Charity Golf Tournament Ideas - Ideas for a Great Charity Golf Outing 

Charity Golf Tournament Ideas - Ideas for a Great Charity Golf Outing 

There are a lot of reasons for the effectiveness of charity golf fundraising tournaments when it comes to fundraising, the biggest due to the popularity of golf itself. Whether it’s a proper 18 hole golf course or mini-golf, almost everyone on the planet knows and understands golf. These events not only attract golf enthusiasts, but also provide an excellent opportunity for networking as people are often relaxed and in a great mood at these types of events.

Add the different revenue streams that your charity can take advantage of such as participant fees, sponsorships, and additional fundraising opportunities like auctions or contests, these events can be considered the perfect storm for fundraising. Plus the versatility of the golf event means that your organization can cater to different levels of skill and even ages so they can be all inclusive and appeal to a wide range of people.

Moreover, since golf is a fun activity for many, the overall experience you create during your fundraising is a positive one that your supporters will remember as a unique and fun experience, which helps a great deal with building lasting relationships and ensuring future support. And many of the people that attend these events are often local business people, community influencers and usually other affluent individuals that can be super important when it comes to supporting your nonprofit long term.

So to make your own charitable golf outing fundraising as profitable as possible, we’ve listed the most common ways of monetizing golf for your charity's fundraising efforts, and added a few other ideas that you can use to have a memorable, fun and highly profitable tournament plus all the steps to host one yourself.

On the Course Fundraising Ideas

Charity golf outings really come with a lot of opportunities to monetize and earn more for your charity through fundraising. We’ve included the 13 most often used fundraising ideas below and an explanation of each of the methods so you can incorporate them into your own fundraisers.

  1. Mulligans: A mulligan allows a player to redo a stroke, and selling them can be a great fundraiser, especially when your players aren’t professionals! You can decide the amount you want to charge for each additional stroke and if there are limits, perhaps per hole or for the entire event so someone can’t buy the game. Traditionally charities sell their mulligans for a minimum of $5 per stroke, but you can decide on the financial ability of your own supporters.
  2. Hole Sponsorship: Any time local businesses can get their advertisements directly in front of people, they’re willing to pay for the opportunity. Through sponsoring a hole, you have eighteen opportunities to earn some extra fundraising. You simply sell the right for each business to advertise at their assigned hole. This could be a sign, handing out gift merchandise or even giving out taste samples for the local ice cream shop.
  3. Hole-in-One Contests: Offering a super awesome prize for a hole-in-one on a particular hole like a new car or extravagant tropical gateway can generate excitement. This often requires insurance if the prize hasn’t been donated in case someone wins, but it attracts players who enjoy the challenge and the chance to win big. You can potentially sell a lot of tickets for this type of event.
  4. Putting Contests: Held on the putting green, these contests can include getting a hole in one from the edge of the green, or you can designate the player with the least amount of strokes as the winner. For a twist, you can even change everything up and require the golfers to use their putters as pool sticks and they need to use the handle end to play.
  5. Pink Lady Contests: Pink ball or lady contests encourage teamwork and are a great way to encourage team commitment among the players. The idea is to give each team that participates, for a fee of course, a pink ball in the beginning. The players alternate using the ball at each hole. So hole one is one player, hole two a different player and so on. The strokes are counted on a separate card for players using the pink balls. In order to win at the end of all 18 holes, the team must still have the pink ball, and the teams that do the one with the least amount of strokes wins.
  6. Beat the Pro/Pay the Pro: This is a great challenge if you have a bunch of serious golfers and an easy way to make some donations as everyone loves competing against a pro or peer. Participants try to hit a ball closer to the pin than your golf pro. If they fail, they pay a fee in the form of a donation. It's a fun challenge and can be a great way to engage and entertain players.
  7. Longest Drive Contests: Each contestant pays to play and the one with the longest drive wins a prize. It's popular for golfers to show off their skills and is often done at the ninth hole, or after even has finished playing. It’s a perfect way to garner extra donations right before your gala event at the end of the day.
  8. Longest Marshmallow Drive Contests: Similar to the longest drive contest above, instead of a golf ball players use a marshmallow. This can be a lot of fun and is something a bit less competitive and just a silly and fun way to increase the giving at your fundraiser.
  9. Straightest Drive Contests: Challengers compete with each other to see who can hit the straightest. It’s basically the same idea as the longest drive, only it’s about accuracy rather than power. You'll need someone with great eyesight for this one!
  10. Closest to the Pin Contests: This one requires golfers to make one shot from where the rough meets the green on a par-3. Each person pays a fee to enter and the one closest to the pin in one stroke wins. It's appealing to the more serious golfer because it requires skill and precision.
  11. Gambling Hole: A hole where golfers can wager money against certain outcomes (like landing in a certain area, a hole-in-one, or number of strokes for a certain player). It's a way to add excitement and a bit of competitive gambling fun with a part of the money going towards your fundraising.
  12. Hole of Fortune: Players pay to spin a wheel for a chance to win prizes. Perfect for the 9th hole before golfers take a break, it can be a nice break from the traditional. When possible, the best prizes are always golf related, or in some way related to your organization.
  13. Beer Can Contests: Something a little different, this is played on the green and the object is each player has three to five beer cans laid out around the green. Whichever player knocks down all the cans in the least amount of strokes is the winner. You can offer a donated prize for this, or even half the pot, or the money raised.

Each of these golf tournament ideas are time tested and can add fun and excitement and increased profitability to any tournament. You can use a few of them, all or just your favorite, whatever you feel will work best with your supporters and donor base. And don’t worry, we have a few more ideas to offer to ratchet up your fundraising even more. So keep reading!

Additional Golf Tournament Ideas Not On The Green

On-Course Food and Drink Sales: As people meander their way through the course they’ll naturally become thirsty or even hungry. You can simply set up a drink and food stand maybe every three holes and sell refreshments in order to generate even more fundraising opportunities. This will need additional people to work the stands as well as the cost of the supplies, but this can be worth the investment in the end.

Rent a Caddie: This should be self explanatory, by offering caddies (perhaps local celebrities) for rent can add a fun experience to their  experience. It's a unique way to raise extra funds and enhance the player's experience and there’s nothing extra needed but a strong back. You may need to enlist additional individuals to offer the service, but that also gives people that may be strapped for cash a way to still support your charity in a positive way.

Golf Clinic or Masterclass: If you can get a celebrity golfer or a real golfing pro to donate their time, then you can have paid lessons for those looking to improve their games, or even beginners now interested in the sport. It’s a great low cost way to secure extra donations and doesn’t take a lot of work. Plus if you can secure a celebrity golfer, then just using their name in your promotional materials can bring additional golfers looking to meet one of their heroes.

Golf Ball Drop Raffle: This is also sometimes called a ‘Helicopter Drop’ depending on what your dropping the balls from. The idea is you can sell any number of balls to each participant and each is numbered with a corresponding ticket, then all the balls are dropped onto a green all at once from a height, a helicopter or even a ladder, and the closest to the pin wins a grand prize which can be something that was donated.

Frisbee Golf: You can include this easily if you’ve rented the entire course for the day. After the last golfers have reached the second or third hole, you can offer frisbee golf for the children and anyone who isn't inclined to play regular golf. This is a great way to encourage entire families to show up, and it gives the golfers a way to be sure their children are being looked after while they're enjoying their day out.

Remember, you are looking for ways to create extra income for your golf tournament, but you still need to be aware that they aren’t getting in the way of people actually enjoying their experience of golf and supporting your cause. Try to be respectful of your donors while maximizing your donations.

The 19th Hole Auction and Dinner

Of course there are only 18 holes on a golf course, the 19th hole is used to describe what happens after everyone has finished playing their rounds of golf. Typically this will include a dinner, perhaps and auction or silent auction, along with distributing prizes and giving thanks to all the attendees of your fundraiser. You can think of this as the grand finale of your event.

This after party is a fantastic time to really build relationships with your donors. Everyone should be in a joyous mood after having a good day of golf, and now they’re relaxed at their tables eating dinner and chatting and sharing stories about the day’s festivities. This is a perfect time to mingle and create personal connections with as many people as possible to raise more awareness and possibly even boost your fundraising even more.

It’s also the perfect time to hold an auction or raffle to maximize your fundraising before they leave. Any type of auction works, whether a silent auction or even a hybrid auction where people online can get involved who weren’t able to attend the event. Using a hybrid event software like Paybee for your auction can raise the amount of bidders considerably, making your fundraising efforts even more profitable. And again, all the items at your auction can be things that have been donated over the year, or come from local sponsors that you acknowledge throughout your auction.

Planning Your Charity Golf Tournament

Organizing a golf tournament involves careful planning and attention to a myriad of details. After all, there are many moving parts to a successful tournament. You need to figure out goals, decide where the tournament will take place, budgeting and partnerships and so on. So to make things as easy as possible we’ve created an outline of all the steps necessary to plan and hold an awesome golf tournament while making sure all you attendees have a unique and fun experience while they’re there.

Form a Planning Committee

Since golf tournaments are a bit complex to pull off successfully, it will take a team of individuals to do it well. This is where your planning committee comes in and should be the first thing you organize. Basically you’ll need to recruit helpers or staff members with diverse skills like event planning, marketing, and finance so all of your bases are covered. Once you’ve chosen your committee, be sure each person is assigned a specific role and is clear on their responsibilities so nothing is missed. Give yourself ample time for planning, typically 6-12 months in advance.

Define Your Goals and Objectives

The next thing to do is decide exactly what you are trying to achieve with your golf tournament. Setting a fundraising target is an obvious objective, but less obvious may be spreading awareness of your cause and organization or working on volunteer recruitment at the same time. Then there are the issues of who you want to be involved in the event such as local business owners or even famous celebrity golfers. But be aware, the more goals you have, the more work and complex your event will become.

Course Selection

If you're in a small town with only once golf course for a hundred miles, the decision on where to hold your golf tournament may be a pretty simple question. But if you have a few choices, then you need to be thinking about a course that is central to as many donors as possible combined with how difficult the course is for your participants. Then there are things like amenities including a clubhouse for the after event gathering with an adequate dining area, and enough parking to hold your participants and staff. Then of course it needs to be within your budget and the date needs to be available.

Date Planning

Figuring out when to hold your event will have a lot to do with your own local climate. Tournaments are typically held in spring or fall when the weather is favorable. You don’t want to hold the event in scorching heat and have golfers passing out on the greens due to heat exhaustion! Then you’ll also need to think about which day of the week. Weekends are popular, but a weekday event might lower rental costs and be less crowded.

Budgeting for Golf Tournaments 

After your planning committee has held a few meetings and all of your goals and objectives are crystal clear, you can begin budgeting for your tournament fundraiser. There will be a lot of expenses and holding events like golf aren’t cheap. You have the rental cost for the golf course which is typically the biggest layout, then additional costs such as equipment rentals, catering, prizes, promotion, insurance and any other expenses depending on what ideas you’re incorporating into the golf tournament. Be sure every expense is included to see if it is even feasible to hold such an event. And as a best practice, be sure the income forecast is enough to cover all of the expenses and the revenue generated is worth holding the fundraising event at all.

Sponsorship and Partnerships

Since golf outings are local events, they are a great opportunity to get a local business involved and can be beneficial for everyone. Do your best to identify potential partners who can provide resources or support. Offer them advertising opportunities in exchange for goods and services. Your local business will love these types of events as the people who will be attending are their target demographic. If you can show them how supporting your charity is mutually beneficial to both parties, local business is often willing to pitch in.

Marketing and Promotion

Marketing and promoting your golf event is crucial for any sort of success. If people don’t know the event is happening, they’re simply not going to show up. This means you should start your promotions early and include every form of contact with donors or potential supporters as possible. This can include email, social media channels and even local advertising. You can even go as far as handing out flyers at shopping centers and malls if you have the manpower. You must get the word out any way possible.

Registration Process

Make it as easy as possible to register for the event, either online or through physical forms. Offer incentives for early registration or group registrations if at all possible to help cover expenses as quickly as possible. Luckily if you’re using a platform like onecause or Paybee can offer these types of online forms that make the application, payment and the follow up process as easy as a few clicks. In fact, many of the tasks we’ve listed can be automated like having your donors subscribe to your newsletter on sign up or made more effective using our specialized fundraising nonprofit software. You can try our demo here to see just how powerful our suite of tools are.

Logistics and Day-of Planning

There will be a lot of details to pay attention to on the day of your event. So be sure everything is covered and each individual knows their responsibilities. Your day should have a flow to it, from registration to closing ceremonies. So be sure you have enough people on board for all aspects of the event. There also needs to be proper signs for directions, hole numbers, and sponsor recognition. And someone will need to follow up on any vendors or supporters at the event offering food or merchandise. It’s also helpful if there is some sort of simple programme you can give your guests that explains the day's festivities and times, as well as a simple map in case someone needs to find a bathroom quickly. And one tip, be aware that someone knows the local emergency service numbers in case something does happen, be prepared for anything!

Post-Event Strategies

Once your event is over, there is still some work to do. The first thing you need to do is to thank everyone for coming to the event. This not only includes your donors, but your staff and volunteers should also receive praise and thanks. For donors a formal yet personal thank you for their donation letter should be sent. For staff, a simple thank you note is usually enough to let them know they’re appreciated. The point being, include everyone involved during your fundraising in showing your appreciation. For your donors, include the donation amount raised and mention how their support helped you reach your goals and how the money will be used to better the world in your own unique cause. Then ask for feedback that can be used to improve future functions even more.

Remember, the key to a successful charity golf tournament is in the details. Each aspect of the event should align with your overall goals and objectives. Engaging with the community and creating a memorable experience will not only ensure the success of this event but also lay a strong foundation for future ones.

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Bill Allen

Bill Allen is an expat that has been travelling the world for the past 25 years. He received his MA in writing in New York too long ago to remember, but has been writing on all sorts of subjects far varied publications ever since. When he isn't writing he enjoys meditating and working on his own website, UpscaleDrinks.com. Feel free to connect with him any time.

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