Planning Your Tournament

Choose the Right Golf Course for Your Event
Choosing the right golf course is one of the most important parts in creating a successful golf tournament. Golfers will remember your event in part by their experience on the golf course. Make sure you choose the right course to keep participants coming back year after year. Get at least three proposals based on your needs and pick the course that best fits your event needs. Begin your golf course search early and negotiate your deal at least six months in advance when feasible.
 
Things to consider when looking for a golf course:
1. How far will golfers have to travel to attend the event?
2. What is the average skill level of the golfers?
3. Do you have any ties to a golf course owner or manager to negotiate a good price? 4. Does the golf course offer adequate space for a dinner/awards ceremony afterward? 5. Does the tournament entry fee correlate with the price to use the golf course?
6. Would your golfers feel more comfortable at a public or private golf course?
 
Finding the right season and date for your tournament:
Once you’ve found a golf course you must decide when to hold your event. The time of year and day of the week will dictate the price. Course rates are highest during the months that offer the best weather and lowest during the months that offer the worst weather. The best value is found during the ‘shoulder season.’ This is the time between the peak season and off season when the weather is less predictable and activity at the course is slow.
The day of the week is as important as the time of year when setting a date for your event. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for a golf course and costs will be the highest on those days. The best rates are offered Monday through Thursday. Keep in mind that most private golf clubs are closed to members on Mondays and will host public golf events on those days. Most private courses will require that you get a referral from an existing member to gain access to the golf course for your event.
 
Negotiating a Contract with the Golf Course
The biggest mistake a tournament organizer can make when negotiating a contract with the golf course is to not get everything in writing. Do not depend on verbal agreements with the golf course management. Make sure all agreements are in writing before committing to the course.
Things that should be covered in the contract:
1. Date
2. Location
3. Contact Person
4. Number of Players
a. Underestimate the number of golfers, you can always add later.
5. Maximum Number of Golfers 6. Cost Per Player
a. Isfood&beverageincluded? 7. Services Offered
a. Areyouaskedtoprovidevolunteers? 8. Tax & Gratuity
9. Deposit & Payment Schedule 10.Event Cancellation Policy/Rain Check
 
Things the golf course should provide:
1. Greens Fees
2. Carts
3. Golfer Names on Carts
4. Range Balls
5. Rules Sheet
6. Scoreboard with Scoring Assistance
7. PGA Professional to Host the Start of the Tournament
8. Private Area for Dinner/Awards Ceremony
9. Food & Beverage (Extra Charge)
10.Gift Certificate or Free Foursome for Prize Giveaway
11.Proximity Markers for On-Course Contests (i.e. Longest Drive) Displaying Sponsorship Signage on the Golf Course and in the Clubhouse
 
Developing a Budget That Fits Your Tournament
You can raise more money if you treat your event like a business. Revenue is the key to raising money for your cause. Turn every expense into a revenue stream by selling sponsorships to cover the cost and more. Keep track of all income and expenses and stay conservative with prizes and brochures until you have a successful event.
 
Here are sample budgets. Your budget may be different but should have similar categories.
Income
Title Sponsor
Major Sponsor
Hole in One Sponsor Longest Drive Sponsor Closest to the Pin Sponsor Hole Sponsors
Golfers
Mulligans
Raffle
Auction
 
Expenses
Greens Fees
Food & Beverage Player Gifts
Prizes & Awards Signs & Banners Printing & Creative* Postage**
 
Promotion
Trophies
Place Awards
Photo Plaques
Photographer
 
Insurance
$1 Million Shootout/$100,000 Package
Putting Contest
Hole In One Contest
 
Prizes/Gifts
Arrival Gifts
Sponsor Recognition Pictures
Committee Appreciation Pictures
 
Miscellaneous
Signs & Banners
Travel
Events Photos
Flags
 
How to Keep Costs Under Control While Providing a Better Player Experience
There are three keys to keeping cost under control for an event.
  1. Donations – ask for donations for all your expense items such as food and beverage, auction items and raffle prizes.
  2. Trade - trade sponsorships for services. For example, creative a “Print and Creative Services” sponsorship and give it to a printer in exchange for printing your event marketing materials and program
  3. Sponsors – set up sponsorships for other key expenses. For example, have sponsors for your player gifts.
    The sponsor pays for the gift in exchange for having their logo on the item.
 
The Golf Event Planner’s Checklist for Success 
Creating a successful golf tournament can take 6 months to a year of planning. There are many things that must be done in advance, some of them simultaneously. As the tournament organizer the biggest mistake you can make is thinking you can remember everything and forgetting the small details that will help to make your event stand above the rest.
o Create a timeline of things that need to be done and assign a date by which they should be completed.
o Signing a contract with the golf course, securing your top sponsors and seeking media coverage should be at the top of your list.
o If you are working with a tournament committee assign tasks to each person and follow their progress.
o Being organized prior to your tournament will minimize logistical mistakes and make your event more enjoyable for everyone involved.

 

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