How to Organize a Golf Tournament
Start 6 Months in advance for best results
Step 1: Define Purpose and Target Market
- Define why you are hosting a golf tournament. Is it a charity event to raise money for a good cause, i.e. scholarships, and an activity? Or is it a fun activity for BYU Alumni to get together with little expectation of making money?
- When you decide the purpose of the event, it will help to clarify how many players you expect to include, the type of golfers that will probably participate, and course options that match. These are basic decisions that affect your committee selections, and the resources you will need for the event
Step 2: Put Your Committee Together
- If you are not a golf aficionado, enlist someone who knows and likes golf, is good at organizing, and will lead or help direct the overall process. Convey to them your goal and vision. Make sure that he/she and you are on the same page
- Bring others onto your committee to be responsible for fund-raising, registration, food and beverages, transportation, prizes, etc.
- Have each committee get additional volunteers or have a single pool of volunteers from where each committee can pick their required volunteers
- Make sure that each volunteer understands the purpose and goals of your tournament so they can make suitable decisions. Let each committee chair be responsible for his/her area so that he/she will embrace the challenge and work individually and in a group towards overall success
Step 3: Budget
The budget is always the reality check. The scope and reach of the golf tournament will be decided based on your budget. For this, do a cost analysis of the different options available to you. Remember your overall goal when making these decisions. What needs to be done to accomplish your purpose?
- Think of the scope of the event: i.e. city wide, area wide or bigger
- Think of potential sponsors who might be inclined to participate (LDS, business owners, golfers, etc.)
Compare the golf courses available, their desirability, and costs
The key is not to overreach or under-deliver. If it’s the first golf tournament you are hosting, it’s best to be cautious in your outlay. Food, beverages, prizes and the venue define what type of event it’ll be. Sometimes, a few ‘underwriting sponsors’ can both suggest the type of event and fund key costs if the event will represent them well.
Step 4: Find Sponsors
Sponsors are a great help in covering your costs and contributing to your charitable goals. The entry fees, unless extremely high, usually will not cover all the costs of your event. So, even if you are hosting a fun event focused tournament more than a charitable (and fun!) event, you may need to have a few sponsors. Obviously, the more money you hope to raise, the more sponsors and higher sponsor donations will accomplish this goal.
How Do I Decide Who to Ask to Sponsor?
- Make up a list of potential donors
- Do research beforehand
- Form a strong relationship or connection before you make your ask
- When you are meeting with potential sponsors, you can ask them if they know of anyone who may be willing to be involved
How Do I Make the Ask?
- The person who approaches a potential sponsor should be someone who is invested and onboard with the project and who is good at asking for money
- Meet the potential sponsor where they are. Go to them
- Know what you are going to say and don’t take up too much of their time
- Help them understand your event goal, the BYU connection, the charitable results that will transpire from a successful event and how they can make a difference
- Have a nicely printed flyer or a letter that you can give them with the details
- Be genuine, direct, and specifi
- Tell them what you will do for them. Some sponsors prefer exposure, while occasionally is happy with anonymity or little promotion
- Be prepared for rejection. Try not to put anyone on the spot. Give people options so everyone can win in the ask
- Say thank you more than once. Sincerely thank them for their time, any input they gave, for all they do, etc. Be especially appreciative and gracious to the sponsors who accept to be a part of this event
How many sponsors can/should we have?
- The more sponsors there are, the greater financial base you’ll have
- You can have a sponsor for every hole
- Companies – Sometimes they would like to sponsor in kind. Rather than money donated, they donate the dinner, or goods, etc.
- Family Foundations
Sponsorship Perks – Suggestions:
- Acknowledgement of their sponsorship everywhere that is appropriate – on a welcoming banner, in the advertising, have them be acknowledged at the closing ceremonies, etc.
- Hole sponsorship (Their name on a sign at selected holes.)
- Foursome plays free
- A special sponsor-only hat, jacket, or shirt
- Be creative
The Sponsored Golf Holes Could Have Competitions:
- Competitions bring some life to the tournament
- Suggestions – KP (Closest to the pin, Long Drive, Hole in One
- Sponsor of hole provides prizes
Step 5: Golf Tournament Formats
- Scramble - Most popular and easiest for golfers of all abilities to play since no handicaps are required. It also helps keep the players moving along at a quicker pace. With the Scramble format along with multiple on-course competitions, everyone has a shot at winning something and can feel good about their day
- Golf Marathon - Here the players are asked to invite their friends, family, and acquaintances and collect a pledged amount. Then he/she plays 36 holes or something similar which qualifies as a marathon. As long as they fulfill their pledges, their golf is free
- Best Ball Format - For a more serious, competitive tournament. Here, everyone in the group plays each hole and the lowest individual score for that hole is recorded for the team. This is a much slower paced competition and better players are favored, so the temptation is to ‘stack’ a team which may discourage other players in future years. This narrows down the field of golfers who will sign up
Step 6: Select the golf course
Book the perfect course for your tournament:
- Look at your options of what golf courses you can use. Consider:
- Difficulty of course
- Accessibility to your target market. Closer is better
- Costs – which course fits in your budget
- Availability for your scheduling window
- Booking the course
- Be clear on all the costs
- Food/drink? Do you need to use their food/drinks?
- Carts – any charge?
- Clarify what the course management will do to help with the tournament
- Time the event so that player’s work commitments are least impacted
- 2 ways to schedule tee times
- Book the whole course so only your players will be on the course. Expect that you will have to pay a set fee to block out the course.
- Line up the group tee times that you’ll need. This costs less money but gives you much less control
- Check with BYU Risk Management
Step 7: Advertising the golf tournament
- For the golf tournament to be a success, you need golfers. Build up the enthusiasm for the event once the base plan is in place
- Word-of-mouth is the most effective method, but also use social media, fliers, ward announcements, alumni emails, etc
Step 8: Registrations and Paperwork
- It’s easiest to registers teams, rather than individuals but you will always have some individuals who want to sign up.
- If you are handing out goodies like T-Shirts, vests, golf balls, and/or other items, make sure you get the sizes from the intended recipients. And hand them out when they check in
- Anything that’s worth recording should be put in paper or digital mode for audit after the golf tournaments. Track all receipts and revenues
Step 9: Food and Beverages
One of the top attractions of a golf tournament is the food. For a quality event, make sure this experience is worth it
- Talk to the golf course liaison and figure out the do’s and don’ts in terms of food (many require you use them!). Check if the golf club itself is capable of catering the food and how much it costs for the entire event. Note: Some courses allow open-air barbecue and grills which can add to the aura of the even
Step 10: Contest Details and Other Ideas
- Hole-in-One - Sponsored 3-par Hole – Have sponsor offer a big prize (i.e. motorcycle, boat, etc.) if someone gets a hole-in-one on that particular hole. Sponsor can get insurance to cover the prize
- KP - Closest to the pin
- Raffle – selling raffle tickets can help raise money
- Award a big prize to the winner
- 50-50 - Half to winner and half to charity
- Mulligans – people can buy extra shots (set a limit). You could give the sponsors 2 free mulligans
- Give away as many prizes as possible without compromising on the charity money you raise. Many sponsors will pay for small giveaways at their sponsored hole
- You can give away golf-related prizes to the enthusiasts like balls, gloves, tees, etc.
- Celebrity Guest - You could have a ‘celebrity’ attend the event
- They could stay at one of the tees and drive and possibly drive a free ball with each foursome.
- Or they could be at a hole for the group to talk to and/or get a picture taken
Step 11: Photography and Video
- Have a photographer take picture
- Works especially well to show the pictures/video of the players while they wait for food or score-posting at the end. It’s always great to let the players unwind and talk about their good shots. Make sure they leave with pleasant memories regardless of whether they win big or not
- Email a picture of each foursome after tournament to thank you for playing
Step 12: Conclusions
- This is not a one-man job. The more support you have, the better your tournament will be
- Be aware of the players’ comfort and expectations. Do you need a Drink Cart? The enjoyment of the participants, reaching your stated goals, the general enjoyment of the day are what will make your tournament a success