How to Plan a Golf Tournament for Your Company or Non-Profit
Today’s post comes from Doug Wilson, golf operations manager at Garden of the Gods Club’s Kissing Camels Golf Course. During his nearly 25-year tenure at Garden of the Gods Club, Doug has helped hundreds of organizations plan successful golf tournaments.
You have been asked to organize and run a golf tournament for your company or charitable organization. NOW WHAT? Everybody assumes that hosting a golf tournament is easy, and it can be—if you plan ahead and follow a few key steps. Below I’ve listed my advice for planning a golf tournament, based upon my own experiences working with corporate and non-profit clients. I hope these tips help reduce stress for you and your committee leading up to tournament day.
- Define the goal(s) of the tournament clearly. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? Consider the effects that date, time of play, and location could have on achieving your goals.
- Select a date and a golf course where you would like to host the event. Give yourself six to nine months of lead time to coordinate and market the tournament. Contact the golf course to confirm that the date you want is available or find alternate dates to consider. Inquire about any site fees and catering costs that may be involved, as well as any policies (e.g., dress code, parking, etc.) that could affect sponsors, players, and the overall experience.
- Plan the event budget. After doing your research on what venue fees, food costs, and other tournament expenses will be, you need to figure out the amount of funds that you will need to collect in order to appropriately cover these costs. If possible, give yourself a “padding” to account for unforeseen expenses that may arise during the planning process or on tournament day. If your event will be charitable, keep in mind that the entry fee alone is unlikely to cover expenses. You will need to think about other strategies for raising money, such as selling mulligans, securing tee sponsors, and securing overall tournament sponsors. Sponsoring holes or golf tournament can be a great way for companies to advertise their brands, develop valuable new relationships, and give back to their communities.
- Do not be afraid to request help from others in planning the event. Form a committee to support you for critical tasks. Important event planning roles that you could delegate include securing event sponsors, planning menus, recruiting players, and recruiting volunteers to help with operations on tournament day.
- Spread the word about the event to recruit players and sponsors. Now that you have a budget and basically know your expenses, it is time to attract players and sponsors. Use whatever means that you have available to get the word out about your tournament. Try to communicate what makes your event unique and why someone should consider playing in it or sponsoring it. Include the five Ws and H–who, what, when, where, why, and how. In addition to leveraging word-of-mouth marketing, you can display posters, send marketing emails, announce details via social media, and even mail save-the-date cards. This is a time when your volunteers can really shine. If this is a charitable event, ask the board of directors and other organizational influences for help in getting amateur golfers to play or companies to sponsor.
- On the day of the event, do everything within your power to make sure that your players have a great time. You want them to remember you and the event next year.
- Take notes! If there is a chance that you may host another event like this in the future, take notes on what worked well as well as any hiccups that you may have experienced. These pieces of information will be particularly valuable to you a year from now (or later), when your memory may be a bit foggy, and you’re trying to plan another successful event.
If you have any questions about planning a golf event, or if you would like to explore hosting a tournament at Garden of the Gods Club, please contact Doug at 719.636.2520.