Hosting a profitable golf tournament

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Planning a charitable golf tournament can be a very rewarding experience, although it does take some planning and organizing to be successful. The following will help you maximize the potential profit for your event. Players have fun, and you raise money for a great cause...that's a win/win!

Focus on sponsors

Tournament sponsorship can be an immense source of revenue, if done effectively. Sponsors are often the first line of publicity for your event, so it is important to choose wisely. A great idea is to provide sponsorship opportunities at differing price points to maximize participation and increase profits. Some sponsorship ideas include:

  • Title Sponsor
  • Presenting Sponsor
  • Gold, Silver, Bronze Sponsors
  • Hole in One Sponsor
  • Putting Contest Sponsors
  • Long Drive Sponsor
  • Closest to the Pin Sponsor
  • Breakfast or Lunch Sponsor
  • Reception Sponsor
  • Player Gift Sponsor
  • Awards Sponsor
  • Hole Flag Sponsors
  • Pin Flag Sponsors

Increase player participation

The more players who attend your tournament, the more profitable the event will be. Spending the time up front on marketing and promotion will pay dividends in the end. A terrific way to promote an event is on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Think about creating a unique #hashtag for your event to encourage participants to engage with you on social media.

Additional sources of revenue

In general, golfers have money to spend, so if you provide the opportunities, they will! The added value also creates a memorable experience, and the participants will be more likely to join your event year after year. Here are some fun ideas to add to your next tournament.

  • 50/50 Draw
  • BBQ Lunch
  • Beat the Pro
  • Beverage Cart(s)
  • Beverage Tickets for Players
  • Closest to the Keg
  • Closest to the Pin
  • Closest to the Rope
  • Driving Range / Clinic
  • Hole-in-One Contest
  • Longest Drive
  • Prize Table
  • Putting Contest
  • Raffle Tickets
  • Range Balls
  • Registration Gifts
  • Silent Auction
  • Straightest Drive

Setting registration fees

When setting registration fees there are some important factors to keep in mind. Your goal is to fill your field with golfers. There are many golf tournaments in your town and you want to price it right so as to offer value to your golfers. Do not over charge. Do not try to make a lot of money from your golfer registration fees. Keep the fees as low as you can to ensure a full field of golfers. Sponsors are your profit. Sponsors like to see a full field. When you are established or have a waiting list then you can consider raising the fees. This is not to be applied when hosting a Pro-Am or Celebrity – Am. You can charge a lot more with these type events because you are offering more value.

Registration Fee Formula

Take your expense per golfer and charge a little more. Example; green fees $75, food $25 and gifts $25, your total cost per golfer is $125. You can charge $130 to $150 per player. Remember that you are trying to create value, giving the golfers more than they pay for.

Staff involvement

Your organization staff should not be involved in the event during operating hours. If they are you need to add the time that they spend on the event into your budget. This is why we encourage volunteers.


Trading can be a very valuable tool. It allows you to get the items you need without spending real money. Trade for as many things as you can, but make sure the item you want is more valuable than the hard cost of the item you are trading. Do not trade for things that cost you money: Green fees, lunch and gift packages. Trade for sponsorships and exposure only.

Items to offer in trade:

  • Sponsor Signage on Hole – The value is $300 and up, the cost is only $25
  • Name in the Program or Brochure – This is no cost to you, but great value to a sponsor
  • Include them on the registration website

Things to trade for:

  • Advertising – This can help promote your event.
  • Printing – Can save you money on your brochure.
  • Merchandise – Shirts and caps for golfers.
  • Prizes – For contests, raffle and auctions.
  • Trophies – For the winners.
  • Signs – For your sponsors.
  • Discount Green Fees – Get a better deal on the course by giving the course exposure.
  • Discount Food – Be nice to the Food & Beverage Manager

No free lunch

No one plays for free. Not committee members, sponsors or friends and family. This is one way you will lose money. Make sure that everyone pays. Committee members should sell a foursome and they can play in it or have a goal for them. If they bring in 4 foursomes they can play at a reduced fee. When creating sponsor packages and offering foursomes, make sure that you build in the cost of the golf into the sponsorship.

Finding the best golf course

“Golfers Play in Tournaments Because of the Golf Course” 

Choosing a golf course is one of the most important decisions that you make. Our research shows that one of the main reasons that golfers play in golf tournaments is because of the golf course. It is the first question that they ask. They want to play on a golf course that is special, one that they normally don’t get to play. Do not take this decision lightly.

So what do golfers want in a golf course? Here is what they are looking for.

  • Good conditions – Make sure that the golf course is in good shape.
  • Good customer service – Friendly atmosphere and treated well.
  • Good food and drinks – Not another burnt hot dog, treat them to good food.
  • Something special – Maybe a highly ranked property or Private Country Club.
  • Courses they normally don’t get to play – Maybe a Resort Course.
  • A challenging golf course – Not a boring flat course.
  • Steady play - No more than a 5-hour round. Ideally 4 ½ hours.

And the most important thing is:

  • VALUE – Getting more than you pay for. Give them a good deal. Do not over charge in the name of charity.

When choosing a golf course – Remember that your golfers will always make comments, good or bad. It is the part of the tournament that they will remember. If you have a bad course, it will be hard to get them back next year.

How do you get the best deal?

One of the best ways to give your golfers value is to make sure that you are getting the best deal on the golf course. We do not want to go with the cheapest course in town, we want the best value.

After you have received the feedback from golfers, choose five courses that best fit the description. Sit down with each course and build a relationship with the General Manager or Director of Golf. Here are the eight ways to get the best price on the golf course that you want.

Build a Relationship. If they know you they will want to work with you. They want to help and will give you the best deal possible if you have a relationship with them.

Get them excited about your charity or cause. Take the time to explain what you are doing, how much money that you are trying to raise and how it will help the community. If they get the vision they will want to help.

Be flexible with your calendar. If you can be flexible with your schedule you can get a better price. Look at the shoulder season when the weather is not perfect. Consider Monday through Thursday in the afternoon. These days and times can be better priced.

Ask for additional services. If they cannot give you a better price, they may be able to give additional things and include services like food, gift certificates, free rounds of golf, sleeves of golf balls. Try asking, they may have something that you need.

Bring them more business. All golf courses need more business. If you can show them how you can increase their business, they will be flexible. Bring other tournaments and events, promote their membership and daily rounds.

Negotiate with other golf courses. If you know the prices of other golf courses and can get a better deal somewhere else, let them know, they want your business.

Bring more golfers. Some golf courses want you to bring additional golfers and will give you a quantity discount, the more golfers that you bring the better the price.

Course buy out. In some situations you may get a better price if you buy the whole course for the day, sometimes even half a day. Ask them the price for a buy out and compare it to the price for individual golfers.

Increase efficiency

A successful golf tournament can take upwards 300 hours to plan, organize and execute. Using an online registration platform minimizes the amount of time needed to attend to the administrative tasks associated with planning a tournament which will free up time to focus on increasing revenue.

WayPoint has created a solution that automates the manual processes, to reduce the overall administrative burden of organizing a golf tournament. The WayPoint Dashboard also provides a centralized, real-time view for reporting on all key information including: player/ sponsor registrations, registration and donation fees collected, guest list management and custom questionnaire responses. Visit our website for more information.

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