Okay - you met all the challenges your boss could spin at you last year in efficiently and creatively planning every last event thrown at you faster than the speed of sound and with less budget than you thought humanly possible. So, how could you grow even more as a planner this year? Well, what if the boss wants a golf tournament tossed into the event mix this time, and “oh, by the way, there’s no money in the budget… but, you can still put one together, right, oh-mighty-and marvelous-planner-of-mine?” Never mind that you’ve never even stepped foot on a golf course, let alone gone to a driving range to swing a club! (Gulp. Deep breath.) Time to do some research and perform another meeting planning miracle, so here are some quick tips for establishing the basics needed for successful tournament implementation:
2. Is there a theme, or can you give it a creative title working with your pre-established conference theme? (This gives it an identity and helps to create some ‘marketing buzz’ in your media.)
3. Establish an attendee profile, i.e. are your players novice, experienced, or do you have a mixed group? (This could help determine the type of course you choose and the length of time your players need to get through 18 holes)
4. In choosing a location, think through all the details of transportation needs and timing of the entire event (including that transportation). Once established, this will also determine any needs you may have to include for catering/beverage considerations. TIP: if you’re bussing for any distance, consider the addition of snacks/beverages during transit. Golfers get thirsty and need plenty of hydration, especially if playing during hot summer months.
5. Most golf courses have a resident tournament director and/or golf pro who is there to assist with all tournament needs, and their services are included in the per person price you negotiate with the course. Make sure to enlist their help, especially if you’re not a golfer yourself.
6. Consider reaching out to tournament partners for things such as hole sponsors, goodie bags and giveaways as well as prizes. This could be from among your normal membership but could also include local businesses or companies that specialize in sports and want to reach your audience or support your chosen fund raising cause. You can also think outside the box on this one like creative cupcakes on the 8th hole or even sponsored water bottles on the 10th. TIP: Most modern golf carts have built in GPS systems that can be customized with logo banners, much like you see on websites. Work with your course management team well in advance to utilize this to your full benefit with logos and sponsor messages.
7. If your event is a fundraiser and you’re planning an auction - silent or live- at the conclusion of the tournament make sure to provide a complete list of those auction items with their proposed value as far in advance as possible and also include a list on each golf cart day of event. This helps golfers to come prepared with forms of acceptable payment and will build excitement about certain items. This can be especially helpful if the information is shared with spouses ahead of time so that they can provide instructions to the players as to what to bid on!
8. Build the excitement of playing in [your] tournament ahead of time and plan an appropriate celebration immediately at conclusion. Golfers don’t like to stick around a long time, especially if there’s a great disparity in playing times of foursomes as they finish and/or the ‘after-glow’ is a weak offering.
One final tip - always make sure you get approval from your golf course for any type of sponsorship activity in case there is any potential conflict of interest with food, beverage, or planned activities and signage on specific holes or anywhere at the course. Worst case scenario is to show up on site with sponsored items and pre-printed materials and be denied usage by the course management!