a VIP Tournament and staying on your budget… it can be done.
the movie, Tin
Cup, Kevin Costner plays down-and-out driving range golf pro,Roy
“Tin Cup” McAvoy, who marvels at the VIP accommodations and facilities
of playing at the US Open qualifier.
balls!” he yells to Cheech Marin, who plays Romeo, his caddy,
“we’re hitting Titleist balls on the driving range!”
are not many golfers among us who, when faced with a perfect pyramid
of Pro V1x’s, would fight back the urge to collect a few spares
for later on, rather than hit them down the driving range.
When we are treated like VIP’s, we remember the VIP treatment
and it keeps us playing in tournaments and coming back year after
a planner’s point of view, we’d all like to plan and deliver a
perfect, high-end, “VIP” tournament, but the economic realities
of planning sometime get in our way.
We are torn between the desires to deliver a great event,
but we still need to come in under budget or deliver a large check
to the charity we are working to promote.
this in mind, the best planners have had to work to balance both
goals and deliver a truly outstanding event and still meet the
economic realities of the job.
The key to staging a VIP event is planning every aspect
of the outing, with a critical eye to making small and noticeable
improvements that golfers will remember when it’s time to sign
up for the following year’s event.
golfers have three priorities in playing in a tournament—meet
people, have a good time and avoid a late tee-time that turns
an outing into a 6-hour round.
They all love to play, but many have to return to their
offices and justify going to the tournament and show some business
return on their time investment.
While it’s easy to throw money at great tee-gifts, equipment
and extras, by delivering what the golfers need, you can plan
a memorable and rewarding tournament.
good ideas to consider adding to your tournament that are not
sure everything is set-up at least one hour prior to the tee-off
time, so early arrivals can see and appreciate the layout
and planning that goes into a tournament.
sure to ask the golf course if they can provide a real red
carpet for the golfers’ arrival.
Many courses have one on hand, and it sets the stage
for the rest of the day.
sure to have the course staff the tournament correctly.
Have a “floater” bag attendant patrolling the parking
lot, picking up golfers and bags, for those who don’t use
the Bag Drop.
a greeter from the course at the front entrance, making sure
golfers get registered, buy their raffle tickets and find
the driving range, locker-rooms and food service.
There’s nothing worse than paying for a continental
breakfast, only to have the golf course set it up in the back
booth of the 19th Hole, never to be found.
to be set up include the registration table, raffle and door-prize
table, carts lined up with accurate names in large printing,
with their starting golf tee number posted.
the tournament rules sheet in the cart, printed clearly with
your charity or sponsor logo. With
color printers, photo-shop and other programs available, print
a good layout, with lots of information is easier than ever.
of GEMA’s planner members has his daughter do his layout work—it
looks great, at a very reasonable cost—free!
Handing out a rules sheet that was printed 10 years ago
on a dot-matrix printer is not the way to impress your golfers.
your golfers’ names onto their scorecards in advance. It’s
a great touch that will not increase yours costs.
golf balls arranged and re-filled out on the driving range.
Golfers enjoy hitting from a fresh stack, and since
you are paying for it, make sure every golfer gets this added
treatment, not just the first ones on the driving range. While
you probably can’t use the Pro V1x’s from the movie, having
them in the pyramid is a nice touch as well.
to have a course golf pro working the driving range, welcoming
golfers and offering swing tips and advice on playing the
to have large display clocks in plain view at the clubhouse,
driving range and cart area.
Golfers typically take off their watches to play, and
we’ve all seen foursomes of stragglers running to their cart
from the driving range because they lost track of their tee-time
the golfers to their carts at least 10 minutes before the
most planners know, getting them to their carts is an exercise
in cat-herding, and it’s best to allow a little extra time
the golfers are assembled in their carts, be sure to have
the golf course pro introduce the corporate sponsor or spokesperson
for the charity. Have
the spokesperson welcome and thank the golfers for attending.
Next, turn it back over to the golf pro to review the
rules, special contest holes, cart-rules, etc.
Make sure to arrange for a good sound system --- your
golfers paid to be there, and they would all like to hear
what’s being said.
the round is being played, be sure to have your spokesperson
ride around the course to personally thank each foursome for
Mucci, a former PGA professional and Membership Director for the
Golf Event Managers Association, believes the awards ceremony
and a strong follow-up program after a tournament is the most
critical aspect of planning a golf event.
awards ceremony is the most important part of the tournament,”
Mike said. “Have
a great speaker, or a paid emcee, not just the planner, do the
closing ceremony is a great time to thank the course, thank the
golfers, present the awards to the winners and a check to the
charity and remind your golfers save the date for the following
part of the usual photos that are taken on the course and distributed,
you can have digital candid shots taken during the round and projected
during the awards ceremony.
Mike suggested that the show might also include information
on the sponsors, the charity and key members of the planning committee
that can run continuously during the awards meal.
every golfer should receive a thank-you note, along with a “super-roladex”
of all the names of all the golfers and sponsors.”
Mike said, “You can sell added recognition to your sponsors
with their logo and contact information in the super-roladex.”
added that it is a great way to help your attendees justify their
participation with their bosses as well.
The super rolodex also encourages your golfers to sign
up for the following year.
It also encourages sponsors to increase their level of
sponsorship, and provides a handy way for your golfers to save
the date for the following year.
have the responsibility of delivering a good tournament, either
for their corporations or their charities, and in both cases,
they have to work within a budget.
By watching out for the smaller details and making sure
they execute the all the extras, they can make every golfer
playing in their tournament feel like a VIP.
And it’s a whole lot cheaper than giving every golfer five dozen
Pasha 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
marketing for the golf tournament business. Based in Orlando,
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.
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