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Organizing a Charity Golf Tournament
A Formula for Fundraising and Fun

By Eric Tracy (aka The Mulligan Man)

FORE Magazine January/February 2003

So you’ve been thinking about or have been asked to serve as the chairperson for a charity golf tournament. Don’t worry. Basically, here are the things you’ll need to know, in advance, so you can begin planning.


For a first-year event, you’ll need at least nine months to a full year to plan and execute.
I advise considering hiring an outside agency, especially for first year events. Learn how the pros do it and then if you feel you have the organizational skills and the people to pull it off, do it yourself.
Once the committee is formed, it needs to establish a goal: Some tournaments are recreational events for employees. Some are client entertainment. Some want to increase awareness to their causes within the community. Conflicts can come into play when your event tries to be too many things. Know what you want to accomplish. Then, establish a budget and a timeline to carry it out.


Most public courses are available any day of the week for outside events but cost you more Friday-Sunday. Private courses also cost more, but they also give you a little more exclusivity which can attract more participants.
Location is key, find somewhere that’s centrally located to people who you’re trying to attract. Pick a course that’s flexible in their rules. If you get your beverages donated, will the course let you use them? A golf course has to have the proper facilities to host the kind of banquet you envision, this is also very important.
Finally, when you get down to a short list of potential golf courses, visit each one on a day when a tournament is being held. Does the golf course help or hinder an event with too much or two little involvement.


Most sponsors come directly from the Rolodex of committee members. Forget about cold calling. It just won’t happen. Instead of looking for one major sponsor to underwrite your entire event, break down the costs of everything, from breakfast to the driving range, from the cost of the carts to hosting the cocktail hour. Then try and find sponsors for as many of these line item expenses as you can. No amount of money a sponsor might contribute is too little. And remember, tee sponsors have very little cost, sell as many as you can, they’re almost pure profit.


Filling the field for your event just doesn’t happen, it takes work. Sending out pretty invitations isn’t a guarantee, either. The key to success? Make sure you follow up your mailings. First send a “Save the Date” post card. A month or two later, send out your invitations, but not too far ahead of your event. 6-8 weeks is fine. Then 4 weeks before your event, follow up those invitations with phone calls. The latter is very important.
Don’t be afraid to e-mail both invitation and to follow up on those invitations you sent. Advertising and marketing, especially within your company, can be very helpful. That’s where a majority of your players will come from. But get publicity anyway you can.
FORE Magazine prints a listing of numerous charity events taken directly from Charity Golf Online which is an internet clearinghouse of charity golf tournaments. When you register your event with Charity Golf Online you get a free web page. The internet is a great tool for marketing your tournament, use it. Just visit www.CharityGolfOnline.com


Most golf courses and tournament professionals will tell you a modified scramble, otherwise called a ‘shamble’, works best and gets people around the course in 4 ½ to 5 ½ hours. Everyone in the group tees off, the best drive is selected as the spot for the next shot, but after that, everyone plays their own ball into the hole. But keep the play of your tournament under 5 ½ hours or golfers won’t come back.



If everything has gone right to this point, this could be the easiest part. If you planned properly, put your plan in action, then tournament day everything comes off as planned and you have created a memorable event.”

Any more questions?

Eric Tracy is a sportscaster on KFWB NEWS 980. To find out more about The Mulligan Man visit www.TheMulliganMan.com or send email to Eric@TheMulliganMan.com

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