The sunshine on your face, the wind whipping by while riding a golf cart, and the comradery and men and women hit the links for a day of philanthropy and fun. It’s the perfect picture of the ideal golf tournament, right? Of course it is! However, we all know there are a lot of behind the scenes and pre-event logistics that make this picturesque event day happen. No to mention so luck from mother nature! So let’s dive into some of the basic of fundraising golf tournaments, we’ll chip in a few experts tips along the way. Pun intended.
For any event, sponsorships are a wonderful way to involve local businesses and offset the cost of your event. It can be great exposure for a company, and with golf tournaments in particular, sponsorships can allow companies to interact with their employees and your network. We’ve seen a lot of golf tournaments fill their foursome allotment with sponsors instead of selling individual foursomes. Deciding on your target audience it critical to understanding your sponsor benefit strategy and who you invite.
Pro Tip: When structuring your sponsor benefits, consider the areas of exposure, networking and impact. Find ways for your sponsors to get their logo seen and make personal connections with other in attendance at the event. Make sure your sponsors see this as a mutually beneficial exchange and that their support builds community!
Typical in most golf tournaments are on-course challenges. Examples include: longest drive, longest putt, closest to the pin, beat the pro, hole in one, etc. We love the idea of a Player’s Card for turning these standard tournament games into a revenue builder! How this typically works is each person, or each foursome, purchases a Player’s Card that allows them to participate in all of the on-course competitive games. We’ve seen the majority of golfers purchase a Player’s Card in advance online or in-person at registration, so it’s a great fundraising tool. Fun for golfers + dollars raised for charity = win/win!
In additional to monetizing tradition golf challenges, there is a rise in event day revenue activations. Many of the games that you traditionally see at a gala can be executed on at a golf tournament as well! Consider a wine pull, silent auction, raffle, or even a live auction.
Pro Tip: Placing a game at the "turn" allow for engagement before tee-off, during game play, and as guests return to the club house. Maximum exposure!
Food & Beverage
Since golf tournaments are typically in the summer, at least in Minnesota, we know that golfers get thirsty and hungry. It’s a long day in the full summer sun. A few ways to make sure golfers stay hydrated and happy include: bottled water in the golf carts, swag bags with snacks, beverage carts circling frequently, and other special touches. Be sure to check on the golf club’s rules, but ideas for special touches include: local brewery samples, a hot dog stand, an ice cream truck, or a complimentary Bloody Mary before tee-time. Then once golfing has concluded, and before any programming has begun, have food ready to go. We love a dinner or heavy appetizer buffet so golfers can eat as they come into the clubhouse while waiting for all to finish play.
Pro Tip: The number one complaint at a golf tournament is not having enough food or having a hard time finding a drink. This is not the place to skimp!
Beyond the golf club, keep in mind additional vendors you may need for your charity golf tournament. An event photographer can be a nice touch to capture action shots and/or foursome pictures. These pictures are great stewardship piece to send to sponsors after the event. Additionally, some spaces benefit from added décor elements such as upgraded linens or centerpieces to make the space your own. It can also be important to bring in a graphic designer to create your tournament logo, and design directional and sponsor signage. And lastly, a vendor for any branded swag items (golf balls, golf tees, hats, etc.) and prize items for the top foursomes and on-course games.
Pro Tip: Work with your graphic designer to think of creative branding solutions. One of our favorite is custom flags for the holes!
Last but not least, we highly recommend working with a mobile fundraising website. These platforms assist in streamlining communication about your event in terms of details, timeline, FAQ’s, and more. They also allow golfers or foursomes to register, donate to the charity, browse silent auction items (if that’s part of your golf tournament) and text message with golfers throughout the day with friendly reminders.
Pro Tip: If your software has a tabling function, you can utilize it to organize your foursomes and which holes they will tee off from!
Golf tournaments are a tried and true way to bring a community together for a great cause. Make sure you give yourself at least 9 months to plan the event and get the word out. Most courses max out at 144 golfers, so if you want to capture a larger audience, you could consider adding on a non-golf experience such as a wine tasting or a dinner only ticket! While there are many similar boxes to check for each golf tournament, there are so many ways to get creative and make it your own. Get out there, take a swing and drive it straight down the fairway.
For a few more tips for your event, check out this blog on Outdoor Events.