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How To Plan A Golf Tournament

Planning a golf tournament can seem like a daunting task, but have no fear! In this post, we've assembled all the basic steps needed to plan a successful golf outing. Whether the purpose of your event is to benefit a charity, or it's simply a corporate team building event, you'll find these basic steps will apply to all types of events.

Have a Goal

Defining a goal is the first step in organizing any golfing event. Charity events are typically intended to raise funds, so identifying a target amount will not only help motivate volunteers but assist in making tournament planning decisions. Selecting a specific amount (e.g. $5,000) is one way to choose a fundraising goal, but many start with a goal per participant, such as $50. When planning a corporate golf tournament, participation in the tournament itself is often a good place to start.

Set a Date and Timeline

When selecting a date for the golf tournament, you need to plan ahead to maximize attendance and ensure that everyone enjoys the event. You'll find that following these tournament scheduling tips will help:

  • Start planning 8-12 months in advance
  • Avoid times that traditionally have bad weather
  • Spring and Fall seasons are good options to avoid vacations
  • Start with several tournament dates to avoid potential scheduling conflicts
  • Consider other large events in the area and be sure to not plan on same day

Appoint a Committee

Golf event planning can be a lot of work. Getting help by appointing a committee will help distribute the work. Once a group of volunteers are recruited into a Planning Committee, they can be assigned different tasks suited to their skill sets. Some different project areas include:

  • Sponsorship and donations outreach
  • Marketing and public relations efforts
  • Day-of-event operations help
  • Prize committees

Additionally, it's also good to recruit some avid golfers or professionals in the committee. They can assist with judging and rule explanation during the actual event, while also providing you valuable information and feedback during the planning process.

Determine a Budget

When determining tournament costs, it's important to consider the goals that were previously established during planning process. Is this a charity fundraising event or are you planning a corporate golf outing? From there you can decide how much you want to allocate to each expense area, as well as your player and entry fees. To get you started, consider the following details:

  • Course Rental
  • Food & Beverage
  • Advertising
  • Services
  • Tournament prizes
  • Equipment rental

For a complete list of common tournament costs and an organized budgeting tool, download our Tournament Budget Guide. Using a budgeting tool can help you stay organized when it comes to your budget planning, as well as ensure you are considering all potential costs.

Select the Golf Tournament Format

In order for there to be a tournament, you'll need figure out which golf format you're going to use for the big day! Would Best Ball be the best choice? What about a Scramble? When choosing your format it is important to consider:

  • Players' skill levels
  • The amount of people playing
  • The length of the game and course availability
  • If you want simple or complex points system

With so many variables to consider and playing formats to choose from, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Take your time and look through our list of most popular playing formats. You're bound to find one that will suit your event!

Choose a Tournament Theme

Choosing a fun or memorable theme for your tournament is also a great way to attract attention to your event. Hosting something around Halloween? Make it a costume themed golf tournament! Raising money for the local historical society? Launch a Roaring 20's themed event with era-appropriate decorations, prizes, and after-party. There are several directions you can take your event's theme, so have fun with it!

And in case you're still feeling uninspired, check out our list of common golf tournament themes to see what has worked in the past.

Choose a Golf Course

You can't have a tournament without a place to host it! When looking for the right golf course to host your event, there are a several important things to remember:

  • Date and time of the event
  • Available amenities (golf carts, refreshment carts, locker room access, etc.)
  • Size and maximum number of players allowed on course
  • Cost/budget
  • Costs per golfer (food, drink, services, etc.)
  • Weather policy/cancellation services
  • Course difficulty (pros only, or good for beginners)
  • Proximity to your business or organization

Having a prepared list of questions before going to negotiate terms with a course is important for ensuring you don't put the deposit down on a place that won't work for your tournament's needs. It's also good to know what your max budget is for renting out a course, as well as the number of players you can expect to attend.

Tournament Promotion

To accomplish your goal, you're going to need people to attend the golf tournament, which means getting the word out to as many people as possible! If you need a little inspiration, check out the following list of advertising opportunities that can help you spread the word:

  • Use your organization or charity's social media pages to post about your tournament. Try a Facebook group, event page, or an Instagram series to start generating hype.
  • Contact local news stations to request coverage for the event
  • Ask local newspapers to write about your event
  • Ask the golf course to promote the event using their social platforms & email
  • Distribute event flyers in the areas around the course
  • Build a simple website to provide golf tournament details

Find Sponsors

When planning a golf tournament, finding sponsors is crucial. If you've never had to solicit sponsors in the past, then this task may seem intimidating - but don't worry! We've created a complete list of steps and directions in our How to Attract Sponsors Guide to give you all the info you need to know. But in case you just want a snapshot, here are the basic steps of getting your event sponsored:

  • Identify sponsor benefits
  • Set different sponsorship levels
  • Write a sponsorship letter to provide details of the event
  • Create a list of potential supporters
  • Contact prospective tournament sponsors

Once these steps have been completed, keep everyone informed! If they can't sponsor your current event, your follow up may encourage them to participate in the future.

Finalize Tournament Details

The hardest part of planning your event is over, now it's time to dot your i's and cross your t's. As the tournament date gets closer, make sure that the following details are squared away:

  • Deposits paid
  • Entrees submitted
  • Equipment rented
  • Signage obtained
  • Prizes secured
  • Money collected
  • Volunteers trained

If your event involves more specific details, try making a checklist to ensure that all of the details have been considered and verified. This will ensure that all of your hard work results in a smooth, organized and fun golfing event!

Host the Event

Once the tournament has been planned and the day has arrived, there is a handful of tasks that will help ensure a successful event. They include:

  • Review volunteer responsibilities prior to the event
  • Expect last minute changes & be flexible
  • Stay in constant communication with course staff
  • Keep participants informed
  • Have fun

Tournament Planning Overview

There are many different ways to plan a golf tournament. While this post is not intended to completely answer all the question you may have, we hope to have given you a good overview.

If you're interested in finding answers to broader sets of questions that focus on golf tournament planning, we suggest that you visit our Golf Tournament Planning Guide.

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