PlayThru Live Golf Event Scoring

Host Your Golf Tournament on Multiple Courses

Keith Moehring
May 30, 2024
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Ever feel limited by traditional 18-hole golf outings? Too many golfers and the pace of play gets bogged down. Fewer golfers mean less fundraising. And, out-of-town friends miss out entirely. These constraints can hold an event back.

But what if there was a way to allow golfers to compete from different courses and locations simultaneously? More participants, more fun, and more funds for your cause. 

It's possible if you host a Virtual Golf Event using online scoring. Here's what you need to know to host this type of geographically unrestricted event. 

What is a Virtual Golf Event?

A virtual golf event allows golfers to compete against each other without being on the same course. 

Scores are recorded via an online scorecard and posted to a unified leaderboard, enabling real-time tracking regardless of physical location. 

Why Host a Virtual Golf Event?

Increased Participation

Virtual golf events expand your outing's reach. Golfers can join from anywhere, removing the barrier of travel. This means you can have a full or expanded field at multiple locations, boosting participation. Even if a friend can't make it to the same course, they can still compete from wherever they are.

Flexible Scheduling

Participants can play at the same time OR at their convenience, accommodating various time zones and personal schedules. This flexibility reduces the pressure of coordinating a single date and time for everyone, making it easier to organize.

Greater Sponsorship Value

With participants spread across multiple locations, sponsors gain greater exposure. The expanded participant base attracts more sponsors, increasing the event's financial potential.

Challenges of Hosting Virtual Golf Events

Coordination and Management

Managing an event played across multiple courses requires coordinating with various course managers and staff. Your event logistics are exponentially more complicated with each new course added. 

Fair Play and Consistency

Ensuring fair play across different courses can be challenging because some courses are harder to play than others. Standardizing scoring and (potentially) handicaps will be essential to account for these differences.


A central support person or a distributed support team will need to address any questions or issues in real time. Your golfers must know how to connect with this person/people.

How to Set Up a Virtual Golf Outing Across Multiple Courses

Planning and Preparation

Identify Allowed Courses

Start by selecting courses that offer a similar level of difficulty to ensure fair competition. Not all courses are created equal; some might have more hazards, longer fairways, or faster greens. 

To keep the competition fair, choose courses that are closely aligned in terms of difficulty. This means comparing total length, slope ratings, course ratings and par. You might need to do some research or consult with golf professionals to make these assessments. 

Adjust Handicaps

Handicaps are a great equalizer in golf, leveling the playing field between players of different skill levels. 

Adjusting handicaps to account for course difficulty is crucial for a virtual golf event. If one course is tougher, golfers playing there should receive a slightly higher handicap. Your online scoring system should be able to handle this for you.

Set Event Dates and Times

One of the great advantages of virtual golf events is the flexibility in scheduling. Unlike traditional events, where everyone has to play at the same time, virtual events can span multiple days. 

Set a broad window for when rounds can be played, accommodating different time zones and personal schedules. This flexibility is especially useful if you're hosting international participants. 

It's worth noting that staggered start times remove some of the excitement and suspense of tournament play. 

Establish Event Format and Rules

Uniformity is key in virtual events. Ensure that the format—be it stroke play, match play, or scramble—and the rules are the same for everyone, regardless of where they are playing. 

Clear communication of these rules is crucial. Use email, event pages, and social media to disseminate the information. Before the event, consider recording and sending a video of you explaining the rules and answering any questions participants might have.

Technology Setup

Set Up Mobile Scorecards

Set up the online scorecard with each course's tee boxes (including pars, handicaps, slope, and course rating). From there, associate each golfer with the course they'll be playing so that their score reflects the par and handicaps of their course. 

Ensure Access to Online Scorecards

Make sure that all participants can easily access the online scorecard system. PlayThru makes this simple by providing a single link and QR code that participants can use to access the scorecard. You should also check network connectivity at each course. If cell reception is spotty, it may limit one course's access to your scorecard.

Test Live Leaderboard Functionality

Before the event, test the leaderboard functionality thoroughly. Make sure it updates correctly and accurately reflects the scores. Try it out with a small group of users to ensure everything works. There's nothing worse than last-minute scrambles to fix issues, especially if those issues are affecting play miles away. 

Live scoring is only as good as the number of people that use it, and if people lose confidence in the accuracy, they may not use it at all. 

Registration and Communication

Create an Online Registration Page

Use an online golf event registration system that allows participants to sign up for your event anywhere. Many of these systems can also handle payments, making it easier to collect fees and donations. 

Ensure the registration page is easy to navigate and provides all necessary information about the event. For example, you'll need to know their location to associate them with the right course. 

Send Out Event Details and Rules

Once participants have registered, send out detailed information about the event. This should include the rules, format, schedule, link to the scoring system, and phone number to call if they have questions. 

Course information should be specific to them. For example, if a group golfing in South Carolina tees off at noon, it should be clear to the groups in California their tee time is 9 a.m.

Email is a must, and if you can, get phone numbers so you can text the group last-minute details and the link to the scoring system. 

During the Event

Provide Real-Time Support

Technology or rules questions can arise, so having real-time support available is crucial. Provide participants with a troubleshooting guide and a contact number for immediate assistance. 

Designating an "event I.T. person" can help answer any questions efficiently and keep the event running smoothly.

Encourage Participant Engagement

Encourage participants to take pictures and share their experiences on social media using a specific hashtag. 

This fosters a sense of community and provides valuable content for promoting future events. Creating a shared image folder where participants can upload their photos can be a great way to collect and share memories from the event.

Post-Event Follow-Up

Announce Winners and Distribute Prizes

Once the event concludes, promptly announce the winners via text and/or email and coordinate prize distribution. As one who hates bing on group texts, please use email. Consider recording a video announcement to add a personal touch. This can be shared on social media and your website, providing a celebratory conclusion to the event.

Share Event Highlights

Highlighting the event's success and sharing participant stories on social media and your blog helps build a sense of community and promotes future events. Collect participant testimonials and feedback to improve future events and showcase positive experiences.

Virtual golf events offer numerous benefits, from increased participation to broader sponsorship opportunities. PlayThru makes setting up and managing these events easy, ensuring a seamless experience for organizers and participants alike. 


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