Tournament Format "What format do you choose when the two-handicap in the office insists on individual stroke play while others are nervous because it's their first time out? Answer the questions below to find the appropriate format:

* How many players?

* What is their overall ability?

* Do you want the event to be competitive or for fun?

* Do you have handicaps for all players?

* Do you want to award team or individual prizes?

* Are there clients or customers playing?

* Are you trying to encourage team unity?

* What are your time constraints?

"Contact the tournament director at the host site with the answers to these questions. Most golf facilities have a designated staff member, often a PGA Professional, who is trained and experienced in coordinating tournaments and golf events. This person will discuss the objectives of your event with you and let you know about any details of the particular facility that may affect your event."

--Claye Atcheson, Vice President, Operations, Marriott Golf, Orlando, Fla., (407) 206-6249

"If the range of participant abilities is great--i.e., many low-handicap players, mid-handicap enthusiasts, and high-handicap beginners--try this one:

"Create foursomes with an A, B, C, and D player. A and B players play a better-ball round (each plays his or her own ball and the best score on each hole is counted). C and D players play 'Captain's Choice' (in other words, they take the best of the two drives and each plays the second shot from there and so on).

"Combine the two scores for the team score.

"Variations: The C and D payers may use the tee shot of the A/B team twice per nine, or the score for the team may be the best of the three scores (i.e., player A gets a six, net five; player B gets a five, net five; the C/D scramble players get a four; team score would be a four).

--Robert Harris, Director of Golf, The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.,,

Choosing a Course "When choosing a course for your tournament, be sure to consider the following:

* Level of Play--Is this a business mixer with average golfers? A group of high-end executives? A tournament just for networking fun? Choose a course with the appropriate degree of difficulty.

* Level of Service--on the course, in the pro shop, and in food-and-beverage outlets

* Fee structure--Are greens fees and cart fees at your budget level? Check that fees include driving range use with balls, locker room use, scoring, pairings, car and bag valet, etc.

--Jo Ann Hoffman, President, Meeting Industry Ladies Organization, North Potomac, Md., (301) 657-9711,,

"When planning a corporate tournament, make sure the course and the event are player-friendly. The event's theme should be: Have fun!

"If the location has more than one course, choose the least-challenging (fewer bunkers, hazards, etc.). Spend more on of your budget on tee gifts, rather than for low net/gross scores or team prizes.

"Plan special prizes for closest to the line (i.e., straightest) rather than longest drive. If you are able to label players as A, B, C, and D players and the course happens to have four sets of tees, each player can use a different tee regardless of gender."

--Hank Borg, North American Executive, PGA of Europe/Relais du Golf, (612) 788-7521

"When choosing a course for a corporate tournament, you should look for one that can offer you a complete golf program. Consider the following:

* Does it offer turnkey service?

* What programs are available for non-golfers?

* What is your budget?

* How much time do you need between the conclusion of the tournament and the evening social function?"

--Don Ferrone, Master Professional, Callaway Gardens Resort, Pine Mountain, Ga., (800)-CALLAWAY,

"Pick a property that has the right reputation, but one that has a golf course you can play in five hours or less. A good golf professional makes a big difference, as do shoulder-season dates."

--Parker Smith, President and CEO, Sports Opportunities International, (561) 585-2483,

Working with a Resort's Director of Golf "The director of golf will be your key source of information in planning your golf event and should be your first contact. He or she should identify key staff members, including those who will be assisting you with your event. Make sure you get these details from the staff:

* Playability of the course; local rules; time frame for different types of tournaments; food-and-beverage options; availability of equipment and rentals

"Finally, ask what sets them apart from other properties and creates a special and memorable experience for your client. The answer you get may mean the difference between a successful event and a mediocre outing. And always make sure you have one point of contact who can take care of last-minute details."

--Kenneth Hornyak, President, Golf Operations Analysis, Traverse City, Mich., (616) 933-5413

"Ask! Ask! Ask! . . . about anything you think might add to the excitement of your golf outing. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is crazy. We recently had an association of urologists on our resort who decided to give away a dialysis machine for a hole-in-one. They even had the machine displayed on the tee of a par-three hole far from the clubhouse. Directors of golf will get things done for you."

--Dennis Rose, Vice President, Resort Operations/Director of Golf, Waikoloa Beach Resort, The Big Island, (808) 886-7888

Other Golf Events "Night golf is becoming more and more popular.

"A recent group at our resort enjoyed a Night Golf Skills Challenge that included a long-drive contest with glow-in-the-dark balls and glow distance markers. A chipping contest had participants trying to hit a glow ball inside a glow circle.

"We also set up a glow-in-the-dark putting course with glow sticks lining the hole designs. Participants wore glow necklaces, sipped tropical drinks, and had lots of fun."

--Charlie Kent, Director of Golf, Tierra del Sol Resort and Club, Aruba, Dutch Carib-bean, (011) 297-867800,,

Tournament Pairings "Knowing the purpose of your event is the prime prerequisite for successfully creating the pairings for a corporate golf event.

"If the purpose is fun, teambuilding, spirit, and camaraderie, then a blind draw is a great way to spread out the talent among the field. If most players have handicaps, divide them into A, B, C, and D groups and draw one player from each group for each foursome.

"If the event is more competitive in nature, then putting players of like abilities (or handicaps) together is recommended. Be sure to let the director of golf know about any special requests or anything he or she should take into consideration with regard to pairings.

--Tom Clary, Director of Golf, Northern Pines Golf Club/Eagle Bend Golf Club, Kalispell, Mont., (406) 751-1961

The Care and Feeding of Your Golfers "For boxed lunches, sandwiches on fresh bread are paramount. Condiments must be packaged separately. Fruit and some kind of desert top it off. Avoid chips--it's hard for golfers to get oil off their fingers.

"Here's a sample boxed-lunch menu from the Villas of Grand Cypress: Half ham-and-cheese sandwich, half roast- turkey sandwich, pasta salad, whole fresh fruit, and cookies. A general rule of thumb is to have at least one beverage cart/station per nine holes. If there are enough sponsors, more are preferable."

--Brad Doyle, Director of Golf, Grand Cypress Resort, Orlando, Fla., (407) 239-1956,,

Other Tips "Suggest that tournament participants leave their cell phones, pagers, and briefcases in their cars or hotel rooms. These things are distracting and can be a real detriment to the whole foursome."

--Bill Colvin, President, Golf, Marcomm Partners, Cleveland, Ohio, (216) 696-9511,

"The tournament should be a first-class event. A corporate golf outing is a reflection of the company. Do it right!"

--Ron McPherson, President, The Antigua Group, Scottsdale, Ariz., (602) 860-1444,,

"First and foremost, seriously consider a golf outing for your group. There are many different formats available in the game of golf that make it possible for everyone, regardless of golfing ability, to have a great deal of fun."

--Dennis Rose, Vice President, Resort Operations/Director of Golf, Waikoloa Beach Resort, The Big Island, (808) 886-7888