HIRE A GOLF PROFESSIONAL — With a celebrity on hand to emcee the event, hand out the awards, and mingle with everyone, even those who do not receiveprizes feel as if they're special.
GIVE OUT ADDITIONAL PRIZES — Whether you hold a raffle or give out door prizes, this opens up chances for less-experienced golfers and the spouses to win.
MAKE EVERYONE A STAR — Shoot video of the tournament and play it during the reception, so everyone's face is flashed on the screen at some point. People love to look at themselves on screen.
INCLUDE THE WOMEN — Consider awarding both a man and a woman in each category: most accurate drive, longest drive, closest to the pin, longest putt, etc.
HOLD AN AUCTION — Auction off golf memorabilia or other items that appeal to everyone. Arrange for the proceeds to benefit a favorite charity.
INCLUDE A BUSINESS COMPONENT — Just because this event is a celebration doesn't mean that it can't be tied in to the company's business goals. The point, of course, is building relationships and sending a message to everyone there.
CONSIDER HOLDING THE EVENT RIGHT AFTER THE TOURNAMENT — If there's too much time between the tournament and the banquet, you risk having participants wander off. If you hold the event right afterward, make it informal since people will not have time to shower and change. Using a shotgun start for the tournament will ensure that everyone finishes at about the same time. (See “Formats” on page 22.)
MAKE IT SHORT — People will not feel like winners if they have to suffer through a lengthy event after spending four or five hours in the sun. A barbecue or an open bar with hors d'oeuvres and a streamlined system for handing out awards makes a lot of sense.
KEEP IT LIGHT — Nothing makes the losers feel better than having some fun with it. Shoot video of some of the worst shots and show them off to the group. Have the company president share funny stories of shots that didn't go off as planned. Or hire a comedian, so everyone has fun that evening.
SEAT EXECS STRATEGICALLY — Realize that some of the hardest-working employees don't have time to devote to their golf game. Try seating your company president with the worst golfers, not the winners.
RECOGNIZE EACH FOURSOME IN SOME WAY — If possible, every player in the room should be acknowledged at some point.
GIVE OUT GAG PRIZES — Awards for things such as the loudest pants or the most balls lost are always a hit.
HAND OUT PRIZES FOR CONTESTS THAT EVERYONE CAN WIN — Odds are that the most experienced players will walk away with the longest drive and closest-to-the-pin contests, but if you give out prizes for the shortest drive or the straightest drive, for example, everyone gets a chance to shine.
DON'T GO OVERBOARD WITH PRICEY GIFTS — Although it might seem as if lavish gifts get participants excited about the contests, they may send the wrong message to customers and employees. And the people who don't win could feel resentful. In this era of corporate accountability, it's best to avoid extravagance.
HAVE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE — Keep it small and inexpensive, but make sure no one leaves the tournament empty-handed. Accessory kits with balls, tees, markers, and towels are a sure thing, but there are hundreds of low-priced golf gifts out there to choose from. (See “Make It Personal” on page 38 for more ideas.)