18 Steps To Produce A Successful Charity Golf Tournament

By Phil Immordino

Anyone can put on a charity golf tournament. Not everyone can produce a first class event that raises a lot of money and one that golfers return year after year. There are over 1,000,000 golf events in this country each year. The average golf tournament in the US raises $5,000.

How does your golf tournament do? Are you proud of it or is there room for improvement? If you have hosted a golf tournament before, you have some expertise. In many cases we forget the little things that take our tournament to the next level. Are you ready to take your tournament to the next level? Let’s review the 18 holes of success.

Hole #1. Defining Purpose and Setting Big Goals

“Without vision the people will perish”. It is important to have a clear path to your objective. Many groups want to have a golf tournament just because everyone else is. This is not a reason to have a golf tournament. There are several reasons to have a golf tournament: Client Entertainment, Fundraising, Public Relations, Competition, and Networking.

Define your purpose and make sure that the whole committee is on the same page. Once you have a plan, stick to it. With your plan get specific with your goals. If fundraising is your goal decide how much money that you want raise and where the money is going. Sponsors and golfers will write checks easier if they know they are writing them to an organization that is organized and has a plan.

Hole #2. Staffing your Golf Tournament

Do not attempt a golf tournament alone. You will get frustrated and burnt out. Golf tournaments are fun and exciting to be a part of. There are many people that want to volunteer on your team. They just need to be asked. Committees are essential for producing a successful event. When working with a committee, here are a few key things to remember:

1. Finding Volunteers – Committee members are found within your industry. Call on vendors and businesses in your industry.

2. Recruiting Volunteers – Give them what they want. They want to network, serve, make friends, pay dues, see action and get recognition.

3. Give Volunteers Direction – Set goals and give instructions in writing.

4. Hold Volunteers Accountable – You will be more productive if you give direction and then watch them closely. Have reports turned in weekly.

5. Reward your Volunteers – Your committee will be loyal and return year after if you give reward them with gifts, incentives, exposure and recognition.

Hole #3. Choosing the Right Tournament Format

The format can make or break your event. The caliber of your players should determine the right format. Beginner golfers enjoy a scramble, good golfers enjoy a best ball format, and a mixed group of golfers enjoy a modified scramble. Consult your local pro for the best format for you. Mix up your events. Don’t get stuck in the same rut year after year. Think about a Pro-AM, Celebrity-AM, Night Golf or a Golf-A-Thon.

Hole #4. Finding the Best Golf Course and Getting the Best Deal

The golf course that you choose is one of the most important decisions that you make. The number one complaint that we hear about a golf tournament is regarding the golf course. Find out what your golfers want in a course, new, private, traditional, easy or difficult. The most important thing is that the golf course wants your business. That they will treat you and your golfers like welcomed guests and with the utmost customer service. Getting the best deal possible is a reality. Golf courses do make deals. When making the best deal here a couple of things to remember:

1. Have a mutual contact and relationship

2. Have a good cause

3. Tournament during the shoulder season

4. Monday – Thursday PM

5. Bring them additional business

Hole #5. How to Sell Sponsors

Sponsors are the profit. The more sponsors you have the more money you will make. Sponsors are companies that want to give to your cause, build relations with your members and most important have a relation with you. Call on all of the vendors within your industry, give them value and the opportunity to invest. Sponsors want a return on investment.

Hole #6. How to Recruit Golfers

Without golfers you have no tournament. Golfers will play in your event if you show them a good time, you give them value and they have a relationship with you. You will sell out your tournament if you have 9 committee members sell 4 foursomes.

Hole #7. Promoting Your Tournament

Spending money on promotion is not necessary if you have a good committee and you produce a good event. Networking is the key. The best promotion is relationships. Golfers and sponsor will return year after.

Hole #8. Games & Contests

Games and contests build memories. Beginner golfers enjoy additional activities on the course. Give them games and contests and they will remember your event. It also gives you an opportunity to announce more winners. The more winners you have the better.

Hole #9. Quality Prizes

The quality of prizes, determine the quality of your event. Give them quality merchandise. Try to trade with sponsors. Prizes include: Tee Package – Given to the golfers when they arrive Contest Prizes, Winner Prizes, Raffle Items, Auction Items

Hole #10. Golf Tournament Operations

Sweat the details. Watch everything from the spelling of everyone’s name to starting on time. Inform all of the committee of all of the details so that they can be helpful.

Hole #11. Time Line

Start 6 months in advance, reserve the golf course 5 months out, contact sponsors as soon as possible, contact golfers 60 days in advance.

Hole #12. Budgets

Don’t spend more than you bring in and your event will be profitable. Charge for all playing spots. Sponsors are your profit.

Hole #13. Additional Revenue

Mulligan’s, gambling hole, contests, raffles and auctions can take you event to a new level.

Hole #14. Food & Beverage

Give them great food, but not too much before the tournament. Pay for their drinks.

Hole #15. Lodging

Find 5 to 10 hotels within 10 minutes of the golf course for you’re out of the area guests. Have high-end and low-end facilities for them to choose from.

Hole #16. Signage

Four-color quality signs show class. The sponsor signs that you have the bigger your event will look and it will encourage more sponsors for next year.

Hole #17. Photography & Video

Team and individual photos will build memories. Include photos in all of your packages. Consider a video. It is a great opportunity for a sponsor to get exposure.

Hole #18. Wrap Up & Follow Up

Pay your bills, clean up and write thank you letters. Build a reputation of thoughtfulness.

Producing a golf tournament can be fun and rewarding. It can also be a nightmare. Try some these ideas and you will have a successful golf tournament. Stay tuned for the next article, “Taking your Golf Tournament to the next level”.

Phil Immordino, Speaker and Author, “How to Produce a Successful Golf Tournament”. President, “GTAA – Golf Tournament Association of America”, www.gtaaweb.org
To contact Phil pimmordino@gtaaweb.org

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