Golf, what an amazing game to build a fundraiser around. Anyone can pick up a club regardless of skill or fitness levels and fire away.
The first time planning a golf fundraising day is always the hardest. It can be a little daunting, but it gets easier. If you’re planning to host a golf day, read on to find the steps you need to take, to ensure that it’s a huge success.
Step 1: Organise your Crew of Volunteers
Let’s not beat around the bush; Organising a golf day requires a good number of dedicated volunteers. The day will most certainly be lucrative, but it takes a team. It can’t be executed with just a few of you.
These are your team of heroes who will make the entire process of organising the fundraising day as smooth as possible.
Having golfing knowledge will be useful but isn’t necessary. You can leave the golfing set-up to the course managers and focus on all the other activities required for your day.
Most importantly, recognise and thank these amazing souls. You can do this during the after function with a small gift or even a simple thank you will bring the whole day together.
Step 2: Choosing the Golf Course
Choosing the correct golf course is critical. There is a fine balance between satisfying the avid golfers and those who’ve hardly swung a club. The keen golfers prefer high-end courses that are more challenging. The non-golfers can lose interest if the course is too difficult for their skill levels.
How to choose and book the golf course
Aim for a decent public course; they’re less expensive and it will be easier for you to get the date you want.
There are plenty of web sites that rank or rate golf courses to give you an idea of what is in your area that’s suitable.
Contact golf courses to find out the options available to you. Have a list of questions ready and get as much information from them as you can about what options are available, such as:
- What’s included for the amount? Golf carts, lunch, dinner, beverages
- Whether they allow advertising at tee boxes
- Do they have a PA system in the function hall?
- How many ‘Golf Days’ do they host each year (this helps you determine if they’ve got enough experience to ensure the smooth running of things)
- What services do they provide on the day?
- Will they provide and label carts or set up foursomes?
Such details are the key to running a successful golf fundraising day.
Step 3: Time to Find Some Sponsors
If volunteers are the heroes of the day then your sponsors are the lifeblood.
Getting commitment first, will alleviate many pressures that come with the day. Organise your sponsorship packages early and advertise them extensively.
Of course, if you can get one or two businesses to sponsor the whole day, then you’re one of the lucky ones.
If this isn’t available, you can get creative by offering alternate opportunities such as sponsoring:
- A hole (the company pays to have a sign with their name put up at the hole)
- The food and beverage service.
- The prizes and giveaways for the day.
- One of the golf carts (or all of them)
- Logos on balls, shirts, and assorted giveaways.
- Your own team to enter.
Fulfil your promise to your sponsors, then do more……
It’s the little touches that make the difference. You can do the bare minimum or you can blow their socks off. Try some of these simple gestures below to enhance the day for sponsors
- Give out their business cards at every opportunity.
- Make the sponsors known to your crew so they can acknowledge and thank them during the day.
- Ask your sponsors if there are any special offers, they’d like advertised.
- Advertise them through your social media.
- Make sure the signage for advertising their businesses are large and of high quality. Ask them to provide any banners or signage they have to keep costs down.
And most importantly
Don’t leave the thanking of the sponsors as an afterthought.
I witnessed this unfortunate oversight at the end of a great golf day. At the post game function, the host did a fantastic job thanking the volunteers, golf staff and all for attending but regrettably, he forgot to thank the main sponsor. As he attempted to place the microphone down, a close friend of the sponsor yelled out ‘what about the guy who paid for the day?’ We watched as the host painfully picked the microphone back up and apologetically offered his belated thanks. Alas that sponsorship didn’t continue.
Pro Tip: Confirm that your emcee or host has scheduled time to formally thank all the sponsors and provide them with the appropriate details to do so.
Step 4: The Actual Game
You will likely begin the game using a shotgun start, especially if you have over eighty players.
A shotgun start is where one or two sets of players are assigned to start on each hole. Originally a shotgun was fired once players were in position to start the days play. These days, a horn or an alert is sent to your mobile. This format allows everyone to begin at the same time, which will ensure players join the after-match function together.
Pro Tip: Make sure each team has a course map so they can easily locate their starting hole.
Through my experience, the golfing format chosen is vital if you want to keep the interest levels high throughout the day. You want all players regardless of skill level to feel like they are competing and having fun.
One of the best formats we recommend you use to keep the day fun is the “Scramble” or “Ambrose” format. This entails each person in the group hitting their ball from the same spot and then deciding which of the four is the best shot. They then move the other three balls to within a club’s length of the one chosen as the best shot, and everyone proceeds from there. Repeat this process until one of the balls finds the bottom of the hole.
Do some detective work in finding out the skill level of each golfer. Split the golfers into groups of four, pro, good, average and hardly played.
Many golfers like this format because it keeps the game moving smoothly. The good players can show off their skills while the average golfers feel like they have plenty of chances to contribute, especially as they get closer to the putting green.
Step 5: The Raffle
A golf day is a golden opportunity to run a raffle. All you’ll need are some prizes and raffle tickets.
Having a captive audience will put you in an advantageous position from the start. Sell tickets throughout the day with the promise of drawing the prize after the round.
To increase your raffle profits, you could get the prizes donated, please read Getting Prizes Donated is Easy When You Know How!
Step 6: The Prizes
Winning great prizes will be ingrained in the memory banks of your golfers for many years. Even better, getting them donated will supercharge your fundraising. If you’re unsure of how to ask for donated prizes, visit our article Cold Calling for Donated Prizes – 10 Tips.
People love winning prizes, and a golf day brings many opportunities to award them.
It’s important to remember this isn’t the Olympics, get creative and focus on bringing some light-hearted fun to the day.
To go along with your winners awards, include some or all of these fun awards listed below:
- Worst shot
- Highest score on a hole
- Any thrown or broken clubs
- Most air swings
- Most putts
- Last place
- Most trees hit
- Shortest drive
- Most lost balls
- Most Bunkers Hit
- Most water hazards hit
- The Pro – there’s always someone who has the latest gear
Have a golf ball or small prize ready for each award. Announce the award and ask for nominations from the room, then let the roars from the crowd pick the winner.
Your aim is to diversify the winners as much as possible. So, don’t feel like you need to be 100% accurate.
Remember, this is to add light-hearted fun not to single out and embarrass individuals.
I recommend you finish the award presentations this way. It’s always a great way to lift the crowd and lead into the thanking of all the amazing volunteers and sponsors to wrap-up your day.
And that’s a wrap for this article. I hope the tips shared help you organise your most successful golf day yet.