Some might say that golf is more than a game; it’s a lifestyle. People make a career out of their love of golf, many travel the world to play at different courses, and for some, they simply sneak in a round whenever they get the chance—whether it’s to unwind and focus on hitting their shot, spend time with friends and family, or to support their community by giving back by participating in a charitable tournament.
Since golf is enjoyed outdoors and requires pleasant weather and conditions to play, it makes for a great way to host a charity event or support a local cause.
Fundraising on the Fairway
When it comes to fundraising for a cause, golf tournaments are a fantastic way for charities to raise money for an organization. We’ve observed that golfers thoroughly enjoy playing in a competitive yet fun event that also gives back. Throughout a tournament, the host can add on course games or contests to make it more challenging and feel special, like adding competitions such as “Closest to the pin,” “Longest Drive,” or “Straightest Drive.”
When a particular golf club or organization partners with a charity to raise money, golfers tend to be more inclined to play in the event, participate in special games, purchase mulligans, and make donations. Golfers feel as though when they play in a tournament that gives back through a charitable component, it’s a way to support their community while doing something they love and enjoy.
The most common types of nonprofits or charities that are supported through golf tournaments and events tend to be military organizations, cancer foundations, school booster clubs (think baseball and football teams), food banks, and animal rescue leagues.
Tips for a Successful Tournament
In terms of generating excitement, participation, and awareness around a golf tournament, I strongly recommend utilizing social media. This channel has been an effective way for us to spread the word around our events this year, since there are so many new golfers looking for local events to play in that also support the community.
Another important element of executing a successful golf tournament is to make the prizes bigger than ever before. Golfers are competitive by nature; therefore, the better the prizes are, the stronger the turnout will be. The players tend to be more compelled to participate if they know they have a greater chance of winning something that’s worthwhile. Some recent prizes we’ve offered include golf clubs, golf shoes, and golf bags.
Furthermore, you want to make sure that the golfers feel special when they are participating in an event. It’s also important to show the golfers or participants how their money is being put to good use. For example, if the tournament beneficiary is a scholarship fundraiser, then consider having the recipients thank the golfers for their contributions at the end of the tournament. The personal recognition and show of appreciation often results in a larger charitable pot.
Making the Tournament More Fun
Golf tournaments are moving toward a fully digital check-in process, relying more on the innovative technology that’s available. They are selling raffle tickets and mulligans during a virtual registration. This speeds up the registration process, allowing golfers to go straight to their golf carts rather than waiting in line to register.
The more golfers you have attend your event, normally the more money you are able to raise. Once your event starts to grow, always make sure to give back to your participants, whether with goodie bags or other tokens of appreciation. Little mementos or ways of showing you appreciate their time and participation will encourage them to play in your events year after year.
Tournaments are moving away from the traditional goodie bags that were once handed out at the end of the competition. Instead, they are incorporating a layer of personalization, where all of the giveaway items are displayed on a table. The golfers are then invited to select which items they would like to take home. This process is more interactive and customized for the golfers, plus it creates less waste as there are fewer items left behind in golf carts.
Another fun and fresh element to incorporate into an event is a Drone Drop. Golfers or participants enter the contest by choosing a golf ball with a unique number. The drone will then drop a selection of numbered balls onto the golf course. The person whose numbered ball makes it into the hole, or closest to it, wins.
Prime Time for Tournaments
Here in San Antonio, our tournament season is 50 percent in the springtime, between March and May, and half in the fall from September through November. Typically, I think of the top months for golf to be when kids are in school. This time of year offers the most temperate weather; it’s not too hot or too cold to be out on the course.
Our tournaments usually take place in the morning with the players teeing off at 8:00 or 9:00 a.m. in a shotgun format where everyone tees off at the same time at different holes.
A golf tournament for 144 players usually takes five hours to play, which is about 45 minutes longer than a normal round, since there are so many golfers on the course.
When planning an event or tournament, it’s recommended to find a golf club with more than one course. We are unique in that we have 27 holes, which allows us to host events that can accommodate up to 216 players. Facilities that have 36 holes can host tournaments with up to 288 golfers.
Regardless of where a golf tournament is held, we hope everyone has a good game and are always here to help plan any tournament or charitable event!
Ashley Skidmore is the Director of Golf at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa. Ashley manages all golf operations at the Hill Country Golf Club at Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa, which proudly features 27 holes and spans more than 200 lush acres across the spectacular Hill Country scenery. Previously, she worked as a golf professional at various clubs including The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs and Teravista Golf Club in Round Rock, Texas. Ashley is PGA and LPGA certified.