As a chamber of commerce, you probably know how to run a golf tournament. But what if you have all the planning and sponsorship taken care of? What’s next? Are there additional ways to make the chamber event even more lucrative?
Is it possible to make more money for your community, charity or chamber?
Of course it is.
In this article, we’ll explore how you can easily add additional fun (and revenue!) by following the advice of several chamber professionals who know how to run a golf tournament profitably.
A Refresh on How to Run a Golf Tournament
Before we get into additional streams of revenue, let’s make sure you have the basics covered. Most successful tournaments offer the following:
- a clear marketing plan that includes whether this is an event for everyone or just the serious golfers. In order to set expectations and draw the right crowd, you want to be explicit about this.
- a way or incentive to encourage groups to sign up. It’s always more fun with a friend.
- sponsored holes. Allow and encourage your hole sponsors to do something creative such as an additional game of skill or luck. It makes wait time go by faster, provides an enjoyable respite for your golfers, and a better marketing opportunity for your sponsors. You can also offer the ability to design their own tee sign. This can bring a sense of frolic and interest to each hole.
- food and beverages. These too should be a sponsorship or donation.
- some unique prizes. You could even host a “Let’s Make a Deal” segment with the prizes at the end, offering the opportunity to trade them in for things behind a curtain or in a box.
- an opportunity to mingle afterward. Networking and fun are crucial components for a successful golf tournament.
Assuming you have the basics in place and are leveraging them from a sponsorship perspective, let’s talk about additional revenue ideas.
Creative Revenue Ideas for Your Chamber Golf Tournament
Now, let’s move past hole sponsorships, golf cart, and food and beverage sponsorships. A golf tournament provides a lot of opportunities to turn the game into something attendees will never forget.
A mulligan, for those not into golf, is an extra turn that does not count on the score card. It’s a do-over of sorts but you needn’t go back to the beginning and completely restart. Some chambers have started selling mulligans before or during play.
We aren’t all Tiger Woods so if your tournament is meant for non-serious golfers a ball drop can be a lot of fun. See if the location will give you golf balls (or get a sponsor). Then sell the balls and identify each with a color, number, or other mark. Then put all the balls in something large (like a bulldozer bucket) and drop them onto the putting green.
Peggy Johnson Emerson, President of the Dark County Chamber of Commerce, suggests, “Closest or in the hole wins, but other prizes could include farthest or anything you want…do this as a ‘split the pot’ to guarantee it is a money maker the first time out.”
Some chambers also use ball cannons for a similar effect. Ball cannons are like the t-shirt cannons used at sporting events. They get the crowd riled up.
Give Them the Bird
Want to even the playing field and make your golf tournament more about luck than skill? Then you might want to consider adopting what Jeremy Davidson, Marketing & Events Director at Shawnee Forward suggested, “We give teams the opportunity to give other teams ‘The Bird,’ which are extra strokes on their scorecard. No one knows how many people have given them The Bird until the end. Everyone has the chance prior to the start to ‘buy out’ and kill all the birds from taking effect. It shifted who won prizes and allowed them to have a little fun with one another.”
Go Beyond Golf
Many people enjoy breaking up the golf activities with something else. And here’s where there are a lot of creative opportunities for fun and frolic, not to mention Instagram gold.
Samantha Crouch from the Holly Hill Chamber of Commerce shared that her group added a dunk tank to the golf outing festivities and it was a wild success. She said, “We had a dunk tank with our mayor, city manager, and chief of police getting dunked. We charged $20 for 3 balls or $50 to be able to walk directly up to the tank and push the button–guaranteeing that person gets dunked. A business sponsored the tank, so we made money from the sponsorship and from selling the balls. The tank was up and ready for action as they came back from playing golf. (It) Gave them something fun to do while waiting for other teams to finish and to hear the winners. Plus, everyone was feeling good by that point after having drinks all day–so they were throwing money around happily.”
Hit the Gong
The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce used a sponsored gong with logo on the driving range and offered three chances to hit it. When someone did there was a loud echo that drew attention. You could sell shots and offer a prize for those who hit. The sound draws more people in too.
Putting for Proof
Samira Zimmerly shared that her chamber had great success with a “Putting for Proof Sponsor (where) you set up liquor bottles on the putting green and goers pay $5 to try to putt at the bottle they want to win.”
The idea behind this one is that half the money on the raffle tickets sold goes to the chamber, half the winner. This type of raffle is ideal because it requires no donations or prep. You simply sell the opportunity to get half of what is raised. Allow people to buy raffle tickets all day and then pull the winner at the end of the tournament.
If you’re already using a raffle and it’s not making the money you’d like, consider the cost of the tickets. Danielle Berliner from the Greater North County Chamber of Commerce shared, “We upped all raffle tickets to 1 for $10 or 3 for $25! Previously it was 6 for $5 or 30 for $20. Most just gave us $25! This brought our 50/50 up to over $1000 take home. It made it easier making all raffles the same price too and we had less tickets to rip! We also do a smoker raffle and whiskey raffle for the same price.”
An easy additional source of revenue is a silent auction. Set up a table at check-in where you feature as many as ten donated items and a sheet for people to bid. For maximum participation, move the table around to where the golfers are–at check-in, at side events (if there are any), and back again at your dinner/wrap-up/drinks end. That gives people time to think about items and place additional bids as they are outbid.
Tricia Barlow Brunson, President & CEO at the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, said they had success with items such as:
- golf rounds
- Yeti coolers
- wine or bourbon baskets
- dinner certificates
If you’re hosting a sponsored-hole golf tournament, there are additional ways to bring in more money. The benefit to these suggestions is that they also bring in something a lot more memorable than funds for your attendees–they bring in the fun!
Need more ideas or a few back-to-basics on how to run a golf tournament?