile app so "golfers could do it themselves."
You get the app, create an account, load that account with money (a $10 minimum), and turn in your scores through the app. Any money won would be paid into that account.
Here's how it works:
First, for clarity, Best Ball is a game in which you have a partner. So if you need five strokes on a hole and your partner needs just four strokes, your team score is a four.
As far as Ultimate Best Ball, you input every 18-hole round of golf that you play – and you can play as many rounds per week as you want. You still have to pay the cost of a round.
Participating golf courses are Autumn Ridge, Belle Vista, Bridgewater, Brookwood, Cedar Creek, Cherry Hills and Chestnut Hills.
Let's say 100 other golfers play and input their rounds. You are partnered up with everybody, which means you are part of 99 two-person teams.
Also, it's golfers from the same golf course. The best score each week wins.
"Every course is its own weekly game," Moyer says.
All players get a weekly 18-hole handicap based on "USGA calculations from six random holes (this is known as the modified Peoria handicap system if you're interested – and if you're not). The weekly random holes are determined by Ultimate Best Ball's software.
It's done this way, Moyer says, to "eliminate the sandbaggers who intentionally inflate their handicap" to make them seem worse than they really are.
"You don't know what holes will be determined," Moyer says, "so if you do cheat, you don't know if you're helping or hurting yourself."
Moyer was smart enough to come up with the idea, but not so smart as to create the app. For that he needed help from Xymmetrix, a software company. Combine the app with the website, www.ultimatebestball.com, and you have everything you need to play and win.
"Best ball events have been done in a blind draw before," Moyer says, "but something that pairs up everybody with everybody else has never been done before."
Scores can be inputted any time during the week. On Sunday night the software analyzes all the scores and determines the winners, which are released on Monday morning.
Moyer said with 100 players, you can generate "4,950 team combinations."
"There's no way I could do that by hand. So I created the software that allows me to do that."
Moyer says he's kept track of the Ultimate Best Ball money list at Cobblestone for the last 18 months, involving more than a thousand golfers, and, "the guy who won the most money has a 22 handicap. The next two have single-digit handicaps.
"It does not favor any skill level. I didn't know that would happen."
Moyer has also tested it in Florida.
When he first started Ultimate Best Ball, the entry fee was $5. Most participants were the usual tournament players. To boost numbers, Moyer went to local businesses to see if they would donate products or meals (such as appetizers or pizzas) to participants while reaping the advertising benefits
"I've never had a business tell me no," Moyer says.
Eventually that $5 entry fee was worth $50 in offers, not counting the chance to win money from Ultimate Best Ball each week.
"It went from 10 to 15 percent participation, to 60 percent," Moyer says.
He also created a promotional code and went to local charities and convention and visitor bureaus. If they created an account, they would get 5 percent of everyone's $5 who used that promo code.
That's 25 cents in case you didn't want to do the math.
Individual golfers also get 25 cents for every player they refer to Ultimate Best Ball.
As far as winnings, you can get gift cards from a golf course or a sponsoring business. You can get it in cash, but that could jeopardize your amateur status and might keep you out of USGA sanctioned events.
After 18 months of testing, Moyer launched the site locally in April. The goal is to eventually expand into different areas of the country.
FYI: To get information on Ultimate Best Ball, email firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was written by Pete DiPrimio from The News-Sentinel and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.