Planning A Golf Tournament – Start With The Plan And The Team

By Phil Immordino





Would you like to double or triple the income of your existing golf tournament? There are over 500,000 golf tournaments in the U.S. each year. The average event raises between $5,000 and $8,000. Why do some tournaments raise $80,000 to $100,000? They have a plan. They have a clear picture and goal of what they want to accomplish.


It all starts with one idea and a vision. But for every great idea to be successful must have a clear plan. When creating your plan you must first decide what type of event that you want to host. There are 5 different types of events for you to consider. As you read through these types of events determine which type of event best fits your objective.


Fundraiser – With this type of event the main objective is to raise money. This event is great for charities, schools and foundations. With big sponsors and a big auction you can raise big money.

Entertaining – The objective here is to entertain. Whether it is customers, donors, employees or members, the key is to host a first class event that the golfers will remember you and your organization well after the event and continue to work with you.

Networking – Is to bring people together and build relationships and your organization. A fun event allows golfers to get to know one another. This helps you build a strong organization.

Media Exposure – With a unique event you will receive media attention. This is valuable to your organization. The right coverage can be worth thousands of dollars. Better than advertising.

Serious Competition – The goal here is to determine the best golfer. This attracts big sponsors and can still raise money for your group.

Choose the right type of event to fit your objective.


You need specific goals to reach your objective. When developing your plan consider these goals and get specific.

Gross Income – Be realistic

Net Income – Watch the expenses

Sponsor Income – Relationships and return on investment

Number of Sponsors – A well-connected committee will help

Golfer Income – Give them value

Number of Golfers – 9 4 – 4 Rule

Games and Contests Revenue – Have games that generate money

Auction Items – Big items promoted in advance on the website

Raffle Items – Lots of little stuff and one big item

Raffle Tickets Sold – Let everyone be a winner

Mulligans Sold – Consider a Super Ticket at registration

This is a numbers game. The more golfers that you contact the more will sign up.

The more sponsors that you call the more you will sell.

The companies that you ask for raffle and auction items, the more you will collect.


It is so important to have a business plan so that everyone can be on the same page and follow it together. With over 100 Steps in hosting a golf event it is important not to let anything slip through the cracks. Here are the basic action items and time line to try and stick to.

Give yourself at least 6 months to do a great job. There is nothing worse than running out of time and missing out on a complete success. You will get more golfers and sponsors if you plan and work in advance. Here are some suggestions on things to do and when to do them

6 Months in Advance

Form committee

Develop business plan

Reserve the golf course

Sponsor packages

Create the budget

5 Months in Advance

Sell sponsors

Build a database of golfers

Secure gifts and prizes

Create a brochure

Marketing plan

4 Months in Advance

Create auction and acquire items

Start recruiting golfers

Media partner

Set up website

3 Months in Advance

Press release out

Start marketing and advertising

Sign up golfers

Continue to sell sponsors

2 Months in Advance

Order merchandise

Collect gifts and prizes

Finalize games and contests

Secure real time scoring

1 Month in Advance

Get signs made

Confirm all golfers and get payments

Golfer pairings

Order food and drinks

Volunteer orientation meeting

Give your volunteers plenty of time to get everything done


A good volunteer team is the secret to your success. Your volunteer committee will help reach levels that you never imagined that you could reach. Take your time and be looking for good committee members throughout the year.

Choosing the right committee members can be crucial in the harmony of your team. There are three rules in choosing a committee.

Rule #1. Everyone contributes, time, money or contacts. I know this sounds elementary, although if you are a non-profit organization and have a Board of Directors, you understand what I am saying. Don’t allow anyone to be on your committee just to get his or her name in the brochure.

Rule #2. Everyone must have outside contacts. Outside contacts mean more golfers and more sponsors, which is the backbone of your tournament.

Rule #3. Choose the right size committee. With too many on the committee you will never get any decisions made. 6 to 12 are the perfect size for a committee, depending on how big your event is.

Finding volunteers can be tough for some and easy for others. The secret is relationships. Remember golf is fun; people want to have fun if you just give them the opportunity. Ask everyone you know if they want to have fun; neighbors, relatives, board members, student interns, vendors, last years golfers, last years sponsors, employees and organization members. You will have more volunteers then you need if you just ask. Remember when you are recruiting volunteers the reason people get involved in these events. Volunteers volunteer for many reasons, to meet new contacts, serve the community, recognition, be apart of a group, something to do and have fun. Find out what their interests are and challenge them to get involved.

Maximizing the efforts of volunteers can be a challenge, but it is important to reach your goals. Volunteers are tough to fire or cut their pay, although you can maximize their efforts. These are a few ideas to remember when directing your team:  Make your instructions clear, put them in writing, give them timelines and deadlines, call them weekly, offer suggestions, don’t pressure but encourage and you will get the most from your volunteers.

If you want your volunteers to return year after year you reward them. There are many ways to reward your team. Recognition such as name in brochure or newsletter, incentives like prizes, shirts and hats, special parties that make them feel a part of the team and appreciated.

Volunteers can be your most valuable assets. The key is to teach them and treat them right. If you follow these guidelines you will double or triple the income of your event and delegate most of the work. Volunteers are the secret to your success. Recruit them, train them properly, motivate them with gifts and appreciate them and your event will go to the next level.


There are many responsibilities when producing a golf tournament. There must be one individual in charge of each area of responsibility. This person does not need to do everything in this area, but must be responsible for overseeing that all tasks are completed. Here are the different committee heads and their responsibilities. Each committee can have one or more individuals assisting in the area, but there must be one in charge.

Honorary Chairman – It is not mandatory to have an Honorary Chairman, although it is helpful to give the tournament credibility. Try to get an individual that has name recognition. This individual will lend their name and credibility to the event. It is also nice if they can say a few words at the beginning or end of the tournament. Ideal candidates would be celebrities, well-known businessmen or women or politicians.

Tournament Chairman – This individual is the big picture person. They give overall direction and have the final say on major decisions.

Tournament Director – This person is the general manager of the event. Responsibilities include overseeing all departments. The buck stops here. If something is not being done, the TD must get it done.

Golfer Chairman – This is the most important position. Without golfers you do not have an event. Responsibilities include setting the price for the tournament, obtaining list of potential golfers, recruiting golfers and encouraging others to recruit golfers. They are responsible for getting all of the golfers, but everyone assists in this process.

Sponsor Chairman – Sponsors are the key to the profit of the event. The Chairman is responsible for insuring the maximum amount of sponsors. Responsibilities include creating sponsor packages, developing list of potential sponsors, selling sponsors and encouraging others on the committee to sell sponsors.

Prize Chairman – Prizes make your tournament memorable. The Prize Chair is responsible for insuring that the tournament has great prizes. First they must determine what prizes are needed and acquire them. Obtain a list of potential donors, send out letters and follow up with phone calls. In addition, encourage others to obtain prizes.

Logistics Chairman – The Logistics Chairman coordinate all of the logistics for the event, including golf course contract negotiations, food and beverage decisions, registrations and coordination of all on course contests. They also work with volunteers in all areas.            

Volunteer Chairman – In bigger events you will have many volunteers. This Chair will recruit volunteers and work with them by coordinating their efforts and work schedules.

All committee members must stay in communication. We recommend monthly meetings 6 months out and weekly meetings 1 month out. All meetings must have minutes taken and distributed to all committee members. Committee Chairs should communicate on the phone regularly and insist on weekly reports

SUCCESS – Have clear objectives and goals, work your plan and you will be successful.