Many charities enjoy organizing golf tournaments to raise money for specific causes. They are a great way for golfers to give back while also enjoying some friendly competition with friends and colleagues. Of course there are many details to start the planning off right. In general, you’ll need 9 to 12 months of planning time to schedule your ideal date and ensure there is enough time to seek sponsorship support. The following tips will help you learn the basics of how to get started planning a golf tournament.
Form a committee
It may sound obvious, but rallying support for organizing a charitable golf tournament should be the first item at the top of your to do list. I recommend having the following roles on your committee:
- the Tournament President, who provides oversight over all the tournament expenditures and guidelines,
- the Tournament Administrator, who collects and records all the registrations and purchases for the tournament, and
- the Tournament Director, who coordinates the tournament and logistics. This person doesn’t have to know everything about golf, but it is helpful to have individuals on the team who can fill in knowledge about playing and rules.
If you’re raising funds for a charity, they may be able to partner with you by providing staff or volunteers who can serve on the committee or help during the day. They may also be able to help you seek sponsorship and promote the tournament to their list of supporters.
Determine purpose & decide on the logistics
At your first “strategic planning meeting,” make sure you have a set agenda to go over all the logistics for the tournament. You might begin with a proposed 9- or 12-month timeline and start outlining a budget for the tournament. You’ll need this information before you can create sponsorship packages and marketing materials to promote registrations for the tournament. You also need to think about if you will offer any type of fun contests during your tournament – such as a hole-in-one or a longest drive contest.
Next you’ll need to decide whether your tournament will offer any meals. Many times a cocktail reception and banquet follows a tournament which gives time to pass out prizes to the winners. This can also be a perfect time to decide if you want to hold an auction or raffle, since more time and energy may be required to put those together.
Once you have a proposed date, you’ll need to check with one or more golf clubs who can host your tournament. Be sure to check around to be sure that your date doesn’t conflict with holidays or other large events. Once you have a date, you can even start spreading the word to potential participants so they can “save the date” using a postcard, email, or social media.
Before you can proceed, you’ll need to outline how much to charge players. Take into account what the golf club charges (green fees, cart fees, driving range usage), food and beverage to be offered, any prizes or gifts, and administrative costs to be incurred coordinating the tournament (i.e., printing, postage). If you are still unsure what to charge, do some research on similar tournaments in the area and ask the golf pros you may know. They see many events and have lots of advice to share if asked.
Create sponsorship package
Sponsorship packages can be a wonderful way to offset expenses for the tournament and raise more money for your charitable cause. Many local businesses would be delighted to play an afternoon of golf in exchange for recognition at the event. They get to network and associate themselves with your worthy charity. That is a win-win for many!
Sponsorship packages give the basics about why the tournament was created and which charity it supports. Then it offers corporations, small businesses, and individuals ways to support the tournament in exchange for specific benefits. You might also approach a larger business who agrees to be the largest or “title sponsor” in exchange for their name being included in the tournament name (i.e., X Company’s Champions for Charity Golf tournament). There are many creative ways to benefit sponsors. Here’s just a few:
- Player entry (i.e. bronze sponsorship offers a team of four players in the tournament)
- Gift items with corporate logos (i.e. a golf polo sponsor may have their logo embroidered on tournament shirts
- Signage on the course, at check-in, and banquet
- Named during the awards program
- Name listed in emails and on websites
- Handwritten thank you notes following the tournament
- Appreciation plaques, and more!
You can name your sponsorship packages with creative names and organize them by monetary value. In addition to names such as Golf, Silver, Bronze, you can name the sponsors after the item they offer such as the “prize sponsor” who covers the cost of prizes, banquet sponsor, snack cart sponsor, hole-in-one prize sponsor, and others. Once you have the packages ready and printed on official letterhead, round up everyone you know to get the word out. Keep in mind that many larger businesses budget 9 months to a year in advance, so keep that in mind when making your ask.
Create and distribute marketing materials
Once you have all the information available about your tournament, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to accept sponsorships and registrations. You can create an attractive flier or use an online event registration system if you wish. Make sure you share the name and purpose of the tournament, date, start time, location, entry fee, how to register, forms of payment accepted, and contact information. Then you’ll be ready to spread the word and register golfers and sponsors, too!
We can help
The Courses at Andrews helps organizers put on more than 350 golf tournaments each year. We have a wealth of knowledge to share and can help you plan a golf tournament and banquet to remember. Whether you’re organizing a small tournament or something larger for a local charity, contact us today to learn more.