Monday, January 30, 2012
Golf Tournament & Outing Planning Guide: Part 2
In Part 1 of "Tournament & Outing Planning" we covered two of the most important topics of planning an outing: deciding on a date and choosing a golf course. In Part 2 we will now cover choosing a format/contest and also how to promote your event.
Factors to Consider in Choosing a Format
One of the major factors in determining the playing format is the number of players you plan on having participate. Once that is determined you can choose the type of format that makes the most sense for the size of your outing.
Typically a golf tournament brings out a wide variety of players, some of them avid golfers and others who rarely, if ever, pick up a club. This will affect your choice of formats in that you should try and pick a format that will allow players of all abilities to enjoy the round. Even though you will match players of varying abilities on teams, the social nature of golf is one that soon after the event begins, golfers always find they have something in common.
You may also want to take into account the time of year and weather conditions. For example, if your event is in the summer in warm weather, you may want to try and schedule a morning event. You will also want to choose a format that allows players to finish in a reasonable amount of time. Remember, it is probably going to take 4 1/2 to 5 hours to complete a typical golf outing.
Event Formats and Contests
There are a variety of formats and contests that will work for corporate and charity events, but perhaps the key factor in choosing a format is the abilities of the golfers who are participating. Since there are typically a large number of players playing at the same time, team formats usually work best. Having players on teams also tends to even things out since there is typically a wide variety of skills among the players.
The Scramble - This is by far the most popular format for a group golf event because it allows for a good pace of play despite the large number of players. It also gives everyone, even the less experienced, a chance at winning. A four-person scramble is one in which there are four players on a team. Each team member hits a tee shot at each hole, but the second and succeeding shots are played from where the best shot of the four lands. Play continues until the ball is holed out.
Best Ball - Each player hit their own ball in a Best Ball format, but only the lowest score from among the group is recorded as the official score for the competition. The lowest score for each hole is recorded as the official score for that hole. The Best Ball allows for each player to play a full round of golf, but still allows for less experienced golfers to contribute to and be part of a winning team.
Stableford - A Stableford awards points for shots made depending on a player's handicap. A point value is assigned for a birdie, par, eagle, bogey, double bogey or triple bogey based on the following formula. Instead of the player winning with the fewest strokes, in this case the winner would be the player with the most points.
Callaway - The Callaway, though a bit more complicated than other scoring systems, is used for one-time events when most of the players do not have a handicap. The Callaway system utilizes a special scoring table to determine each player's net score, based on how players do on their worst scoring holes of the day.
This is just a brief sample of possible formats and scoring systems. If you are unsure of what system to use or how to score an event, our MCG golf professionals will be more than happy to not only explain and recommend a format, but also take care of all of your scoring needs. This includes setting up the event and figuring out handicaps and teams.
Putting Contests - The most common added competitive activity at golf outings, putting contests are very popular because anyone has the basic skill to putt a ball toward a hole. Usually held on the practice putting green, putting competitions offer dozens of variations on a theme, with the object being to putt the ball in the hole in the least number of attempts.
Most putting contests collect a nominal fee from each participant, depending on the group. These entry fees can range from as little as $1 to $50, with the prize going to the winner or a smaller prize to the winner with the majority of money going to charity.
Closest to the Pin - This popular contest involves a tee shot off a par 3 that comes closest to the pin. Often this contest is played on a par 3 where the green is visible from the tee box or on the course's signature par 3 hole.
Longest Drive - Award a prize for the person who hits the longest drive on a predetermined hole during the competition. Normally, this contest takes place on one of the course's longest and straightest par 4 or par 5 holes.
Again, our MCG golf professionals can help walk you through this process and will take care of setting everything up on the day of the event. We understand that you have a lot to do on the day of the event and we want to help you out as much as possible.
Promoting Your Event
A key component of planning for a golf outing is informing your potential golfers about the event. Since golf outings are typically all-day events, it is extremely important to provide your guests with as much notice as possible. If there is a huge demand for spots in your tournament, you may have to start the process even further in advance.
For your first announcement, a simple news item or press release listing the name and date of the event, location, starting time and list of the day's activities is appropriate. Distribution can be via email, fax, through your company or charity newsletter or even via snail mail. Plan to announce your tournament six months in advance if possible so that your guests can reserve the date on their calendar.
Plan to follow up three to four months in advance with a second announcement. That announcement should include a registration form or some type of reply form. One month in advance, plan to follow up with another news item about the event, as well as send out a confirmation letter to those who have already signed up.
Although being in charge of a golf tournament or outing may appear to be a daunting task, hopefully some of these ideas and tips help show that it is not nearly as hard as you think. It is important to know that the golf course and golf course staff are there for you and should help assist you in as many ways as possible. Our MCG golf professionals have many years of tournament operation experience and look forward to working with and helping tournament planners in any way possible.
Again, if you are interested in hosting an event at Hampshire Greens, Little Bennett, Laytonsville, Northwest, Needwood, Falls Road, Rattlewood, Poolesville, or Sligo Creek, please contact us at: Wrohauer@mcra-md.com.