Are you interested in organizing your first successful golf tournament? Have you been organizing one for years, without much success? Either way, you’re in the right place. Welcome to Best Outings’ Guide to organizing the most successful golf tournament possible, our exhausting manual detailing the ins and outs of planning, training, recruiting, sponsoring, action items, budgeting, promoting, and everything else you need to make your golf tournament a complete success!
In this guide, we will cover a variety of steps that will provide you with the tools you need to host a great golf tournament and maximize your income while doing so! Whether you need help finding sponsors, or you simply need assistance in creating your plan, you’re in the right place!
Just remember; there are almost 1 million golf outings in the US each year, 90% of which are for the purpose of fundraising. With this competition, you need to ensure that you plan every aspect of your golf tournament to the T, so follow along, and make sure to take plenty of notes!
Are you ready? Then, without further ado, let us begin your journey to making your new golf tournament successful AND profitable!
Make no mistake; golf tournaments are large, unwieldy beasts that require months of planning, concentration, and preparation. Every successful golf tournament’s foundation is a strong plan, which means you need to pull out all the stops and do everything you can to make sure your tournament is fully visualized WELL before you start carrying out the leg work. But, if you’re new to the world of golf tournaments, it can be hard to determine where to start and what you need; that’s why we’re here with our 7 part system that will put you on the right path.
Find your Purpose – Are you fundraising for a nonprofit, charity, or school? Do you want more exposure for your company or organization? Are you creating a tournament for simple entertainment? Each of these are legitimate purposes for creating a golf tournament, but you must determine which one you have planned (as your next steps are dependent upon that choice). Chances are, you already have an idea of why you are making this tournament; however, make that choice concrete now, and let the rest of the steps follow that purpose! Remember; the key to any golf tournament is a strong foundation, and a well-thought out purpose is as good of foundation as any. Other parts of your plan that you will create include the following:
BestOutings.com will go over each of these steps in more detail throughout the rest of this piece!
Think you’re above planning your timeline? Think again. The number 1 mistake you can make while creating a golf tournament is not giving your team enough time to put things together. If the last minute comes and you’re still scrambling to find sponsors, you’re not doing it right! So, before you really start in on the leg work, it’s time to create a timeline to keep your team on track. Remember to plan:
Though the schedule may vary, these are all important parts of the timeline; include them, and make sure you leave enough time for each step!
Your committee is what makes your tournament go. The people in this committee will help handle planning, manage key aspects of your tournament, and so much more. In other words, if you want your golf tournament to go off without a hitch, you need to have the perfect committee: This means picking and choosing committee volunteers that bring many valuable tools to the event!How to Choose your Committee
Many will simply stick to their close friends and allies, as they are the easiest and most likely to be trusted. However, when looking at your close contacts, do you see recruits that are excited about the event as you are, are ready to work for you, and can bring more than just a helping hand to the event? If not, it’s time to cast your net wider and choose from an extended amount of applicants. Remember; your goal is to build a team that works just as hard as you do; with a truly committed committee, your event will know no limits! With all this in mind, remember the following guidelines:
Once you’ve picked your committee members, it’s time to assign roles. This creates a pecking order, and assigns defined responsibilities so your team isn’t stepping on any toes. This can also help make sure that 100% of your committee is doing 100% of the work, rather than allowing some members to slack off. Here are some roles that allow your team to take ownership and jump directly into the action:
Though the chairmen will not do all of the work, having these roles filled out gives everyone a specified duty, while allowing everyone to feel like they are more than just a part of the team - they are owners as well, and have a special hand in making this incredible event a success!Motivating your Team
Of course, as the owner, you are still the "boss", as it were, and need to do all you can to make sure your newly formed committee do their work as efficiently as possible. And, as in all management positions, this doesn’t necessarily mean cracking the whip. In fact, the best way to inspire motivation in your volunteers is to get them excited, which can be done via appreciation, recognition, and incentives! Simply making sure they feel appreciated and recognized for the work they do – while offering gifts and, potentially, monetary motivation – can go a long way towards making your team want to work for you.
At the end of the day, it is your volunteers that will make this tournament happen, so do all you can to motivate them properly (and to pick the correct members in the first place)!
Unfortunately, golf tournaments often end in financial disaster, and mostly because organizers do not manage the budget correctly! Your goal should always be to have more money come out of the tournament than goes in: that means creating a budget, sticking to it, and making credible goals for monetary gains. Here are just a few tips for making your budget:
Once you have a budget, a team, and a plan, it’s time to start figuring out what exactly you want to do during your tournament! For this, you need to go back to the first thing we discussed: your purpose. Are you here for entertainment or fundraising? Networking or competition? These questions are important, as they’ll help decide what your format will be (in addition to the caliber of the golfers you invite). Of course, before you choose, you must understand what each type of format is most suitable for, and what each one actually is:
Of course, if you wish to make more money – and spend more time setting up your tournament – there are other tournament formats you can use. These include Pro-Ams, Night Golf, and Golf-A-Thons. Each bring more to the table, and thus allow for higher fundraising possibilities.
Handicapping allows for all golfers to enjoy themselves and compete, regardless of their skill level. It can, however, be difficult to set up in a tournament. Here are a few ways you can artificially handicap your tournament, so all walks feel welcome:
You may also utilize the Callaway (worst holes system) and Scheid systems, which further allow you to shake the rounds up and level the playing field.
Ah the golf course; a beautiful place with rolling fairways, smooth as silk greens, and prime location. THIS is what your golfers will be coming for – make no mistake – thus, choosing one is among the most crucial decisions you can make when planning your golf course. With this in mind, golfers normally won’t want to play at the local driving range. They want to try something new, fun, and maybe one they don’t get to play all the time; that means you have some tough decisions to make!What Golfers are Looking for in a Golf Course
Keeping these factors in mind – and even asking for help from the golfers that you invite to your next tournament – can help you find the best golf course available; however, the best golf course available may not be the best for you and your wallet! That’s why, once you’ve narrowed down your prospects, it’s important to start wheeling and dealing. How?
We’re glad you asked!How to Get the Best Deal at a Golf Course
Though golfers want something special, and YOU want to do all you can to set your tournament apart from the crowd, that doesn’t always mean the cream of the crop country club is strictly within your budget. With that said, there are some things you can do to get the best deal for even the best golf courses; it just takes a little bit of doing.
Once you have your prices – and you know that the course you choose gives you everything you need – it’s time to make your decision and pick your date!
Once you have the tournament itself planned out, it’s important to start event promotion. This can take a variety of paths; but, for our purposes, we will talk about one of the most successful marketing strategies you can utilize: internet marketing.
If you really want a tournament that everyone knows about, you need to have a quality website. Hire a web designer, add all event information to the site, and really sell your story so you can give your site and your sponsors more exposure. Not only will this give your tournament the chance to be picked up by online search engines, it also gives you the ability to use online marketing strategies – such as Google Adwords and Search engine optimization – to really incentivize your sponsors and spread the word about your tournament! Other online marketing strategies to use in addition to your website include social media and email blasts, both of which can be utilized by your volunteer committee with little cost to your budget (though we’d recommend hiring a social media specialist to take over this section of the marketing.)
TIP: Don’t forget to hire a company like us, BestOutings.com, to really market your tournament to the world. With our golf tournament marketing system, we can help put your tournament front and center for all your target demographic to see! Other Marketing Strategies
Once you have your website and place, and your marketing team doing everything possible to spread the word in the online sphere, you can move onto other promotion ideas, such as:
IMPORTANT TIP: Remember; before you start marketing your tournament, come up with a snappy name! No one wants to go to "random tournament in April" they want to go to the Pro-Am by the Lake (or something like that). Get to the drawing board and come up with something that rolls off the tongue, so you can market more effectively!
Of course, getting your name out there isn’t the only thing you need to do to attract golfers; you also need to make sure the golfers actually want to go to your event. So, outside of an awesome golf course that everyone can enjoy, what should you provide to make your tournament one of the most attractive ones out there? Here are some of BestOutings.com’s best suggestions that may help:
All of these things can help make your tournament stand out from the rest. From there, all you need to do is start sending out the brochures, emails, press releases, and marketing materials, and the golfers will start flooding in. Oh, and don’t forget to utilize your committee members here as well! If you have 9 members, and you ask each of them to ask 4 people to bring a foursome, then you might fill out the field before you even get started!
Other things you may want to include at your event include easy registration, opportunities to buy mulligans, raffle tickets, games and contests, handicap systems, photo shoots, clear scoring system, opportunities for donations, free range balls and warmup time, and maybe even a shirt clinic or golf lessons!
Speaking of sponsors, it’s very important that you start selling sponsors as soon as you possibly can. This is the main way you’ll be making money from your tournament, which means it should be high on your to-do list! But how can you get sponsors for your brand new tournament? And how can you convince people to give you money, just because you’re hosting a tournament? Fortunately, it’s easier than you might think!Using Demographics to Gain Sponsors
The main thing sponsors want is to viable marketing strategy; in other words, they want to make money off of the money they spend on you. The best way you can convince them that’s possible – besides creating an amazing tournament with over 100 golfers in it – is to let them know what demographics you will be reaching with your tournament fan base (as these are the same people that the sponsors will be reaching with their marketing materials). This means you need to show your sponsors who your marketing materials are reaching, and that means going beyond just the golfers at your tournament!
In other words, you need to know the occupation, income, geographic locale, and buying trends of those who you are reaching out to! This can be exceedingly helpful when reaching out to potential sponsors.Using Sponsorship Packages
Sponsors also want to know what they’re getting in return for their investment, and you need to blow them away in order to get the capital you need to justify your tournament. For this, you should create impressive sponsorship packages that include website links, further promotion of their companies – through mass media, email blasts, and social media – buying opportunities, and further media exposure. You should also offer physical marketing packages on-site at your tournament – such as tents, logo branded golfer gifts, and more – in order to truly sweeten the deal!Finding your Sponsors
Once you have an idea of what you’re selling, you need to find out who you’re selling to. That means pulling together your committee and exploring all the relationships you may have, including industry vendors, board members, beneficiaries, past key business relationships, partnerships, and even personal relationships. Internet searches can also be good resources, as many local businesses advertise their desire to purchase sponsorship packages online.
Don’t forget to post sponsorship opportunities on your website as well!
When people arrive at your tournament, you want them to know they’re at the tournament. No understated subtlety here, no "uh oh, I think I might have taken the wrong turn"; you want the course to scream that they’ve arrived! If you hope this is the case – and we here at BestOutings.com guarantee that you do – then you need to forego the wire frames of small charities, and go big! Here’s what you need:
If you really want to go above and beyond, try cart path signs, sand bunker logos, and flex banners as well!
We here at BestOutings.com have said this a few times now, but if you don’t have contests and games outside of the overall victory, your tournament isn’t going to be a very fun one. You want everyone to have a chance to win something at your tournament – even if it’s a competitive one – because the more prizes brought home, the more chances you will have a repeat signee for the next tournament your organize!
Even more importantly, setting up these games is a basic part of almost every golf tournament. Most tournaments have them, and one that doesn’t is already lagging behind the curve. In other words, this part of your tournament is non-negotiable; here are a few ideas to get you started! ($$$ denotes games that can be utilized to make the tournament more money)
Money games have the most potential at improving your profit margins, but all of these games are incredibly fun options to include at your tournament!
Of course, winning these games should have some benefits, and as we’ve mentioned a few times, it’s important that you have some sort of giveaways, gifts, and prizes at your tournament. After all, golfers love freebies – even if they aren’t really free – and if they don’t have the opportunity to get something as a result of the tournament, then they will NOT show up! But, more than anything else, gifts and prizes can also be a marketing tool for you and your sponsors! Everything you give away has space for a logo on it and, after being used all year round, golfers will remember you and your sponsors.
Here are some tips you should follow when organizing gifts and prizes.What you Need
When we say gifts and prizes, we don’t mean simply give away prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place. You also need to have other, more attainable prizes so you can give as many things away – and give more golfers a sense of accomplishment. Prizes you should give away include:
While you COULD buy all of this, the best way to get these items for the golfers is to get them paid for by sponsors. The easiest way to do this is to build the price of all prizes into the sponsorship packages you create (or even allow the logos of your sponsors on these items). This, on top of companies you reach out to for donations, can help make this a surprisingly affordable part of your tournament plan.
At every event, golf tournament or otherwise, event goers love documenting their accomplishments and the fun time they had there. While expected, this also provides you with 1.) A great money making opportunity, and 2.) Yet another option you can include to entice golfers to go to your tournament.
Videotaping the tournament allows you to replay the highlights of the day at the awards ceremony – bringing an air of legitimacy to the affair – while also providing marketing material for future tournaments. Better yet, if you stage video cameras on the par 3 hole, video each golfer from start to finish, or put together some highlight reels, you can even put these videos on DVD (or a flash drive) and sell them to interested golfers!
You can also offer team photos, individual photos, action photos, group photos, and winner photos; not only are they fun for all involved, they make perfect products to aid in the increase of your profit margins.
Now that you’ve got all your awards and sponsors in place, the prizes are ready, the golf course is set up, and people are walking in the entrance, the next step is the actual tournament; yup, the day is about to arrive! At this point, you will have worked months for this day and you need to be more prepared than ever before! With that in mind, and to attain the goal of complete preparedness, it’s important to follow BestOutings.com’s following tips:
At the end of the tournament, you probably will find yourself praying for the day to be over, while slowly edging your way to the exit – you have, after all, been planning this tournament for months on end now! Unfortunately, even as the final golfers leave the course, your day is not done; in fact, one of the most important aspects of your tournament is fast approaching:
The Awards Ceremony!
This all important event is the crux of your tournament and – in many cases – may be the one thing that gets people to come back the next year. As such, you really do need to pull out all the stops!Ideas for Making the Best Awards Ceremony Ever
All in all, just make sure to have a fun, upbeat night, and to plan your events ahead of time. If you do that, your awards ceremony will go off without a hitch, and you can ride off into the sunset happier than ever before.
Once the tournament is over, you are almost to the point where you can relax. However, there are still some things you must take care of first, so you can wrap up this year and start getting ready for next! Follow BestOutings.com’ guidelines to truly finish off this amazing event:
If you do all this AND start your preparations for next year early, you may have an even greater success on your hands – with less work to look forward to!
Throughout this guide, we covered the most important parts of creating a Golf tournament. Every event may be a little different, and you are always going to run into a few speed bumps along the way – unfortunately, things might not be as easy as they seem here – but, these tips should help guide you on your journey towards true success! Just remember the following key principles whenever you organize a large-scale tournament, such as this, and you will be just fine:
If you follow these tips, and go line by line in this extensive guide, then you will find yourself that much closer to a golf tournament success. Just remember; all good tournaments begin with BestOutings.com! Utilize our Golf Tournament Request form today so you can start planning your next event as soon as possible!Good luck on your golf outing!