As far as fundraisers go, golf outings are the best! Camaraderie. Competition. A good cause. All make for a great day.
From all of us who enjoy golf outings, thank you for organizing yours!
And to those organizing their first outing, good luck! It’s a lot of work. There will be a ton of pitfalls along the way, and you will get stressed out.
The first outing is always the toughest, so seek out guidance from those who have done it before. Tips and best practices from seasoned organizers can save you a thousand headaches.
To get you started, we asked some of PlayThru’s users for their best advice when it comes to running a successful outing. I’ll start …
There are a million things to organize, many more decisions to make, and you’re going to try to get a group of golfers and sponsors to take action, when they are (at best) sort of motivated to act. The earlier you can get dates locked in, venues booked, participants invited, and sponsor solicitations out, the less stressful the lead-up to your event will be.
Keeping a detailed plan and sticking to it is as important as keeping your eye on the ball. An organized event will ensure everything gets done on time and the outing day goes smoothly. Create a checklist and maintain a timeline to keep track of everything, from securing the venue to preparing tee gifts to organizing the after-play dinner.
Just as a golfer needs a good caddie, you'll need a reliable team. Recruit a team of competent people who want to help, then delegate your tasks. Put one person in charge of finances, one in charge of sponsorships, one in charge of course coordination, one in charge of player registration, etc. Alone, managing all aspects is a heavy lift and you’ll overlook something. Having a dedicated team will help ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Working with a golf course manager that is enthusiastic and supportive can make a world of difference. Course pros host dozens of outings a year and have seen it all. They know the challenges you’ll face and how to prepare for or avoid the issue altogether. A helpful course manager can assist with everything from food and drink selection to day-of logistics, ensuring your event runs smoothly.
Communicating effectively with your golfers, helpers, and course managers is crucial. Keep everyone in the loop on what’s going on, if plans are changing, how and why, and what to do with the new information. No one should be left guessing at any point.
Fundraising is the reason, for all the club swingin’ (it rhymes, leave me alone). Start your fundraising efforts early. Send solicitation letters to potential sponsors or raffle basket contributors at least 9 months in advance. Remember, you are not their No. 1 priority. They will need reminders, time, more reminders, and finally, a heavy dose of guilt before they act. Starting early gives you plenty of time to really hone your pouty puppy face.
To ensure everyone starts on time, give everyone a fake tee time. Tell everyone the shotgun start will be 20-30 minutes before the time you want everyone teeing off. This will ensure those afflicted by time indifference are actually early.
Open up registration months in advance and work to get commitments as early as possible. Organizing groups, tee times, food, carts, prizes, etc. is easier when you know how many players you’ll have. And, get the FINAL list of players at least three days before the event. There’s a lot to be organized, personalized and prepped by you and the course before the event. Allowing registrations up till event day makes all of it far more hectic.
I didn’t add live scoring to be promotional. I developed PlayThru specifically to improve the outing my family used to run. The momentum and energy of our golf outing screeched to a halt as we spent 30 to 60 minutes at the end of the round collecting scorecards, adding up scores, and manually calculating skins. With live scoring, we could hand out trophies and award skins the minute the last group finished (sometimes earlier).
Pro Tip: Give out winner and skin prize money as soon as possible AND THEN let everyone know they have 10 minutes left to buy raffle tickets. The prize money may get reinvested in raffle tickets.
Most important of all, enjoy the day. Things will go wrong. People will complain. Shit will happen. Put out the fires you can and forget about the rest. You will invest a huge amount of time and energy into getting everything ready. You've earned the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the day. Play in the outing. Enjoy a couple beverages. Smile. You did it!
And for those potential golf outing organizers who are non-committal or being guilted into putting together a fundraiser …
Organizing a golf outing for 100+ people is a 6 to 9 month commitment that progressively gets more stressful and chaotic. If you’re considering running your own outing, make sure you’re willing to invest the time and energy to do it well, and that you’re surrounded by people who are willing and capable of helping.
When golf outing fundraisers are done well, they can be a lot of fun for both players and organizers. The best part is, your cause walks away with a pile of cash and you have a group excited about doing it again the next year.