Need to raise money or awareness for a particular cause? A golfing event could be one of the best ways to do so. There are a ton of benefits to choosing this kind of event over others: it generally attracts a young, affluent audience who are environmentally conscious and have money to spend.
However, there is a slight downside to it: a golfing event requires more planning and logistics than many others. This is why we’re bringing you this handy guide. Read through it if you want to learn how to organize a golfing event that goes smoothly, gets you the results you need, and has people talking about it long after it’s finished.
Set Your Goals
The first thing to nail down is your goal for the event. You should know this already—it could be a fundraiser, a way to spoil your clients, boost business relationships, or create awareness around a particular topic.
Be clear about what your goal is because this will set the tone for everything else to come! Everything from your target participants to the amount of money you need to throw the event will hinge on this.
Establish a Budget
The key to setting an appropriate budget is good planning. You’ll need to factor in absolutely everything, so it’s best to figure this out in advance and have a few people involved so you don’t miss anything. Consider things like:
- Renting the venue
- Green fees, cart rentals, club rentals, etc
- Food for the estimated number of guests
- Drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
- Prizes (for winners, runners-up, and other spot prizes, like best junior or senior)
- Gift bags and “thank you” gifts
- Invitations, menus, and signage (any printed material)
- Staff payments
- Advertising costs
Once you’ve covered everything, set a realistic budget. Then, and this is the most important thing—stick to it! This could require a good bit of research, so it’s best to do it long in advance—your planning should begin 12 months in advance, with finalizations happening about 3 months before the event.
Pick Your Event Team
What kind of staff do you need to run the event smoothly? This also needs to be decided upon early in the process, and it could affect your budget as well. In some cases, the golf course you’re hosting the event at will have staff available to help, but in others, you’ll need to find your own.
If you’re not a golfer yourself, it pays to have an experienced golfer on your planning team. They’ll be able to anticipate some potential needs of your participants and give golf-related advice that you may not think of.
It’s also a good idea to get a team of volunteers together for things like MCing the event, DJing, and so on. If you’re going to do this, remember to factor in “thank you” gifts to your budget.
Select a Suitable Venue
As tempting as it is to hire Pebble Beach for your fundraiser, stick to a golf course that fits your budget. However, make sure it has all the amenities you’re going to need to run the event smoothly, like a conference room, banquet hall, or space outdoors to set up for food.
It’s also a good idea to select something that’s easily accessible, in a beautiful location (unless you’re going local and have limited choice), that offers superb service and amenities, and that provides a good golfing experience for all, but with a touch of challenge for the more experienced players.
Secure Sponsorships and Partnerships
The key to finding sponsorships is to make the partnership mutually beneficial. Identify potential sponsors early in the process (up to 12 months beforehand) and make sure you have a great proposal that clearly benefits them.
Put together a few unique packages to present to prospective sponsors, showing exactly what they’ll get when they sponsor your event. As an example, you may create 3 different sponsorship options, named “Par”, “Birdie”, and “Eagle”.
- Par, $1,000: Company name & logo on signage, email communication, website pages, and all other tournament-related material as a sponsor; 4 x dinner tickets and reserved seating.
- Birdie, $2,500: All Par features, plus a foursome in the golf tournament and verbal recognition by the MC during the event.
- Eagle, $5,000: All Birdie features with an extra foursome (2 in total), VIP seating during dinner, company name listed on tournament banners, company logo on golf carts/push carts, and company name and logo on gift bags.
Promote the Event
Once everything is planned, your date is set, the venue is secured, and so on, you can begin promoting the event. First up, you need to create a marketing campaign strategy so you’re not shooting in the dark but have a structured plan to follow.
Use your website, email, and social media platforms to promote it. Don’t just stick to one—not everyone is on social media, for example. Create exciting, engaging content that offers value to the reader—consider things like a short post on “5 Reasons You Should Enter a Golf Tournament” or something similar. A fun read, with a CTA to buy tickets for your event.
Don’t forget to provide your followers/readers with incentives to sign up. Explain your cause, and tell them how they can help, but don’t forget to include that they can win X, Y, and Z if they enter. A giveaway is also a great idea—you can create a bit of hype around it by offering a prize for the first person to get the answer to a golf-related question or something similar.
If you don’t have a website for your event, consider creating one. You may be able to reach out to a local web design company to sponsor a website for you rather than purchasing a package with the same incentives.
Manage Registrations and Payments
It’s an excellent idea to set up an online system for participants to register and pay the entry fees. You’ll most likely have to factor this into your budget, but it’ll keep everything much more organized and easy to handle.
Don’t forget to keep up communications once someone has registered. In this case, creating an email sequence to send out regular reminders, sneak peeks of prizes, and so on.
Coordinate Event Day Operations
Be prepared for unexpected events on the day. Have a backup plan! Everything should have been arranged long in advance, so it’s likely just to be coordinating things as they come together.
A few days after the event, send out thank-yous to your volunteers and sponsors. These could include gifts or vouchers, but make sure to adequately express your gratitude for their part in the successful event.
Also, send out a thank-you email to all the participants, thanking them for their involvement in your cause. This is also an excellent opportunity to ask for feedback, either in a “reply to this email” format or by attaching a link to a short survey. This will give you valuable information to incorporate for your next golfing event!
Figuring out how to organize a golfing event isn’t as hard as you might think. There are a lot of moving parts, but as long as you plan well in advance, include the right people, and stay organized from the beginning, there’s no reason it can’t be a smashing success!
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and businessman. When he’s not on the course working on his own game or mentoring young golfers, he writes in-depth articles for his website, Golf Influence.
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