Michael Alt thought of it during a round of golf. During a local tournament, actually.
Alt was in the midst of a tournament he learned about at the last minute, despite the fact he had played in that event the past three years. He had to scramble (no pun intended) to get a foursome together.
"When I got there, it was just a low turnout — about 40 people," Alt, 44, added.
He wanted — needed — a way that he and other golf enthusiasts could find out about upcoming local golf events.
So came up with the idea for www.ultimatefoursome.com, an easy and inexpensive — actually free — way to search for amateur golf tournaments and connect with other players, not only in the Tampa Bay area, but throughout Florida.
"Really what we're tying to do is save trees," said Alt, laughing.
"The general concept that tourney organizers have is to make fliers and pass them out," explained Alt, who owns All Sports and Sales Marketing, which publishes local magazines. "We wanted to help get the word out to golfers to know what's going on and where they can play. It's a way to let them know, electronically, about tournament events — because those have great causes and we want those tourneys filled."
Alt, who is based out of the town of Hernando in Citrus County, and his business partner, Tod Jeffers, 41, who is based in New Port Richey, are both avid golfers with 13 and eight handicaps, respectively.
After six months of development, the site went live April 1. Alt and Jeffers researched similar sites to develop a site that would be useful for golfers.
When they register with the Web site, members create a profile with their age, handicap, strengths and weaknesses on the course and preferences on where they like to play. Providing that information allows members to find similar golfers to play with or create a team for a tourney.
For now, registration is free. Alt said once the site has been fully operational for about a year, they'll probably charge an annual $20 fee for members, which is cheaper than similar sites such as www.golf link.com, which is $50 per year.
"We're not out to become millionaires," he said.
Any golf course manager or tourney organizer can post a tournament or event. Members can search events by location, date or even the type of tourney.
"I do like to play in a lot of tournaments," said Tampa resident Mike Kosto, a member of the site. "It can be hard to find them without calling every course, but the Web site lists them. What I really like about it is I can find people to play with. The profiles can help you make a good foursome."
Alt and Jeffers are constantly working on the site, which they say will list every course in the country by the end of the year. Already people in other states can look up golfers and events in their states, too.
"Say you're going to another state on vacation or something," said Jeremy Miller, owner of 19th Hole Entertainment, which organizes tournaments and weekly radio shows and uses the site to list events. "You can see if there's golf going on there or even use it to check golf courses in that area."
Golfers can scour the site for tourneys, courses and other golfers, and even sign up for the weekly newsletter. Every Wednesday, the site e-mails local events to golfers according to their preferences.
"It's nice to see my tournaments up there on a regular basis until it happens," Miller said.
Alt can relate.
"I love the networking part of it," Alt said. "You can find them in your area or nearby and then play with them, maybe even make the perfect team to win a tournament. That is the name of the site, after all."
Community Sports Editor Mike Camunas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 544-1771.