Club + Resort Business discussed the process of running a successful golf tournament with Val D’Souza, Vice President of Operations at KemperSports. Here are his thoughts:
Coordinating and staging a successful golf tournament can be challenging. Many tournament directors have very little experience running these tournaments and are afraid to lose thousands of dollars. To help with this, I created a training program for tournament directors in the El Paso community called “Tournament 101” – a half-day seminar for charity golf tournament directors who had not conducted a tournament before or wanted to improve their existing events. Here are a few important tips from that seminar for tournament directors and charities to keep in mind when planning a successful golf tournament:
- Develop the Experience – In the planning process, it’s important that you are factoring in the time of year, pricing, venue and prizes. Offseason events will typically generate a lower entry fee by costing less than the ones during peak season. Additionally, events at great courses will generate more money – golfers are willing to pay more if they think more highly of your course. When it comes to prizes, be sure to award enough. A good rule of thumb is to give team prizes to 25 percent of the field. Also, showcase the total experience of your event – meals, beverages, participation gifts, hole in one contest(s), etc. Players need to know they are getting a great value for their money.
- Build Your Committees and Engage your Staff – The Tournament Director needs a few key committee members. I would recommend a hole sponsor chair, silent auction/goodie bag/raffle chair, operations/volunteer chair, marketing and golf team sales. Making the tournament committee too large and/or not diversified can lead to problems. You need chairpeople and committee members who are specialized in different industries and professional networks. In addition to the committee members, the golf course staff plays a large role in an event’s success. The staff should plan to meet with the tournament committee multiple times beforehand to provide support for your budget, sponsorships, action items and operational needs.
- Market and Sell the Event – The Tournament Director should pursue as many sponsors as possible. Golf tournament sponsorships are typically popular because they appeal to a strong demographic. Having several sponsors can help enhance the experience for participants by driving down costs, freeing up extra money for gifts. In addition to selling the event, marketing is critical and social media can be a great tool to do just that. Creative posts via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn can go a long way. News releases and calendar listings for the traditional media can move the needle as well. The golf course should also understand their role to help you market your event and provide help as their service to you and your tournament.
- Plan Ahead of Time – Make sure to plan far enough in advance. Even though it seems like a lot, six months to a year is often that sweet spot, especially for a first-time event. For new events, it can take a few years to build a database and plan, so that the event is successful. I would also recommend building a solid budget and timeline and sticking to it – it will prove extremely beneficial in the long run!