Golf tournaments present a huge opportunity to bring in loads of money and develop relationships with golfers in your area. Hosting a golf tournament is tough though, they require so much careful thought and planning to get right.
This season, take your events to the next level. Create a memorable experience for every attendee that will have them jumping to make their reservation the next time around.
Here’s a list of 14 easy-to-implement golf tournament ideas that you can try out:
1. Put a face and story to your fundraising
If you’re going to use your tournament to raise money, you should align with a charity that lets you raise money for an individual in need and not just the organization as a whole. Having a face and a story attached to your charity event encourages people to donate more because they feel like their money will directly help someone who needs it.
You can also use this type of charity as a way to drive up attendance through your promotions. When you send out an email or post to social media, you can include the recipient of the donation’s story and how the money will help that person out.
2. Run one-hole contests
Add a little more fun to your golf tournament by having a fun game at one of your holes. Depending on the layout of the hole, you can have a closest-to-the-pin or a longest-drive contest. One of your employees will be stationed at the hole where the contest will be held to take donations that come in and determine the winner. Whichever golfer out of each foursome wins the competition gets a prize, which can be:
- A portion of the money donated in that round (you keep the rest)
- A free round of golf
- A free meal at your restaurant
- Free merchandise with your logo
Spice up the play at your tournament with a random club contest. On one hole, golfers will draw a piece of paper with a club on it from a hat, and they’ll have to take that swing with whatever club they drew.
Run a “Beat the Pro” contest by letting your head pro square off against attendees at one hole. The pro will play a hole with each group that comes through in exchange for donations from that group. If a player manages to score better than the pro, that person gets a prize.
3. Get more attendees with great email marketing
Email is one of the best ways to get the word out about your upcoming tournament and offer an easy way for people to book their spots. If you’re using modern management software, you’ll be able to segment your list of contacts and then send that group a targeted invitation email with a call-to-action button that brings them into the booking engine.
An automated email campaign will let you send out multiple emails depending on the actions that people take. An initial invitation can be sent out, with a second email sent out a week later to anyone who didn’t book their spot in the tournament already.
Follow-up emails can be used to thank golfers for their participation and give a quick recap of the tournament. Your recap can include:
- How much money was raised for charity
- A rundown of the best scores in the tournament
- Highlights such as hole-in-ones or incredible shots
- Some images from the event
4. Promote your tournament through social media
If you’ve been working on your social media strategy, chances are that you’ve got a decent number of followers that are likely to attend your golf tournament. Take advantage of this channel by posting about your upcoming event. These posts can include:
- A promotional flyer
- Some photos from previous tournaments
- A link to a blog post about a past tournament
- Some photos of your maintenance crew preparing the grounds for the event
- Pictures and a short description of the charity that the money raised will go to
Promotional flyers are a great way to give people information about the tournament, but you shouldn’t fill up your feed with these posts. Instead, use the other ideas above as a way to generate some interest in your events, but make sure to include a link in those posts to the page on your website where people can reserve their spot.
5. Host a 9-hole tournament
The standard 18-hole tournament is attractive to avid golfers, but usually won’t bring in a lot of more casual players. Hosting a 9-hole tournament can bring a lot of newer golfers to your event and help you convert them into regular customers. This format is also much more family-friendly as most kids won’t be able to complete a long round.
9-hole tournaments are also attractive to businesses who are looking to have team events. The shorter play time makes it easy for them to bring the whole team out, even if there are players with little to no experience.
6. Offer paid mulligans
Golf’s a tricky sport, getting a do-over on a missed shot can definitely save a golfer’s round. You can “sell” mulligans to tournament attendees to scrape some extra revenue or donations out of the event.
This will also add a fun aspect to your tournament that golfers don’t usually get to experience during their regular play.
7. Broadcast live scores in the clubhouse
What better way to add a tour feel to your local tournament than to have live scores on a TV in the clubhouse? With advanced tournament management software, you’ll be able to broadcast scores for attendees to see. This idea might seem like a small detail, but it can really enhance the atmosphere at your golf course and bring golfers back the next time around.
8. Market to participants while they’re on the course
If you’ve got the ability to send out SMS messages through your management software, a golf tournament is the perfect time to use that feature. Text messages will pop up right on golfers home screens, getting a lot of attention. What’s more, you’ll be able to choose to send these messages to attendees only, so you won’t bother any customers who aren’t at your tournament. Some examples of SMS messages you can send include:
- A promo deal on drinks at the clubhouse
- An alert about a hole-in-one
- A message about a contest or smaller event that’s taking place
- A reminder to donate to the charity that the event is sponsoring
It’s important to note that golfers will get annoyed if you bombard them with texts, but they certainly won’t mind receiving a few well-timed messages while they’re on your grounds.
9. Ramp up your sales of pro shop items
Take advantage of the high number of golfers coming through your facility during a tournament to boost your pro shop and F&B sales. If you’ve got a roomy pro shop with the right layout, you can file attendees through it to check in. People will be within arms reach of your products, so the likelihood of impulse purchases will increase.
If you’ve got a smaller pro shop, consider running a table outside where you can sell smaller items, like shirts, balls, tees, and gloves. This will be much easier with a cloud-based POS system, as you’ll just need to bring your iPad outside to ring orders up.
10. Sell more food and beverage items
Chances are that you’re going to have an event at the end of your tournament where people can sit down and eat a meal after a long day of golfing. However, attendees will most likely be hungry and thirsty throughout the day, so you can set up a barbecue and snack table outside your clubhouse to easily offer some quick food at a low cost.
You can also set up a snack and beverage station at your 9th hole, or have a mobile station rolling around to serve people. Grabbing a beer and a bite in the middle of the round will be fun for golfers, and help you make some more money.
11. Use shotgun starts for a more efficient tournament
Crowded tournaments that don’t use shotgun starts can be a drag for golfers. Small delays in start times will add up, no one likes waiting at the first tee for longer than they need to. Shotgun starts place tee times on every one of the 18 holes, so you won’t have a pile-up at the first one.
If people don’t notice how smoothly you ran a tournament, you did a great job. Shotgun starts are one of those small things that will make your event so much more enjoyable.
12. Get hole sponsorships from businesses
Businesses are always looking to get their name out in front of consumers. You can get one sponsor per hole, charging them money in exchange for putting up banners or whatever other marketing tools they’d like to use.
The trick here is to know your customer base and how many people usually attend your tournaments. If you’re armed with this information, your calls to these businesses will be a lot more convincing and you have a much higher chance of actually getting them as a sponsor.
13. Create discounted packages for foursomes
Foursomes will give you the most money per start, so you need to find ways to encourage golfers to get their buddies to attend the tournament with them. This can include offering a discounted rate depending on group size or give groups of 4 some add-ons like free carts and beverages.
Great golf management software will facilitate selling these packages by showing them to golfers when they’re reserving their spot. Attendees will also easily be able to add their friends to their booking and send them invitations to the event.
14. Host an auction
Auctions are a great way to bring in big donations for charity while giving something to the donators in return. Charitybuzz is a leader in golf auctions, with their highest grossing auction bringing in $100,000 for a day of golf with Gary Player. You might not be able to bring in that kind of money, but you can definitely find things that people want to bid on, including:
- A series of lessons with your head pro
- A piece of golf memorabilia
- A special membership to your club that includes some unique advantages
- Tickets to a nearby tour stop
These auctions don’t just bring in more money, they generate a lot of buzz around your tournament. You can use them as a promotional tool before the tournament and as a way to liven up the event on the day-of.
No matter how you choose to run your tournament, make sure that the emphasis is placed on creating a great experience for everyone who attends. Customer experience is a leading driver for loyalty, so even if you don’t run the most profitable tournament, you’ll still build relationships with golfers that will earn you far more money in the long-run. Try out some of the golf tournament ideas above, and let us know how they went!