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ProUKnow.com: Natalie Sheary, Michelle Shin Launch Campaigns on New Golf Crowdfunding Site

You've probably heard of "crowdfunding" sites, such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe. Entrepreneurs can post their business ideas on such sites and solicit donations to help fund start-ups or product research and development.

And some pro golfers have tried such generic crowdfunding websites. But wouldn't it be better if there was a site designed specifically for golfers?

Now there is. It's called ProUKnow.com, and Natalie Sheary (above) and Michelle Shin (right) are two of the first golfers giving it a try. You might say Sheary and Shin will serve as test cases for the concept.

A small percentage of aspiring pro golfers come out on tour backed by big-dollar sponsorship deals and great fanfare. That's not the case for most golfers, however, many of whom start on developmental tours and work their way up. They face travel expenses, lodging, food costs, caddie costs (if they can afford to pay a caddie at all), tournament entry fees. Expenses can run up to $75,000 a year just to try to establish yourself in the game.

Traditionally, golfers in need of expense money have essentially sold shares in themselves to a "syndicate" of supporters. But whether we're talking sponsorship money or selling shares, money is far harder to come by for female golfers than for male (and don't even get me started on the colossal discrepancy in prize money ...)

So ProUKnow.com, if it survives and thrives, can help golfers (both men and women) find the funds they need to chase the dream.

As I write this, there are four golfers who've created crowdfunding campaigns on ProUKnow, including Sheary and Shin. It's appropriate that these two are going first on ProUKnow, since they are both Wake Forest grads.

It works this way: You visit the player's page on ProUKnow and read their pitch. You can contribute any amount you want (starting with a minimum of $20), but there are also specific contribution levels that will get you rewards. Rewards range from t-shirts and custom hats to Bluetooth speakers or a golf lesson with the player you are supporting. (Rewards differ from golfer to golfer.) Companies can also get logos placed on a golfer's bag or golf shirts. But again, you don't have to contribute a large amount; any contribution is welcomed and appreciated.

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