10 Steps for Planning a Successful Golf Tournament
A well organized golf tournament is a great way to promote your company, encourage your employees to relax and have some fun and it can also generate a substantial income for charity.
Here are some guidelines and tips to consider:
1. Plan Ahead
Choose a local golf course which can accommodate your needs. Be sure to meet with the staff and explain what you expect to accomplish. Consider the facilities if you plan to hold a luncheon or award ceremony after the event. If it is a charity event ask them for a discount.
2. Choose a Format
Often non-golfers participate in charitable golf tournaments. In order to keep the play moving and the non-experienced involved, the events are usually offered in one of these three formats: scramble, best ball, and alternate shot.
- Scramble is usually played by four players. Each player tees off on each hole. The best of the shots is selected and all players then play their second shot from there.
- Best Ball is usually played by a team of four players. Each player plays his or her ball throughout the hole and the round. After each hole, the lowest score amongst the four players counts as the team score.
- Alternate Shot is usually played by two-player teams. The players take turns in hitting the ball until it is holed. They also alternate who drives at each hole.
3. Invite Players
The success of the event depends largely on how many players participate. Check with the golf course before deciding how many people to invite. Not everyone who is invited will respond, so invite more than you actually need. The better the prizes, the more people are likely to attend. (See point 7, prizes and giveaways)
4. Pledges and Sponsors
Acquiring pledges and sponsors is key for a successful tournament. You may want to set a minimum for each player, say $100. Corporate sponsorship of the tournament, each hole, the score card and various awards is also necessary. Make sure you get approval from all the sponsors on the layout of their logo before having any signage or literature printed.
5. Promoting the Event
The tournament will only be successful if people attend it; therefore promotion is vital. Produce a brochure that explains and promotes the event in a concise and easy to read format. Include a registration form and all contact information. If you have a website, promote the event on there. Set aside at least one page dedicated to the tournament. Use social media: Facebook, twitter etc. Hold a competition amongst employees to see who can invite the most people. Ask at the golf course if you can promote the event there. Send press releases to all local media outlets; place an ad in the sports section of the local newspaper, put flyers up at local golf stores. Appoint a spokesperson to handle all media inquiries.
6. Food and Drink
Be sure to provide nourishment on the course including drinks and snacks at various points. Check the course regulations as some do not allow outside food and drink. If you are doing a luncheon or awards ceremony, contact various caterers in advance and sample their food before deciding who to use. The golf course may be able to provide this service for you or suggest someone to you.
7. Prizes and Giveaways
Give some thought to prizes and goodie bags. Embroidered golf shirts, hats, tees, balls etc. are always favorites. You should also consider water bottles, sunscreen, bug spray.
8. Get Help
Planning an event of this size is a huge undertaking. You will need all the help you can get. You may even decide to consult someone who specializes in organizing charitable events. If you decide to go-it-alone, appoint a chairperson to oversee everything. Make sure the course staff are easily recognized, dress them the same, and if possible provide them with a means of communicating with each other.
9. Stay Organized
Design or buy a database for your computer to register the players and get this to the pro at the course at least two days in advance of the event. Keep track of who is doing what tasks and when they have been completed. Make a check list of everything that has to be done both leading up to the tournament and on the day. Delegate responsibilities to trustworthy volunteers. Set up a check-in system for the players and make sure you have all the necessary tools for them to play: tees, balls, score card etc.
10. Be Prepared
No matter how thorough your plans are, things could still go awry. Have a back up plan for bad weather, staff shortages, injuries, etc.
And last but not least, have fun; after all the hard work, be sure to remember to enjoy the day.