Planning a Golf Tournament? Start With These 5 Steps

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planning a golf tournament, meetings
Don’t try to do it alone. Create a committee. Planning a golf tournament is a huge job.

So the company tournament has landed in your lap. Here’s some smart advice to get you started in planning a golf tournament.

We asked the pros about some of the first steps to take when planning a golf tournament.

Create a Committee

A committee is typically a good idea for a number of reasons: division of labor—there’s a lot to do up to and during the event; more people = a larger network; different people bring different expertise necessary to run a complex event. The best planning committee comprises thoughtful members chosen for their experience, availability and commitment. Successful committees have clearly defined roles and concrete deliverables and timelines. Source: Hazeltine National Golf Club

Choose a Theme

Having a theme helps set your tournament apart from all the others. You can choose a theme on a format, celebrity guest or corporate event, like a product launch. Think about supporting a favorite charity or local community organization and making that the theme for the tournament. Source: Royal Ashburn Golf Club

Do Your Research

As you research your golf course options, ask the director of golf, head professional or other person with whom you’re negotiating to provide you with the names of other groups who have held events at this particular course. You’ll be able to contact someone who has been through the whole process and has the benefit of a great deal of feedback from golfers who played the course. You may find an invaluable planning source right within your own office. If there are experienced golfers in your organization, talk with them about their feelings on certain courses that they play regularly. You’ll find that golfers are more than willing to provide excellent feedback on their experience playing a specific course. Plus, you’ll find that during the discussion with your fellow employees who play golf, they will surely recount some story about the outing or some memorable aspect of it that will provide you with excellent background information. Source: The Golf Club at Wescott Plantation

Set Milestones

Six Months in Advance:

  • Secure the golf course and choose menus
  • Determine tournament format and tee prizes
  • Create guest list and send Save the Date invites
  • Secure sponsors

Three Months in Advance:

  • Order branded gifts, prizes and giveaways
  • Order banners, hold signs and other graphic materials
  • Secure a photographer
  • Send invitations

One Month in Advance:

  • Review start time and arrangements with the golf course
  • Check status on any items you have on order and confirm delivery times
  • Send email/mail reminder of event and confirmations to those who have signed up
  • Schedule final review with golf course

Two Weeks in Advance:

  • Review your checklist
  • Finalize guest list
  • Call golf course with final head count

One Week in Advance:

  • Ensure prizes, gifts and giveaways have been received
  • Send your team list to the golf course

Day Prior:

  • Review pairings list and spelling of names with golf course
  • Alert golf course of any last minute changes
  • Review final numbers Source: My Corporate Expressions

    Find Sponsors

    Even if your company is funding the tournament itself, reach out to sponsors or vendors and request donations for your raffle, on-hole contests, or for signage. Allow your vendors or clients to showcase their appreciation or products. Remember, giveaways and freebies are always nice for players. Source: American Golf Corp.


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Barbara Scofidio is Editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In her 30 years in the industry, she has become known for her passion around greening meetings, growing awareness of human trafficking and promoting CSR activities as part of business events. She is currently a member of SITE's Women IN Leadership committee and the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee. She was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of SITE for 30 years, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. Before joining Prevue in 2014, she served as Editor of Corporate Meetings & Incentives (MeetingsNet) for more than 20 years. She has a BA in Literature/Rhetoric from Binghamton University. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.