20 Steps to Successfully Organizing a Charity Golf Tournament

20 Steps to Successfully Organizing a Charity Golf Tournament

Organizing and hosting a charity golf tournament is no small feat. While there are hundreds of thousands of charity golf outings that take place each year, the average net profit of these tournaments is $5,000, although the big fundraisers can make up to $300,000. Many times, the expense that goes into running a golf tournament can make it difficult to come out with a large profit margin. However, with a thoughtful and detailed plan, you can put on a profitable golf charity event that has golfers coming back year after year to participate. 

Wondering where to start on deciding how you’re going to run your golf tournament fundraiser? We’ve provided several tips that will help you plan a successful event from start to finish.

1. Define Success and Dream Big 

“If you don't know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else.” - Laurence J. Peter 

As with anything, defining goals and determining success will help you pave the path to get there. If you are planning a golf charity event, make sure you have a specific goal for how much money you want to raise and clearly state where the money will go. This will make it easier for the event attendees to donate because there won’t be any confusion regarding the purpose of your event. 

2. Consider Hiring a Consultant 

Paying for consultant services might not be for everyone, but it is worth looking into. A consultant can potentially free up your time while also making your event more profitable. Consultants will often charge several thousand dollars or take a percentage of the event’s profits. However, some consultants will provide a refund if their services don’t end up making you profit. 

3. Recruit Volunteers 

When planning any event, don’t try to go at it alone. There are numerous details involved in running a charity golf tournament, and you will burn out if you try to carry the entire load. Set your event up for success and recruit volunteers.

Here are few tips for this process: 

  • Where to look - Call local vendors and businesses to see if they want to participate in your charity event.  
  • Give incentives - People are much more willing to volunteer their time for something if they think there is a good reason to, whether it’s networking, serving, making friends, getting recognition, etc. Make sure you outline the reasons why people in your community should volunteer to help with the event. 
  • Provide clear instruction and oversight - Make sure your volunteers know exactly what their roles entail, and don’t hesitate to set up an accountability system to ensure everyone fulfills their objective. 
  • Reward them for their time - Whether it be recognition, a gift, or other incentive, make sure you reward the volunteers for their time. Our songBirdie Bluetooth Golf Speaker is a great gift idea for volunteers. 

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Mix it Up 

There is no one format for how a charity golf tournament should be run every time. Rather, there are various formats to choose from for a charity outing depending on the caliber of the players in attendance. Don’t hesitate to contact a local golf pro for advice on choosing the best format for your tournament. 

5. Finding a Golf Course at the Right Price 

When it comes to finding the perfect golf course for your tournament at an affordable cost, it is possible to get the best of both worlds.

Here are some tips for making a deal with the golf course owners: 

  • It helps to have a relationship with a mutual contact at the golf course. 
  • Having a good cause for your tournament can be enough for the golf course to work out a deal with you.
  • Scheduling your tournament after peak season (during “shoulder season”) and on the weekdays can also open up more golf course options. 
  • You could strike a good deal if you can show that your charity outing will bring more business to the golf course in the future. 

6. Time to Get Sponsored 

If you want to make a profit on your charity event, sponsors are the way to go. To succeed in this area, you will need to show prospective sponsors that it is a win-win relationship. You will receive profits for your charity, but they will receive exposure to the tournament’s attendees. If pitched effectively, a sponsoring organization will see your golf charity event as a valuable branding opportunity.  

7. Offer an Olive Branch to Your Sponsors

Once you have secured your sponsors, you will want to make sure you give them a good time at your charity outing. One way to do this is to offer the free participation in your event to the contact at the organization and perhaps a few additional team members. 

8. Recruit Golfers 

If you want to run a charity golf tournament, then you will need to have actual golfers committed to attending. One strategy to ensure you have a full tournament is to get nine of your committee members to invite a group of four golfers to join the tournament. 

9. Networking & Promoting 

You could invest some money to promote your charity event, but the best way to get the word out is through networking. Building solid relationships with golfers and sponsors in your community will get them to return each year you host the golf tournament. 

10. Additional Games & Contests 

You want the golfers at your tournament to have a good time. Having various games and contests within the tournament keeps things interesting for everyone involved. Check out these fun games to get your creative juices flowing! 

11. The Importance of Quality Prizes 

Whether it be a winner’s prize, an auction item, or a raffle item, having quality prices is another way to keep things exciting for the tournament’s attendees. Sometimes you can get sponsors to provide their own products to be used as prizes. Another great idea for a prize is our songBirdie Bluetooth Golf Speaker

12. The Devils in the Details 

The more informed everyone is, the better experience they can provide for the charity event’s attendees. From making sure everyone’s names are spelled correctly to keeping a tight schedule, the success of your tournament can depend on your attentiveness to the details. 

13. Timeline: Start Planning Early 

Procrastinating is never a good idea, but it is especially not a good idea when planning a golf charity outing. Like any other large event, you will want to start planning at least six months in advance. Make sure you book a golf course and secure sponsors as soon as possible, and give the golfers you want to attend at least sixty days' notice of the event so they can plan accordingly. 

14. Budget Advice: Where You Make Your Profit  

The obvious rule of thumb is: don’t spend more money than you are going to make. If you hold true to that, then your event will at least be profitable. To increase the profit margins, make sure you secure sponsors and charge golfers for their playing spots. 

15. Tips to Make Additional Profit

In addition to sponsorships and charging for playing spots, there are several other creative ways to make money at your golf fundraiser.

Some ideas include: 

  • Providing a golf workshop for less skilled players
  • Providing refreshments for purchase 
  • Providing additional contests that attendees can participate in using purchased raffle tickets 
  • Providing “mulligans” for purchase, which allows players a re-do for a missed shot 
  • Providing merchandise for purchase 
  • Providing various ticket packages to increase the amount of people in attendance 

  • 16. Food & Drinks 

    While offering snacks and refreshments is a great way to make additional revenue at your event, it is also a good idea to provide food and drinks to the golfers in attendance. After all, they did purchase a ticket to play at your event. 

    17. Find Guest Lodging 

    Be hospitable and provide a list of hotel options for out-of-town guests. Make a list of 5-10 local hotels at various prices for the attendees to choose from. 

    18. Signage and Posterity

    Again, the devil is in the details. Don’t let the detail of signage slip through the cracks. The quality of the signs at your event will speak volumes about the caliber of the tournament. The more high-class you fundraiser looks, the more sponsors you will attract for the following year. 

    19. Branded Photos & Video 

    Let the branding efforts continue even after the tournament is over. If you include photos and/or video in the ticket packages, then you and your sponsors will continue to get exposure following the charity event. 

    20. Follow-Up 

    The day of the event will come and go, but your job isn’t over until you have wrapped up every detail and taken a few more proactive steps, which include:  

    • Pay all outstanding bills 
    • Clean up everything that is expected of you and more 
    • Write thank-you letters to the golf course and sponsors of your event 

    Your thoughtfulness after this fundraiser will go a long way when it comes to planning the event again next year. 

    Time to Put on a “Hole-In-One” Charity Golf Tournament 

    Planning a successful charity golf tournament is a big responsibility, but with some intentional planning it will go off without a hitch. Take the time to be thoughtful and detailed, and you can create an event that will continue to grow in the years to come.