5 ways to make memories: Injecting some fun into your event
There’s no better way to make your golf tournament memorable than by adding some fun! Whether you are raising money for a charity or simply hosting a company outing, here are just a few ways to spark your players’ interest in the day and the tournament.
Pick a Theme
Adding a theme can force individuals out of their comfort zone in a positive way! Save the serious golfing for another time and pull out the costumes. Adding a contest for the “Best Dressed Team” will help raise the competition level before your round of golf has even teed off. Toss away the dress code and come up with something like the ‘Ugly Pants Open’, which we love having at our club every year, to the ‘Super Hero Shootout’, and you are guaranteed laughs, especially if you get creative and encourage participation.
Play games and host contests on the course
A full round of golf for a non-golfer can seem like a long day, but with added entertainment every few holes, it won’t seem so daunting. So don’t worry about the ‘sanctity’ of the game . . . design some contests to make it more fun for everyone.
How many games is a good question. Generally, the lower the skill of your player field, the more games you should host on the course. Games and contests keep play entertaining and not so serious. They can also raise a little extra money for your event as well.
Normal contests (i.e. Longest Drive & Closest to the Pin) are fine – and they keep the purists happy, but think outside the tee box for other interesting ideas. Things like “Wheel of Fortune” on a par 3 where each player spins the wheel to determine what club to use off the tee (coming off with a putter can be interesting) or “Triple Your Tickets” where hitting inside a circle on the green gets you three times the number of raffle tickets you have in your pocket. Also consider adding a putting or chipping contest pre-shotgun at the practice area. On every level, be unique and these contests will help create lasting memories for your tournament participants.
After your tournament ends, gather the winners of your course contests. Pick a hole for these individuals to have one final shootout. From 100 yards out, play the hole and “Winner takes all!” From your volunteers to players, be sure everyone attends this final competition. The group camaraderie of a gallery and friendly competition is great for morale and team building!
Have food and beverages readily available throughout the day.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry! Successful events are those where the players are well fed and well “watered” throughout the round. Never let your players get hungry—or worse, thirsty—it’s easy to make a lasting impression (the wrong kind of lasting impression) of your event.
Figure out when and where players will have access to food and beverage, and make sure there are enough places. This may mean multiple drink carts or a few static watering places set up between certain holes.
If your event is a shotgun start where your players will begin on different holes you might suggest that the players “stock up” before they even proceed to the tee boxes. This is also a good way to redeem any ‘free’ drink tickets before the round so that your drink cart attendants don’t have to deal with ‘free’ and can gain more tips.
Employ a truly entertaining emcee to make the 19th hole memorable.
The post-tournament activities are often the most lucrative for raising money. Auctions, raffles, or some combination are usually done as the scores are being tallied and the 19th hole party is just kicking off. The thing is that after a long day and a satisfying meal, your players will be ready to doze off if your emcee isn’t lively and entertaining.
JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE THE HOST DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO BE THE EMCEE.
Look for someone who isn’t afraid to talk to crowds, pick someone quick-witted, and someone who preferably is well-known or willing to involve the crowd. A good emcee will put on a show, and can easily be a major reason your event is remembered.
Another way to ‘be memorable’ is to add a signature cocktail to the party so players remember the tournament better as they reflect on the day. Whether it matches your theme or not, a signature cocktail hour gives each player the chance to talk about his or her experience on the course and it also lets them connect with players they might not have come into contact with during the round.
A final way to instill a bit of fun into your golf tournament is to bring back spouses and guests and add a dance party to finish the night off with a bang. You don’t have to have a DJ, a good music mix on an iPod can be a great way to celebrate your success and thank all those who have attended your tournament as well as those who made it happen.
Give away a GRAND prize
The chance to win something “really big” attracts golfers and creates “buzz” around your event.
From hole-in-one contests for a car or trip to helicopter ball drops for cash, make sure you have at least one big prize giveaway that stands out from the rest of the event. The prize should be what people talk about as they leave, and what they hope they will win if they return the next year.
To make sure the prize is available to all your players, save it for a drawing instead of an auction.
Yes, even in a drawing “fat cats” who buy lots of raffle tickets have an advantage. You can reduce this advantage if you have lots of things to draw against so that many of their tickets are depleted before you get to the big item. If you can have someone random be a big winner every year, this will go a long way to making your tournament memorable for everyone.
Don’t forget that everyone loves being recognized and receiving prizes! You don’t have to stick with the classic awards ceremony structure, add some humor to your ceremony by honoring the worst and the best golfers of your tournament. Some awards can be ‘Most Trees Hit’, ‘Slowest Golfer’, to ‘Least Improved’. Put together fun baskets and/or make trophies for these players.
That said, since golf is a competitive sport, you will also want to recognize your tournament champions. Trophies are generally awarded to the champions, but you can switch it up and award them funny shirts or other off the wall awards like a tennis racket.