Thursday, January 26, 2012
Golf Tournament & Outing Planning Guide: Part 1
Have you ever thought about putting together a golf tournament or outing and just didn't know where to start? Or has your company recently made you the Golf Event Planner for this year's upcoming tournament? If so, you may be asking yourself "now what?" and wonder how to even get started. Not to worry. What seems like a daunting task need not be that difficult. You certainly don't need to be an experienced golfer to run an exceptional golf tournament. All it takes is some advance planning and the foresight to use the planning tools that will be at your disposal.
Below are some basic guidelines on how to approach planning for your event and a task list to guide you through the entire process.
Most golf tournaments and outings can be put together by a relatively small group of individuals with the help of the golf course's own staff. Assuming that your event is of typical size (144 players or less), you should find the following information extremely helpful and will help you treat your group to an unforgettable day of golf hospitality.
An Overview of Your Golf Outing
A typical day long golf outing involves 72-128 players with 18 holes of golf beginning at either 8am or 1pm. Plan for 4 1/2 to 5 hours of actual golf, with most outings having a lunch and/or dinner either before or after the event. Registration usually begins an hour or two before the event.
As the golf event planner, most of your work will be completed well in advance of the outing. Once the big day finally arrives, you'll get plenty of help from the golf course staff, which will be more than happy to take many of the details off your plate, including all matters pertaining to the actual golf competition.
One of the pleasant surprises about hosting an outing is how helpful the professional staff should be in the planning process and on the actual day of the event. Our goal at MCG is to make sure that we develop a good working relationship with you and your outing committee, to the point where on the day of your event, our golf staff will almost seem like part of your own event staff. You will find our golf course staff extremely attentive to your needs and very adaptable to last-minute changes that are typical to golf events.
First Step: Decide on a Date
Probably the most important step in starting your event plan is to choose a date. Are the days of the week flexible when you can have your event? Is it necessary to hold the event on a weekend or are you flexible enough to have it on a Monday or Friday, or even mid-week?
For example, if you are flexible enough to have your event on a Monday, it drastically opens the possibilities on what courses you have access to. While Monday is a business workday, there are many golf outings held on Monday afternoons, with some of them preceded by a business meeting in the morning. For weekend events, you will find that most 18-hole courses prefer to book group outings in the afternoon so they can still welcome the many individual golfers who like to play on weekend mornings. Additionally, the cost of weekend outing will typically tend to be a little bit higher as those are days that are more in demand.
Second Step: Choosing a Golf Course
After deciding a date, or multiple dates that may work, the next step is to decide which golf course is appropriate for your group. Is the course centrally located so that most of your guests can easily commute? Does the course have the type of food and beverage facilities that can provide your group with the type of service that you would want your guests to have?
MCG has nine golf courses scattered throughout Montgomery County, making it very convenient to find at least one that meets your geographical needs. And all of our courses are equipped to handle your food and beverage needs, including a great working relationship with a local catering company.
The number of players for your event will also have an effect on the choice of courses. For example, a golf course will max out at 144 players for an 18-hole event. If you are expecting more players than that, you may want to consider a facility that has 27 holes. Here in Montgomery County, Northwest and Needwood Golf Courses would be perfect options to host your larger events. And if you are looking for a smaller, nine hole event, consider Sligo Creek, located conveniently off the DC beltway in Silver Spring.
Keeping in mind that there will be players with a wide range of golf experience, the actual topography and layout of the course might have an impact on your choice. The best choice for a golf outing is a course that will provide a challenge for the best golfers, yet still allow inexperienced players a chance to navigate their way around the course with the least amount of difficulty.
As you research your golf course options, ask the general manager or golf professional to provide you with some names of other groups who have held event at that particular course. you'll be able to contact someone who has been through the whole process and has the benefit of a great deal of feedback from golfers who played the course.
Visit the Course and Tour the Facilities
Also, when you begin to make phone calls to inquire about golf course availability, make an appointment to come out and see the facilities first-hand. In most cases you'll be able to meet with someone who can book the golf course for you. Once you get there, ask the various staff members about the condition of the course and you'll find plenty of people willing to provide thorough feedback.
Take a golf cart out on the course and notice the condition of the greens. Are they green and lush or do you see large bare or brown spots? Putting surfaces that have large brown patches or worn spots are something that you don't want to have to explain to your guests. Also look at the fairways, areas of rough and the areas surrounding the tee boxes and rough areas that divide one hole from another. Are these areas well maintained and tidy looking?
There are many other routine things you will want to check on with regard to the course. You'll need at least one golf cart for every two golfers, so does the course have enough carts in their fleet to accommodate you? What about golf club rentals for those in your event who might not be bringing their own clubs?
What is Your Budget?
When establishing a budget for a golf event, remember that most courses will charge on a per person basis. This cost per golfer includes the greens fee (cost of actually playing the course) and a cart fee (cost for renting each golf cart). Many courses, although not all, will also charge an administrative fee of some sort that handles the various details of the event, including bag handling, preparing cart signs, scorecards, scoring the event and display of a large scoreboard with all the names of the golfers.
Food and beverage is usually calculated separately, again at a cost per person. Based on the time of day of your event you will have to decide what meal options you will want to include, before, during and after golf.
What kind of prizes will you have and will you have to purchase them or will they be donated. Many golf tournaments, especially those run for a charity, contact various businesses for donations of prizes. Additionally, you can work the particular golf course so that some of your prizes can be gift certificates redeemable at the golf shop on the day of the event.
That concludes Part 1 on how to plan and run a successful golf outing. Part 2 will include information on how to choose a format/contests and how to promote your event.
MCG has nine courses located throughout all of Montgomery County. If you or someone you know interested in hosting an event at one of our nine MCG courses, please email us at: Wrohauer@mcra-md.com.