Golf Fundraiser Unique Formats
Golfers, fans and officials on the professional tours have recently shown a propensity to vary from the week-to-week, cookie cutter 72-hole format. The same medal play format is probably the best way to determine the top player that particular week but that configuration can often become monotonous during the long, hot summer.
That’s why the European Tour has transitioned to formats such as Golf Sixes, a two-man team concept played out over six holes, and the Shot Clock Masters, where players are timed and points are deducted if they take too long.
The PGA Tour has even included a Stableford format in Reno, Nevada, two-man teams in an official event in New Orleans and an annual match-play tournament in Austin, Texas.
The LPGA has increased its team concept by adding The International Crown, which gathers four players from eight countries in a match-play format. Of course, the match play plays off the popular Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup formats that have developed fan affinity similar to a team sport event.
“We had fun,” said Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan, who teamed with Paul Dunne to win the Golf Sixes last May in a European Tour event near London. “Honestly it was the best fun I've had on the golf course since I've turned pro. It was a great few days.”
For golf fundraiser events, the norm is a captain’s choice format played out over the course’s usual 18 holes. That’s the same as most of the other 142,000-plus charitable golf events hosted by 84 percent of U.S. golf facilities in 2017, a stunning number of charitable events held nationwide, according to the National Golf Foundation.
To gain some traction and include the FUN in a golf fundraiser, different formats can provide a spark to a longstanding event or intrigue for newcomers who previously felt intimidated by their once-a-year golf participation.
One creative format is to convert the normal course into 18 par-3 holes.
Teams can be paired in sixsomes in morning and afternoon waves with large cash prizes for hole in ones on the 18 holes and a closing shootout among those closest to the hole. With the abbreviated format, more players can participate (morning and afternoon winners) and players may feel they can come out for a half day and still get in some of their normal workday.
Another format of a similar ilk that can add fun to the golf fundraising is a course setup of nine regulation holes and nine par 3s, with each par 3 offering large cash prizes for a hole in one. The nine players who are closest to the hole on the designated par 3s will qualify for a day-ending shootout where a hole in one earns an even larger payback, split evenly with the charitable golf fundraiser cause.
In both formats, local celebrities, not necessarily just golfers, can be stationed around the course to rub elbows with the participants. Imagine a local professional football player hanging with everyone in the field during the morning on a designated hole. That way, the athlete, who isn’t necessarily a low-handicap golfer, can feel a part of the show for one hole and cheer on the teams.
Add-ons can develop depth even in normally formatted 18-hole events. Include long-drive contests, closest to the pin on par 3s or putting and chipping contests before and after the event. Straight drive contests, call your distance holes off the tee add even more intrigue and may drag those once in a blue moon golfers into the competitive realm.