Tips for Planning a Golf Tournament
May 11, 2018
There is nothing like a great golf tournament when the weather is beautiful, the competition is exciting and the prizes are highly desired. To a player, a well-run golf tournament should look like a smooth and seamless operation. Behind the scenes, there are golf professionals hard at work.
Andrew Lundberg, a PGA instructor at the Golf Academy of America in Dallas, has been planning a weekly tournament at the school for almost five years. Before coming to Dallas, Lundberg worked in a variety of different roles in the golf industry, including as a general manager and tournament director. The experienced tournament planner recently shared some of his expert advice for planning a golf tournament.
Start Your Golf Tournament Planning Early
For bigger events, Lundberg recommends that you start planning a golf tournament up to a year in advance. To begin, he suggests forming a team of committees to help. The check-ins with your committees should be spread out at first, with most of the meetings scheduled in the final four months before the tournament.
Once the committees are squared away, Lundberg says you should take a look at the calendar. Are there any other tournaments that might conflict with your event? What about school vacations or holidays? Is it scheduled for a time of year when the weather is likely to cooperate? Lundberg also recommends thinking about the day of the week and what time of day it will take place.
“If I want to get the maximum turnout, if it’s on a Wednesday, I might not have as good of luck as opposed to a Monday or Friday or even a weekend,” he notes.
Establish Your Golf Tournament Budget
Early in the process, it’s crucial to go over your budget and weigh the costs. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it feasible for the course to close for a day or more if it’s a multi-day event?
- Are you limiting other golfers’ ability to book time?
- Will there be food and beverage service? Prizes? Insurance?
Balance the expenses against any income from corporate sponsors, the entry fee, mulligans and raffle tickets.
Find Tournament Sponsors
After initial planning and reviewing the golf tournament budget, Lundberg begins working on sponsorships. He orders trophies and arranges prizes. He then begins to reach out to potential tournament players. He determines the method of entry, and opens registration about 60 days before the tournament begins.
Know When to Close Registration
When the tournament is about seven days away, Lundberg brings registration to a close.
“It allows time to prep the staff and get them ready for what’s going on,” he says. “We’re almost there.”
This is the time when the staff gets any grab bags ready for the event. Contests are organized, pairings are re-paired to fit last-minute requests, staffing for the day is arranged and everyone is briefed on their specific job duties.
The day before the tournament is set to take place, Lundberg sends an email to players with all the information for the big day.
Make Sure Golf Tournament Staff Are Ready
If you’ve done your planning right, there’s not too much left to do on tournament day. Lundberg emphasizes that it’s helpful to have control of the golf carts so that players don’t venture out on their own. Staff should be strategically placed at the start of the tournament to answer any last-minute questions.
“During the event, the main thing is to make sure the water coolers are filled, bathrooms are serviced, drink carts are stocked and going around, and the pace of play is on track,” Lundberg says. “You want an adequate number of staff going around the golf course to help look for golf balls or help with an on-course ruling.”
While the players are on the course, Lundberg suggests using the time to clean up and restock. Once the golfers begin coming in, it’s time to do the scoring.
Evaluate Your Tournament and Follow Up
After the golf tournament, Lundberg does a recap with the staff to go over what went well and what can be improved. Then comes the event follow-up: thank-you notes to the sponsors, a survey to participants and anything else that needs to go out.
Go the Extra Mile in Your Golf Tournament Planning
For a truly fantastic tournament, Lundberg stresses that you need to pay extra attention to detail.
“Something that I think a lot of golf professionals miss is organizing the hole-in-one insurance,” Lundberg says. “That’s an important part, and it’s a pretty big draw for a lot of events. It tends to get more publicity and more involvement if we can give away a car or vacation packages for a hole-in-one.”
The more organized you are and the more you plan, the better.
“Project management is one of the most important aspects of tournament planning,” Lundberg says. “For the administrative portion, the most important part is to ensure that the golfers see it as being seamless and they’re having a good time.”
He adds: “If a player feels like he’s playing in the Masters, I think that’s a good sign.”
Training for Golf Tournament Jobs
Students at Golf Academy of America participate in a tournament planning class, where they learn all the nuances of planning a tournament. Additionally, each student takes a tournament administration class. Lundberg has taught both of these classes.
“Most of our students have volunteer opportunities, as well,” Lundberg says. “They’re able to see how they do things and see how it all ties together.”Facebook, join the conversation on Twitter, and see what it’s like to be a Golf Academy of America student on Instagram!