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Unisys scores $8.5 million Australian golf contract.

BLUE BELL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 13, 1996--Unisys Corp. Wednesday announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Australian Golf Union (AGU) to introduce a national computerized handicapping system for amateur golf.

The contract is valued at over $8.5 million. A world first, the innovative system -- called GOLF Link -- will connect Australia's 1,600 golf clubs and their members through a central computer system.

The system will be based around a GOLF Link plastic swipe card and will use terminals with attached swipe card readers, existing club facilities and a Unisys ClearPath SMP61000 symmetric multiprocessor computer system to manage the handicapping details of Australia's 500,000 men and women golfers.

Under the GOLF Link system, every club golfer in Australia will be issued a GOLF Link card that can be used to verify membership, confirm handicaps and enter competitions through the use of computer terminals.

Unisys will design and operate the network, write the software and implement the database system. The implementation of the GOLF Link system through 1,600 clubs is expected to take 18 months and will commence with the installation of hardware early in 1997, with the first clubs coming on line in June.

Dr. Peter Davies, president of the AGU, said that the system would revolutionize amateur golf in Australia. "GOLF Link takes golf into the 21st century with a sophisticated, accurate and consistent handicapping system that will benefit all amateur golfers," he stated.

"The beauty of GOLF Link is that it provides Australian golf with a uniform handicapping system at minimal cost to the golfing community. The Australian handicap will be recognized throughout the country and means that all golfers in this country can compete against each other with equitable handicaps."

GOLF Link allows for instant handicap verification. A player's up-to-date handicap can be accessed at any time from any club in Australia by the player's simply swiping his or her card through the terminal.

"Unisys work with the AGU is evidence of our commitment to helping Unisys clients better serve their own customers. Through enabling technologies, we are helping the AGU enhance the consumer convenience of its handicapping system," said Bob Wotherspoon, marketing director, Unisys Australia.

Under the agreement, Unisys will act as a platinum sponsor of the Australian Open until 2001. As part of the platinum sponsorship package, Unisys will provide on-course scoring for the Australian Open, including media and leader-board score services.

The Australian sponsorship agreement strengthens Unisys position in international golf. The company is already a key sponsor of the U.S. and British Open championships.

System affords amateur golfers multiple advantages

The GOLF Link card, to be carried by each registered golf player, will carry the Unisys logo. GOLF Link offers significant benefits to both players and clubs. For example, golfers will no longer need to provide extensive handicap records when entering major events.

A "letter of introduction" when visiting a club is also eliminated: the GOLF Link card will provide proof of golf club membership. Additionally, clubs no longer need to return a visiting player's scorecard to his or her home club, so the overall administration of the sport will be simplified by the system.

The move to a technologically sophisticated yet simple-to-operate handicapping system will be of particular benefit to the 800-odd clubs in Australia that currently use manual handicapping methods.

GOLF Link will allow the AGU to modify handicapping and Calculated Course Rating parameters at no cost to the clubs. It also provides the governing body with the capacity to gather statistical data that will assist in the development of the game.

The project will be funded by commercial activities provided by Golf Access, with endorsement fees flowing back to the AGU. Golf Access is an associated company of Golf Australia Underwriting Management, which provides insurance services to 650 clubs and 250,000 golfers throughout Australia. It is the AGU's business partner in the GOLF Link venture and will manage the project on the AGU's behalf.

Citibank involvement provides additional benefits

Citibank will provide a credit card co-branded with the AGU, which will serve a dual purpose as a GOLF Link card and credit card. Citibank will pay a commission to the AGU for every dollar spent by a cardholder. With the Citibank credit card, members will also have access to a high-quality golf-related customer loyalty program.

Through Golf Access, members of golf clubs will also be offered special financial and investment products through the Lonsdale financial planning group, general and life insurance as well as personal investment products through Zurich, and travel packages from Thomas Cook Direct.

As a part of the GOLF Link package, Golf Access will publish a new bimonthly golfing and lifestyle magazine, Golf & Life, which will be distributed free to club members and will incorporate the existing AGU Golf Journal and new GOLF Link handicapping newsletter.

"Apart from covering the cost of implementing the system, the AGU will be rewarded financially from the commercial activities associated with GOLF Link which will directly benefit Australian amateur golf," the AGU's Davies said.

Unisys leadership in premier golf events worldwide

The GOLF Link solution extends Unisys leadership in providing integrated golf scoring and handicapping systems.

As a leading commercial systems integrator, Unisys provides a range of information services and advanced technology for golf championships around the world, including the U.S. Golf Association's (USGA) prestigious national championship events (U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open), the British Open, European PGA tour and Australian Open.

Unisys golf scoring solutions include customized score reporting and record keeping, integrating equipment from multiple vendors into a unified network and managing network operations throughout the championship events.

Unisys Web-based Golf Scoring and Information System, which provides near instant golf scoring results at the USGA championship events, recently received a BOTI (Business on the Internet) award, sponsored by a consortium of leading networking publications, for "Best Use of Leading-Edge Technology" in an Internet application.

Unisys -- The Information Management Company

Unisys is one of a select group of companies with the portfolio of services, technologies and third party alliances needed to deliver the benefits of information management -- helping clients use their information asset to enhance their competitiveness and responsiveness to customers.

Our expertise in information management is founded on the strengths of our three global businesses: consulting, solutions and systems integration; industry-leading technologies; and comprehensive services and products supporting distributed computing environments. Access the Unisys home page on the World Wide Web -- http://www.unisys.com -- for further information. -0- Unisys is a registered trademark of Unisys Corp. All other brands and products reference herein are acknowledged to be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

CONTACT: Unisys Corp., Blue Bell

Brian C. Daly, 215/986-2214

Internet: briancdaly@unn.unisys.com
COPYRIGHT 1996 Business Wire
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 13, 1996
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