Organizing a golf tournament can be a fun and rewarding way to raise money for a charity or cause, promote your business, or simply bring people together for a good time. With some careful planning and preparation, you can pull off a golf event that runs smoothly and keeps golfers coming back year after year. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key steps involved in How to Organize a Successful Golf Tournament from start to finish.
In 7 simple steps, learn how to organize a golf tournament.
1. Consider the big picture
As you begin the planning process, consider each of the following questions.
Question 1: Who is this event intended for?
Before you begin planning a golf tournament, think about who will attend and what format they will prefer. For example, if your golf tournament is a fundraiser for a children’s charity, you may want to keep the number of holes to a minimum. Alternatively, separate the kids from the adults by offering mini golf instead.
Question 2: What is the purpose of organizing this golf tournament?
You’ll need to clearly define your event goals once you’ve determined your audience and a general idea of how the event should look. Many golf tournaments have a monetary goal in mind. You can also choose to measure success by the number of participants, player satisfaction, or as a practice run for future iterations. But, regardless, the “why” is critical.
Question 3: What will it cost?
What will it cost to host the event, and how much will it cost to attend? List all of your expenses and create a budget to answer both of these questions. Request quotes from your preferred golf courses, caterers, and event staffing agencies. After that, determine what other expenses you’ll need to cover. Although venues may provide banquet tables and other large items, you may be responsible for decor and signage.
When it comes to ticket pricing, it’s tempting to guess how many people will attend, but this isn’t always practical. Instead, calculate how much you’d need to charge an estimated number of participants (e.g., 0-25, 25-50, etc.) to break even after expenses. Remember that activities such as raffles, silent auctions, mulligan purchases, and so on can provide additional opportunities for donations.
Include a portion of your unallocated funds for unexpected last-minute expenses. Tools to help with event planning ” even for golfers!
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2. Select a location.
Whatever format you intend to use, having a team of professionals will make all the difference. “Choosing the right golf course team will make the process go more smoothly,” says Kinsey Kandray, an event planner and marketing expert. She told Social Tables that small details like making sure your chosen course uses email for communication (you’d be surprised how many don’t) are important.
Not sure where to begin your search? Discover, request, and book venues ” golf courses included ” all over the world using the Cvent Supplier Network.
3. Form your team
No matter how experienced you are in other types of event planning, learning how to organize a golf tournament can be a steep learning curve. And, if you’ve never played golf before, Kandray recommends bringing in someone who is familiar with the game. They’ll be able to better anticipate player needs, give you the lay of the land when it comes to venue selection, and ensure your vision is achievable.
You’ll also need a strong volunteer team. I couldn’t have done it without the assistance of (my volunteers), says Kandray. Look for devoted volunteers who are available and can be relied on to show up.
Once everyone is on board, you’ll want to figure out the best way to communicate with your team. Event organizers, such as those who run the Phoenix Open, can easily organize and arrange all of their event venue layouts, both indoors and outdoors, thanks to tools like Social Tables’ event diagramming software.
4. Select a date
According to Kandray, planning ahead of time will help you get the best dates and tee times. That way, your day will go exactly as planned.”
While you’re at it, look up the weather forecast. A backup plan will be required if there is excessive rain or heat. While doing this months in advance may be difficult, having a general idea of annual trends will help you map it out. Also, keep in mind that other events in your area may affect venue availability, so it may be a little more difficult during peak wedding season.
5. Make Extra offers
It’s important to remember that golf is great on its own, but golf with fun extras is even better. Players have already contributed significantly to your charity or fundraiser, so it is appropriate to express your appreciation with activities such as a post-round BBQ. Coffee, donuts, and warm breakfast sandwiches are all excellent options.
You might also want to include souvenirs that people will use. Golf balls, reusable water bottles, and high-quality golf hats are all welcome items. If possible, prioritize design over plastering your logo everywhere. People will remember where they purchased it, but they may not want to wear it if it makes them feel like a walking billboard.
While you’re at it, throw in some amusing challenges, games, and superlative awards for the actual golfing portion. Among the many fan favorites are:
- The longest drive. Choose a dedicated hole “preferably a long par 4 par 5 with minimal hazards” and award a prize to the person(s) who hit the ball the furthest on that hole at the end of the day.
- The closest to the hole. Similar to the Longest Drive, this is given to the person or people who hit the ball closest to the hole from the tee on a specific par 3.
- Best attire. Silly costumes are encouraged, especially if the day has a theme.
- Best wishes, Mulligan. Whoever loses the most golf balls wins.
- The Tree Hugger Prize. A prize will be awarded to the player who hits their ball into more trees than holes throughout the day.
- The ball from the helicopter falls. Participants enter the contest by purchasing a golf ball with a unique number, according to the fundraising experts at OneCause. Then, at a predetermined time, a large number of golf balls are dropped onto a golf course from a helicopter, crane, or cherry picker. The person who has the ball closest to the hole wins a prize!
- The silent auction. Give players one ticket as part of their main event pass so they don’t have to pull out their wallet over and over.
6. Sell and promote tickets
Now that you’ve figured out how to organize a golf tournament, it’s time to talk about how to get people to your event using the power of event marketing. The good news is that if you’ve ever planned an event before, you’ll be familiar with the following strategies, which are all-around great tips for any campaign.
Create a website, select an event registration app, or list your event on a third-party event website so that potential participants can find you. This should include all event details and make the next steps clear.
Some tools for promoting the page include:
- A newsletter and email list provider
- Social media profiles
- Texting via SMS
- Flyers, posters, and postcards
- Publications in the press
- A list of potential promotion partners and local news outlets
If you have a small marketing team, begin by creating an email newsletter campaign for your existing list that includes the following elements:
- Message to save the date
- Countdown to Ticket Release
- Message at the start of the sale
- Message of Reminder
- Message: Time is running out
Set up your event registration emails to include a confirmation, reminder, and upsell for any additional paid activities while you’re at it.
Schedule social media content such as photos, videos, graphics, and polls in advance of your golf tournament. Content such as behind-the-scenes planning, charts showing how close you are to reaching your fundraising goals, and videos showcasing the course are all excellent ideas.
Send text messages only to people who have given you permission. To keep your subscribers from unsubscribing, send at least three, but no more than five emails. The first should be an announcement of the sale, the second an early-bird sale link, and the third a low-ticket warning.
Printing hard copies of your golf tournament advertisements is always a good idea if you have the budget. Share them with your preferred venue, local hotspot community boards, and event stakeholders.
Collect your local partners and collaborators to assist you in spreading the word. Distribute press releases in local newspapers and online. Put physical bulletin boards up. Include some event sponsors or partners in the promotion strategy as well.
7. Plan your day-of management strategy
Every time and any place have a backup plan. Friends, family, and loved ones are excellent people to have on call in the event that a volunteer becomes ill. You can also enlist the assistance of coworkers.
Inquire with your venue about what they can and cannot assist you with during the tournament. Obtain the names and contact information for the point people on your golf course. Meet them ahead of time if possible to put a face to the name. Discuss expectations with them and let them know how much experience you have in organizing golf tournaments.
Make sure that you have first-aid kits, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen on hand. Make sure your venue has water bottles and refill stations so that no one becomes dehydrated. Provide participants with shady umbrellas, extra raincoats, and bug spray. Check to ensure that all accommodations for people with disabilities have been made.
Last but not least, remember to put up appropriate signage. Other players or events may be taking place on the course at the same time. It is critical to have clear signage that states the information that players will need throughout the day. Provide course maps, tournament instructions, and directions on your website and in print for people to use in person.
Hosting a well-run golf tournament takes significant coordination, but pays off through memories shared, funds raised, or goals achieved. By thinking strategically, assembling a strong team, pursuing sponsors, promoting effectively, and planning thoroughly, you can create an event that golfers will be eager to attend year after year. Stay focused on your purpose, budget wisely, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. With attention to detail and a passion for bringing people together through golf, you have all the ingredients for an incredible tournament. Now grab your clubs, gather your volunteers, and let the planning begin!
To make a successful golf tournament, start planning early, assemble an experienced tournament committee, promote the event extensively, secure sponsorships, choose a fun golf course, offer contests and prizes, ensure smooth registration and logistics, and provide plenty of food/beverage. Executing a well-organized event focused on the participant experience will lead to great word of mouth and repeat attendance.
For tournaments with players of varying abilities, a scramble format is one of the best. It allows teammates of different skill levels to contribute without pressure on any one golfer. Other popular formats are four-person best ball, and individual stroke play with gross and net prizes based on handicaps. Choose a format suited to your field’s skill level.
For charity tournaments with mostly amateur golfers, a four-person scramble is typically the optimal format. Scrambles are fun and fast-paced, and allow players of all abilities to contribute to the team score on each hole. You can also incorporate contests like the longest drive or closest to the pin to add variety. End with an awards luncheon and raffle to drive fundraising.