What: A tee-time auction Web
Who: Mike Castelluccio, Sean Cripe, John Martin and Mike Schaefer of GolfUS.com
Where: Avon, Indiana
When: Started in 2000
In basic terms, GolfUS.com could be considered the eBay of tee times. Back when Mike Schaefer, 37, and John Martin, 35, publishers of the Indiana Golf and Travel Guide, met Web designers Mike Castelluccio, 28, and Sean Cripe, 30, at a golf show in Indianapolis, the idea to auction off tee times struck these golf enthusiasts as a potential business concept. By the end of the show, the four would-be entrepreneurs had decided to join creative forces and launch GolfUS.com.
It works like this: The partners design and host high-end Web sites for golf courses in the Midwest in exchange for tee times that are then put up for auction on the GolfUS.com website. And, judging from the high bidding rate, the concept is a formula for success. "Probably 98 percent of the auctions sell," says Schaefer.
It's a win-win situation for everyone involved: Golfers get tee times for up to 50 to 70 percent off regular prices, golf courses get their sites designed and hosted without spending extra money, and GolfUS.com gets to keep the revenue from auction sales. And with almost 50 more golf courses expected to come on board this year, 2002 sales are projected to exceed $650,000.