3 easy steps to improving tournament and outing business

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By Phil Immordino

The great philosopher, Lee Trevino once said, “There are two things that won’t last long in this world, and that’s dogs chasing cars and pros putting for pars.” I would like to add a third, “Golf courses without tournaments and events.”

According to our research, there are approximately 50,000 events at golf courses in Canada each year. The average event has 72 players (half sold out) and the average player revenue is $50. This tells us two things: the events need more players and we can increase the revenue generated from each player. We conducted a survey among Golf Tournament Planners and their answers indicated there is room for improvement. The good news is that we can increase tournament revenue through these 3 steps:

  1. Know and understand your customer’s needs
  2. Sell new clients
  3. Help your customer with new ideas


The Golf Tournament Planners are the ones who organize the events and bring golfers to our course. We must know our customers inside and out to best serve their needs and help them be successful.

If they are successful with bringing more golfers to your facility, then your bottom line will benefit. The misconception is that they already know what they are doing, when often they do not. Typically, Planners are volunteers, administrative assistants and staff from charities. This is not their full time job.

The best way to get to know them is to ask lots of questions. Pretend that you are dating and you want to know everything about them. Here are some things that we need to know about our customers:

  • What type of organization?
  1. Non-Profit  
  2. Corporation
  • What is the purpose of the event?
  1. Fundraising
  2. Entertainment
  • What is the goal of the event?
  1. How many golfers would they like to participate?
  2. How much money would they like to raise?
  • Have they done an event before?
  1. When?
  2. How many golfers?
  3. How much money raised?
  • Do they have a committee?
  1. Yes
  2. No

The more you know about your customer, the better you can assist them. We know what Planners are looking for in a golf course and an event. They want to feel special. They want a unique event and they want value for their investment in your facility. They want you to want their business.

What they need is a simple process, help with their event, direction and accountability.



The word selling has a bad reputation! We envision used cars and high pressure. That is not real selling. Selling is getting someone as excited as we are about what we offer.

Selling does not happen by accident, it is a step by step process. Follow these key steps to maximize sales:

Be Prepared Study your market and know what your competition offers. Know everything about your property, and how to produce a unique golf event.

Break the Ice Help the Planners feel comfortable. Build a relationship and get to know them before you start selling.

Qualify them Ask the right questions. For example: Do they have a tournament committee? Do they have a database of potential golfers? Get to know their needs. Understand the full picture.

Make a Presentation Give them a reason to buy (connecting their needs that you discovered during the Qualifying Process, to your offer). Show them the value of your course and tournament experience and why they will miss out if they go elsewhere.

Overcome Objections

Be prepared. You have heard all the objections before, so you have the responses. Write them down and review before each meeting and share this document with anyone selling your tournaments.

Become the solution to any of their issues, show them that you are on their side. You are here to help. Make sure they have all the necessary information to make a good decision.

Ask for the Order

Become an expert at reading the ‘buying’ signals and make sure to ask them to move forward. Secure a date. Sign an agreement and get a deposit.  

Add on Selling Become a one-stop shop for your tournament clients. Increase your sale by offering more. Suggest great merchandise and needed services so that they save time.

Follow up

Stay in touch on a monthly basis. Show them that you care and that you appreciate their business. You want them back next year. 



Helping your customers will increase your business. If you help your customers they will bring more golfers, buy more food and beverage and merchandise, and come back year after year.

Imagine this scenario. The event has 72 players at $75 ($5400), with food at $25 ($1800). The event grosses $7200. If we were to assist that tournament to fill their field with 144 golfers ($10,800), with food at $25 ($3600), sell additional services and merchandise at $25 per player ($3600) and then sign a 3-year agreement, that $7200 event just turned into $54,000 in future tournament revenue. That is why we help our customers.

So, how can we help our customers? Here are a few ideas:  

Create a Business Plan for their Event

A golf tournament is like a small business. Every business plan needs a purpose, mission statement, objectives, goals, marketing plan and responsibilities. It should also include timeline, action items, budgets, schedules and a day of operations manual. Help your customers put together a complete business plan so that they have direction for their event.


Recruit Committees and Define Responsibilities 

Every Tournament needs a Volunteer Committee. By helping your client put together a committee, the event will be more successful. The different committee positions that should be filled include: Tournament Chairman, Sponsor Chairman, Golfer Chairman, Logistics Chair and Gift & Prize Chair. The committee members should be trained properly, motivated, held accountable and given incentives.


Offer Format Ideas and Scoring 

The right format can increase participation in a golf tournament. Different formats work for different types of golfers. You should suggest the right format that works for their group. For novice golfers, Scrambles work best. For more advanced golfers, Best Ball format works better. If they need to raise more money you can offer ideas on Pro Ams, Celeb Ams, Night Golf, and Golf-A-thons. You should also discuss handicapping and scoring options.


Offer them Services (One-Stop Shop)

Every golf course should have an online store for merchandise and services. This allows the Tournament Planner to purchase items as they need them. The online store should include: all merchandise, brochure templates and printing, signs, banners and Hole in One Coverage.


Secure Sponsors and Promote 

Sponsors are the profit, so it is important to show the Planners sample Sponsor Packages. When promoting their event they need maximum exposure. If your staff is qualified, teach them about Media Partnerships, Social Media, Internet and Websites for their event.


Recruit Golfers and Online Registration 

To fill the field with 144 golfers your clients need to know how to put together a great tee package for the golfers. Teach the Planners about online registration and how important networking is in getting more golfers.


Offer Gifts and Prizes

The Player Gift Package is important. It creates an image for the event and is the reason that many golfers come back next year. Show them a sample Registration / Tee Package and how to obtain gifts at the best prices. Sponsors will usually cover the cost of the items.


Show the New Games and Contests 

You will want to show Planners the basics, such as Closest to the Pin and Long Drive, but there are many other games that will help them raise more money such as: The Cannon shot, Gambling hole, Golf Ball drop, Pay the Pro and Beat the Pro.


Jazz up the Awards Ceremony and Auctions 

Golfers will stay longer at the awards ceremony if there is a reason to stay. Help them build excitement with entertainment, a good MC and possibly a dance floor. Entertainment could include: comedians, magic acts, jugglers, a band or singer. They can also make more money with their auction if they offer bigger prizes to bid on, online bidding and promoting the auction in advance.


Follow up with golfers and sponsors to evaluate their event

Within a week of the event there should be a survey sent out to golfers and a meeting to discuss every area of the event. This will help improve the event for next year. It also provides the opportunity for you to book them on the spot for next year. Tournament Planners should also send out a newsletter every month to golfers and sponsors to stay in touch with them.

Increasing your bottom line is as simple as creating a plan to upgrade your tournament business. You can double or triple your tournament revenue by working with the 3 simple steps: Know Your Customer, Sell New Clients and Help Your Customer. By teaching your customer to use your property you will increase your bottom line.


If you have additional questions please feel free to email Phil Immordino





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