Many times, corporate golf events have a limited field of prospective players. What I'm going to share with you are ways not only to increase overall tournament participation but to attract additional participants to your event. They can also help persuade non-players who might be intimidated by nine holes to join in the festivities. And they will grow your bottom line.

Peripheral events are contests that can be promoted as part of a golf tournament's primary format. Among them: putting contests, long-drive contests, shoot outs, straightest drive contests, chipping and putting contests, target golf on the course or practice range, or even early-bird, three- or nine-hole contests. You can organize these events by gender, skill level, or handicap to keep the level of the competition equal.

Another idea: If your course has an on-staff golf professional, ask him or her to provide a free golf clinic for beginners. It's a great way to introduce them to the game, and the golf pro could end up attracting new students as a result.

Other ideas involve including children. For an incentive trip, why not promote a parent-child putting tournament held before your closing awards ceremony?

We have sponsored peripheral junior events to benefit our local Little League organization. Prior to the special events held for parents and kids, we even asked the boys and girls to carry the players' golf bags from the parking lot to the golf carts, and allowed them to clean clubs and shoes after the event to earn a little personal cash from tips. It was a great way to get them involved and let them experience the golf tournament environment.

Keep in mind that most of these tournament peripheral events can have their own entry fees, sponsorships, and prize levels. They're a great way to expand participation and overall promotion — and can earn you some additional income.

Three Tips

  1. Promote peripheral events separately to non-golfers to make them feel like equal participants.

  2. Assign one golf tournament committee member and four or five volunteers to plan and execute these peripheral activities.

  3. Contact potential joint venture partners such as radio stations, newspapers, or local cable access channels. They will jump at the chance to assist in the promotion of your event if it involves community participation.

Mike Mucci is the publisher of Golf Tournament Marketing … All Access, an online membership site dedicated to maximizing all aspects of golf tournament planning.