The Winning Golf Event Planning Guide
by Maria Walda
Over 33.1 million American viewers tuned in to watch professional golf last year, proving that this is still one of the most sought after event types in the country. Whether you’re planning a tournament or a charity drive, all golfing events require a timeline and checklist to make sure they run smoothly.
How Do You Plan a Golf Event?
Like most events, you’ll need to understand this event type, what audiences love about it, and what you can do to give it your own unique spin. Most golf event ideas involve low key award ceremonies but you can also include traditional event add-ons like putting or hole-in-one contests or even a catered meal for players.
Besides these theme specifics, you’ll have to use other event best practices to do things like partner with vendors and sponsors, market your event, register attendees, and more. Basically all the things you’d normally do but include some golf stuff in there while you’re at it.
With a little help, you’ll be able to master this event type in no time. So without further ado, here’s the only golf tournament planning guide you’ll ever really need.
How to Come Up With Great Golf Event Names
What is your golf event really about? Whether it’s a charity or just a good time, golf events are rarely just about the sport by itself. Unless you’re planning a tournament, you’ll need to come up with a funny, clever, and/or memorable name people will like.
It should give attendees a sense of what to expect if they sign up. And because this event is all about playing a game, there should always be a sense of fun to the name, even if it’s for a corporate crowd.
Here are some real-life golf event name examples:
Hell 2 Heaven Golf Challenge. This amateur competition begins at the lowest elevation golf course in California and ends at its highest.
MDA Topgolf Tournament. Golf events that are charity-focused should include the name of the nonprofit like this one does.
Women’s Golf Day. Straight to the point, this simple golf event name tells us who the audience is and what they can look forward to at the event itself.
As you can probably tell, you don’t need to go over the top with your golf event name. Whether you choose something creative or practical, your attendees will still enjoy the day. Just remember to look up golf events in your area and make sure your chosen name doesn’t resemble any of the others!
The Essential Golf Outing Checklist
There are some minimum requirements all golf events need to be a success. The great thing about this event type is that you can often find eager volunteers and free or donated goods to fulfill your golf outing checklist, especially if you’re fundraising for a good cause.
The average golf tournament raises $5,000 in net profits, so you’ll need to keep that in mind when pricing out your own personal list.
Here’s what you’ll need to have in order to plan a great golf event:
A golf course.
An event team and/or day-of volunteers.
A tournament format.
One or more sponsors, depending on your event goals.
A list of potential golfers for the event itself.
A ticket sales and marketing strategy, which will include tools like an event website.
Event insurance for any possible injuries, weather-related cancellations, and more.
An event photographer.
Trophies or awards for the winners.
Directional signage for the course.
Promotional signage for any event sponsors.
Water and snacks available for players.
Golf event management software.
T-shirts for participants and/or volunteers.
Granted, the things on this list make up the majority of what you’ll need for any golf-related event. But if you’re looking to expand your event beyond what people usually expect, you can get a little fancier by hiring caterers to prepare a delicious lunch, offer more extravagant prizes, or even give out goodie bags to participants.
One of the points worth highlighting in the above list is golf event management software. Most planners don’t realize it but there are already a ton of great tools out there that can help your golf event run smoothly. Here are the ones we cherry-picked.
3 Best Golf Event Planning Software & Tools
Your event is only as good as the tools you use to plan it. So make sure you have these or other, similar event planning helpers with you as you begin to figure out your next big golf event.
Social Tables. Our free (yes, free!) event management solution is great for event planners at any experience level.
Event Caddy. If you’re planning to host a full-on tournament, Event Caddy offers tools that will help you organize, manage, and promote it.
BirdEase. Another great tournament planning tool, BirdEase also helps planners set up a dedicated and professional-looking e-commerce website.
Now that you know what to expect, what you’ll need, and the gist of the process, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of how to plan a golf event.
Your New Golf Event Planning Template & Timeline
Some people start planning golf events 9 months out but it’s always good to get a head start when planning larger events like these. Even if you only have 6 months until the big day, you can still hit all the points on this golf event planning timeline. Which, by the way, you’re more than welcome to use as your very own template — just make sure to customize it and adjust as things come up!
1-6 Months: Big Picture Items
Create your event goals.
Draft your golf event budget.
Decide on how you’ll run the event and what extra games, entertainment, or awards presentations you’ll host.
Personalize this (or another) event timeline template to fit your specific needs.
Meet with your team to go over core event elements and assign tasks.
Contact your list of top golf course choices then compare prices and make your selection. Putting your deposit down this far in advance will help make sure you get the date you want, especially during busy seasons.
Set up pricing for participation and create your sponsorship options.
Choose your golf event planning software.
Set up your event registration website.
Purchase any event insurance you or the golf course would like you to have.
3-6 Months: Getting the Word Out
Choose your golf event name.
Send out your save the date notice to sponsors and potential players.
Begin selling sponsorship packages. Make sure to update your website and other advertising materials with the appropriate sponsor information as you go.
Create social media accounts (or use existing ones) to promote the event on social media. Connect with past event attendees, current clients, and mailing list subscribers. Have event committee members share the posts with their personal networks, as well.
Write and distribute an event press release.
1-3 Months: Nailing Down the Logistics
Get your day-of volunteer committee all signed up.
Coordinate with sponsors to finalize their purchases, collect payments, and send any marketing materials out to get printed.
Gather any raffle, auction, awards, or gift bag items you need.
Create or order all your event signs, posters, banners, and t-shirts (for both players and volunteers).
Book a golf event photographer. Or, if you or a volunteer plan to handle all photos, read up on these golf tournament photography tips.
Review your event plans with your chosen venue. Make sure they sign off on everything in writing.
Choose a credit card processor or money collection system for the day of the event.
2-4 Weeks: Check In & Adjust Where Needed
Review the current number of sponsorships sold versus your goal amount. Adjust where needed and make additional efforts to follow up with potential sponsors. Even if you haven’t met your goal yet, there are lots of ways to sell last-minute event sponsorships.
Double check that all event items (goodie bags, trophies, t-shirts, etc.) have been delivered or will arrive early. If not, call your providers and see what can be done.
1 Week: Finishing Touches
Send out official event reminders.
Confirm your volunteers and vendors again.
Prepare any last-minute decor or entertainment items.
Day Of the Event: You Totally Got This!
Set up your registration area along with any signs, banners, and decor items.
Gather your volunteers to go over their individual tasks, establish a schedule, and determine how you’ll communicate as a group when everyone is spread out. Use this time to answer any questions they may have and hand out their t-shirts.
Set up extra event activities.
Grab your golf measuring and tracking devices for any additional games or activities that need them.
Stage your carts in a single area and place goodie bags on the seats.
Offer sign-ups for next year’s event.
Pat yourself and your team on the back after a job well done.
Golf Events Are Easier Than You Might Think
Congratulations, you did it! The process of planning a golf event is similar to most other event types. You have to have the right tools, a strategy, and an understanding of what attendees have come to expect from events like these.
Now that you have all that down, you’ll have no problem creating a completely original and fun golf event of your own!