When I spend time in Scotland my mind and my body wonders to Golf. Scotland is of course the birth place of this sport. For over 600 years men and woman (Mary Queen Of Scots was a very keen Golfer) have knocked a white ball over fairways and greens. Corporate Charity Golf Days have been around for a much shorter time but they have become a staple for many organisations.
I remember helping one organisation run its first corporate charity golf day. Two great organisers were tasked with the event. Both had never played and had little interest in the sport. However they knew that the format could raise some considerable funds for their organisation. So if you are in a similar position here are 10 tips for the first time organiser of corporate charity golf days.
1. Do your research
Golf is one of the largest participation sports in the world and you will find hundreds of thousands of golf courses all across the world. So finding the right one for your golf day is a challenge to say the least. So make sure you do your research and select a course that is right for you. With the idea of arranging a golf day your process should be very similar to any other type of event. You have to consider the location, the cost, the anticipated need for accommodation and many other aspects (some of which are covered below). So be prepared to spend a while searching and speaking to potential courses – especially so for the non golfer.
2. Find a golfer to help
As you are new to golf and corporate charity golf days make sure you find someone in your organisation or in your peer group who knows about this very particular and peculiar sport. There are a whole host of things you will need to understand when you plan a golf day. With baffling terms like “shotgun start” or “stableford points” you need to know your stuff. Having someone you can chat to before and after you’ve spoken to your potential host venue is a must.
3. Consider the difficulty of the course
I would say that this is especially important for charity events. It’s more likely that people will be more generous if they have had a good round. So choosing a course that leaves every player frustrated and cursing the inventor of the game of golf should be avoided. It’s important to get a feel for the level (handicap) of those likely to attend your golf day and then select a course that is not too challenging that it makes them smash their clubs in frustration!
4. Remember the 19th hole!
After every round your teams will want to relax and talk over their match. The distance of the puts they holed will steadily get longer. The bunker they struggled from will get deeper and deeper as the drinks flow. So it is important that the last hole (the 19th as it’s known) is a good social space providing a relaxed environment. You will also want some privacy as one of your party is likely to have to stand up and award prizes and tell the odd story of golfing misfortune and woe.
5. Make sure you consider food as central to your day
Most golfers are powered by their stomachs. So make sure you start the day with a good meal. Try and offer a healthy option so the more serious can start the way they mean to go on. It’s a long day on the course so you should have a “half way house” ready to provide supplies after a couple of hours play.
6. Make it fun
As with all sports there are those who take things very seriously and those who play with more of a smile on their face. Corporate charity golf days should be serious but they should also be fun. One great way to do this is to have an MC for the opening and closing of the day. Someone who can get everyone relaxed and laughing always goes down really well.
7. Your role as the non playing organiser
Despite not captaining any of the teams or toting up the scores at the end you will have the most important role of the day. As you can see in our collage the ladies who ran a Cancer Awareness Golf Day (at St Andrews the day we visited) know the importance of being on hand with a smile, ready to console the players. But your most important role and also incredible fun would be dashing round the course on one of those electric buggies carrying a supply of water and energy bars. So be prepared to get out on the course. Just stay off the greens and out of the bunkers!
It’s worth remembering that many of the golfers will play golf pretty often. Some may even play a charity or a corporate golf day several times throughout the year. So consider what you can do to make your event memorable. Get creative. With the help of the golf course professional you can add a lot of golfing aspects to your day. The environment you create will go along way to making your event memorable.
8. You don’t need to play the courses before you choose but you can taste the food and enjoy the 19th Hole
I would suggest sampling the menu and the drinks at your top two courses. Get your shortlist down to two and then give them the final test. A twelve team golf day (48 players) can run to upwards of £6000 so almost every course will be happy to have you along to sample the food, wine and the environment. Be sure to tell them, and be honest, that it is between them and one more course. This is a big day for your players so you have to be sure it is the best place for your day.
9. Playing off season is a gamble
It’s understandable to consider to play your golf day off season. The off season coincides with the weather. In the UK if you want to play from November to February you can expect to receive a 30% – 50% discount. But in my experience it’s just not worth it. Although you can never rely on the weather (especially in the home of golf!) it is a mitigated risk to run your event in the on season. So don’t let the profit margin take too much control.
10. Big names do have a big impact
There are thousands of fantastic courses all over the world. The UK and Ireland especially have simply scores of amazing courses that your players would have never have heard of but would love. But knowing golfers as I do they are keen to play the well known and well established courses. There are probably a handful of courses that even the non golfer knows. These courses are more expensive and some may not even host golf days but it is worth starting with the well know courses when you are looking at your golf day.