So you’ve taken on the responsibility for organising a charity golf day and now you need some advice on how to make it run smoothly, it’s fun and at the end of the day, ensures it raises funds for the chosen charity…
We’ll having attended and arranged many days ourselves, here our top ten tips for organising a charity golf day or a society golfing day!
Arguably the most important decision you will make. The venue should be chosen based on the quality of the course and the green fee/meal cost but also on the location and reachability of your guests.
Whilst most golfers (and some non-golfers) will happily give up their day to attend your event, it’s unlikely that they will want to drive more than an hour, so bear this in mind when choosing the venue.
Again, a very important decision some will choose to follow the strict CONGU handicap system (which is only available to golf club members) OR you may wish to accept those with an online golf handicap certificate, like those provided by TSG.
Alternatively, if you are looking to run a simple ‘fun’ day, then you will have to accept handicaps based on trust. However, bear in mind if you choose the latter, then you may hear the odd ‘Bandit’ shout from some of your attendees on the day.
Ultimately, your focus has to be on your guests and those attending. Everything you do on the day goes toward the overall experience. Given that there are normally only a few winners of silverware at the event, it’s important to ensure everyone feels included.
It’s the little touches that will make your day stand out above others, so make sure you plan properly! Here are a couple of things to consider:
The Costs: Consider the amount of money you wish to raise and then work back from there. Make sure your calculation takes into account the cost to your guests and not just yours(!). Think about how far you are making guest’s drive (this is all part of their expenses). Check the cost of playing at the course on a normal day. Take into account the meal bill and of course, consider negotiating with the club.
However, don’t be greedy when setting the attendance fee. Too many people when organising a charity golf day, forget that they have to provide value as they are not only giving up their cash to support you but also their time.
All too often we hear of golf days being over-priced e.g. £70-80 (sometimes £90+) when the standard green fee is £20. A good guide is to make £10-15 per green fee going to the charity. However, we see no reason why you can’t make a day work at £45-50.
The Format: There are many options to choose from including standard Stableford format, Texas Scramble, Team Comp. Putting Comp. and a fun way to keep the group chatting is a Yellow Ball comp.
It is worth contemplating playing your golfers of a 3/4 Handicap or 7/8’s. This can be seen as a controversial move but one that is adopted by many organisers, as it levels the playing field and stops the ‘Trophy Hunters’, who ‘claim’ to play off 28 (but are really much better) from spoiling the day.
Finally, if you are playing team games and have a spare team of only 2 or 3. You can work around this by taking an average of the 2 or 3 players performance and that score represents the 3rd or 4th player in the team.
The Trophies: Will there be one winner or multiple winners? Will there be a separate Ladies comp? Consider adding a Straightest Drive (Longest Drive comp. often excludes many from winning), Nearest Pins, Nearest Pin in Two (second shot), a Secret Six Holes (unmarked on the cards), Beat the Pro and many more.
The Four-balls: Arguably the most important decision you will make is who plays with whom. Ensure you have an even spread of playing levels in each four-balls but also consider the personalities.
It’s no fun if you are a quiet player if your playing partners are a noisy and chatty bunch – it just won’t work. Equally, it’s important that your day is not ‘cliquey’. So don’t just puts mates with mates.
The Fund-Raising: There are many ways to increase your fund-raising outside of the days entry fee. It could be that gathering gifts and prizes to hold a raffle. Perhaps, you can ‘sell’ Mulligan Vouchers for £5 a time to be used on the day. It may also be an opportunity for a local business to add their name to things by way of a cash injection by way of sponsorship in return for some marketing around the event.
If you have some special prizes, consider holding an auction. However, don’t let either of these events take up too much time. 20 minutes is a good guide or people will lose interest.
Registration: Welcome the guests with a designated area/table where you can confirm their arrival distribute the scorecards (it is often a nice if you have already marked the shots to be given to each player beforehand).
The Gifts: Water (if it’s a hot day), give out some tees, a ball marker, maybe a pitch repairer, perhaps a sleeve of golf balls?
The Tee Time Schedule: Print out a copy of the four-ball groupings for displaying on the club wall. This will prevent constant questions from everyone on with whom and at what time they are teeing off. Leaving you to concentrate on the registration
The Briefing: Prepare a welcome speech and ensure that you have checked any local rules at the golf club hosting the venue. Also inform the players of timings, meals times and if raising money, consider preparing a video to let attendees know where the funds will be going.
Marshalling: It is advisable to discuss the marshalling of the players while they are on the course. Arrange for a buggy from the club so you can follow your golfers as they go around the course.
‘Speed of play’ is always a massive issue when organising a charity golf day and make it clear to everyone how to prevent slow play.
Photography: If you have the time when marshalling, take the opportunity to photograph your guests (perhaps even take video). Once back at the clubhouse you can then show the images on a TV screen while the players are enjoying a post-round drink and meal.
This also provides a great talking point and can create a nice buzz among the golfers.
If you have more than 30 players attending your day, ensuring you have enough time to do it. You can enrol the help of the club pro or a good trick is to only ask for cards with scores of 30 pts and above.
This will cut down the time you spend checking scorecards and give you more time to concentrate on the winners and any count-back calculations.
Have a copy of the main trophy made for the winner to keep. That way they don’t have to take the main trophy home, meaning it never gets lost, broken or worse unreturned!
You may decide to add a charity element to your day.
There are many ways to increase your fund-raising, it could be that gathering gifts and prizes to hold a raffle. Perhaps, you can ‘sell’ Mulligan Vouchers for £5 a time to be used on the day.
It may also be an opportunity for a local business to add their name to things by way of a cash injection by way of sponsorship in return for some marketing around the event.
Alternatively, if you have some special prizes, consider holding an auction.
However, don’t let either of these events take up too much time. 20 minutes is a good guide or people will lose interest.
Let’s not forget, we all like being spoiled and catered for. To ensure your guests know where you are at all times and most of all take time to talk to them. A little conversation from the organiser can give a ‘personal’ touch to proceedings and makes the guests feel cared for and welcome.
All the prizes have been given out, the meals finished, the raffle and auctions are over. Make sure you close the day by either asking one of your winners to make a speech, on behalf of the attendees OR summarise the day yourself by making a thank you to all those involved in gathering prizes, scoring cards, bar staff and greenkeepers.
You may wish to return to the club in future years and it’s just good manners anyway.
It’s no surprise that in the age of digital technology at the fingertips of most us, everyone likes to see photos of themselves playing. So consider distributing the best of these by email after the day, giving you another chance to thank everyone for coming.
It also a nice opportunity for you to explain where some of the funds you have raised will be going, this maintains momentum and a feel-good factor for organising a charity golf day in future years.
Finally, don’t let it become a chore. At the end of the day, if everything runs smoothly you will be feeling proud of your efforts and humbled by having watched so many golfers having a good time.
However, don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking you can do it all yourself. Don’t be afraid of recruiting volunteers, even if just for the auction and raffles.
Raising monies for charity can be both rewarding and fun, so enjoy it!
By Ian Mullins