Bringing Your “A” Game – Hosting The Best Golf Tournament Possible

By Phil Immordino

We have had the opportunity to work with and talk to thousands of tournaments throughout the U.S. over the past 25 years. We have found that the average tournament only nets $5,000, but is that the only determining factor in judging a golf event? Is it all about the money or is it about experience? Golfers are the real deciding factor. Do golfers enjoy your event and do they keep coming back? That is the big question.

To determine what is a great golf tournament we have to ask ourselves several questions:
1. Did the golfers have a great time?
2. Will they be back next year?
3. Do they tell others about their experience?
If we can answer these questions we will know whether we have a great event or not.

In this article we will discuss several topics.
1. What is a great golf tournament?
2. What are the key ingredients?
3. How do we get there?

After talking with many golfers and tournament organizers we have found what they believe is a great golf tournament. The following is what golfers are looking for in a great event.

Great Golf Course
They want a golf course in great condition. One that is not too difficult and they can play well. Staff that is friendly and helpful. A 4 to 5 hour round, with a fore caddy if possible.

Great Gifts And Prizes
A quality goodie bag or player gift package that might include a golf shirt, hat, balls, glove and towel. Gifts that they can use and remind them of your event and all golfers want to walk away with something.

To Be A Winner
Winners come back. Golfers love to win. Make sure that everyone is a winner, whether that is 1st, 2nd or 3rd or with an on course game or contest such as; closest to the pin, long drive or putting contest.

Great Food And Beverage
Golfers love to eat. Spend a little more on food and it will go a long way. They will talk about the food. Pay for their drinks, it makes a great impression.

Golfers want to take the day off of work, play golf and call it work. Promote the event as a way to meet other people in business. Insure that during the day everyone gets a chance to meet one another. Try a mixer during the awards ceremony.

A great experience includes the whole day. Starting with a smooth registration process, clear instructions, time to warm up, stretch, and talk with others. A clear scoring process and not waiting too long to get the results and a fun and upbeat awards ceremony.

Now that we have identified what makes a great golf tournament, now the question is how do we get there? What does it take to make this happen? All of this takes money and manpower.


Your secret weapon to making all of this happen is having a volunteer committee that is willing to work. We have found that all successful events have one thing in common, a Volunteer Committee. They are the secret to your success. The right team will contribute to all of the key areas; selling bigger sponsors, recruiting more golfers and acquiring great gifts and prizes.

When putting your committee together there are some important things to look for in individuals.

Heart – Good people that give with the right motives.
Willingness – To do what it takes to be successful.
Ability – The skills that you need to recruit golfers and sell sponsors.
Experience – Working on other events and dealing with people.
Availability – To be at meetings, sell sponsors, recruit golfers and be at the event.
Relationships – Contacts with golfers and sponsors.

Everything costs money. The key to being able to afford the things that make your golf event memorable is selling enough sponsors to cover the costs. The way to sell bigger sponsors is to give them a return for their investment. What sponsors want is to make money from your event. They want more customers and more sales. If you can help them increase their business through your event you will sell more sponsors. Offer sponsor packages that work, packages that give them maximum exposure and the ability to sell products and services.

The way to cover most of your expenses is through golfer registration fees. You want to keep your registration fees affordable yet at the same time offering value. Your goal is to fill your field and cover your expenses. A formula that you can use to make that happen is this: Take your expenses per golfer and then charge 10% more. For example: Green fees $75, food & beverage $25, and gifts $25 per player, totaling $125. You should charge $135. As you build your event you can increase these rates as long as you increase value.

When planning your event you want to bring your “A” game. If you makes sure to give golfers what they are looking for they will keep coming back year after year.

This is the first of a 9 part series. We will delve deeper into these topics each month. Good luck with your next event.

If you have any questions regarding you marketing plan, feel free to write us at We look forward to serving you.

Phil Immordino has 25 years in the golf industry, is the President and Founder of the Golf Tournament Association of America, has written three books on planning successful golf tournaments and is a national speaker and consultant assisting clients in developing their tournaments and increasing their business.