Most golfers are familiar with the moment when a friendly round becomes an arithmetic test.
The final putts have dropped. Time to tally up the damage. Scores. Skins. Presses. Props. An accurate accounting of who owes what to whom.
On top of crunching numbers, you’re trying to collect payments — busywork better suited to a banker or bookkeeper.
Matt Rum and Thomas Reinholm had had enough.
The breaking point for them came in 2019, after a four-ball match with buddies in Northern California.
“It was one of those really engaging rounds, where the match was back and forth with different presses and side action that all came down to the last hole,” Rum says. “We were just coming off a high of competing and now we’re trying to do all the accounting and bet settling and it got us thinking, ‘There has got to be a better way to do this all.’”
But after scouring the market, they concluded that there wasn’t. Though the Apple Store was filled with scorekeeping apps that could tell you where you stood throughout a match, none of the technology enabled payments, too. This was a sector Rum and Reinholm knew plenty about, having both spent the past five years working for Block, the payments platform company formerly known as Square.
“Our first thought wasn’t to turn this into a business,” Reinholm said. “But when we realized no one had really solved the problem, we thought, OK, let’s try to solve it ourselves.”
Last fall Rum, quit his job. Reinholm followed suit a few months later, and the two joined forces on their new venture, which is now ready for public consumption.
LoopGolf launched this week.
True to Rum and Reinholm’s intent, the technology marries the number-crunching power of a scorekeeping app with payment capabilities of cash apps such as Venmo and PayPal. Once you download the app and link it to a debit card, you’re good to play a match with others who have done the same. Through LoopGolf, you can send invites and establish stakes (for now, the minimum bet is $10; the maximum is $1,000), so that everything is set when you step to the first tee. Because the app also calls for players to input their official handicap index, you know where everyone is stroking, too. At the end of the match, all the debts get settled automatically.
It’s a LoopGolf motto, Rum says: “Everybody pays.”
In this early phase, match-play is the only format available on LoopGolf. But Rum and Reinholm plan to add more games and functions: Skins, 9-point, Animal, you name it.
“We’re really going to take our cues from our users,” Rum says.
The long-term goal, and the larger challenge, is to build a robust LoopGolf community through which users around the country could connect for matches and other golf-related activities and entertainment. Among the features Rum and Reinholm hope to add is third-party wagering, allowing a user stuck at the office to wager on friends out on the course (the legalities of this would need to be sorted).
Ultimately, the duo envision LoopGolf as a virtual golf wallet for spends ranging from preferred tee times and apparel drops to tournaments and other special events. Another down-the-road ambition is to link to sports books, with LoopGolf as a conduit for wagering on professional competitions.
“There are so many possibilities,” Rum says. “But we’re also very cognizant of not creating a lot of noise and clutter, which means keeping the design simple, easy and intuitive.”
You can download the LoopGolf app here.
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