Have you ever been to a golf tournament where:
- You were late due to bad directions?
- All you received for tee prizes were a few golf balls and tees?
- You were put in a group that was too serious, and you didn’t have fun?
- The food or beverages were gone before you got in line?
- They ran out of golf carts before you got one, so you had to walk?
- There were not enough tables, so you had to stand while eating?
Many things can go wrong during a golf tournament. This event planner is designed to help ensure your golf event goes well and participants don’t leave feeling as if someone did a poor job planning. Keep in mind that details may need to be arranged up to one year in advance to ensure availability, such as reserving the golf course, golf carts, and dining location. You will also need to determine the event format, estimated number of participants, and the handicap system you will use for golfing.
What is your tournament objective?
- Raise funds for a charity
- Gain recognition
- Provide recreation
- Gain goodwill as a thank you for support
- Competition for members
There are different formats you can use for a golf event including stroke or match play, individual or team, and best ball or scramble. Since most corporate outings involve people with varying degrees of ability, we recommend a scramble. This will be less intimidating, more enjoyable for participants, and easier to score. In a scramble, everyone in your group shoots from the best shot in the group.
Handicapping of players (to equalize players’ abilities) is done by using the event’s course rating, along with the players’ USGA handicaps. Many event players will not have a USGA handicap, so you will need to use a modified handicap system, such as selecting six blind holes to calculate a handicap. You can also use a handicap system such as the Callaway, Wilson, or Peoria.
Number of Participants
Most 18-hole golf courses can handle up to 144 golfers (36 groups of four). If you choose a shotgun start, this will require two groups on every hole. If your group is larger, you will need two courses or a morning and afternoon start.
Where are we going to play?
When selecting a golf course, you will need to know the date and time of the event and whether you want food, beverages, or social services from the golf club. You will find that most private clubs only allow outside events on certain days, so keep this in mind when planning. Now, it’s time to contact some golf courses to check on their options, cost, and availability.
Establish Your Budget
Once your course is selected, you can establish your budget. Details to be considered include: green fees, golf carts, food services (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), beverages, use of a driving range, a bag room, photography, entertainment, insurance, lodging, transportation, and tee prizes and awards. It is customary for prizes and awards to be 10 percent of your budget.
Once you have collected all of this information, you will be able to establish your entry fee. Sponsorship will help subsidize the cost of the event. Consider whether you want one sponsor for the entire event or a number of smaller contributors.
Sign me up!
How do you get interested players to sign up for your outing? You likely have a good idea as to who your target audience is, so, now, you need to work on inviting them. It is important that you post, advertise, or send out invitations for the event as early as three months in advance. This will give you time to get a head start on other activities. You also need to take into consideration whether people will be coming from out of town and if they need to make travel and lodging arrangements.
Invitations should include the event date, time, location, format, cost, and entry due date. If you are handing out apparel, you will need to ask for shirt, pants, or glove sizes, as well as whether they need a right or left hand glove.
Thirty days prior to the event, you will want to send out an information packet with the above information, as well as a map to the course, relevant phone numbers, lodging information, the golf course dress code, golf shoe spike rules, shop hours, range hours, and the hours of any social activities.
What is there to do?
Coordinating a golf tournament involves many tasks. Here are some areas in which you may want to recruit assistance:
- Team pairing
- Rules sheet
- Bag drop
- Gifts/tee prizes
- Food services
- Marking of golf course
- First tee coordinator
- Special events
- Award presentations
When preparing for, as well as during, the event you may need help with various items. Some of these include preparing and mailing flyers, creating rule sheets, printing score sheets, collecting fees, preparing bag tags, establishing a check-in table, preparing a list of participants, assigning golf carts, creating special event signs, photography during the event, posting results after golfing, food service, putting up decorations, and hiring entertainment or speakers.
Eat, drink, and be merry!
Food and beverages are a very important part of the event. You will need to know and plan for the following:
- Meal times
- Bar services
- Meal prices
- Location of head table
- Podium and microphone
- Type of meal (plated or buffet)
- Hors d’oeuvres
- Method of payment
- Guest speaker
- Prize and award table
Bar arrangements can include a cash bar, billing to the event, or tickets. During the event, it is customary to offer beverage service on the course. You must decide if this cost is included in your entry fee. It is very important that you plan for proper timing between golfing and meals. It is not unusual for a scramble event to take anywhere from four to six hours. You may also need to plan for possible rain delays.
The registration table is your first chance to make a favorable impression on the tournament participants. The table should be located near the clubhouse entrance or the first tee. You will need: pencils, scorecards, bag tags, tees, divot tools, tee gifts, pairing sheets, tee times, golf cart information, alphabetized player rosters, a cash box, rules and format sheets, paperweights, and a trash can.
If you are using golf carts, a rental fee may be required to ensure availability, and carts may need to be reserved up to a year in advance. Make sure to request the availability of a few extra carts to cover breakdowns, rangers, delivery of messages, and food and beverage assistance on the course. A print shop can make cart signs with sponsor names. To avoid confusion (and for safety reasons), keep the keys out of the carts until just before the event begins.
During the event, someone will need to be available to administer first aid, to interpret rules, and to monitor the hole-in-one or a similar type of prize contest.
How do we determine the winners?
Players are responsible only for their individual hole scores, not the addition of the totals. Totaling scores is the responsibility of the official scorer. Each team should sign and witness its scorecard. Place the scoreboard in an easily accessible area after finishing play, and post all scores for everyone to review.
What did I win?
One of the nice things about golf is that the handicap system gives everyone an equal chance to win, and it’s easy to have multiple winners with a team event. You can have individual winners for the longest putt, longest drive, ball closest to the pin, fewest putts, most greens in regulation, and closest drive to the center of the fairway. You can also set up putting contests on the practice green or offer raffles to allow more winners.
Additional Ways to Raise Money
Silent auctions—a popular way of raising money at charitable events—add to the experience without causing too much of a distraction. A well-organized silent auction will be simple for your guests to understand, and they will enjoy being able to “win” off the green. Silent auctions are flexible because you can offer a few or many high-quality items, the more the better. Gift baskets, golf clubs, golf umbrellas, and golf memorabilia are all great silent auction items. Promotional items that are un-related to golf will work, as well.
Things to Remember
You will need volunteers to help your silent auction run smoothly. The number of volunteers will depend on the amount of items and size of the event.
Determine your participants and provide relevant silent auction items. Make a list of businesses or people in your area who may be willing to help out by donating money or items from their businesses, such as gift certificates or higher priced promotional products.
Make a master list of all items. Assign a number to each item with the item number, description, minimum bid amount, and a place for the participant’s bidder number. Remember to create bidder numbers for all your participants, as well. Allocate enough space for tables and for people to walk through and browse items. You may want tablecloths to dress up the space. Don’t forget pens for people to use when bidding.
Choose a closing time, and be certain your guests are notified when the auction ends. Volunteers will be needed at the end of the auction. Bidding sheets should be promptly collected and sorted by the winning bidder number. Multiple items won by a bidder can be stapled and totaled so the bidder only has to pay once. Determine how you will deal with any items that are not sold at the auction. Do the donors want them back, or will you save them for next year’s event?
After the Event
Did all your guests have a great time at your event? Will they remember the event as one they would like to return to next year? Would they want to invite some of their friends? You may want to send the participants a thank you note and a decorated golf flag, or a team or group photo as a memento of the event. Don’t forget to thank the assistants who helped you make the event a success. Also, just because the event is over, don’t think you’re finished. The best time to plan next year’s event is now. It is a good time to reserve your facilities for next year and to start planning the prizes and awards. Have fun, and good luck!
Golf event responsibilities time table
One year prior to event
Select and reserve a golf course to hold your event.
Determine if you need a director or coordinator for the event.
Nine months prior to event
Set a budget for your event. Allocate money for food and beverage, gifts, prizes, green fees, carts, and photography. Put together a guest list and have invitations printed. Select event format: scramble, stroke play, match play, etc. Get volunteers to agree to help on the day of the event.
Six months prior to event
Coordinate food and beverage menus, and arrange for event sponsorship. Select any contests you may want: hole-in-one, longest drive, closest to the pin, etc. Obtain hole-in-one insurance, if necessary, and select prizes for the contests and tournament winners.
Three months prior to event
Meet with the tournament director to finalize arrangements for course times and banquet facilities. Send out invitations that include directions to the course and specific starting times. Also, remember to order tee prizes, awards, handouts, and tee signs.
Two months prior to event
Check the progress of outside vendors providing tee prizes, awards, giveaways, and tee signs. Finalize menus and any beverage or snack carts on the course. Do a walk-through of the course facilities to familiarize yourself with the location. Tabulate the preliminary number of guests, based on invitation responses.
Two weeks prior to event
Finalize preparations of all tee prizes, awards, giveaways, and tee signs. Have them delivered to the tournament director or to the course. Set up a preliminary player list and begin selecting team captains and flight players, according to their ability.
Two days prior to event
Finalize the player list, and send it to the golf course director. Double check any final details with the golf course. Review jobs for the volunteer staff, and coordinate any possible timing issues to ensure the event runs smoothly. Take into consideration the time for golfing, food, and an awards ceremony.
Day of the event
Arrive at least two hours before the guests. Be ready for possible no-shows, cancellations, and last minute changes. If you’re playing in the event, be sure you are in the first group to finish. That way you can get back to the clubhouse to check on dinner preparations and the awards ceremony. Last but not least, don’t forget to have fun!
Call us, or fill out the form on the right with any questions. 1.888.383.3071