Advancing Associations

How to Improve Your Golf Event7 min read

Tom BentleyAuthor: Tom Bentley


Posted on: 31st Oct 2019

The end of the golfing high-season is here and with it comes a slow-down in activity around the golf club as frosts and long-dark nights present difficulties for play.

However, the keenest of the keen guests and members will still turn up over the weekends and when any opportunity arises, and the show must go on as events and competitions are still an ongoing activity for golf clubs and facilities, whatever the weather.

Perhaps less serious than the annual Club Championships or your Mixed Am-Am, but winter ‘series’ events do provide an opportunity for you to reinvent yourself, trial some new tricks and get ready for when these main competitions come back around in 2020.

In this blog, Communications Manager for the Confederation of Professional Golf [CPG], Tom Bentley, discusses some simple keys and ideas you may not have considered, and delves into how you can make your calendar season in 2020 the best yet.

HAVE AN EVENT MISSION

True in just about everything we do at work, at home and in any other task completed: have a goal to your event. So often events are delivered by a facility without a general guiding principle or goal, no matter how small it is.

Not having a goal is similar to delivering a marketing campaign without an underlying strategy – the content you produce for that campaign would then be inconsistent, contain mixed messages and ultimately means the impact you want does not materialise.

Determining a goal for your event, whilst at face value appears to be common-sense, is easier said than done. The obvious one is to make a financial return but ultimately that is a focus of pretty much 99% of golf events – without making a profit then the justification for that event diminishes and the chances of it continuing the next year become very slim.

So, what else should the event focus on? Well that is entirely up to you and you can be pretty creative or think outside the box with this. For example, during University I managed and delivered the brief for an ‘Olympic Themed Golf Event’ at a local golf club. We actually had two goals for this event:

  1. Make as much money as possible for charity (Birmingham Children’s Hospital) – in other words, generate a profit or surplus to donate.
  2. Create an irregular, ‘outside-the-box’ golf event experience that most importantly, entertained each and every paying guest.

What we found before the event, during and in the post-event feedback was that guests’ eyes opened at the event because it was completely different and something that they had never done before.

They also liked that the event had greater meaning behind it and was not commercially driven to simply make a profit for the facility, but in fact to deliver funds to a local cause that they genuinely cared about. As a result, we had created a huge buzz around the event that became oversubscribed quickly and in turn, delivered a successful, profitable tournament that was a resounding success.

Creating new competitive experiences for your membership (new formats, order-of-merits, team competitions, etc.), driving female numbers to your club, raising your club’s profile in the local community or celebrating a special occasion are all examples of varying goals and missions that could guide your event in the future.

Focus less on your return and more on the event and the finances should take better care of themselves.

EMPLOY SOME STARDUST TO IMPRESS

This is not a necessity to your event, but merely the icing on the cake to delivering an exceptional experience. Generally, having an event that delivers a round of golf with some form of catering before or afterwards is the blueprint to every golf event that ever existed.

So how can you add that extra spice to the day that makes it that little bit more memorable? Well, try considering some of these options:

  1. Event gifts
  2. Live scoring systems/ televised leaderboard
  3. Photography

Event gifts do not have to be expensive and can range from a simple sleeve of golf balls from your Pro Shop to a fully-fledged handmade gift.

Our Official Suppliers, Thomas Lyte, recently provided the CPG with some branded leather notepads to present to all our attendees during our official brand launch event.

This premium gift not only struck an instant impression with every person, but it also gave something practical and useful for them to take away and remember the day with. It also promoted the organisation and its brand and offered a substantial intangible benefit that will last a very long time.

A live scoring system is another fantastic chance to really stand out. Creating an event that makes guests feel special and that they are ‘just like the pros on TV’ is a great way of making a memorable event and one that they would all return back to again and again.

Using a leaderboard system is often challenging with the associated costs, tech-savviness required, and time spent that could be used more effectively elsewhere.

The CPG uses a system called GolfBox Tournament across all our events for one main reason – it is so simple to use, without compromising on features and capabilities. Developed in Denmark and utilised by many of our Member Country PGAs for their own tournaments, GolfBox is becoming the market leading system for scoring globally (and is also ready for the World Handicap System changes as well).

Its live scoring capability is as easy as emailing links to each participant, which they open in web browsers on their phone and they are ready to go. We are able to embed and display it across various multimedia channels around the event venue and on our website, which makes the communication of the event that much easier.

The final point is the use of photography, which leads onto the final section…

CAPITALISE ON PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

This is often a side thought on the day of the event, and understandably – there are bigger priorities to focus on such as registration and scoring and the number of hands you have (only two!) are limited. However, effectively managing your time and getting a helping hand with this can pay dividends.

A simple way is having the starter on the first tee take group and individual photographs of each and every competitor as they tee off. You could also have somebody drive around the course taking photographs and videos.

Whichever way you do it, having some visual assets of the day is important, as they can be utilised in various ways:

  1. Posting live updates of the event across your facility’s social media channels and website, for followers to engage with as it happens
  2. Create marketing materials / collateral to be used for future event advertising
  3. Help to showcase the golf course, club and all of its facilities, alongside the event itself

You could get very savvy and distribute photos to each competitor by email using their contact details provided, so that they can then post on their own social media to show how great of a day they have had at your facility and event (simple, and free, word-of-mouth promotion).

You can even include some details and prompts for them such as an event hashtag or your facility’s social media usernames etc. in this distribution.  Do not underestimate how powerful external user posting can be for your business, especially when done right!

CONCLUSION

Improving and enhancing your next golf event is never going to be an easy endeavour, but taking the time to step back and look at the day as a whole, where it can be enhanced and what you need to do to maximise its benefit will go a long way to delivering a successful event.

Following some of these simple guidelines should help put you and your team on the right path to success and ultimately, help you continue to reengage audiences in future events, whilst also helping to attract new customers that are becoming increasingly difficult to come by and entice.

Tom BentleyAuthor: Tom Bentley
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Tom Bentley is the Confederation of Professional Golf’s [CPG] Communication Manager.

He is also a fully qualified, Class A PGA Golf Professional, having fulfilled various roles across the golf industry in international markets, including the USA and New Zealand. He has a passion for marketing and communications, particularly surrounding the areas of human behaviour and consumerism.