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The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Golf Tournament for Beginners

Did you know that golf is the 10th most popular sport in the world?

If you're organizing a golf tournament you'll be bound to attract attendees—providing you plan and market it correctly. 

From organizing the right golf tournament prizes, to looking at course options, and setting a golf tournament budget, you're up against quite an organizational task. 

However, once you know what goes into organizing a golf tournament, the planning process will be a lot easier. 

Are you ready to find out what's involved in planning golf tournaments? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know. 

Assemble a Committee

The first step to successful golf tournament planning is assembling a committee.

As mentioned above, organizing a golf tournament is an involved process. Appointing a committee will ensure that all the moving parts are taken care of and that the tournament goes off without a hitch. 

Here are some of the committee positions you should fill:

  • Honorary chairperson: this is usually someone who is well known in the community
  • Tournament chairperson: responsible for directing your team during the day of the tournament
  • Operations chairperson: responsible for working closely with the golf course and overseeing operations on the day
  • Golfers chairperson: responsible for handling registrations and communicating with attendees
  • Marketing and PR chairperson: responsible for marketing the tournament and engaging with the press
  • Sponsorships chairperson: responsible for gaining and working with sponsors

Besides appointing chairpeople, you may also need to assemble other team members. The number of helpers you'll need will depend on the size and scale of your event. 

Allocate a Date

The next thing you will need to do is pick a date for your tournament. As a general rule of thumb, you should allow at least six months for planning and promotion.

You also want to schedule your golf tournament far enough ahead so that attendees can plan it into their schedules. This will ensure a better turnout, especially if a lot of the golfers will need to travel to attend the tournament. 

Lastly, you should also select a rain date. If nothing else, COVID-19 has taught us that even the largest events can suffer pandemic-related cancelation at the drop of a hat. 

To make sure that events outside of your control don't sabotage your golf tournament, select a rain date that is suitably spaced from the main date.

Pick Your Venue

Once you have determined a date, you should move on to selecting a golf course venue

Venue choice is critical when planning golf tournaments. The location, quality of the course, and overall service and amenities are a make-or-break factor, so take your time looking at different golf course options. 

Here are some of the most important things to look for:

  • A well-designed, well-maintained course that is both fun and challenging
  • An attractive location 
  • High-quality service and attention to detail
  • Top-notch amenities

Besides considering playing conditions, you should also look into which course will offer the most support when it comes to planning golf tournaments.

If you select a course that will actively assist in the hosting of your tournament, this can take a lot of work off your shoulders and ensure that the day will be a stand-out success. 

Determine Your Golf Tournament Budget

The next critical step is determining your golf tournament budget. Besides clarifying how much money you can spend on the event, this will also inform how you spend the budget. 

Additionally, drawing up a budget will also give you an idea of how much revenue you should aim to receive from sponsorships and fees. 

If you are going to charge entrants a fee for playing in the tournament, a great way to determine how much it should be is by working out a per-head cost. 

The easiest way to go about this is to calculate the entire cost of the tournament, and then divide it by the number of tournament players. 

Some of the expenses involved include:

  • Greens fees
  • Cart rentals
  • Golf tournament prizes
  • Post-round meals (including both food and drinks)
  • Marketing

Once you have determined a per-head cost, you might want to add on an additional margin, either for profit, charity, or error. 

Secure Sponsorships

Once you have drawn up the golf tournament budget, you can start securing sponsorships. To start with, consider who on your committee has connections to local businesses and corporate sponsors. 

The best way to proposition sponsors is by sending them a sponsor packet that includes a cover letter and message. You can also create sponsorship levels.

In your communications with sponsors, you must clearly outline what they will get in return for their sponsorship and how this can benefit them. 

For instance, a top-tier sponsor's branding might go on all of your promotional materials, billboards, social media promotions, etc. As well as on signage around the tournament, complimentary totes, teeshirts, etc. 

On the other hand, a lower-tier sponsor might only receive one or two different types of mentions. 

Pick a Format

Another important part of planning golf tournaments is picking the format. Some popular formats to choose from include:

  • Shotgun
  • Best Ball (also known as the Scramble)
  • Medal Play
  • Handicapped
  • Pro-Am
  • Night Golf

The best format to choose will depend on the average skill level of the golfers and the time available. The average amount of time it takes to complete an 18-hole golf course is 5-6 hours. 

Therefore, if lots of experienced golfers will be playing, a shotgun tournament might be the best choice. Here, participants start from different holes and play rounds simultaneously. This allows you to have the maximum amount of golfers playing in the shortest span of time. 

On the other hand, if you have fewer attendees and of varying skills levels, a format like Best Ball can be a great option.  

Start Marketing

Once you have fully mapped out the format of your tournament and any additional activities (such as raffles) you can get to work formulating and executing your marketing plan. 

When advertising golf tournaments, it's best to make use of multiple marketing channels, including:

  • Social media
  • Radio and television
  • Signs, banners, and billboards
  • Posters and flyers

You should also send out a press release about your golfing event and publicize how any raised funds will be used. Lastly, you can choose to send out specific invites to members of the golfing community, and keep them updated via an email list. 

Planning Golf Tournaments Isn’t Hard if You Partner With the Right Venue

Although there are various logistics involved, planning golf tournaments isn't hard, provided you partner with the right golf venue.

Looking for a course that ticks all of the boxes?

Stillwater Golf and Country Club sports an 18-hole green designed by renowned Master Golf Course Architect Bobby Weed. Our 7,000+ yard layout boasts fun yet challenging fairways, perfectly manicured holes, exceptional service, and outstanding amenities. 

What's more, we understand what goes into planning and hosting a top-notch golf tournament, and will do everything in our power to make your golfing event a success. 

Contact us today to discuss your needs.