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Eric Tracy reviews 26 Southern California championship golf courses.
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Selecting A Golf Course
Choose the Centerpiece of Your Tournament Wisely

By Eric Tracy

Published in LA/OC/SD GOLF Magazine - January 2002

Editor's note: This month, we continue our 3-part series on running a successful charity golf tournament written by KFWB Radio Sportscaster Eric Tracy, aka, The Mulligan Man. Tracy has played, organized and/or served as the Master of Ceremonies at more than 300 charity golf tournaments. The information Tracy provides will keep you on course in selecting the right course for your tournament.

What's the first question asked when you tell someone you're playing in a charity golf tournament? It's usually "where you playing?" The golf course is the centerpiece of your event.

If you choose your course wisely, it will pay off for you in many, many ways. In Southern California, you have plenty of choices. Whether your golf budget is $75, $100 or $200 per person, you'll have lots of choices from Willowick to Wilshire, Riviera to Robinson Ranch. To choose wisely, you need to know what to look for.

The golf professionals participating in this article represent a golf course cross section. What they all have in common is a desire to help your event succeed. These tournament pros have impeccable reputations because they help tournaments become successful and successful tournaments return to the same course year after year. So your best interest is in their best interest, and anytime you find yourself in a win-win situation, success usually follows.

I asked each of these professionals the same simple questions: "What should people look for in selecting a golf course besides the price tag and what questions should they ask?" Here are their responses:

Review of Industry Hills - Click here

David Youpa, Director of Golf
Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms Conference Resort - Public
City of Industry - 626-810-4653
Website: www.pacificpalmsresort.com
Email: dyoupa@pacificpalmsresort.com

Price Range: $95 - $145 per person including food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week
Find a course willing to customize the event and be flexible. Find one that won't hinder your success with a strict set of rules. If your charity gets beverages donated, will the course let you use them? Look for a place that doesn't restrictive your plans so you can make more money for the charity.

Review of Lost Canyons - Click here

Marge Chamberlain, Director of Sales and Marketing
Lost Canyons Golf Club - Public
Simi Valley - (805) 522-4653
Website: www.lostcanyonsgolf.com
Email: lostcanyonsgolf@aol.com

Price Range: $100 - $150 per person including food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week

When you visit the course, does the person you are talking with leave you the impression that they'll treat your event as if you are inviting people to your home? Is the course someplace people will want to return to next year? Sometimes too much emphasis is placed on the banquet facilities. It's important, but I'm a golfer. Golfers return for the golf.

Mel Lewis, Tournament Director
Braemar Country Club - Private
Tarzana - (818) 345-6520
Website: www.braemarclub.com
Email: mel.lewis@ourclub.com

Price Range: $90 -$135 per person including food and beverage
Course available Monday's only

Does the golf course have a good tournament team to really assist your event? Remember, from cart-barn employees to on-course marshals, from pro shop personnel to banquet staff, it takes a lot of people to service a tournament. Find out who will be responsible to score your tournament? How with those scores be posted? People like to see how they scored in comparison to the other teams. Is the tournament staff helpful? Will they answer all kinds of questions, not just those associated with the course? Will they lend their professional expertise to your event?

Review of Hidden Valley- Click here

Jason Wood, General Manager
Darren Bollinger, Tournament Director
Hidden Valley Golf Club - Public
Norco - (909) 737-1010
Website: www.hiddenvalleygolf.com
Email: dbollinger@hiddenvalleygolf.com

Price Range: $75 - $125 per person including food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week

Establish your budget and remember the amenities you provide are important. Location is important, too. Is the course close to your clientele base? Booking a course in the off-season can be less expensive, so consider that. Work with the Tournament Director to get the best value for the money you have to spend. A nice golf property makes a huge difference.

Review of Talega- Click here

Leslie Chocheles, Tournament Marketing
Talega Golf Course - Public
San Clemente - (949) 369-6226
Website: www.talegagolfclub.com
Email: lchocheles@heritagegolfgroup.com

Price Range: $120 - $200 per person with food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week

Pick a golf facility that will enhance the total experience, a place that is event-friendly. Make sure the banquet facilities match the quality of the course. Nothing's worse than a great round of golf and then having a banquet in a room that's too cramped or that seats guests in separate rooms. Ask for referrals. Visit a prospective golf course on the day they run a charity tournament. Check them out from morning registration to the evening's banquet. Visit the clubhouse and have a meal and see their food preparation.

Review of Robinson Ranch- Click here

Larry Atlas, 1st Golf Professional
Robinson Ranch - Public
Santa Clarita - (661) 252-8484
Website: www.robinsonranchgolf.com
Email: latlas@robinsonranchgolf.com

Price Range: $95 - $175 per person including food and beverage
Available 7 days a week

A good golf course can accommodate all skill levels of players. A course should be designed to be challenging from all tees, from the reds to the blacks. What you are trying to promote is having a good time and your guests will spend the better part of the day on the golf course. It's good to have a course that's challenging; the key is not making it too tough.

Review of Ocean Trails - Click here

Mike van der Goes, Director of Golf
Ocean Trails Golf Club - Public
Rancho Palos Verdes - (310) 265-5525
Website: www.oceantrails.com
Email: dutchdoc@pga.com

Price Range: $150 - $200 per person including food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week.

Many tournaments draw a large number of casual golfers, those who don't play golf regularly. Know who your players are and then make sure to find a course willing to set it up according to your players' ability. You can gather this kind of information on your entry form. Take advantage of your surroundings. If the course has a banquet facility, as our does, on the ocean, plan your golf play conclusion to coincide with sunset. A player returns to a tournament not because of any one thing, but because of the total experience.

Review of Eagle Glen - Click here

Larry Hamilton, Tournament Director
Eagle Glen Golf Club - Public
Corona - (909) 278-2842
Website: www.eagleglengc.com
Email: lhamilton@troongolf.com

Price Range: $75 - $125 per person including food and beverage
Course available 7 days a week.

The golf course you choose has to be one that people have a desire to play. That way playing in your tournament is a special treat. Think past your playing field. Charities miss the boat by not making their banquet a special event for more than just the golfers who played that day. Make an effort to get wives and non-golfers to your banquet. The more warm bodies you have, the more money you can make.

Next Month: Part Three: Fun Formats and Tournament Twists

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