Make it Easy on the Players "Players appreciate it if they can pay a fee that takes care of everything-gratuities for valet parking, cart and bag-room staff, and caddies; and the beverage cart and/or box lunch, for example. Rolling it into one fee means the day is taken care of and they can go have fun, instead of digging in their pockets all the time. And the golf course loves it.
"For example, our standard golf fee of $125 includes the driving range, the round of golf, and the golf cart. You could add $1 for the valet, $6 for unlimited drinks, $8 for a pre-loaded box lunch, and a $10 gratuity for the caddie that goes with every foursome, and now your fee is $150.
"Participants can pay whatever portion of that fee you decide. Then, make it clear to them that everything is taken care of. That way, it's a more enjoyable day for everyone."
Make the Course the Memory "When a meeting planner chooses a particular property or a particular golf course for a, we're making the assumption that they're trying to impress the participants-their vendors or their employees.
"Those participants want mementos of the place they're staying and playing, not of the company. Therefore, meeting planners should purchase prizes from the resort or course. We can take all that effort off their shoulders.
"They can order enough shirts, for example, to make sure everyone gets the size they want, without having to worry about the leftovers. We'll just sell them in our pro shop.
"We can do all the footwork and come up with all kinds of suggestions for prizes for planners to hand out to winners. In addition to the usual golf shirt, we've done logo items such as umbrellas, watches, or luggage."
Create a Communication Plan "Develop a comprehensive communication plan, beginning with a mailing that lays out the details of the event. Include the dates and the location, along with information about the golf course, a scorecard and course guide, the type and availability of rental clubs, and a registration form.
"The registration form should include the participant's name and the cost of the golf (if any), and should ask the golfer's handicap, rental needs, preferred tee times (for the tournament and practice round, if applicable), and pairing preference. State your deadline for returning the form clearly in large type.
"At check-in or preregistration, go over all details with each golfer and make any necessary changes. Reiterate the dress policy, what time the golfer should be at the course or pick-up point, and what is covered under the master account. This is also a good time to hand out any first-tee gifts, especially shirts or other clothing items the player might want to wear during the tournament.
"Finally, ensure a smooth-running tournament by having the same people staffing the check-in desk on site at the tournament."
Just Get Out and Golf "Meetings are long, and the time for golf is always tight.
"But don't worry if you don't have five hours set aside for a full tournament. Check with the pro at your meeting hotel or resort for some alternatives-something that you can customize to your group. There is nothing wrong with, say, a nine-hole tournament, or even a four-hole event with a barbecue. Putting contests, closest-to-the-pin contests, and even night golf are other alternatives that can allow your participants to reap the benefits of a golf tournament even when time is at a premium.
"How about offering an instructional clinic? A number of golf professionals specialize in clinics for corporate outings-and your beginner golfers can get as much out of a clinic as they could out of playing a round of golf.
"Whatever you choose, make sure you evaluate your participants with your host golf professional to see that the format fits the group.
"The bottom line is that golf is a valuable networking andtool, but those positive results only happen when all participants are having a good time. You can avoid intimidation and embarrassment on the golf course by selecting the right event format and course setup."