Planning the perfect golf tournament

If you’re looking for a fun (and productive) way to raise money for a charity or organization, but are tired of hosting the same old events, a golf tournament can provide the perfect fundraising platform. With close to 26 million golfers in the US alone, a golf outing is sure to attract lots of participants.

Planning and executing a golf tournament can seem like a daunting task, but we’re sharing some tips of the trade to make the planning process a breeze.

Define your budget

It's important to determine your budget early in the planning process to guide the rest of your decisions. Make sure to take into account marketing & advertising, course rental, municipal fees (if any), outside tournament planners, food & beverage, and participant gifts. If you've never organized a golf event before, it may be wise to hire an outside planning firm to help get you going.

Pick the appropriate golf course

Once you have determined the parameters of your budget, you’ll need to decide what course is appropriate for your golf event. Think about what types of players will be participating in the tournament – are these causal or novice golfers, or are they basically PGA pros? The main objective of the outing is to make sure your golfers are having a good time while helping you to raise money for your cause, so you want them to feel comfortable and equipped to take on whatever course you choose.

Anticipate attendance

Don’t be afraid to put a cap on the number of groups that you allow to enter the event. No one wants to spend 8 hours golfing 18 holes, so taking some time to get to know the course and the ideal number of golfers it allows for is crucial. When in doubt, reach out to employees at the course hosting your golf outing so that they can lend their professional opinion.

Sign up sponsors

We can’t say this enough – sponsors are essential to executing a successful golf outing! Define levels of sponsorship so that local businesses have options when it comes to how much they are willing to donate to the cause. A headlining sponsorship could include having the businesses name and logo on all golf outing digital and printed advertising, whereas a "hole sponsorship" may just include signage at a particular hole on the course and a table where employees from that business can sit and network with golfers as they complete the course. Sponsorship could also take the form of food and drink donations — don’t confine your sponsors to monetary donations. Bottled water, chips and snacks, pop and adult beverages are all necessary so ask businesses if they would be willing to donate any of those.

Advertise, advertise, advertise

Now that you’ve got your budget, course and sponsors worked out, you need to spread the word about the outing with an invitation. This invitation can be printed or digital, but you’ll want it to include all of the important details (where, what time, sponsors names, entry fee, etc.).

When it comes to sending out the invitation think about your organization's established channels of communication and use them to your advantage. Do you have a massive social media following? Post that invitation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! Or maybe you have a solid list of email contacts – send out the invitation that way. Use whatever channels of communication you know work best for your organization. It could even be dropping in to local businesses in person and asking them to hang the invitation on a bulletin board.

Gather your army of volunteers

To pull off a smooth and successful golf tournament, you’ll need to have lots of helping hands. Enlist volunteers that are familiar with your cause or organization, knowledgeable about the game of golf, or in a perfect world, both! Try to have at least a few volunteers that know enough about golf that they can answer questions that some of your less knowledgeable volunteers may have about the game. Break your volunteers into groups so that it’s easily to delegate tasks – registration, food and beverage, course supervision, etc. are good places to start. The more clear your volunteers are about their jobs on tournament day, the more efficiently they will be able to pull of their roles.

Keep the food and beverages flowing

Your golfers have paid their entry fees to support your cause, so make sure they are well taken care of on the day of the tournament. Have a group of volunteers ride around in golf carts throughout the day to make sure that golfers on all parts of the course have whatever they need. Don’t forget to coordinate with the golf course to make sure they have on-site food for after the event, or can contract with a caterer. It’s common to throw an after-outing bash in the clubhouse or at a nearby bar or restaurant so that participants can enjoy dinner and some prizes (we’ll get to that part shortly!).

Make it memorable

A common way to make playing the 18 holes even more fun is to host contests at specific holes along the course. Awarding prizes for the longest putt, longest drive, and closest to the pin are ways to keep competition high throughout the day. Photo booths, live music, and selling mulligans prior to tee-off are also unique ways to ensure golfers will remember your golf outing for years to come.

People love prizes….and raffles

Back to that after-outing bash we talked about before! Having raffles or silent auctions during this party can be a great way to raise extra funds. Talk to your participating sponsors or local businesses and professional sports teams to see if they are willing to donate prizes for the raffles. Sports memorabilia, tickets to a local sporting event, golf clubs, gift cards and gift baskets are all great prizes that golfers are sure to bet big on. In addition to raffles or silent auctions, think about awarding trophies or other promotional gifts (glassware, business bags, high tech gifts) to the winning team.

Titan Deep Freeze 2 Day Lunch Cooler

Titleist® Pro V1 Golf Ball

Titleist® Players 4 Stand Bag

Don’t let your golfers leave without a swag bag

Everyone loves a good swag bag – so make sure you plan out some appropriate golf promotional products products to give to your golfers either upon arrival or when they depart the outing. A good mix of golf specific products and more general products is critical to pleasing the crowd. Tumblers, Bluetooth speakers and golf towels and tools are sure to be a hit with golfers. Here are some of our favorite pieces for golf outing giveaways:

The Tugo Copper Vacuum Tumbler and Can Insulator is a perfect giveaway for the day of the outing. Hand this tumbler out to your golfers upon their arrival so that they can use it on the course to hold their cans and beverages.

Umbrellas top the list of the most useful promotional giveaways, and the 62” Tour Golf Umbrella is no exception. Featuring a large decoration area for your organization’s logo, this piece will remind golfers of your outing and your cause long after the day is over.

This high end Cutter & Buck divot tool is a 3-in-1 wonder. Featuring a bottle opener, magnetic ball marker and a belt clip – this tool will become a staple every golfers bag.

Ask for feedback

Last but certainly not least, send a thank you note or email to all of the golfers who participated in your outing – after all, without them the event would not have been possible. Take a photo of the entire group after play is finished on the day of your outing and include this photo in the follow up, it’s a great reminder of the fun they had on the day. Also include a survey to ask golfers what they liked about the outing and what you could improve upon for the next year.

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