“A” Game: How to Plan a Golf Tournament

If your philosophy is that a day spent on the links is a day well spent, you’ve probably participated in a golf tournament (or ten!). Of course, playing in a tournament is quite a long drive from spearheading one. Whether you’re researching how to plan a golf tournament fundraiser or pull together a golf event to coincide with an already-planned larger group gathering, we want to help you understand the magnitude of the task ahead. To that end, our golf team has outlined the broad strokes of planning a golf tournament, checklist-style, below.

1 | Define the Purpose & Goals

Before getting into the who, what, where, when and how, it pays to write a mission statement about why you’re hosting this golf tournament. Is the purpose to raise money for a charity? Is it to get the top brass together to blow off steam at the end of a multi-day corporate meeting? Hand-in-hand with identifying this purpose is outlining the goals you hope to achieve. As with any business endeavor, it’s important to define Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure success at the end of the tournament.

2 | Establish the Budget

Knowing this number is critical to help determine where and when you can host the tournament and how many players you’ll need to participate. Expenses include golf course costs, F&B, swag, prizes, event promotion, insurance and more. To offset expenses (where applicable), consider these sources: player registration fees and sponsorships – these can be both financial and goods donations for auctions, raffles, prizes and on-course contests.

3 | Select the Venue

If you’re hosting a golf tournament to raise money for a charity, the cause itself is a primary driver for participation. For all golf tournaments, the venue is a powerful incentive. By choosing a coveted golf course for your tournament, you will exponentially increase player interest. Equally as critical is the availability and quality of on-site catering for the much anticipated post-tournament awards banquet. Lansdowne Resort is not only renowned for our culinary team but also for our AAA Four-Diamond-rated accommodations for tournament participants requiring an overnight stay.

4 | Secure a Preferred Date

You’ll want to consider average temperatures and rainfall by month for your location (while still planning for a rain date!) and allow plenty of lead time for effective event promotion and preparation. Planning your tournament well in advance also improves participation, as players will be able to block out your date on their personal calendars.

5 | Nail Down the Details

As we touched on earlier, you’ll want to secure sponsors, swag, prizes and insurance, but there are still other decisions to make. Let’s start with the playing format – popular ones include shotgun, best ball, medal play and pro-am. You’ll also want to determine your F&B offerings, which can include a boxed lunch to fuel your participants’ play and a post-tournament dinner to be enjoyed together during the awards ceremony. To liven up the competition, on-course contests – which can include the longest drive or closest to the pin – are always appreciated by players. And, to make sign-ups run as smoothly as possible, you’ll want to consider the most effective registration methods and processes available.

6 | Get the Message Out

A golf tournament is nothing without participants. For a corporate event where the players are already assembled, you’re already set. For a charity event, you will definitely need to promote your tournament to maximize the total funds raised. Word-of-mouth is not enough. You’ll need to create a comprehensive campaign that can include digital media such as email, text and social media marketing as well as printed promotional materials.

7 | Manage Day-Of Activities

The day of the tournament is finally here. Now all of the seemingly endless decisions and details you hammered out in the first six steps of this checklist need to come together flawlessly. No easy task, so it’s important to convene a team of knowledgeable tournament runners to ensure your event is an ace.

Or, better yet, leave it all to us. Our team is highly experienced in planning and running unforgettable golf tournaments and events – taking care of all the details so you can relax and enjoy your event. From pairing players and assembling prize packages to organizing crowd-pleasing banquets, we make sure your gathering at The Golf Club at Lansdowne is an unparalleled success. To start the conversation, email our Director of Golf Sales and Membership today.

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