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How to Organize a Golf Tournament

Updated on August 12, 2016

Have you been wanting to put together a golf tournament for your old high school buddies? Maybe you would like to create one for the employees at your office? Or, possibly it has crossed your mind to get all your golfing buddies and their wives together for a small tournament?

Let me see if I can help. I have put golf tournaments and golf outings together for 25 years.

First, you need to contact all your old buddies, or, company employees to see if they are interested in participating. You need a number before you can talk to the club manager, or the club pro about a possible tournament.

Put them all on an e-mail list and ask if they are interested in playing and if so, would they be available in May (the month you would like to play. This may be the best time weather wise in your home state). You do not pick an actual date at this time. You first have to find out if that date is available at the course. You ask them to please respond as soon as possible in order for you to determine if you have enough golfers willing to participate.

Next, you go in person to visit with the head pro at the club where you wish to have your tournament. Tell him the month you are wanting to play and how many players you may have. He will check his calendar for tournaments that are already booked for that month and give you the open dates.

Ask him to hold that date for you until you get back to your possible participants and give them the dates available. You need to know if you will still have enough players on the dates that are open to make this all possible.

E-mail the open dates to your list of agreeable participants and ask for a commitment for one, or all of the open dates. You then go with the largest number for a given date and respond to them that you have chosen an exact date based upon the math. You must have their final commitment to the specified date immediately before proceeding.

You will find out soon enough that everyone will not respond as soon as you would like and need a little push.

Go back to the pro shop and visit with the head pro to confirm your date. He will then give you his guidelines as far as what the club and pro staff can do to assist you in your tournament. You may want them to handle the scoreboard. You might also want them to make a quick welcome speech to all the players when they are aligned in their carts to give them rules of the course and procedures to follow during the course of play. On the other hand, you may wish to do this yourself.

Now, it is time for the business end of the tournament. Call and schedule a meeting with the club manager to discuss monetary needs and to organize breakfast, lunch and evening banquet for your players and their wives.

The manager will require an advance payment for green fees, cart fees, food and beverage and banquet room. You must collect your monies from all players in advance. Do not put the money up yourself. The manager will give you a brief period of time to collect and transfer to the club.

Now, you need to go over your needs for breakfast, lunch and dinner if that is what you wish to have. You may discount the breakfast, or you may simply do the banquet following golf at the luncheon and do away with the evening banquet. The wives could come to the luncheon just as well.

You will be asked to look at their menu and determine the foods for each of the meals.

You should have a total cost per person before you leave the manager's office.


Now, you need to prepare teams. It would be simple if all the players were members of the club. They would have established handicaps. If they do not belong to a club, or if they do not keep a personal handicap, you need to ask them for their average score. You will not always get honest answers, but this is not not rocket science. Just get a basic score for everyone. Maybe you play with the better players and have a knowledge of their abilities.

You will need four member teams consisting of an A player, B player, C player and D player. Your A players should be single digit handicaps, but, probably you are going to use a range of 0-12 for your A players. You would use averages of 13-18 for your B players, 19-28 for your C players and everything over that for your D players. This is all subject to change based upon how all the players divide into four groups.

In terms of average scores, we are talking about A=72-84 average scores; B=85-90; C=91-99 and D=all over 100. Again, it depends upon how many are in each group when you divide them into four groups.

Go visit a trophy business and pick out your trophies. You should have 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place if your group consists of at least forty players. As in the picture, each place has a different size with 1st Place winning the tallest trophy.

You will need a trophy equal in size to the 1st Place for Longest Drive and another for Closest to the Pin. If the group is large enough you could also have separate trophies for the men and the women in the Long Drive and Closest to Pin competitions.

If your tee times are at 8:30, tell everyone 8:00. Trust me, you need to do this. Have your 3-pack golf balls (that you purchased from a Sports Discount Store), tees and group pairings on the check-in table. I like to have the table in front of the club facing the parking lot so that the golfers can not miss seeing you.

A second table could have sweet rolls, donuts, muffins, fruit, coffee, orange juice and water. That is preferable to going inside for breakfast and delaying your tournament start. Lunch should be burgers, hot dogs, french fries, cokes and a desert. A bartender can be provided for an extra fee and have a Cash Bar during the lunch.

Carts will have names of golfers and your group should be ready to go. You will have a Shotgun Start which means that each foursome will go to a different tee box to allow all golfers to start at the same time. That enables all of you to get together for lunch at approximately the same time ...if you are lucky.

The course can provide a cart girl with refreshments on the course.

At the Awards Banquet, you can have a podium with microphone where you, or the club pro will give out the trophies following dinner. It can be as fancy, or simple as you think the group needs. Cost is always a factor. You can do a very expensive golf tournament/banquet and you can do a fairly simple one.

Good luck and hit 'em long and straight!


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