A great golf tournament with a spirit of friendly competition comes together through careful planning. Step by step.
If you’ve never organized a golf tournament, here’s the first thing to know: Golfers love tournaments. Golf Digest magazine ranks them among the three most-beloved aspects of golf, alongside watching pro golfers and receiving fabulous golf-related gifts.
So, when you’re in charge of a tournament, you want to wow your golfers with a talk-worthy event – you want to do something top-notch. Do you best to organizing a terrific, memorable tournament. Here are the steps.
Step 1: Choose a Goal
A golf tournament always has a goal, beyond just playing golf. What’s your objective? Here are some popular options:
- Fundraising for a charity
- Naming a city champion
- Selecting a winner to move to a higher level
- Honoring someone who has passed away
- Benefiting a needy family or someone who has overwhelming medical bills
Step 2: Plan with a Group
It’s much more fun than doing it all yourself, which you don’t need to do. Golf is about being part of a group, so ask for help planning the tournament. Look for people who have strengths in the various roles you’ll need:
- Marketing, advertising or writing
- Events management
- Charitable giving
- Financial management
- Networking, communications and public speaking
Assign each person a specific role and give them a checklist of tasks to complete. Create a timeline and make sure there are clear deadlines for your team to accomplish each task, because tasks are interdependent. You usually won’t choose the layout for the awards ceremony before locking down a location, for example.
Step 3: Budget for Cost and Format
Golf tournaments can be structured many ways, with various winning goals. It might be a “best ball” format or set up like a scramble. It could even be a learning tournament, to invite kids and newcomers into the game.
Entry fees are standard but remember – you raise the real money through sponsorships, rather than entry fees. You and your marketing/advertising person are responsible for securing business sponsorships that make up the lion’s share of your budget for the event. One major donor can make a big difference.
Remember to budget for food and drinks or secure a sponsor for them. Any big event needs to provide a place for attendees to rest and grab a bite.
Step 4: Advertise, Advertise, Advertise
Seize every opportunity you can afford, in terms of advertising. Use press releases, flyers, personal invitations, web ads, social media and good old-fashioned word of mouth. Make sure you focus on the overall goal of your tournament more than the details. It’s what builds golfers’ passion to play.
Step 5: Applications and Awards
Manage the application process carefully, ensuring you maintain a balance between enjoyable play with the event’s goals. If you’re assigning teams, do it with the advice of a knowledgeable golfer who knows a lot about tournaments. Request up-front payment and take payments by credit card and Paypal.
Arrange for awards and gifts that will be given out during the event. Gifts that go to donors and sponsors can be small but meaningful – like a plaque, paperweight or a golf ball or set engraved with the name of the event. Tournament awards usually take the format of crystal awards trophies or custom plaques that denote the achievement and winner’s name.
Step 6: Host the Event Gracefully
Set up a central, ceremonial heart of the event for the day of the tournament. Display the various awards for all to see. Make an opening announcement, then turn everyone loose to have fun. Hold an awards ceremony at the end and be sure to acknowledge the sponsors and donors that help make it all happen.
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