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The Essential Golf Tournament Planning Checklist

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Have you wanted to organize a golf tournament to pull people together or promote a cause? Have you tried in the past and failed?

The average golf tournament raises on average $5,000. It’s worth it if you know the best practices for golf tournament planning, otherwise it can be a daunting activity to pull off.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the key tasks to set you on your way to a successful tournament.

Write Down Your Why

Spend a little time and put down on paper why you’re putting together this tournament. Include whom it benefits also. Is it for a charity? To commemorate a work event? Is it for a private club?

This will serve several purposes, such as when you bring in meet helpers or sponsors. It will also help to keep you grounded when things get chaotic.

Create a Golf Tournament Planning Work Plan

A tournament is a big enough project that warrants managing the scope, cost and schedule through a work plan. Ideally you should start month in advance. Break down what you need into large chunks without getting into the weeds.

Once you start bringing others to help, they can help identify the task and due dates. This work plan should be continuously assessed, updated and communicated through the entire project so nothing slips through the crack

Form a Committee

Time to get some help. Divvy up the chunks of your work plan though committees. Find individuals who are eager to help, and even better now if they are connected to external resources aligned to their committee.

Make sure membership is evenly balanced. Some roles and committees to consider include:

  • Honorary Chairman - this is one of the faces of the tournament; there may not be any significant task for this role except to add recognition to the tournament
  • Marketing Chair - responsible for getting the word out and ensuring maximum participation
  • Sponsors Chair - this person will seek sponsorship and bring in revenue
  • Operations Chair - this role ensures everything goes smoothly with the golf course and staff
  • Tournament Chair - this is the main role for the day of the tournament, overseeing and orchestrating the event from beginning to end

Each Chair should oversee their own committee of staff. All major decisions should involve each Chair.

Figure Out the Finances

To make sure the tournament generates more revenue than expenses, understand the average cost per golfer. This should include the golf course fees, food, drinks, awards, and marketing material. Averaging this cost by golfer will help you know how much to charge per golfer.

Here are some ideas to plan for revenue:

  • Set the registration fee per golfer
  • Contests
  • Raffles
  • Auction
  • Advertising on the course, in flyers, and website
  • Sponsors and banners for each hole
  • Upcharge for premium food and drinks

If the tournament is to raise funds and if you’re able to muster a great deal of income, you should avoid passing too much savings to the players. Players should pay higher than the course’s standard green fee, with excess all going toward the fund raising.

Pick the Format

Depending on the nature of the tournament (charity, private club), you’ll want to carefully choose the format to match the competitive nature of the event.

If you are planning to have a good amount of recreational or non-golfers participate, the most common format is a Scramble. This is where teams of four all hit from the same spot and get to choose the best place to hit from next.

All the golfers pick up their ball and hit from that spot. The caveat is usually everyone’s drive must be used at least once. The Scramble format is a great way to blend all skill levels and keep things fun, especially if there are a lot of drinks involved.

Best ball is a little more competitive where all players play their ball as they would in standard golf rules, and the best score is chosen for that hole. This format encourages risk taking and camaraderie.

The most competitive would be medal style play where everyone plays their ball and keeps track of their own score. This is great for more experienced golfers. To keep a level playing field, you can employ golfing handicaps.

Choose the Course

In choosing the right golf course, look for one that can not only meet your requirements but you could come back to for multiple years.

Put yourself in the shoes of your participants and figure out which holes would be fun to play, or offer great pictures, or would frustrate them. Play a round, talk to the manager, and bounce ideas off anyone who has played there before.

Things you want to know:

  • Golf course conditions
  • Management, staff, and customer service levels
  • Quality of food
  • Blend of accessibility and challenge
  • Facilities and equipment (dining, parking, restrooms, carts)
  • Experience hosting events
  • Overall value

A quality golf course should be able to accommodate all of these requests if they’re used to hosting tournaments.

Promote Tournament

Whether it’s a corporate, school, or charity event, a good promotion starts with a website that provides all the details about the tournament.

Press releases, promotions, and grocery bag stuffers can be effective ways to advertise if the tournament is open to the general public. If it’s for a charity, school, or work event, use your resources to help get the message out.

After the Tournament

Awards are always something to look forward to at the end, but for more casual events they may not be as meaningful. It is easy to overspend on an award.

Keeping things light hearted and offering a funny trophy can both save on the budget as well as make the awards ceremony memorable.

The real finale to a great event is the dinner, banquet, or hang-out when the playing is done. Plan for a stress-free environment where players can brag, tease, and recap the game.

It’s during this time where the auctions, raffles, and other games can come to a conclusion.

Turn the Plan to Reality

Are you ready to put your golf tournament planning into action? Stonegate Golf Course not only checks off all your boxes, we exceed expectations for your special event.

Stonegate Golf Course offers world class golf with two 18 hole golf courses The Oaks and nationally recognized The Cypress. We also offer two full service restaurants.

When you are ready to take the next step, we can work with you and provide our experience with tournament planning to give you an amazing event. Contact us today for exclusive deals!