Choosing the right golf course is one of the most important parts in creating a successful golf tournament. Golfers will remember your event in part by their experience on the golf course. Make sure you choose the right course to keep participants coming back year after year. Get at least three proposals based on your needs and pick the course that best fits your event needs. Begin your golf course search early and negotiate your deal at least six months in advance when feasible. Note that the more attractive the golf course, the more players and sponsors who will be attracted to your event.
Things to consider when looking for a golf course:
- How far will golfers have to travel to attend the event?
- What is the average skill level of the golfers?
- Do you have any ties to a golf course owner or manager to negotiate a good price? For example, is anyone on your committee at member?
- Does the golf course offer adequate space for a dinner/awards ceremony afterward?
- Does the tournament entry fee correlate with the price to use the golf course?
- Would your golfers feel more comfortable at a public or private golf course?
Finding the right season and date for your tournament:
Once you’ve found a golf course you must decide when to hold your event. The time of year and day of the week will dictate the price. Course rates are highest during the months that offer the best weather and lowest during the months that offer the worst weather. The best value is found during the ‘shoulder season.’ This is the time between the peak season and off season when the weather is less predictable and activity at the course is slow.
The day of the week is as important as the time of year when setting a date for your event. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days for a golf course and costs will be the highest on those days. The best rates are offered Monday through Thursday. Keep in mind that most private golf clubs are closed to members on Mondays and will host public golf events on those days. Most private courses will require that you get a referral from an existing member to gain access to the golf course for your event.
Negotiating a Contract with the Golf Course
The biggest mistake a tournament organizer can make when negotiating a contract with the golf course is to not get everything in writing. Do not depend on verbal agreements with the golf course management. Make sure all agreements are in writing before committing to the course.
Things that should be covered in the contract:
- Contact Person
- Number of Players - underestimate the number of golfers, you can always add later.
- Maximum Number of Golfers
- Cost Per Player
- Is food & beverage included?
- Services Offered
- Are you asked to provide volunteers?
- Tax & Gratuity
- Deposit & Payment Schedule
- Event Cancellation Policy/Rain Check
Things the golf course should provide:
- Greens Fees
- Golfer Names on Carts
- Range Balls
- Rules Sheet
- Scoreboard with Scoring Assistance
- PGA Professional to Host the Start of the Tournament
- Private Area for Dinner/Awards Ceremony
- Food & Beverage (Extra Charge)
- Gift Certificate or Free Foursome for Prize Giveaway
- Proximity Markers for On-Course Contests (i.e. Longest Drive)
- Displaying Sponsorship Signage on the Golf Course and in the Clubhouse