A charity golf tournament are a great way to raise money and awareness for your organization or cause. I have chaired the Greater Washington Business Aviation Association’s golf tournament for the past nine years. We raise money for the organization and the Aero Club of Washington Foundation and the Corporate Angel Network. In the years, I have seen different approaches from sponsors sitting at the holes to interact with golfers. I wanted to share some tips to make the most of this opportunity.
Charity Golf Tournament Tip #1: Know the Rules
Each course has its own rules of what sponsors at the hole can and cannot bring onto the course. Most often the course will restrict alcohol distribution to the course’s beverage carts. If you sneak booze onto the course, you will get kicked off and you may get the organization banned for the course as well. Ask what you can bring or what the organization would like to see. There will be plenty of booze so leave the margarita machine at home.
Charity Golf Tournament Tip #2: Pick the Right Person to Sit at the Hole
Players will spend a maximum two to three minutes at your hole table if the pace of play is good. This limits your exposure so you need someone with a good elevator speech and just enough knowledge of playing golf. Your rep needs to be able to greet the players, inquire about their day on the course, give a few tips on the hole, and describe what your company does in two minutes. Don’t send an intern. I found some people who played in the past now prefer to sit at the hole because they get to see all the players not just on the ones in their foursome.
Charity Golf Tournament Tip #3: What to Bring
Everyone has grand schemes of what they want to have at their hole and end up with images of a four year olds backyard birthday. Remember that you will only have a golf cart to get it to the hole and you might have only one trip out to the hole before the players hit the course. Invest in a tent from your local sporting goods store so you can enjoy some shade. A golf cart fills up fast with two people if you include multiple boxes of snacks, bottle of water, a cooler, and give aways. Going back to Tip #1, a good golf course will keep the players will stocked with drinks so leave the cooler behind.
Charity Golf Tournament Tip #4: Pick Good Giveaways
Players will always look over what you brought but like a yard sale they will only take what is of use. If you bring golf balls, invest in a good brand with your logo. Don’t go cheap because you will be bringing them home. Get creative so that your table stands out. Everyone brings towels, tees, and divot repair tools. A great idea I saw was tire pressure gauge. Nothing to do with golf but very unique and useful.
Leave the brochures and paperwork at home. A business card is good enough to have reminder of you and your company.
Charity Golf Tournament Tip #5: Games at Your Hole
Pace of play is very important to golfers. I have played in scramble tournaments that lasted 6 hours and I was so unhappy by the end my foursome skipped the dinner reception. If you want to play a game at your hole, keep it simple and fast. One sponsor gave shirt away to the longest drive within the foursome. The best I saw was a foam glider distance competition. Each player threw a foam glider from the tee box. Longest of foursome got a prize and longest all day got a prize. Check it out:
Charity golf tournaments are a great opportunity to see your customers and meet some new ones. Have a plan and maximize your presence to make a lasting impression.