WANT TO RUN A MORE SUCCESSFUL
CHARITY GOLF TOURNAMENT?
By Eric Tracy
Published in PubLinks Magazine, January-February issue
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.
FORM A COMMITTEE
a first-year event, you'll need at least nine months to a
full year to plan and execute, says Steve DiMarco, who heads
Golf On Earth in Woodland Hills and is a professional tournament
coordinator. "But it's never too early to start,'' he
I advise considering hiring an outside agency, especially
for first year events. Learn how the pros do it, 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, says Jason Wood, general manager of Hidden
Valley Country Club in Norco. "Find somewhere that's
centrally located to people who you're trying to attract,''
David Youpa, Director of Golf at Industry Hills, advises,
"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.
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.
be afraid to e-mail, says Daiva Rugienius, who runs her own
Corporate Golf Tournament Inc., in Irvine. "Don't forget
to ask the person in that email that if they can't play to
they please forward it to someone that is a golfer and might
want to play,'' she suggests.
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.
Radio station KFWB in Los Angeles operates Charity Golf Online
on the radio station website. It's a 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. A number
of golf periodicals, including PubLinks, publish charity tournament
listings taken from Charity Golf Online and it's free. Just
PICK A FORMAT
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.
PLAY THE TOURNAMENT
If everything has gone right to this point, this could be
the easiest part. As Tony DiMaio, another tournament pro who
heads Healthy America Campaign puts it, "attend to your
"PAT". Even though Tony is a former football coach,
his PAT is not Point After Touchdown. "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?
Editor's note: It's been reported that there are some 5,000
charity golf tournaments a year in Southern California. These
events raise millions of dollars for thousands of local charities.
Sportscaster Eric Tracy, aka, The Mulligan Man has played,
organized and/or served as the Master of Ceremonies at more
than 300 charity golf tournaments. We hope his insight helps
you with the rewarding work of organizing a charity event.