Are you planning a golf tournament fundraiser? If you are starting from scratch, check out our blog post, How to Run a Charity Golf Tournament. We provide a step-by-step guide with tips for planning your event from start to finish.
Every good fundraiser will have well-planned events that not only entertain the attendees but also drive revenue for the fundraiser. There are many fun games you can incorporate in your event, but one that is sure to be unforgettable is the Golf Ball Drop. Continue reading to learn what the Golf Ball Drop is and how you can successfully incorporate it in your next golfing event.
What is a Golf Ball Drop?
The Golf Ball Drop, also known as the Helicopter Drop, Golf Balls from Heaven, and the Golf Ball Raffle, is a simple game that makes a statement. When participants purchase a golf ball to enter the raffle, a unique number is added to it. At the designated time, all of the numbered golf balls are dropped onto the golf course from a helicopter (alternative methods include a crane or cherry picker). Generally, the participant that owns the ball that lands closest to the hole wins the game!
Are There Rules for a Golf Ball Drop?
The rules for the Golf Ball Drop might look different depending on the event and who plans it. While planning the Golf Ball Drop for your fundraiser tournament, you should outline the specific rules so that the participants are not confused on the day of the event. Some rules to think through include:
- How high does the helicopter drop need to occur?
- Where exactly will the golf balls be dropped?
- How many balls can each participant purchase?
- Is there a deadline for purchasing balls for the Golf Ball Drop?
- What is the pricing structure for purchasing golf balls?
- What are the prizes? Will there be multiple prizes available?
- What are the exact stipulations that determine the winner(s)?
- Who is the fundraiser for? Where will the proceeds of the Golf Ball Drop go?
- Is there an entry form that participants need to complete?
- Will there be an opportunity to reschedule if weather prevents the ball drop? If not, what is plan B?
- Will the winner need to sign an IRS tax form?
- Is 18 years old the minimum age requirement for participation?
10 Tips to Run a Successful Golf Ball Drop at Your Tournament
1. Secure a helicopter (or other dropping device)
First things first. You can’t have a Golf Ball Drop without a helicopter or some other device that can accomplish the same thing. When sourcing a helicopter, you should consider a couple of questions:
- Has the helicopter company done a ball drop before?
- Is the golf fundraising event in a rural location?
If you can find a helicopter company that has done a ball drop before, then they can assist you in the planning process. This will be a huge help when it comes to coordinating all of the details for the ball drop. Additionally, if your event is being held at a golf course in a rural area you might not be able to find a helicopter company in the same area. However, it is possible that a company in a nearby major city could make the flight for you so it is worth looking into that. If a helicopter is not an option, then you will want to find something else you can use like a crane or cherry picker.
2. Coordinate with the golf course
You will definitely need to communicate with whoever manages the golf course to coordinate a couple of things. You should ask the following questions:
- Is there a good place for the helicopter to land at the golf course?
- Where is the best place for the helicopter to do the ball drop?
The golf course needs to have adequate space to accomplish a ball drop, so working out all of the logistics with the golf course is a priority.
3. Choose a prize
With the right prize(s), you can motivate participation. It is a good idea to offer a variety of prizes to encourage more people to purchase one or more golf balls. There are several different options for prizes that you can choose from. Here are some examples:
- A cash prize with a fixed amount
- A cash prize with a 50/50 split of the event’s revenue
- A desirable item or experience that you get one of your sponsors to donate
- Multiple prizes that are tiered for the closest 5 golf balls
- Entry into another cash prize raffle
- A “reverse prize”, which goes to the owner of the ball that lands farthest from the hole
- A songBirdie Bluetooth Golf Speaker
You could also change things up a bit and also give prizes to a select number of raffle tickets that you choose randomly before the event.
Just remember that great prizes can lead to great participation. It is important to put intentional thought and effort into the prizes so you can put on an event that everyone wants to be a part of.
4. Start selling and don’t stop
Once the event is official and you have the prize details squared away, you need to start selling golf balls immediately! The more time there is for people to choose to participate in the event, the better. You can even keep selling golf balls on the day of the tournament up until right before the Helicopter Drop. Give the attendees every opportunity to join the Golf Ball Drop.
5. Track purchases
You should make sure you have a process for tracking purchases and numbering golf balls to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Each golf ball purchased should be numbered and associated with its buyer to easily decide the winner(s) after all the golf balls drop from the helicopter. This is a simple step to make sure things go off without a hitch!
6. Sell tickets online
Having an online process for purchasing golf balls offers several advantages including:
- Easy to collect data for participants
- Can reduce day-of stress for your event volunteers
- Can avoid long day-of registration lines
You should make sure your online platform is built to accommodate these kinds of raffle ticket sales. You need a branded event website that can do the following:
- Display important event details for the participants
- Offer different packages for participants to purchase with a variety of options that accommodate the number of golf balls they might want to buy
- Provide discounts and promotions as a marketing perk for you event
Having the right platform for selling golf balls online not only provides a great experience to the participants, but it also maximizes the event’s potential for profit.
7. Offer various pricing levels
As previously mentioned, you should offer participants a variety of packages when purchasing golf balls for the event. If you can help it, you don’t want to limit your fundraising options. Having a wide array of packages to purchase takes advantage of all the potential for revenue. Here are some examples of what you can offer:
- Discounts for bulk purchases (such as golf ball packages of 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.)
- VIP golf balls that come with special perks (such as the chance for a special prize not related to the dropping of the golf balls)
Swag baskets include the golf balls for the helicopter drop (but also include items like branded merchandise and/or this songBirdie Bluetooth Golf Speaker)
To optimize your sales, you want your packages to appeal to the various levels of event attendees. Make sure there’s an option for everyone.
8. Don’t limit buying opportunities
Again, you want everyone to have a chance to participate at whatever level they want to participate. For some events, it might make sense to limit entry to one per person. However, with a Helicopter Ball Drop, it makes sense to give people unlimited buying opportunities. The more golf balls participants buy, the better chance they have of winning, and the more profit your event receives.
9. Know how many golf balls you can drop
While it is beneficial to encourage participation at all levels in the Helicopter Ball Drop, you will need to know how many golf balls you can drop. If you know the maximum number of balls available for purchase, then you can use that to encourage people to buy their entries before they sell out. If you’re not sure how to figure out how many balls to drop, you can consider the following questions:
- How much money do you want to raise with this event? If you have a fundraising goal, then you can simply divide that number by the price of each golf ball, and you’ll have an estimated number of golf balls you are looking to sell.
- How many attendees do you expect at the golfing tournament? If you don’t have records to look back on to figure this out, you can send RSVP cards beforehand to gather peoples’ interest.
- Are there capacity limitations at the golf course where the tournament is being held? If so, this will help you determine the maximum number of golf balls you can sell.
Make the maximum number as large as possible. If participants want to purchase large packages of golf balls, then you don’t want to stop them. Do everything you can to allow unhindered participation in the event.
10. Take a video
A Helicopter Ball Drop is an epic event and a perfect opportunity for taking a video. Don’t miss out on your chance! You can use the video to market any ball drop events that you might plan in the future.
Add a Golf Ball Drop Event to Your Next Golf Tournament
Planning a golf tournament is not something you do on a whim. It requires a lot of brainstorming and coordination ahead of time. There are various details to work out. However, if you take the time to plan the event, then you can expect to have success! The same thing goes for all of the different games and raffles you have in mind. Don’t let the Golf Ball Drop intimidate you. Yes, it is a big event that requires detailed planning, but it is totally worth it. With some thoughtful planning, your next golf tournament will be a hole-in-one fundraising event!