2015 Tournament Planner

2015Tournament Planner
Our 18 point planner is designed to :
Avoid obstacles to success
Survive a Mulligan economy
Address tournament challenges
Provide tournament tips to help organize,
standardize and market your event
We take care of the work and worry details and give you the
opportunity to elevate the quality of your event.
These suggestions are appropriate for every budget
and target market. Take a look and see how you can
set your event apart.
Table of Contents
Letter from the President
Tip #1
Plan with the end in mind
Tip #2
Work with the golf course
5, 6
Tip #3
Tip #4
The course and filling the field
Tip #5
Save the date, mailers,
Tip #6
Develop a Budget
Tip #7
13, 14
Tip #8
15, 16
Tip #9
Planning Packages
Tip #10
Hole in One
18, 19
Tip #11
Golfer Gifts
20, 21
Tip #12
Tournament Signage
22, 23
Tip #13
Tip #14
Player Awards
Tip #15
Sponsor Awards
Tip #16
Post Tournament
Tip #17
Purchase vs. Donate
Tip #18
Concluding Thoughts
Above Par Staff
Contact Information
A Message from the President
To our tournament clients, colleagues and friends:
It is privilege to work with the many diverse events in the
golf industry. We enjoy learning about your goals and
challenges and hope in a small way we were able to
contribute to the success of your event.
Our company strives to be a reliable source of technique
and information to help you make wise choices for your
organization. Our point of difference is to use our
knowledge and help you to achieve extraordinary goals.
Well run tournaments involve a thousand details. Our goal
is to take care of the work and worry and give you the
opportunity to elevate the quality of your event.
This document represents a collection of facts and
observations, particularly those affecting events in times
of economic stress. The suggestions are appropriate
to every budget and target market.
As always, our staff stands ready to work with you on
specific questions or problems, provide options, and
examine how to set your event apart.
Stan Fischer, President
Begin with the end in mind.
Golfers remember your event by their experience.
Choose the right course, the right month, and the right day.
The most appropriate solutions for your event
are always found in analyzing the demographics.
What experience do you want your golfers to have?
Is your event for fun, fundraising, or corporate related?
Answering these questions will determine
when, where, why and how much.
A great event is not necessarily determined by the price.
Treating your golfers and sponsors like rock stars insure
participation year after year. Consider small things you can do and
plan them as part of the day’s activities.
Provide Cart Decals identifying major sponsors
 Provide a courtesy snack cart on the course
Meet and greet each player, thank them for participating
 Speed up play; be respectful of the players’ time
Work with the golf course.
It is in their best interest to make sure
you have a successful event.
The current economic climate takes a toll on
everyone’s resources.
The golf property experiences the same resource
issues your tournament does.
Be respectful of their personnel.
Be clear about what they need to provide.
Get the details in writing—do not leave it to memory.
Things they will ask you:
Select a date—secure the date with a deposit.
(Event date is not always secured unless there is a deposit.)
Estimate the number of players
(Underestimate! You can always add, but not always reduce.)
Clarify the maximum number of golfers the course can
accommodate with players, carts, food and beverage.
Review the cancellation policy/rain check policy
Our experience indicates it is less expensive to host
the event once a date is booked, rather than cancel the event.
The course will have a substantial fee for cancellation.
A tournament is a revenue stream for the property.
Cancellation of your event impairs the revenue
commitment for the course.
Additional questions from the fine print:
Will the course be conducting any major maintenance prior to the
tournament (aerifying or over seeding)? Do not host your event
directly after one of these procedures.
What is the latest date to guarantee the number of players?
What if participants do not show? Does the event still have to pay for
Is there a charge to use extra golf carts for volunteers?
Are there any other events on the course the same time as ours?
Committee Members are Essential
If you have personally chaired a tournament, you know
the work involved. Having a core group of committee
members ensures a successful outing for years to come.
There are potential members everywhere, but a few key
points are essential:
You need people you can trust
You need people who can perform under pressure
You need people that are unwavering in dependability
Tips for developing a successful committee:
Be selective, not every applicant is a committee member.
Volunteer yes, committee no.
Choose your committee because of their experience with
charitable organizations or direct involvement in the
business community. Very few tournaments have strictly
“administrative” positions. Make it clear everyone contributes
with donations and sponsors.
Be respectful of their time. Service is never convenient.
Estimate the hours of service expected of the committee.
The rule of thumb: monthly meetings for 6 months,
semi-monthly meetings for 2 months,
weekly meetings for 6 weeks, full participation all day
on tournament day.
Schedule your meeting in advance with an agenda.
Not all meetings require every committee member.
All committee members must be active contributors.
Course Selection and Filling the Field
After determining the purpose of the event, consider the venue.
What is a reasonable distance to travel
to participate in your event?
Make sure the venue is convenient.
Most golfers love the opportunity to play at a private club.
Most private clubs are closed to members on Monday and will host
public golf events that day.
Does the entry fee take into consideration the financial
resources of the target market?
The best rates are offered Monday through Thursday.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for a golf course and
the fees will be higher those days.
Course rates are highest during months that offer the best weather and
lower during the months that offer less desirable weather.
Hot Tip: The best value is found in the “shoulder season” or the time between
the peak and off season when weather is less predictable and activity at the course
Save the Date, Mailers & Registration
“Save the Date” cards are a tournament standard.
Preferences vary for time to mail—6 months is standard with a
reminder at three months to participate in your event.
Make sure the venue is convenient.
First impressions mean a lot, especially when it comes to
branding your event.
When you send printed invitations, it is more personal and you
are giving the message of exclusivity. This is great treatment
for major, and returning sponsors. It makes them feel invited, and
that their presence is special. You would not send an email invitation
for a wedding because it is a reflection of the level of personal touch.
Make your sponsors feel the same way.
If using Email invitations or reminders, they must be personal, have
some style and feel inviting. No one likes a mass mail invitation.
On-line or web registration is expected
Offer online registration. 93% of players and sponsors surveyed in
2009 said they expect to register and pay online for a
fundraising golf event. This can be as simple as attaching a
Pay Pal account to your existing website. Make it easy for
those wanting to participate.
Statistical Tip:
31% of tournaments plan in 6 months
31% of tournaments plan in 9 months
Develop a Budget
The Basics
Treat your event like a business.
Every expense has the potential to be a revenue stream.
Sponsorships are they key to raising money for your cause.
Keep track of all income and expenses.
Financial record keeping should be assigned to one person reporting to
the tournament director.
A simple budget can be tracked with a spreadsheet.
The spreadsheet can be designed to incorporate player and handicaps
as well. Your budget may have a different layout, but should include
the same categories.
Take a look at our easy to use model
(Next Page)
Tournament Tip: Start with the budget, add what you know as you go. An
updated budget report should be an element of each committee meeting.
Comparative Analysis
Committee/Volunteer Apprec.
Meeting Expenses
Golf Course
Green/Cart Fees
Food & Beverage
Service Fees (CC Process)
Course Beverages
Special Food/Beverage
Player Awards
Special Awards
Million Dollar Shootout
Hole in One
Putting Contest
Arrival Gifts
Golf Balls
Arrival Gift #1
Arrival Gift #2
Sponsor Signs
Pin Flags
Sponsors are the key to financial success of an event. Selling
player spots cover expenses, however, sponsorships are your
profit. In order to sell sponsorships, you must give thought to
the reasons a company would contribute or participate in your
event and what they gain in return.
Hot Tip: When compiling a list of available sponsorships, be sure to
include several price points. In a struggling economy, a sponsor might
need an alternative at a lower price. Example: If a sponsor has always
sponsored shirts, in an ailing economy they may opt to sponsor golf carts or
lunch. It is critical these options be available.
Companies choose to participate in your event because:
They have a relationship with the event or key participant.
(#1 reason– 58% in 2009 survey)
To give back to the local community
To entertain clients
To acquire more business
To gain company/product exposure
To meet prospects
Tournament Tip: It is the tournament’s responsibility to show the
sponsors how they will benefit from supporting your event. Be specific and
remember every time and place the sponsor name is seen, it creates a
“marketing impression”. The number of impressions or repeat impressions
(such as a gift with repetitive use) is key for marketing value.
Sponsorship Opportunities and Potential Revenue
Always bear in mind the lifetime value of a sponsor. A satisfied
sponsor will stay with a tournament for many years if they are
treated properly and well represented.
Hole in One
Sell each hole in one @ $250 Each
Shoot Out
$1M shootout
Golf Cart
Purchase 72 sponsor cart clings @ $4
Pin Flag
Purchase 18 custom pin flags with logo
(average cost)
Beverage Cart
Cost varies with donated vs.
purchased beverages
Hole Sponsors
Purchase sponsor sign $25
Driving Range
Purchase sponsor sign $25
Putting Green
Purchase sponsor sign $25
(Arrival Gift)
Purchase high value towel @
$8 each
(Arrival Gift)
Purchase cabretta leather glove @
$9 each
Golf Ball
(Arrival Gift)
Purchase logo golf ball @
Shirt Sponsor
Purchase logo shirt @ $20 each
Cap Sponsor
Purchase logo cap @ $7 each
** Calculations assumes playing field of
144 players
Fundraising Programs
Hot Tip: The highest revenue generating tournaments always combine
fundraising activities into one purchase. They avoid the “nickel and diming”.
Collect the maximum revenue possible on the front end.
There are many programs to give your fundraising a
jumpstart. The heart of many successful programs include the
Super Ticket Scratcher Card
The front of the ticket can be blank or customized to advertise your event
or sponsors. Make the price of the ticket below the value of the
components. The more items included with the ticket, the higher the face
value. Offer items on the Super Ticket that cannot be purchased
elsewhere in the event, such as a special raffle prize or course contests.
The back of the scratcher card is a virtual game of golf everyone
loves to play. A score is tallied after the golfer scratches a medallion
for each hole. You can develop your own prize or have one included with
one of our Super Ticket packages.
Take advantage of the craze for the game of poker and incorporate our
simple Par 3 Poker as a fundraiser. Participants often purchase multiple
cards. It is one of the easiest fundraisers you can do and appeals to
golfers and non-golfers. Participation can occur before, after and
during the tournament. It is one of the most flexible events you can
Call us about the many ways to incorporate this fundraiser into your
meeting, banquet, or tournament.
Planning Packages
Our experience enables us to look at event history and determine what
are the standard purchases of most tournaments. While specifics vary from
event to event, we find a majority consistently requires certain core elements.
In our on going effort to help you avoid the work and worry, we have created
several packages and benchmarked the pricing to give you the best value in
the industry. See how one of our packages can help you. Best of all, they are
a cost containment boost with no hidden fees or set-ups.
Par Package
Birdie Package Eagle Package
18X24 Signs (Any combination)
9 signs
14 signs
18 signs
2’x6’ Welcome Banner
Hole in One (Up to 144 players)
Above Par Package
TPC Dreamin’
Augusta Experience
Closest to Pin Contest
Custom Sign & $50 GC
Custom Sign & $50 GC
Custom Sign & $50 GC
Long Drive Contest
Custom Sign & $50 GC
Custom Sign & $50 GC
Custom Sign & $50 GC
12” Vintage Golf Cup
12” Vintage Golf Cup
12” Vintage Golf Cup
11” Vintage Golf Cup
11” Vintage Golf Cup
1st Place Team Award
(4 awards with custom plates) (4 awards with custom plates) (4 awards with custom plates)
2nd Place Team Award
(4 awards with custom plates) (4 awards with custom plates)
3rd Place Team Award
10” Vintage Golf Cup
(4 awards with custom plates)
Par 3 Poker Fundraiser
Poker Cards (Up to 144)
$100 GC
Poker Cards (Up to 144)
$100 GC
Poker Cards (Up to 144)
$100 GC
Package Price
Price if purchased separately
Hole in One
Why it is important.
A hole in one is the most important thing a golfer accomplishes.
The importance of hole in one contests are often debated.
One thing is certain: there is no bigger deflator at an event
than a hole in one with no prize.
A hole in one creates huge excitement well beyond the event.
Your event and sponsors gain perceptions of quality and value when
the winner is rewarded for participating at your event.
The future marketing impact casts a positive light. Conversely, no
prize for this milestone creates a negative impression.
The message is you did not cover the base or care enough to
reward the golfer.
Your package need not be excessive. There are many economical
options at less than $3 per player with custom signage.
Hot Tip: Purchase a hole in one package for four (4) holes. Sell the entire
package or each hole as a modest sponsorship. Cover the cost of the hole in one
and offer new sponsor opportunities.
Hole in One
Hole in one contests are a baseline expectation at every tournament.
There is no bigger tournament deflator than a player scoring a
hole in one with no prize. The player celebrates no milestone
for the accomplishment and the tournament misses an opportunity for
great advertising. Packages are available for every budget, or a
custom package can be created for themed events.
Above Par
TPC Challenge
Vegas Trip for 2 with air
TaylorMade Rsi 1 Irons
Pebble Beach Apparel Shopping Spree
Loudmouth Golf Merchandise
TPC Sawgrass Trip for 2 with air
TPC Vegas Trip for 2 with air
TPC Scottsdale Trip for 2 with Air
TPC San Antonio Trip for 2 with air
Roll the Dice $4.00/player
Golfers Paradise $4.75/player
Vegas Trip for 2 with air
Reno Trip for 2 with air
Santa Fe Trip for 2 with air
Atlantic City Trip for 2 with air
Pinehurst Trip for 2 with air
Hilton Head Island Trip for 2 with air
Pebble Beach Trip for 2 with air
Bandon Dunes Trip for 2 with air
Greens & Slopes $5.00 /player Augusta Experience $6.00/player
Aspen Trip for 2 with air
Lake Tahoe Trip for 2 with air 
Broadmoor Trip for 2 with air
Deer Valley Trip for 2 with air
Master’s Final Round Trip for 2 with air
Master’s Wed Round Trip for 2 with air
Flat Screen TV
Adams Golf Clubs
Hog Heaven
Majors Package $8.00/player
Harley Davidson Sportster*
Loudmouth Golf Merchandise
Taylormade Rsi 1 Irons
Pebble Beach Apparel Shopping Spree
Masters Final Round Trip for 2 with air*
US Open Weekend Trip for 2 with air
British Open Weekend Trip for 2 with air
PGA Championship Weekend Trip for 2 with air
(*) Hit from 165 yards, witnesses required
Golfer Gifts
One of the ways to contain cost while enhancing the player experience
is through arrival gifts. Best practice recommends selecting one or two
items to be decorated with the tournament name and/or title
sponsor’s logo. Budget the best quality you can afford and consider
this part of the fixed golf expense. Your planning and selection process
becomes less confusing and time consuming if it is guaranteed to
happen. When it comes to gifts, golfers would rather receive one or
two nice items than several of marginal quality. Remember, the quality
of the gift contributes to the high perceived value of participating in
your event, and often determines if players will return.
Additional gifts beyond the core one or two can be given away only if
a sponsor is secured. A second tier of golfer gifts might include
gloves, towels, golf balls, bags or specialty hardware.
Remember, if you are not able to sell the additional sponsorships for
arrival gifts, you will not incur additional cost. You still have the basic
selections the tournament gives away.
There are exceptional gifts to fit every budget; let us help you develop
an appropriate package for your demographic.
Tournament Tip: When possible, select golfer gifts that can be returned if
not dispensed. This means not all gifts will have a logo, but sponsor recognition
can occur in other ways. The most successful tournaments realize huge cost
containments by never paying for more than what is used.
Sample Golfer Gift Worksheet (*)
Unit Cost
Sponsorship Net Profit
Golf Balls
Ball Cap
Shoe Bag
*Quantity of players must be estimated and can be
adjusted as information is available. Always over estimate
player count to avoid shortage on sponsored gifts.
Tournament Signage
The Basics
Every event should have:
 Welcome banner, including presenting sponsor
 Signage for Hole Sponsors
 Banner for Major Sponsors
Hole in One Signage with sponsor and/or event name
Signs and banners are a staple for tournaments.
They represent a marketing opportunity for both the outing and the
sponsor. We understand these items are usually ordered right before
the event. Whether you need a banner to advertise the event,
a sponsor board to thank those making the event possible,
or a directional sign to insure a smooth flow of traffic,
we have solutions to what can be one of the most
detailed areas of fulfillment.
Remember, signs must endure a variety of weather elements, including
rain and wind. A sign represents no value to the sponsor if it is
peeling, tilting, or has fallen over.
Tournament Tip: Decide what information you want to include on the sign.
Select a template that can be repeated in future years. Reap the benefit of cost
containment by saving sponsor signs each year. Industry standard recommends
omission of event date or year. We retain your logo and preferred layout to from
year to year to save production time and insure a fast turn.
Choose a full color sign or banner from our library of golf images.
Hole Sponsor Signs
Hot Tip: Hole Sponsor signs are the #1 low cost way to raise your
bottom line. Signs are important; they reflect the quality and image of
your event. Make sure the sign is worthy to represent the name of your
Our full color banners are priced at $5.50/sq ft.
and are printed on 13 oz. vinyl
2’ x 6’ Full Color $70
3’ x 8’ Full Color $138
The Basics
Part of hosting a successful tournament requires responsible
volunteers you can rely on. You need people you can count on to
make sound decisions and represent your event when you are not
available. The best volunteers are directly linked to the tournament
and may be working with your committee. Having a core group of loyal volunteers every year will make special functions at the
tournament appear seamless.
Every volunteer should understand:
A brief overview of the game, rules and etiquette
(The overview needs to include no more than an explanation
that golf is a precision club and ball sport where the players
try to hit the ball into the hole by using different clubs.
The object is to use a minimum number of strokes.)
The importance of the job they are asked to do
How their participation impacts the entire event
 Clearly define goals and expectations
Tournament Tip: Have a committee member take the lead role and
responsibility for organizing your pool of volunteers. Let them be the point person
in gathering contact information, summarizing tasks, placement and timing of
Require your volunteers to check in well before the appointed start time.
Use this time to give an overview of what will happen prior to the
tournament, during the tournament and after the event. Confirm how long
each volunteer is expected to be in attendance.
Provide thorough training for each function. Avoid a negative impression to
your tournament by preparing a set of instructions to volunteers.
Make sure the volunteers and witnesses understand the rules for contests
and special events—especially hole in one. Rules vary; make sure the
tournament director fully understands contractual requirements.
Sample Volunteer Organization
Volunteer Activity
Name #1
Name #2
Front Lobby
J. Smith
J. Doe
Player Sign In
Front Lobby
Clubhouse Door
Bag Drop Helper
Bag Drop
On Course
Hole in One Witness (2)
Hole #9 (Car)
8:30AM H. Miller
Hole in One Witness
Hole #17
8:30AM K. Barnes
Putting Contest
Putting Green
B/4 &
Dining Room
Draw Raffle Winners
Dining Room
Set-up Awards/Prizes
Dining Room
Dining Room
Set-up items with bid sheets
Dining Room
Marshalls during auction (3)
Dining Room
Beverage Station (4)
Hole #1, #7, #13,
Relief Staff
On Call
Silent Auction
R. Smith
L. Gray
J. Nichols
G. King
Sample Volunteer Contact Sheet
Hours Available Shirt Size
John Smith
[email protected]
Men’s XL
Janie Wynn
[email protected] Hole in One
Ladies M
Player Awards
The Basics
Every event should have awards for :
 First and Second Place
 Third Place (Optional)
 Long Drive
 Closest to the Pin
 Straightest Drive
 Last Place
Awards are a staple. Anyone winning an event likes to see recognition.
This is a lasting marketing impression of your event. It is the one
visual item associated with your event for a long time. In keeping with
the philosophy of treating the players well, there is no higher
importance than with appropriate awards.
Recent player feedback confirms:
Golfers do not want golf equipment.
Gift certificates/credits have minimal value.
Beyond First and Second Place the award has minimal value.
Lame awards are not a good investment of resources;
they go in a drawer or the trash.
Let us help you create a memorable
award package that fits your budget and
creates a lasting impression.
Sponsor Awards
The Basics
A quality item of recognition and thanks should always be given to:
 Title Sponsor or Presenting Sponsor
 Major Sponsors
 Special Sponsors
A quality item of recognition and thanks should always be given to
sponsors that provide substantial profit opportunity.
Awards for hole sponsorships are generally not expected.
In keeping with the philosophy of treating your sponsors well, there is
no more lasting impression than an appropriate award. Sponsor
retention is key to growing and sustaining your tournament. There are
many creative options for sponsor awards at all budget levels. Call us
for ideas specific to your demographic. We can help create a custom
look for less than you think!
Tournament Tip: A sponsor award is the most observed item representing
your tournament beyond event day. Make sure the sponsor is proud to display the
award and that it represents both the event and the sponsor in a professional,
quality manner. The number of impressions and repeat impressions is key to
marketing your event.
Post Tournament
Wrap Up and Thank You
It takes the hard work of many people to host a successful tournament.
At the conclusion of the formal gatherings, there are details to be
concluded. Many of these details can be coordinated through the
volunteer pool.
Day of the Event
Pick up sponsor signage— Most sponsor signage and banners can be used
for many years. Make sure the golf course staff is aware you want to
retain signage. Do not remove signage while your guests are present at
the facility.
Clean Up—Do not leave the facility in a mess. Be mindful of the areas you
have occupied during the day. Insure all personal items, paperwork and
packaging are appropriately dispositioned. This includes all donated items
such as gifts and beverages.
Be prepared to review the facility invoice and pay the bill.
Retain pairing sheets and registration information for future use and
reconciling purposes.
Collect any sponsor funds or golfer fees that were not collected during
Within Two Weeks after the Event
 Schedule a debriefing meeting with the committee within two weeks after
the tournament. Allow each committee member the opportunity to review
strengths and weaknesses from their perspective.
Two weeks generally provides ample time for all invoices to be submitted,
paid and financials closed out.
Invest the time to enter all sponsor and golfer contact information into a
Post Tournament
Wrap Up and Thank You
Finalize any auction item collections or deliveries
Make an assessment of your volunteer roster and determine what can be
improved upon with both course management and personnel.
Send letters to those helping to make the event a success, such as:
sponsors, golfers, volunteers, and suppliers. Exceptional events always
send professional, personal notes to those involved. This small detail
shows your really care. Electronic messages get the job done, but never
convey sincerity like a personal note.
Determine the next year’s tournament date and secure the course. Most
properties book a year out. Multi year agreements are becoming popular
and a preferred date can be locked several years in advance.
Donated vs. Purchased Items
No topic tends to peak the curiosity of more planners than the debate of
donated vs. purchased goods. Donations are the most popular way to omit
cost. Donations fall into two categories: 1) items that will be distributed to
players and have no revenue potential, 2) items that will be raffled or sold at
auction and have revenue potential.
As you solicit a donor base, remember to consider the best fit for your
donation. Is the item a better raffle prize than auction item, or would it be a
higher perceived value if bundled with something else? Is it a noteworthy
item to be considered as a special raffle?
It is a widely accepted rule that sponsor gifts are never from a donation gift
pool. A sponsor gift presented with another company’s logo or name is
considered in poor taste.
Always apply sound judgment in accepting substantial donations in lieu of
sponsorship revenue. It is possible to accept every donation, give away every donation, and never deposit a dime after the tournament.
Tournament Tip:
The most successful tournaments always purchase player gifts to
control the quality and image of what is given. The size and location of the advertising can be
monitored to create an image of maximum perceived value. Tournaments find their dollar
goes further and with more choices for quality gifts when they control the purchase.
Remember, over 90% of paper goods (such as coupons) and unremarkable gifts are never
used by the recipient. It takes time to collect and distribute all these items with no return on
the time investment. You are doing someone else’s marketing, not your own!
Concluding Thoughts
Golf has long been known as a gentleman’s sport. The sport has
its very own rules of etiquette. We are taught at the end of a round,
remove our hat, shake the winner’s hand and congratulate him at the
close of a match. The basics should carry over to a tournament as
well. Tournaments are hectic events. Little things get away from us.
By keeping the fundamentals of golf alive at every step of your
operation, you will inherently host a gracious event.
No tournament is immune from risk in a year of economic
challenge. One of the best strategies in hosting a winning event is to
treat your golfers and sponsors well. When you purchase a giveaway,
award or sign ask yourself: is this something I would like to have?
Your answer should determine a course of action. Don’t be afraid to
make a choice of quality and perceived value. It always pays off.
In times such as these, it is more important than ever to wisely
choose strong partners and suppliers. There is an inherent difference
between a business that takes your order and a business totally vested
in the industry. One of our founding principles is to always present a
maximum value for the spend. We have gone the extra mile to provide
you with cost containment and savings in every aspect of tournament
planning. Because of our commitment to the industry we are stable,
well financed and positioned to weather any downturns with you. Our
relationships are more important than ever.
We thank you for the confidence you place in us everyday.
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