Man Wins $25k But Never Receives The Money

Back in January, Herbert Hawks made a hole-in-one on a golf simulator at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, and he won $25,000. (You can watch the winning shot here.) WBAL TV reports that as of late July he has yet to see the prize money, and every person or company the TV station has contacted passes the blame on to someone else. At the bottom of the list is Golf Marketing Worldwide, a company that insures hole-in-one contests and has a history of not paying out on contests and/or doing business in states where the company doesn’t have a license.

Here’s the line of blame as tracked down by WBAL:

  1. Maryland State Fairgrounds said they only rented the space.
  2. Contest sponsor Recreations Unlimited said they were unaware the payment hadn’t been made; a spokesman for the company said it “was out of his hands.”
  3. The company that brought the golf simulator to the state, World Golf Center of Orlando, Florida, “claimed it is having difficulty getting the insurance company that backed the contest to make the payment” even though all requirements have been met.
  4. Kevin Kolenda, CEO of the insurance company called both, and Golf Marketing Worldwide, says not all requirements have been met.

WBAL writes that they “discovered Kalenda and the company haven’t always paid as promised. Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon and other states issued cease and desist orders, claiming they were not licensed to sell insurance in those states.” That got us curious about Kalenda and his company, so we did a quick search on Google to see what we could dig up. This 2002 article from a Connecticut business journal shows that Golf Marketing Worldwide has done this before:

Both the [Connecticut] Insurance Department and the state attorney general received complaints in 1995 that accused Golf Marketing of not paying when contestants sunk their shots.

In May 2000, Woody Harford sunk a 100-foot putt in New York City’s Central Park for $1 million at the launch party for the now defunct Maximum Golf magazine.

Golf Marketing disputes the logistics of the shot, and did not pay Harford his prize.

“Man Wins $25K Contest; Insurance Doesn’t Pay” [WBAL Baltimore] (Thanks to Stanton!)

“Golf insurer happy with ‘minimal’ fine” [AllBusiness]