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Golf Events: The Basics

Here are some basics to help you get started with planning a golf tournament. Every golf event will be different and the extent of the materials used will vary. This guide is merely intended to provide a number of suggestions. Contact AICR if you would like to run ideas past the AICR staff.

IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that any use of AICR's name in print (email, flyers, posters, invitations, etc.) or in the media must be pre-approved by AICR. We usually need five business days to review your request.

1. Give yourself enough time to plan the event. That means as much as you think you need and then a whole bunch more. Even small events take time: time to plan, organize, get sponsors, send out invitations or publicity, and allow people to put your event on their calendar. That way you won’t be overwhelmed and you will be able to enjoy the event as much as your guests.

Golf Flag Tip: We recommend giving yourself at least six to eight months. (You may have to book the golf course as early as 12 to 18 months in advance.)

2. Ask the right people to help. Decide whom you want to be involved and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Forming a committee can be helpful. Family members, community leaders, and local companies will probably be thrilled to lend their resources to a worthy cause. Sizes of committees will vary and change over time.

Golf Flag Tip: Try to attract a diverse group of people who have a variety of skills and who are involved in various aspects of the community. This can help to attract sponsors, recruit golfers, and provide a broad set of expertise that can be helpful when working out the details of holding an event.

3. Timing is everything. Be aware of local conditions. No one can predict the weather months in advance. If you live in a part of the country where a certain time of the year is always extremely wet, hot or cold, that is probably not a great time of year for a golf outing. If possible, schedule it for a quiet day during the week (most clubs do "outings" on Mondays) when the club is not open to members. Please let AICR know the date as soon as you have it secured so that we can post it on our website. We do not recommend having a rain date. Include in your literature a statement that says, “Rain or Shine. There will be no refunds due to cancellations beyond our control (i.e. weather), due to the availability of the course.”

Golf Flag Tip: If it's not possible to golf on the day of the event due to inclement weather, you might still hold the post-event lunch or dinner and other indoor activities if the facility allows.

4. The course. Start by securing the course and confirming its capacity so that you can plan for the appropriate number of participants. Speak with the management to find out what their policies are in holding such an event. It is best to pay for only the number of players registered. However, some clubs require a guarentee of the number of players to reserve the date. Depending on the facility, they may be willing to donate prizes or gifts. Find out what sort of facility they have along with the course or pratice facility for warm-up. Is there a putting green for putting contests? Are you planning on serving lunch or dinner following the event? If so, does the club provide dining facilities? What do the facilities include, and what do they charge extra for? Public courses may be a good option, but they may not have all the amenities of a private course. Either way, it is always a good idea to get the name of a contact person at the facility to whom you can direct your questions. Dealing with one primary contact allows for consistency in planning.

Golf Flag Tip: Get to know the Club Manager and/or Pro.

5. Secure sponsors. Plan for and secure sponsors as early as possible. You’ll need to consider the number of teams or spots that will be made available for sponsors before booking all other golf spots. Ususally the maxiimum number of players for an 18 hole course is 144, i.e. an A group and B group on each hole with a shotgun start!

Golf Flag Tip: Try to recruit sponsors who will also want to play in the tournament.

6. Who else will attend the event? How many slots will be available after sponsorships are secured? Will invitations be sent? Think about who is most likely to want to participate in the event. Besides friends and family, other community groups might be interested as well. Community leagues, businesses, local places of worship, and even shopping malls are good places to advertise the event. Community bulletin boards in these locations may offer free advertisement space. Written invitations, flyers, emails, brochures, or a combination might be the best choice to get the word out. Download Examples of suggested invitations, flyers and brochures.

Golf Flag Tip: Be sure to secure our permission for any use of AICR's name.

7. How will you close the event? It’s strongly recommended that, regardless of the size of the event, there is a closing ceremony where the winners are announced and, most importantly, the sponsors and volunteers are acknowledged. The banquet or closing ceremony can be done a number of ways. It can be as simple as boxed lunches or pizza delivery, or as elaborate as a banquet. It is crucial that you know what the cost per participant will be for the actual cost of the meal and to adjust your registration fee accordingly. Allow in your budget for anticipated meal costs for volunteers not playing in the tournament who staff the registration desk and such.

Golf Flag Tip: Be sure to check the course’s policy on outside food sales and distribution.

8. Which AICR materials would you like for the event? AICR is happy to provide complimentary health aids (such as magnets, recipe cards, and jar “grippers”) and educational brochures on a variety of topics. Check out our Publications page to view, download, or order hard copies of our materials.

Golf Flag Tip: Moving More for Cancer Prevention and Don't Let It Happen are two brochures that would certainly be appropriate for a golf outing.

9. Goodie bags or keepsakes. Goodie bags are a great way to distribute AICR materials, and they remind those in attendance of the great day spent helping a wonderful cause. Depending on the number of volunteers, AICR may be able to provide some items for volunteers and/or golfers. Ask sponsors for free materials. They may have last season’s promotional items sitting in a closet that they would love to contribute. Your larger sponsors might like to donate bags with their logo on them. If the course staff provide assistance during the event, they would also appreciate a goodie bag.

Golf Flag Tip: Sponsors, including the golf course hosting the event, are often happy to provide items.

10. Be thinking about your revenue and expenses. See the Examples page for a sample budget to give you an idea of things to think of as far as revenue and expenses. The size and complexity of the budget will vary for each event. Make sure to ask the golf facility to outline every item that comes with an extra expense so that there are no surprises after the fact.

Golf Flag Tip: The key to budgeting is to make sure the revenue is greater than the expense.

11. Keep in touch with AICR. Contact AICR for details on where to mail the proceeds of the event. If you send us your list of event participants, we will thank them for their participation as well. AICR would also appreciate a short interview or statement from you, the Event Coordinator, to put on our website or in our annual report to inspire others.

Please see the Examples page for a suggested Checklist of items to mark off as you plan for your golf outing.

Published on April 16, 2011

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Richard Ensminger

Richard K. Ensminger

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Ann Wrenshall Worley

Ann Wrenshall Worley

Assistant Director of Planned Giving

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