Golf Tournaments: Building a Unique Experience

Golf Week 2016

Comparing golf tournaments is like comparing sand traps and water features- no matter what, you want your event to land on and in the green!

No two charity golf tournaments are 100 percent the same, just like no two days on a course are the same. However, we’ve been able to observe hundreds of different fundraising tournaments across the country and have been able to sort tournaments into three different types: tournament standalone; tournament followed by lunch or dinner; and finally a full-day or multi-day tournament event.

Tournament Standalone

A tournament standalone really is all about the golf This means there isn’t an additional lunch or dinner, auction, or appeal. The shotgun start happens and your donors and guests  get to enjoy time on the course. You can still gain additional revenue by selling common tournament games/activities and selling sponsorships.

Doing this type of tournament is a great starting point if your organization has not held a tournament previously. It’s an opportunity to do a litmus test on the interest level of a tournament among your donor base, and see if you attract new donors by diversifying your fundraising event efforts.

Tournament with Lunch or Dinner

Taking the golf element and adding in a lunch or dinner (depending on your shotgun start time) is a common format for many tournaments. Frequently the lunch or dinner also has a silent or live auction component tied in along with having a short speaker who has been impacted by your organization.

This type of tournament is generally a half-day undertaking and allows attendees to get some work in in the morning or afternoon and hit the course as well. (Generally speaking, these tournaments take place on a weekday as it’s less expensive to rent the course and many donors use it as a business networking opportunity). The only possible down side to this format is that lots of other organizations do these tournaments as well. It’s key for your organization to find ways to make your tournament stand out and create a strong tie-in to your mission. This will make your event memorable to your guests and make it more than just a day on the links.

Full-day or Multi-Day Tournament

Building and executing a full-day or multi-day tournament takes all-hands on deck and lots of planning. Most organizations doing this type of tournament have been building their “tournament brand” for many years and have a following of donors who support it year after year. This type of tournament could include: dinner and auction the night before the tournament; multiple shotgun starts over multiple courses on-site; luncheon or dinner, and/or a second silent or live auction.

This type of event presents lots of opportunities for sponsorships and additional revenue builders. But takes a lot of well thought out planning, coordination, and a well-lead group of volunteers.

Other ways to diversify/expand your tournament

  • Many courses have multiple 18-hole courses on site, consider building in additional spots for foursomes and building the tournament over time.
  • Build a great tee-gift into your tournament registration. We’ve even seen some courses that will set up a mobile pro-shop and each guest has a set amount to spend on whatever they want!
  • Involve your golfers in unique on-course games. How fun would it be to try a marshmallow drive or putting with a bat or pool stick?

Ultimately, we’ve learned over time that the only thing all golf fundraisers have in common, is golf.

To learn more about hosting a golf tournament utilizing Greater Giving, view a recording of our tournament webinar.

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