Selecting the Right Course For Your Event
By Cliff Coffelt, PGA
General Manager • The Tribute Golf Links at The Colony
I want to host a golf tournament in 2019… how quickly can I get everything booked, and what should my budget be?
First steps are picking a course and setting a date. Most courses are re-booking their repeat customers one year in advance, so you need to take that into account. Your budget should take into consideration what you anticipate charging your sponsors, and each team or player and how much you’d like to make or be able to donate if it is a charity tournament. Sponsors are the key to revenue generation for your event.
Do higher priced greens fees always mean the venue is better?
Not always. In most cases, a private club will have a limited number of days available each week to host non-member tournaments. If you pick a public course, you’ll have more dates to choose from, and opting for a non-peak day or month can often save you some money on the green fees. You certainly want to pick a good course with great course conditions and a course that has a great reputation for running tournaments.
I am considering multiple clubs as the host venue for my event. What are some questions to consider when narrowing down the potential sites?
If you’re looking for a specific date, availability might narrow down your choices. If not, find out what tournament services the course provides versus what you or your organizations volunteers would be expected to do on tournament day. You need to make sure the course has all the requirements that fit your needs for food and beverage, banquet space and staffing.
Other than course conditions, what are some things to look for in a club that can help make my tournament memorable for all?
Look for those intangible qualities that a club can offer. How much staff are they going to have to execute your event and create a great experience for you guests. What is offered that others do not offer, are there any added items to the event package? One thing we add at The Tribute because we are a tribute to the finest holes in Scottish golf is we have a world renowned bagpiper who plays before each tournament.
Planning an event can be stressful. What are some things I can do throughout the process to make sure I am prepared come tournament day?
Make yourself a timeline that has small goals or checkpoints along the way. Make sure you have a committee and assign responsibilities to each person. The events that struggle tend to have one person trying to do everything. Things like player lists and pairings can’t be done in advance, but try to check other things like sponsor signage, menu selections, prizes well in advance to save yourself from an all-out panic two weeks before your tournament.
When it’s time to tee it up on the day of the event, how much involvement can I expect from the course staff, and how many people should I involve to help run the event?
If you’ve selected a good course, all the details of what the course provides verses what you need to do should’ve been set at your details meeting. We provide enough staff to cover most everything, but you will want to have some volunteers to handle registration, goodie bags, raffle tickets or auction items.
For more information on booking an event at The Tribute Golf Club, please visit www.thetrbutegc.com or call 972-370-5465. Cliff Coffelt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Communication is Key
By Fred Leonard
General Manager • Irving Golf Club
How critical is the relationship between the Tournament Director at a club and the tournament organizers?
The relationship in this instance is more about regular communication, with the first few meetings focused on the needs and expectations, followed by constant follow ups to ensure that the event goes according to plan.
What are the steps taken to ensure the food and beverage programs properly fits the needs of the particular event?
The Food & Beverage manager should have “event menus” and a checklist that is standardized for consistency.
What are some questions you recommend asking when first meeting a Tournament Director?
The number of players, with or without food and beverage, their desired time to play, shotgun or tee times and skill level of group. Details and “add on” offered will be based on the preliminary questions asked.
For Tournament Directors, is there such thing as a dumb question?
There are no dumb questions, but experience will eliminate the obvious items and reduce the amount of questions you may have over time.
What are some issues that can arise when proper communication isn’t a priority between Tournament Director and event organizers?
Timing on food and beverage offering, late comers, omission of prizes, payment requirements, dress codes, etc.
What specific role does the sales director play in the planning process?
I like to have one person to handle both the sales, and tournament details. The golf staff is the primary group to execute the event with oversight and direction by the director and the head golf professional.
How involved is the course staff on the day of the event?
The course staff has to be completely focused on their tasks to ensure that the course is setup correctly and doesn’t require an altered morning start that would potentially delay the event or be disruptive during play. They may assist the event organizers once it has started in preparation for the event’s finish. This includes tent set up, garbage, food delivery, etc.
For more information on booking an event at the Irving golf Club, please visit www.cityofirving.org or call 972-721-2501. Fred Leonard can be reached at email@example.com
Formatting for Fun
By Cody Roye, PGA
Old American Golf Club
I have a golf tournament booked, but I’ve been told I can’t just have all the participants play their own ball… why not?
We never restrict an outing from playing individual stroke play or four-ball, but we do advise them against it. When you have a shotgun start and have everyone playing their own ball, all it takes is one player to hold up the entire group. Part of the planning behind a shotgun start is having everyone start and complete their round at the same time. If you play an individual format, one player can ruin it for everyone!
In your experience organizing tournaments, what formats seem to be the best and does the size of the field impact the format I should consider?
Size definitely matters when it comes to selecting a format. There are definitely formats you should avoid as the size of the field increases. Scramble is the format that works best for the majority of events, but some of the alternative formats we see are Shambles, 2-Person Scramble and some modified alternate shot. When we have an outing ask us about the different formats, we provide them a menu of the various types of tournaments we’ve run, many of which are derived for our member programming we offer year-round.
How important is it to have on-course prizes such as a hole-in-one, closest to the pin or long drive? What are the best holes to consider for these challenges?
I wouldn’t say it is vital to an events success, but it definitely gives everyone an opportunity to win something regardless how your team is doing. The more people that can walk away from your events as a winner the better! When considering holes, we always suggest that coordinators choose the friendliest holes possible, so that you are doing your best to include all skill levels. Many times if you are doing a major prize for a hole-in-one contest you will be required to play it at a certain yardage, it is always best to find out that information first and plan your closest to the pins around that if you are combining the two.
How should I set up the golf course to ensure everyone enjoys their day without making it too simple for the advanced player?
We all know that no matter how good you are, golf will never be considered simple! Honestly, it is fun for a good player to occasionally compete on an easier course setup. When setting up the golf course for a large event you have to make sure you consider the skill level of the event as a whole as opposed to catering to the few advanced players. If you have a smaller group of more advanced players, you could then look at more in-depth course setup options.
How can each format impact pace of play and what else can I do to be assured the round moves smoothly?
Pace of play is one of the biggest challenges that our industry faces whether it be an event or just normal play, so there is no magic answer to ensure everyone plays quick. Special rules to help with this such as Bogey Max or 2 Putt Max could be implemented. In addition, when planning your event speak with your hole sponsors and find out what each will be offering throughout the course and make sure that those with activities are spread out and not all in the same areas. We make sure we announce our pace of play goals prior to the events and give each group a friendly reminder when we are out on the course confirming names and making sure that everyone is enjoying their experience.
Are there any other activities that I can incorporate in my event before or after play to allow golfers to be interactive and have fun?
Tournaments have evolved to more than just traditional golf these days. Making things more about the interactive experience and setting your event apart from anyone else’s has become the “norm”. Chipping contests, shoot-outs, and interactive golf clinics have replaced the tired putting contest. Items such as helicopter ball drops and “Big Break” type challenges keep your players on the edge of their seat, while demo days and concept shops allow them to customize their tournament swag.
By Doug Donley
On-course prizes can really help build excitement for an event. Why are the necessary to make the event more interesting?
When you offer an insured contest with an amazing prize, it will really build the excitement for your event. You will increase the interest in your event and number of participants. Adding a contest makes it exciting and fun.
There is a common misconception that offering a hole-in-one prize can be expensive, but it’s actually very affordable. Can you enlighten us on how inexpensive it actually is?
It’s actually very affordable. We have packages as low as $225. To provide a quote, we would just need to know the value of the prize you will be insuring, the number of participants and the contest. Our basic hole-in-one package will include the grand prize coverage, plus we will throw in smaller hole in one prizes on the remaining PAR 3’s, a custom sign for each prize, and shipping to your event.
Cars and cash prizes are the most popular hole-in-one giveaways, but there are more options if you think outside the box. What are some of the most interesting things you’ve insured?
We make it easy. We have a simple quoting process and we are eager to answer all of your questions along the way. Our team is informative and driven to make sure your event is a success. What kind of prizes do most events insure? We see everything from cash, trucks, luxury cars, golf carts, ATV’s, vacations, jewelry, kitchen make-overs, home theaters, jet skis, boats and private jet time. We even covered a $250,000 Bentley at Derek Jeter’s celebrity tournament. We will insure anything and help you to pick the perfect prize.
About how many events have you insured over the years, and how many do you anticipate insuring in 2019?
We service events across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Some of our partnerships include AutoNation, Audi, Chrysler, General Motors, Kia, Penske, Callaway, Nike, Voice Caddie, Yeti and Lajitas Golf Resort. We insure about 4,000 events annually.
What is a basic hole-in-one prize entail?
Our basic hole in one package will include the grand prize coverage, plus we will throw in smaller hole in one prizes on the remaining PAR 3’s, a custom sign for each prize and shipping to your event. Don’t forget to give credit to those generous and incredible event sponsors. Our custom signs and banners will impress your sponsor, with our sharp designs and high-quality material. Are you looking for a unique player gift, sponsor gift, or awards for your event? We have the solution. We offer a catalog of gifts to choose from that will be sure to dazzle anyone. Fundraising Programs. We have you covered there too. We offer different program options and fundraising ideas for your event… whether it is a charity golf tournament, school fundraiser, gala event, or something else.
What are the overall odds of someone claiming a hole-in-one prize?
On average we pay out about 1 in every 100 events we sponsor. In 2018, we were on the hook for about 40 aces. How do you get started? Contact one of our team members at 800-440-5070. Ask for Marilyn, Kerrie, or Doug. We will discuss your upcoming event and goals and guide you to products that make sense for your event’s success. We are experienced and work fast so that you can focus on other areas of your event.
Doug Donley is the CEO of Advantage Hole-In-One. Donley founded Advantage in 1996 and as a former wideout for the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears, his far-reaching contacts in the sports world helped grow his business exponentially. Donley first began targeting auto dealers themselves rather than tournament directors. In addition to hole-in-one insurance, Advantage also covers contests such as shootouts, putting, chipping, football, hockey, basketball, fishing and other non-skilled contests like a dice roll, number match, lucky envelope pick and even the March Madness “Perfect Bracket” challenge.
Food For Thought
By Michael Owens
Director of Food & Beverage • Coyote Ridge Golf Club
Define a corkage fee, that seems to be a hot topic of discussion for Tournament planners.
We at Coyote Ridge do not have a “corkage fee”. Our current liquor license does not allow outside alcohol to be brought onto the premises. Thus, all alcohol consumed must be purchased through the club thus not incurring a corkage fee. It is important to note that sponsors cannot bring alcohol onto our property either. A sponsor can purchase the desired beverage through our Food & Beverage Department, and we can then have it available at the time of the event. We allow alcohol sponsorship on the course, set up on various holes but we do not allow “rolling” kegs (kegs strapped to the back of a cart) and we must insist (based on insurance regulation) that the servers/bartenders be employees of our club. This ensures the liability aspect of serving alcohol does not fall back on the tournament host/sponsor. One more thing, sponsors are always welcome to bring alcohol on to the property for purposes of prizes for the event, but the alcohol must remain sealed until it leaves the club property.
Having an on-site catering team is obviously a huge advantage for tournament planners. How do you incorporate that into the tournament planning process?
On-Site catering is a wonderful way we help to alleviate some of the headache of planning from the tournament host and planners. We have an amazing kitchen crew that is well versed in multiple styles of cuisine. Coyote Ridge has over 20 pages of menu options that an event host can choose from including outside grilling, patio snack stations, outside bars, buffets, plated meals and more. By utilizing our world class on-site culinary team, a tournament host can be assured that the food and beverage aspect of their event is the freshest possible; prompt with the tournament time line and in the event of last-minute changes, our on-site culinary team can respond immediately. Flexibility is always a plus when dealing with tournaments when it comes to food and beverage.
In your experience, what works best for tournament food options: a buffet, a plated menu, or order off the menu style?
Coyote Ridge offers multiple plating options from buffets to plated dinners as well as snacks, boxed lunches and boxed breakfast. Over the years we have found that buffets normally serve best for tournaments. With the variation in time for players exiting the course after their round, this style of dining offers the best options for the event. We do suggest a small “happy hour” with some appetizers to be served between the first off and the last off golfers so all players can enjoy the main meal together.
Do I need to plant two meals for tournament guests? Or can I get away with one meal and heavy on course snacks?
For smaller events a single meal after the round seems to be preferred by most. We always offer a variety of snacks and beverages during the tournament on the course and stations on various holes. Two meals are an option especially for larger tournaments (over 120). These larger events find that a breakfast, snacks on course and dinner buffer keeps the players energized and happy in these longer and larger events.
What is the best way to deal with alcoholic beverages? Drink tickets, cash bar or open bar?
We have seen multiple ways of providing alcohol to the players and while we take all forms of payment and offer cash and open bar scenarios, we actually prefer drink tickets for tournaments. Many players don’t carry wallets or credit cards during the tournaments and tickets provide a simpler way to obtain drinks. Coyote Ridge offers different types of tickets and at various prices (non-alcoholic, beer and wine only, well bar and premium bar) for purchase by the host. Normally a host or sponsor will pre-purchase a set number of tickets prior to the event which are distributed during registration. We always allow for additional tickets to be purchased and distributed during the course of the event. Plus, drink tickets allow sponsors to purchase alcohol for the players in a very easy to manage and regulated manner, another way to service the sponsors better. We can also craft a custom package that incorporate multiple styles of beverage service to best suit the event.
Is there any other pertinent information regarding the food and beverage aspect of trying to plan and you would like to share?
Coyote Ridge is excited to host dozens of tournaments throughout the year and wants nothing more than to make sure your event is a success. By allowing us to provide more services and offer more options in a “one stop shopping experience” we remove vast amounts of the stress and planning, thus allowing the host to concentrate on getting as many players involved as possible. Also, for the many non-profit events that we hold here annually, a single source of services allows for better budgeting and event management, in turn, returning the maximum monetary benefit to the organization.
For more information on booking an event at Coyote Ridge Golf Club, please visit www.coyoteridgegolfclub.com or call 972-395-0786. Michael Owens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The VIP Experience
By Amy Morrissette
Private Events Director & Regional Tournament Director • Trophy Club Country Club
What is your definition of VIP Experience?
The VIP Experience starts with the venue. At Trophy Club we provide our tournament chair people with all the tools they need to WOW their guests. From special touches at bag drop, games on the course and unique offerings in the clubhouse during awards, the VIP experience can be felt throughout the entire day in some form. Being a VIP is exactly that, a VERY important Person. The VIP experience does not have to be pricey, it just lets your players know that you value them.
What are some things that you and the club can do to ensure the outing meets VIP standards?
We will meet with our tournaments hosts numerous times throughout the planning process to answer any questions and provide feedback. All ClubCorp properties have an arsenal of ideas at their fingertips. We also can provide special touches throughout the day like meeting the players at bag drop with a bag tag, waters in the carts and even cold towels during play.
What role can food and beverage play in creating a truly special experience, whether it be a small or large function?
Food is fun! And at Trophy Club we like to offer food on the turn like brats or event street tacos! We like to help our clients think “outside of the box.” Tournament food does not have to be boring. Themed buffets or food stations are always a fun touch.
How should tournament directors work with their clients to maintain a budget, while also providing a top-notch experience for their event?
It is important to set a budget in the beginning of the planning process. Top Notch does not need to break the bank. Clients can have fun contests that add excitement, food stations, live music after or before play, great gifts just to name a few.
What are some pre and post round activities to really set events apart from some of the other events participants may have played in?
I love to see the tournaments that create excitement before and after the event. We had a group that had the local high school drumline come and lead the golfers out to the course! Talk about an entry! Food stations, drink stations, snow cones, ice cream trucks, bag pipes, live music, mariachi, massage therapists, IV Therapy to hydrate the golfers before play on hot days, mobile gift salons, onsite club fitting. All of those would be great additions to pre or post tournament festivities, and ALL have been done here at Trophy Club as well as many of our ClubCorp Properties.
How much does the condition of the course itself play a role in the overall VIP experience?
Playing a golf course that is in great shape is very important for the event. You never want the golfers take away to be the poor course conditions. ClubCorp is the leader in private clubs. We have the very best agronomy team there is. We have resources that other properties may not have. It is important for the golf tournament host to tour the property and drive the course to see what they are booking prior to the event.
What are some VIP prizes, packages, or experiences that can impact the overall experience?
Be unique. Mobile gift salons are a great addition to any tournament. Golfers can “shop” and pick what they want rather than coming home with just another swag bag. Make them feel special. Bag tags, service at bag drop, valet. Post event parties are a fun touch too.
For more information on booking an event at Trophy Club Country Club, please visit www.trophyclub-dallas.com or call 817-837-1900. Amy Morrissette can be reached at email@example.com
Breaking in a New Course
By William Ebdon, PGA
Head Golf Professional • Texas Rangers Golf Club.
How does an event at a new property help build excitement for competitors?
Whether a course has undergone minor renovations or is a new build, such as Texas Rangers Golf Club, there is a level of eagerness and excitement that builds within the golfing community. An Event Coordinator can be assured that no participants have ever played this facility and therefore use the concept of “inaugural” as a recruitment tool. The venue’s Tournament Director plays a key role in providing the promotional materials which are used “in-house” for the same purpose.
When choosing a venue for an event, what should I be looking for from a non-golf perspective?
It’s imperative for a facility to focus equal attention to those visitors who are not participating in the golfing experience. Quite often, the non-golfers carry significant influence with respect to an Event returning for subsequent years. What additional amenities and services does a facility offer to those non-golfers during that 4-hour span? Ultimately, ensuring those non-golfers are not forgotten during the round of golf matters most. The attention to detail and care for all guests, not just those “inside the ropes” is critical.
How important is the role of a Tournament Director, especially at a new venue that has yet to host multiple events?
The role of a Tournament Director at a new facility is critical for a property’s first year of being open. A new facility has no history to it therefore, the Tournament Director’s challenge is promoting a venue which is yet to exist. Most organized events select a venue 9-12 months in advance making it essential that a Tournament Director has the skill set to “paint a blank canvas” for our guests.
Going above and beyond can be the difference between an average event and a spectacular one. How can a club assure they will put forth the extra effort to make an event special?
Every facility offers an event coordinator the general amenities of personalized registrations, attended bag drop services, professional scoring, etc. These standards have become the perceived “average” event. At Arlington Golf, the mindset of our team is to constantly challenge the status quo, deliver a superior product, and exceed our guests’ expectations from start to finish. We focus on attention to detail at every touch point, avoid using the terms “no” or “we can’t” and continuously strive on seeking ways to improve our guests’ experience.
Often times, especially in the case of a new course, participants have never seen the property. How critical is organization and the presence of on-course personnel to help players navigate an unfamiliar layout?
Providing our team with ample time to familiarize themselves with not only the configuration of the new facility but the overall operation is imperative. Providing our guests with state-of-the art GPS systems on our golf cart fleet, precise way-finding signage, as well as an on-course presence by team members not only addresses course knowledge from staff to guests but moreover a real time concierge service throughout our guests’ round of golf.
What are the overall pros and cons of conducting an event at a new venue?
The primary challenge for any new venue seeking to build an event portfolio is merely a lack of awareness of the venue as well as its absence of a reputation. Our belief is that all guests who participate in events become our primary source of marketing for future events through their word of mouth. The opportunities for an Event Coordinator hosting an event at a new facility are immeasurable. There is a wave of excitement and anticipation whenever a new venue comes on-line, and our staff takes great pride in assisting event coordinators and their countless means of incorporating that into the promotion of an event.
For more information on booking an event at Texas Rangers Golf Club, please visit www.arlingtongolf.com/courses/texas-rangers-golf-club or call 817-275-5941. William Ebdon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Event, Resort-Style
By Bryan Woodward
Managing Director • Horseshoe Bay Resort
What are the benefits of hosting a golf tournament/charity outing at an out-of-town resort versus a local venue?
The experience doesn’t stop on the golf course, it continues after play is over and before it begins. We have on-site restaurants; we have a new dedicated golf pavilion for social gatherings, pairing parties, etc. We have the new waterfront beach-side bar and the new 360 Sports Club, we also have the Whitewater grass putting green and two new clubhouses. We can mirror the captive environment of an out of town resort with the social environment for your guests.
Usually when an event occurs at a resort, there’s a pairings party the night before. Is that part overlooked sometimes, or is requested by most events?
To pull off the perfect pairings party, we have a team of professionals to make sure it’s a quality experience. We can do a quick breakfast on the driving range and tailor any customer experience. We can handle whatever you want with whatever you need. That includes any location here with any food and any experience you want to create.
How involved should a tournament director expect the resort staff to be on the day of their event?
I think very involved, but it’s a very collaborative effort. We can handle the pairings and the signs and all the things, which make the behind the scenes go well. We challenge ourselves with customer service from the moment the guests arrive to the moment they leave.
Some people might be afraid of the resort event due to cost constraints… what do you tell tournament directors to assuage those fears?
Our resort has some seasonality to it, which means we have some flexibility in price. We have different rates for weekends and weekdays. If you don’t think it can work, just give us a try to see what we can do with value. Your players may find out they like this better.
Horseshoe Bay Resort has multiple courses of varying difficulty. How do you recommend a tournament director go about choosing a golf course at a multi-course resort?
It’s usually based on the number of players and what kind of tournament you want to create. Both Ram Rock and Apple Rock are based out of the same clubhouse. The smaller or the more fun or novice tournament may enjoy Slick Rock more. It can also depend on a tee time or shotgun start. We’re the only destination in the Continental US with 3 Robert Trent Jones, Sr. courses so you can even play all three in a multi-day format.
Are there better days of the week or times of year to book resort tournaments, where price, conditions and availability are all reasonable?
We have a lot of group or corporate business who can only do a certain time or day like a Monday or a Friday. My best advice is give us a call and do it sooner rather than later. The more out front we are on dates, the easier it is to make a better plan. We’ve got 3 courses you can play, so there are always openings. Seasonality wise, July and August would be ideal dates to be on the course in the morning and lakeside in the afternoon.
You guys just underwent some pretty serious renovations. How important is it for resorts to be constantly improving, and how can you utilize new renovations and digs to enhance tournament experiences?
Every tournament director is looking to impress their clients and take advantage of the limited time they have. We have world-class facilities at Horseshoe Bay and they’re only getting better. We have two new Clubhouse Complexes we are show casing in 2019 and this really is the best golf destination in the state of Texas. Our owners are committed to spending the money it takes to always make them shine. When you come here, you’re treated well, have a great experience and make the best use of your time.
For more information about booking an event at Horseshoe Bay Resort, visit www.hsbresort.com or call 830-598-7880. Bryan Woodward can be reached at email@example.com.
Goals When Planning a Tournament
By Wes Frazier
General Manager • Southern Oaks Golf Club
When planning for a tournament, how important is the relationship between the tournament director and the tournament planners?
Extremely important. Communication is key. Plus, for both the facility and tournament organizer to have a good working relationship, it helps to secure future events between the two. Lots of times a choice of venue for an organization comes down to having experience with a facility or a staff member.
How can tournament planners increase the chance they reach their overall financial goal?
Understand your target audience. Lots of tournaments under-price their market and some price their market out. For smaller goals under 25k, on course activities with smaller buy ins with more sponsorship opportunities at a lesser charge. Larger goals are more about acquiring more corporate sponsors, and larger businesses to participate.
What are some ways to budget, so the tournament maximizes overall profit for their cause or organization?
Always try to get donated product, like trading out the cost of food for a couple of teams in the tournament. Food Drinks etc. Try to have a tournament gift bag with donated items from golf manufacturers, restaurants and services (spa, massage, etc.). Don’t overpay for the facility. You can find a $8-10k facility that you can/will do as well or better job than a private club that would cost double. The goal is to make money for charity and most donors understand and appreciate the price consciousness of the organization.
Of course tournament planners want to earn as much as possible for their organizations, but they also want the participants to have as much fun as possible. What are some ways to ensure the participants have a blast while they’re on property for the event?
Keep it simple, to the point (of the mission), and most important speed it up. In today’s faster paced society the participant mainly is interested in contributing to the organization. Only expectations would be a pleasurable golf experience with friends, a little food and drink, and back to their busy life as quickly as possible. Now that’s fun! Slow golf isn’t, so overloading with players and games usually ends up in diminishing returns.
If a tournament planner isn’t as familiar with the game of golf, are there ways the course staff can help give them guidance throughout the planning process?
The course staff can always suggest ways for a better on course experience. However, it’s very important for the main point of contact to be familiar with its future participants and their relation to the game golf. The better the organizer knows its participants the better the course staff can guide the organizer.
What are the best ways to spread the word about your upcoming event?
Social media, social media, social media…don’t spend too much on print, the cost is too much for the return. You might even find some spots on internet radio for a fraction of the price.
Any other words of wisdom for someone planning their first tournament?
Use the course staff they can always help and make suggestions along the way. The course staff could also get you in touch with some successful tournament planners. Most are willing to give hints and strategies on budgeting, finding your target audience, marketing, etc.
Getting Value to the Max
By Tracey Baker
Sales Manager • CBIGG Management, LLC.
What are the best ways to maximize value to the players and organization when it comes to an event?
The most important thing is to find a course and facility that gives your players the best experience. Yes, you want to talk budget and price with the golf course, but the No. 1 priority should be providing the best possible experience, because if you aren’t able to do that, the event will suffer, as could fundraising efforts. If you are able to be flexible on tournament days and dates – could you do a different day of the week, or a different month to stay within your budget? – that increases the likelihood of finding the best experience for your budget. Luckily for us at CBIGG, we have 13 properties across Texas, so that further allows me to find the perfect venue for my clients at almost any budget.
What are cost effective ways to add some pizazz to an event?
Choose a course that is detail-oriented; the little things that course event staff do for events don’t cost you a dime, and can really make a difference. Things like personalized scorecards and names on cart signs, scoring and logos on televisions or nice displays all add a really nice touch to your event and should be standard for the course. We’ve done themed food and beverage to match the organization, and that usually doesn’t cost anything extra either, as long as we know in advance and can set the menu. Taking time to talk with the tournament director and allowing them to help you think outside the box can spice up your event.
What are some areas you’d recommend not skimping on cost?
First off, don’t skimp on the course. As I talked about previously, the facility that can provide you the best experience is going to make for the perfect event, so don’t try to save a few bucks by downgrading your event location. Secondly would be your gifts and trophies. Those are often the things your participants remember the most about your event, so having nice trophies and nice gifts can go a long way. And remember, you can get all those things sponsored! Work with your tournament committee to have your gifts or raffle prizes sponsored, and that can save a lot against your budget.
Is bigger always better – how should field size and entry fee decisions fit into the planning process?
No, bigger is not always better! Know your audience, know your players and cater to them. If you know who your vendors and sponsors are, and what people you are targeting for your fundraising, you can have great success with a “smaller” event. Having 144 players and a full field doesn’t guarantee success. We’ve hosted events with much smaller fields that have been super-successful and raise a lot of money for their organizations because they had the right people in attendance and the right sponsors and vendors involved.
When it comes to budgeting for player gifts, do you recommend trying to find multiple small things, or spend a little more on one nicer gift?
Well, this may be an instance where I contradict myself by saying that for your prizes, “bigger” may be better. If you have good prizes, your event is going to be more memorable; and remember, if you can get some items donated, that can save you a lot of money and still be very impactful. But if you do need to go smaller with your gifts and prizes, make sure what you are giving out is plentiful. If you can make the golfer feel like he or she is getting a good bang for their buck with a well-presented gift bag filled with a bunch of smaller items, they will still get that sense of satisfaction. So be creative! Brainstorm ways to secure some larger, nicer prizes, but don’t break your budget. If you can present smaller items in a nice way, they can have the same affect.
What is the best way to go about negotiating with a golf course, to make sure you get good value without breaking the bank?
Do your research beforehand! Find out if the golf course you are interested in has a “tournament rate,” or talk to someone that hosted an event at that facility in the past and get their impression on how it went. Your goal is to find a course to fit your needs, so if you a prepared going in, it can help a lot. Also, know your budget very well and clearly communicate that with the tournament director. Try to have some flexibility on dates and times so that the course can maximize what they can do for you at your budget. And lastly, just make sure you are communicating with the course tournament staff; the more they know about you and your event, the better they can cater the experience.
Tracey Baker is the Sales Manager at Tour 18 in Humble, Texas. She has worked at Tour 18 for six years, and has been in the golf industry for ten. Prior to entering the golf industry, she spent many years as a Corporate Event Coordinator and a Certified Wedding Planner where she expertly helped brides find their perfect venue and plan their special day. For more information about booking tournaments at any of CBIGG’s 13 golf properties in Texas, contact Tracey 281-540-8246