As if there aren’t enough details to worry
about when planning a meeting, adding a golf tournament piles on a
course-long list of extras. Once the date has been chosen, follow
these helpful guidelines.
" Define the event’s objective. Is it a charity
event, fun corporate outing, association tournament, sales
" Give yourself enough time. The larger the
group or more exclusive the golf course the farther in advance you
should work. At the earliest, start a year out, as soon as this
year’s event is done.
Most major components of the event should be in the works by
about three months out. The last three months should be devoted to
" Set a budget. “Look at what you’re planning
to provide the players, the cost of the facility and food events
surrounding the tournament, and divide it for the per-player cost,”
says Jeff Graham, manager of golf championship rules and
competitions for the Golf Course Superintendents Association in
Lawrence, Kan. “Add in administrative costs, marketing, salaries,
cell-phone rental, copiers, computers everything.”
With a full field (144 players or more), see if you can book
the course for half or the whole day, advises Roger Caldwell,
president of Mission, Kan.-based Great Golf Events. “Then compare
the buyout price to the per-player fee,” he adds.
Booking the club
" Aim to impress. Before deciding where
to go, if this is a recurring event, consider where it was played
previously and upgrade a bit. “You want to make the event better
than last year,” says Eric Redd, principal of Palm Desert,
Calif.-based The Golf Event Co.
" Public or private? Public courses tend to be
the biggest bargains. Resorts have large staffs and are used to
handling big groups. Private clubs carry prestige but might not be
able to handle all your needs, although they’ll often let you
provide services they can’t.
“What are you trying to accomplish?” asks Caldwell of Great
Golf Events. For fund-raising events, you’ll want to balance
course-rental costs with the amenities available there. For a
high-end event, spend more for a comparable, memorable course that
will draw more players.
" Site inspect. Look at the course’s
attractiveness. For large events, ask if there are any restrictions
on full shotgun starts (144 golfers teeing off together).
" Evaluate staffing. Is the club willing to
provide more people
if you require them? Sometimes you’ll have to supply the extra
help. Graham of the GCSA, who works on the association’s two-day
tournament, must accommodate hundreds of players. “Staffing on-site
includes about 20 people from the GCSA and 40 people from our
sponsor company,” he notes.
" Check on rentals. Plan for more club rentals
than you’ll need, and make sure the course has an adequate
" Ask questions. How difficult is the layout?
What is the maintenance schedule? Is there a required minimum of
paying golfers? Are there F&B minimums? Will the club provide
box lunches? Are the locker-room and shower facilities sufficient?
Is there a practice range? What are the dress and behavior codes?
Is catering provided? Can the group bring in an outside caterer?
Are there facilities for a post-tournament event? If such events
typically are held outdoors, is there a backup indoor space? Will
the pro shop be open before and after your tournament? (Winners
will want to redeem pro shop certificates that day.)