Running a golf tournament is a popular means to raise money for charities and other non-profit organizations. A well-run golf tournament will leave a positive impression with the participants and potentially pay bigger dividends in the future for your organization. In order to conduct a successful golf tournament, however, you must put a significant amount of effort into the logistics planning for the event. The time that you spend planning ahead will result in better execution of the event and more satisfied players.
Conduct initial planning for your event. The two biggest items to ponder in this phase: overall goals for the event and the primary and alternate event dates. Your goal for the golf tournament can be as simple as making sure your players have a good time or as specific as making a pre-defined amount of profit for your charity or non-profit organization. Determining the date well in advance of the tournament gives you time to solicit sponsors and market your event. Your desired course may not be available on the desired date for the tournament, so it is best to have several dates approved by your organization before negotiating with golf courses.
Identify the tournament format. Many event organizers will conduct this step as part of initial planning. A popular fund-raising tournament format is the golf scramble, using either four-player or two-player teams. Other tournament formats you may consider are match play, stroke play without handicap and stroke play with handicap.
Estimate the number of golfers for your event. If this is the first golf tournament you have run, then providing a discount for early sign-ups may help you have a better idea of how many golfers will show. You will need to make an estimate for total number of players several weeks in advance of the tournament day in order to acquire the right amount of prizes and food for the event.
Decide how many prizes you will offer at the tournament. Common prizes to give for a scramble tournament are first, second, and last place as well as longest drive and closest to the pin. Many tournaments will also provide door prizes to the golfers so that a fair number of your participants will go home with something. A good number to shoot for in your first tournament is that 50 percent of the golfers will win something.
A popular hole-in-one prize to offer at a charity golf scramble is a new car. In order to offer this prize, you will need to acquire a hole-in-one insurance policy to protect you against significant expenses should more than one golfer win the contest.
Solicit sponsors from local businesses and individuals. Your sponsors will donate prizes, food and beverage or money. If you can get a country club to sponsor you, you may even get your venue for free.
Even if your organization has a large budget to buy all prizes without solicitation, by teaming with local businesses you will start to develop relationships that might be leveraged again in the future on other projects. If your group is an established non-profit organization, then you may also be able to provide an official donation letter to your sponsors so they can deduct the donation from their taxes.
Arrange the food and beverage for your tournament. Some golf courses will require you to use their catering services. Others, however, will not offer this service and you will need to contract a caterer to provide for your golfers. Using the same estimate in numbers that you did for your prize acquisition will suffice when arranging the food and beverages for your golfers.
Coordinate volunteers to work the day of the tournament. Not all of your organization's volunteers will be able to or willing to play in the event. You can employ them, however, to help with golfer's registration and overall tournament setup and breakdown. For charity scrambles, this normally consists of transporting the prizes to the tournament and setting them up in a presentation area that the course provides. You may also need their help with post-event clean-up and course monitoring during the event. Depending on your hole-in-one insurance policy requirements, you will also need two volunteers to observe the hole for which the prize is offered as official witnesses in the event someone makes a hole in one.
Have your tournament and take good notes for subsequent events. No problem is too small to note. Observe things like how much food was eaten and how long the registration line was the morning of the tournament.