Old Tom Morris was bashing a gutta percha ball through the gorse,
swamps and heather that, because it was unfit for cattle grazing,
was dedicated to a game called golfe, the idea of
simultaneous satellite scoring, on-line handicap calculation and
international sponsorships for tournament was eons away.
many planners, approaching modern technology as a way to increase
attendance, membership and sponsorship borders on science fiction
as well. Event planners currently fall into two groups:
computer-savvy Byte Bashers who can field-strip, clean and reassemble
a laptop, or terminally-afflicted techno-phobes who view computers
with the deep dislike and distrust usually reserved for 12-foot
topics, the best approach for a golf event planner is somewhere
in the middle—have enough computer knowledge to get your work
done, but remember that our primary work is to promote our tournaments,
fill our tee-sheets and maximize our sponsorships.
we covered E-Marketing Essentials — Websites and E-mail marketing.
Now that you’ve got the basics covered, we’ll discuss how to increase
membership and attendance by a series of specific steps leading
up to a tournament. E-marketing is designed to reinforce
the message you are spreading in websites, direct mail, fax-reminders,
personal phone calls and other ways to communicate with golfers
of a tournament is the overall structure and decision process
to use a tournament as a fundraiser; to be successful,
the planners uses some of the many operational Tactics that follow--
these are the specific actions needed to fill the tee-sheets and
sponsor commitment forms that is the goal of the tournament.
the date for the tournament— Avoid holidays, and holydays, usually
Thursdays or Fridays are good, but if you’d like to save some
money, Monday afternoons are the best time to ask for special
pricing from the course. Once you set the tournament
date, your scheduling works backwards from there, to increase
attendance and sponsorship. For a tournament of 100 golfers,
try to work no more or less than 6 months prior:
and host a tournament website. The tournament
website has become the most important step to filling a tournament.
Include a guest book, a sign-up area, facts about the course and
the tournament, information on the charity, all plainly and clearly
spelled out. Go to www.hostica.com,
for inexpensive hosting and some good basic templates for the
website. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate,
but golfers and corporations expect it, as soon as the tournament
date is set. Every promotional e-mail, direct-mail, notice,
PR release and announcement, should have a prominent mention of
the website. Every sponsor should be asked to have the tournament
website linked on their respective websites as well, especially
for a charity event.
website is designed, start your promotional schedule six months
prior, as follows:
- Call and write
all sponsors as soon as the date is set. Sell
three levels of sponsorship— offer anyone who was on the lower
levels to upgrade to the next level at a reasonable price.
- Send a “Save the
Date” e-mail to all golfers from the prior year.
- Ask the club pro
if you can e-mail a note to his members—sometimes the pro
issues a newsletter or an e-zine that would be a perfect marketing
vehicle for your tournament.
- Send a “Member,
Bring a Member” to all current golfers, encouraging your past
golfers to bring a friend to play. Award a Head-hunter
prize for the most additional golfers brought by an individual..
- As sponsors and
golfers sign-up for the tournament, release partial lists
of their names to sponsors and golfers who have not signed
- Within two months
prior to the tournament, send a “Last Call” e-mail, getting
- Within two weeks
of the tournament date, send out a Waiting List reminder to
anyone who has not signed up for the tournament.
countdown e-mail communication underway, be sure to use plain
text e-mails, with no attachments, and use Outlook or Outlook
Express. With apologies to the other programs, these
are universally accepted by every computer, and if you avoid attachments
and large graphics, they will be opened by everyone who receives
are sending out e-mail promoting a tournament, be sure to add
a Telephone number, preferably a toll-free number, a fax number
for those who still use a fax machine, and a dedicated e-mail
address. If possible, use the name of the non-profit
in the e-mail address, such as “golf@ABCcharity.com,”
to increase participation and improve tracking of your results.
mind that e-marketing complements, but does not replace other
forms of communication to members and sponsors. The
most important feature here is to make sure that every ad, brochure,
e-mail or poster looks like the others, so every golfer knows
what event you are promoting. Avoid the canned graphics
that came in your computer—they are overused, and can actually
hurt your response. Make sure you have a clear, clean and
distinctive logo, referencing the event or the charity.
and sponsorship solicitation e-mail that is sent should have a
simultaneous entry into the other promotional media.
Some of these might include:
- Church bulletins,
promoting the charity and the tournament
- Area news and sports
personalities, invited to the tournament;
- Faxes broadcasted
to past golfers, who may not be connected to a computer;
- Social groups—men’s
clubs, women’s clubs, families and friends of the charity;
- Home Owners Associations
for the course, if it is built in a residential area;
- Develop a corporate
challenge if there are two competing companies in the same
industry in your town. These can be fun
and very effective for both players and sponsors.
- Look up associations
and social service groups locally, you may be able to promote
your tournament through their membership as well.
quick response, include a way for the sponsors and attendees to
register via telephone, fax, or on-line and pay their sponsorship
with a corporate credit card. Be sure to have
easy access to sign-up information on everypage of the tournament
and organization website—make it easy for people to sign up, and
are working with a non-profit group, be sure to have the Tax Identification
available for everyone making a pledge to play or sponsor the
event. Be sure to mention that in the website, and
in all promotional mail and e-mail.
as a registration is received, send out an e-confirmation, thanking
the golfer or sponsor for their participation. When
someone signs up for a tournament, introduce them to your own
version of the “Member-Guest:” by asking them whether they have
a friend or business associate they can recommend that you contact
for an additional golfer or sponsor.
for a specific event will help increase your results for a tournament,
but it must be accompanied by a telephone call soliciting the
golfer or sponsor, and thanking them for their help.
As things become more technologically advanced, it’s clear that
the tournaments that have the best results are the one that combine
technology with the personal touch.
your next tournament, as you slog through the gorse, swamps and
heather, looking for your logo’d Titleist Pro V1x ,
just think how Old Tom Morris would be proud to be a part of it
is the Executive Director of GEMA, the Golf Event Managers Association.
GEMA is a national organization of golf event planners, golf facilities
and vendors, dedicated to increasing and improving golf tournament
business, attendance and professionalism on all levels. Based
in Orlando, Florida, GEMA focuses on marketing programs to help
event planners maximize membership, attendance and sponsorships
and works with golf facilities and merchandisers to increase their
contacts and business in the tournament golf market
407-891-2252 | Fax: 407-891-6428 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org