How to Plan a Golf Tournament

POSTED March 15, 2022 IN
BY: Darine Garcia

Golf season has just arrived, and there’s no better way to get it started than with a golf tournament. Whether it be a game between expert players or simply a charity event, golf tournaments are big productions, making it difficult to know where to start. So, instead of pondering where to begin, read on and learn about the planning of a golf tournament. 

Decide your Budget

As mentioned earlier, golf tournaments require quite a bit of planning, preparation, dedication, and more to work out smoothly. Because of this, the beginning stages of planning can be tedious, so figuring out what exactly you have to work with monetarily will make your job much easier. Establishing a budget at the onset will help ensure the best efficient use of your time and resources.

Find your Host

While tournaments can be played just for the fun of it all, many tournaments are played for charity events. Understanding the purpose of the tournament is crucial to the planning of the event. Are you raising money for a charity, a non-profit organization, a scholarship fund, a company, or a golf association? If so, do your research and educate yourself on the entity.

Determine your Guest List and Tournament Date

The number of attendees will play into what golf course you choose, how many holes you play, the rules you will set, and the other event logistics. The average 18 hole course can handle 144 players, with 36 groups of 4, but different group sizes call for different courses.

Once you’ve figured out the approximate number of attendees, choose what day to host your tournament. Do weekends or weekdays suit this particular group best? Oftentimes, tournaments played on a weekend will be more costly than on a weekday. Choose a day that will suit the event’s purpose and incentivize the greatest attendance possible, but still meet the budget demands. Find the best day and time suitable to your invitees.

Choose your Golf Course

Even though golf courses usually share their 18 hole count, they do vary in other aspects, including course difficulty, price, location, and more. Choosing a course that suits your group well is imperative to the success of your tournament, as it not only digs into your budget, but also determines just how enjoyable your tournament will be to your players. If a course is too difficult, attendees may end up spending over six hours to complete their 18 holes. If the course is too easy, attendees will likely spend much more time off the course looking for other activities like eating, drinking, and entertainment at the venue.

Make sure to know your golfer’s skill levels ahead of time, making your search easier on you. If your group is full of novices and those still learning the sport, consider a more basic golf course where they will enjoy learning and have a good time. If you have more experienced players, however, do your research to ensure the course will meet the expectations of the players.

Finding the perfect course may not be as easy as it sounds, but, as the centerpiece of the tournament, and the item that can make or break your event, it is a top priority when planning.


Tournament ticket entry prices are important factors towards achieving your charitable goals. There are also other means to meeting your fundraising goals: raffle tickets, auctions, and sponsorships to name a few. Price markups are oftentimes suggested to be in the 75-100% range.

Choosing your Game Methods, Scoring Formats, and Tee Times

Organization is key when it comes to golf tournaments, so choosing the right game format for your players ahead of time will create a smoother experience for your players. Take skill levels, player count, location, start time, end time, and any other factors that are unique to your attendees and craft an experience that will be paced well, efficient, and fun. 

Food and Drink

Golf tournaments go beyond the game of golf and usually include both food and drink. Some tournaments will start with a breakfast, followed by alcoholic beverages on the holes, and a meal when the game is done, while others will have no alcohol whatsoever. Some will have a party following the game, while others have a simple dinner. Choose your meal plans that best serve your group and budget. Keep in mind that no one wants to spend hours before and after the tournament is played sitting around. They want to be cared for during those off times: think hospitality and fundraising opportunities!

Contests and Raffles

Add in some fun activities to spruce up your event and make it a bit more competitive. Have players see who can hit the most hole-in-ones, compete in putting contests, or hit the longest drive, and award prizes to the winners!

Raffles are fun ways to raise money, and coveted prizes on display entice higher raffle ticket sales. Set aside time for a raffle to allow guests the opportunity to win something and support the fundraising cause at the same time.

Prizes and Comforts

One should never leave a golf tournament empty handed, regardless of performance in the tournament or luck in a raffle draw. Welcome bags will make guests feel appreciated and accepted into the event. Consider caps, T-shirts, water bottles, pens, pads of paper, golf towels, ball markers, hat clips, ball and bag tags, and more that can be put to use during the game and taken away to be enjoyed and used later. Promote your sponsors  on logo-branded items that will be useful to them in and out of the tournament. Co-branding items like totes or tees with both the corporate sponsor logos and the fundraiser event logo is another promotional opportunity.

Determine what the winners of your various contests and raffles will be walking home with. Whether it be a golf kit, a T-shirt, a hot new tech item, or a trip to the spa, give your attendees an incentive to play hard and have a good time while doing it.

The most desirable prize, and the one all players will likely be looking forward to, however is the prize that goes to the winner of the tournament itself. Make sure you have a trophy that can be awarded to your winner. There is a vast variety of awards that may be personalized and logo-branded.  The theme of the event, the nature of the organization or non-profit, and who will be attending the golf fundraiser will help guide in selecting an award.Would a traditional crystal award, an eco-conscious bamboo plaque, a modern art-like sculpture work best? Know your audience in order to make a meaningful impact with awards.

Have Fun

Even though there are a lot of steps to take to ensure you end up hosting the best golf tournament possible, meeting your fundraising goals and having fun should be your ultimate end goal. Once the work is over and done, step back, take a look at everything you accomplished, and go play a good game of golf!



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