Jon Peterson, general manager of Folsom Lake Kia and Folsom Lake Ford, was teeing up at a charity golf event sponsored by his dealership on July 28 when his cellphone rang. Caller ID showed it was a tournament organizer.
"I knew he was calling because someone had just made a hole-in-one," Peterson said.
For eight years, the dealerships, near Sacramento, Calif., had sponsored charity golf tournaments without anyone ever hitting a hole-in-one. Then, at a May 7 tournament, golfer Allan Ross made the shot. He thought he had won a $66,000 Kia K900 sedan that was displayed prominently at the tee. But what he actually had won was a $25,000 gift certificate -- the amount the hole-in-one insurance policy would pay to the dealership.
The golfer complained, and the controversy hit the news. Reaching a resolution took time, in part because Peterson refused to allow the charity to pay the difference between the insurance amount and the K900. Peterson gave Ross the K900 and ate the cost difference.
The most recent hole-in-one gave the golfer his choice of either a Ford Fusion, a Kia Optima -- both displayed at the winning hole and worth $35,000 -- or an equivalent gift voucher toward the purchase of a different vehicle. This time, the insurance covered the prize, and there were no misunderstandings, Peterson said.
"I will only put the car they're going to win on the hole from now on," Peterson said.
It's been a year of giveaways for Peterson's stores. The dealerships also sponsor a half-court shot at Sacramento Kings NBA games. Two Kings fans have made that shot this year.
Peterson says his stores are sponsoring a golf tournament this month for breast cancer charities and another golf event in September. Have you signed up?