How to Organize a Charity Golf Tournament
Your organization has decided to host a charity golf tournament or golf tournament fundraiser and you’ve been asked to help plan it. The content created here is designed to answer the question, “Where do I start to successfully plan a charity golf tournament?” We’ve provided basic guidelines for organizing and planning a golf tournament fundraiser with a focus on the following steps:
- Initial Planning and Research
- Golf Tournament Committee Formation
- Selecting & Negotiating with a Golf Course
- Recruiting Golfers
- Online Registration for Golfers and Sponsors
- Adding Contests and Additional Revenue Boosters
Charity golf tournaments are known to be one of the most lucrative fundraising events if done right. This information will help keep your tournament planning process on track, and make you look like a pro the day of your golf event. Whether this is your first time planning a golf tournament or you already have an established fundraising event, a GolfRegistrations website can help make it even better.
Golf Tournament Planning and Research
The first step in organizing a charity golf tournament is establishing tournament goals. Determine how much money you need to raise and estimate costs as these will certainly influence your planning. Create a written golf tournament budget and detailed project plan that spells out goals and outlines roles and responsibilities.
Before you start your planning, do some research. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to find out when other golf tournaments are taking place in your area. Over saturation of too many golf fundraisers could lead to low attendance and unattainable financial goals. This should be carefully considered when selecting the date of your event, as you’ll want to avoid competing against other fundraising tournaments or large community charity events.
Assemble Your Charity Golf Tournament Planning Committee
Successful golf tournament fundraisers hinge on the recruitment and action of a strong leadership team. Ideally your team should be comprised of individuals with diverse skills and talents that share a common interest in the organization’s success. It is also highly suggested that you get knowledgeable golfers involved on your event planning committee. They may not know about fundraising, but they’ve been to enough golf tournaments to know what works and what doesn’t.
Working smart at this stage of the game requires delegation. Consider assigning a person (or team of people) to the following tournament areas:
- Corporate Sponsorship and Donations: Corporate and business sponsors are an integral part of most charity golf events. This person or team should have experience in sales and building partnerships to create sponsorship packages that outline benefits and obligations. They will then raise money for your organization by soliciting event sponsorships from local businesses. In-kind donations can also be solicited for printed materials, silent auction items, raffle prizes, goody back inclusions, beverages on the course and more. The sponsorship coordinator or group will want to work closely with the marketing team to ensure all sponsorship obligations are fulfilled (i.e. signage, logo inclusion on printed materials, thank you’s, and more).
- Marketing & Public Relations: It will be beneficial to have someone with a communications background for this role. This person will write press releases and pitch story ideas to media. They will also create print and promotional materials (i.e. flyers, print ads, event posters) to help spread the word about the event throughout the community.
- Hospitality & Day of Event Operations: He or she organizes Day of Event logistics including table or tent rentals, cash boxes, golf cart rentals, placing event signage, and more. This group also plans breakfast and post-tournament meals and activities, and coordinates entertainment.
- Photographer: It may be a nice gesture to have an on-site photographer to take pictures at the event. These photos will be great assets for the post-event recap on your website and newsletter. Great pictures will also help in your general fundraising efforts and for next year’s event recruitment.
- Prize Committee: This person or group is responsible for finding items for goody bags that each golfer receives such as golf balls, tees, and other small promotional items. They will also work with the sponsorship coordinator to assist with obtaining donated items for golf tournament contests, fundraising raffles and possibly a charity auction.
- Volunteer Manager or Committee: This group will organize staff & volunteers for day of event activities including:
- Judging Panel – Recruit a few volunteers who know the game of golf well to help keep order on the course, judge on-course contests, manage mulligans and the like.
- Welcome Committee – Friendly, outgoing individuals to welcome guests, set up registration tables, prize tables, distribute goody bags, snacks, drink tickets, and sell raffle tickets.
Selecting and Negotiating with the Golf Course
A critical step in the planning process of charity golf events is the selection of the actual golf course. To gain instant credibility within the golf community, sponsors and players that attend, choose an exclusive course that is highly rated in your area. Try to avoid a local community course just because it fits within your schedule or budget. If it is a “members only” course, find out who is on their board and determine if you have any contacts to reach out to these members to obtain approval for your organization to use the course. Be sure to consider the costs that some of these more elite courses may charge, and if there are high fees, consider asking a local business to pick up this tab by being the Title Sponsor of your charity golf outing.
Forging a strong partnership with a golf course can help you establish a strong foundation for a successful charity golf tournament. Once you’ve identified a course that meets your needs, you’ll want to iron out the details with the golf course staff. Putting everything into writing and signing an agreement can alleviate confusion on tournament day. Here are some things you’ll want to include in your contract:
- Date and tee time: Be flexible here! Courses may offer discounts for off-season or mid-week golf dates.
- Description of tournament services: Are golf balls, golf carts, scorecards, gratuities and service fees, etc. included?
- Number of golfers and guarantees: When is the attendee list due? Are there penalties if the estimated number of golfers is reduced?
- Total costs: Costs per golfer, costs for food, beverage, services, etc. and due dates for deposit and final payment.
- Cancellation terms and weather policy.
In summary, make sure you are prepared with a list of questions before you start negotiations with a preferred golf course or country club. You may want to compare costs and services between a few different courses to ensure you are getting a fair deal, and put everything in writing to protect your organization. But most important, make sure you feel comfortable with the terms and the staff at the course as you want to make sure the course will treat your guests to a great day of hospitality.
Recruiting Golfers for the Tournament
Now that you have a strong team in place as well as the ideal course, it’s time to find some golfers. There are several reasons why golfers will want to participate in your charity tournament, so be sure to focus on all of these areas in your marketing efforts:
- Your Cause – The best place to start recruiting is with the people that already support your organization and cause. They love or have been personally effected by your cause, and will support you because of that. Even if they don’t golf, they will find golfer friends or come to the banquet afterward.
- The Event – This is where you can draw new people into your circle. There are people who’d like to spend every waking moment playing golf. For them, your tournament is a chance to enjoy some fun with friends and they can feel good about doing it. Fundraising contests and games will add to the allure, as will the after-party with a silent auction and more fun.
- The Course – Hosting a charity golf tournament at a private golf course can be a big draw. Many people that wouldn’t normally be able to golf here would love the opportunity to come for the day. Keep this in mind and advertise the course widely on your tournament website and flyers.
- Your People – Golf tournaments are social events. If your committee members know lots of people, love to play golf and to network, then you’ll do just fine recruiting golfers. Another way to do this is by recruiting a local celebrity to golf or emcee at the awards dinner.
Then, make it easy for golfers to get involved. Provide easy, online registration.
Managing the Golf Tournament with Online Registration Software
Are you wondering how you are going to manage all these moving parts, meet deadlines, and ensure your tournament planning team are prepared for event day? You are going to need some help. GolfRegistrations is the industry leading golf tournament management software system for managing the full event life cycle of charity golf events including functions to:
- Manage player and team registrations, with golf handicap and custom question functionality
- Assign additional players to teams and assign starting holes and times
- Organize pre-event promotions
- Publish golf course maps and photos to highlight your chosen golf course or country club
- Sell and promote sponsorships online
- Sell unlimited golf products (raffle tickets, mulligan packages, dinner only tickets, golf shirts and more)
- Generate detailed tournament management and registration reports
- View event planning progress throughout the planning phase
- Process secure credit card payments with DoJiggy Payments or your supported processor
Adding Additional Revenue Boosters to the Tournament
When organizing a charity golf tournament, one of the most important considerations will be to look at ways to bring in additional revenue. Even many corporate golf events include a charitable component and include fundraising ideas and contests. Below are some fundraising ideas to consider when organizing a fundraising golf tournament:
- Reach out to the community and local businesses for golf tournament sponsorships. What a great way to start out on the right financial footing and raise money early on in the event planning process. By hosting a charity golf event that draws in businesses and influential community members, promoting cash and in-kind sponsorship packages should be easy. Sponsorship benefits may be outlined and packages sold securely on your golf tournament website.
- Selling golf products, such as mulligan packages (which cost your organization nothing) can really boost revenues
- Host a fundraising raffle and/or silent auction
- Golf tournament contests add excitement to your golf fundraiser by giving golfers an opportunity to win money and prizes. They also provide an opportunity for your organization to raise more money for your cause by collecting wagers and fees for participating. A Hole-in-One contest is one of the most popular formats for charity events.
We offer more great golf fundraising ideas to help your organization earn more money before, on the course and after your charity golf event.
Other Charity Golf Tournament Resources
We hope this content has helped you get started organizing your charity golf tournament. That’s what we do – since 2003!
GolfRegistrations provides golf tournament planners with a complete set of free resources to help make your charity golf outings a success. Visit our Golf Tournament Resources for additional information and sample documents which can easily be modified for your charity golf event needs including: a complete golf tournament planner & checklist, spreadsheet for tournament budgets, sample golf tournament flyers, golf tournament E-book, and more.