Tips for Teeing Up a Low-Touch Golf Event

Remember when events were a huge source of non-dues revenue for associations and chambers? With COVID-19 canceling event after event, times have been challenging, to say the least.

But what about golf tournaments, which are go-to money raisers for many organizations? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide for putting together low-touch and successful golf outings.

RUNNING A GOLF TOURNAMENT AMID COVID-19

Many golf courses have new rules and capacity requirements now. Be sure to work closely with your host course to understand any new protocols and communicate them to your members and sponsors.

To increase participation and keep everyone safe, here are several low-touch tips you can apply to your event*.

PREPARATION

Safety Plan
Create a comprehensive health and safety plan; do not hold the event if you don’t feel you can provide a safe and healthy environment for all participants (staff, volunteers, participants, sponsors).

Event Marketing
Increase participation by letting people know in advance what you’re doing to keep them safe during your event (e.g., safety precautions taken by you and the course, a recap of course rules, whether meals or beverages will be served, pro shop and/or clubhouse access, etc.).

Online Registration
If you’re not already doing so, move to online registration. Not having to handle credit cards or cash makes for a no-touch check-in when golfers arrive. (Plus, think of the time savings for you and your staff!)

Include a waiver agreement with your registration (e.g., Participate at your own risk. Do not golf if you’re sick, have a temperature, or have been exposed to the coronavirus).

Design a rule sheet to email to golfers prior to the event. This can be included in the event confirmation.

The Check-In Process
Avoid congestion during check-in by having players sign up for specific tee times that are spaced out throughout the day, or over several days.

Have everything participants will need on their carts ready to go, including hand sanitizer, so you don’t have congestion at the check-in table.

Pre-sell items normally sold at your events such as mulligans, skins, and raffle tickets.

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ON THE COURSE

Reduce the Field Size
Consider holding your golf tournament over several days and/or run a shotgun format tournament to reduce the number of participants playing at the same time.

Carts
Walking might be the way to go because a shared golf cart can increase the risk of contact or exposure. For those who want to use carts, promote single rider carts.

To avoid the added expense (and possible availability issues) of golf cart rental, prioritize cart availability for those who need them most, starting with seniors or anyone with a physical disability.

Golf Balls
Encourage players to pre-mark their golf balls for easy identification without having to pick up other players’ golf balls.

Bunker Rakes
Most courses have removed rakes and have advised players to smooth the sand with their feet. With that, assign a staff person or volunteer to maintain bunkers throughout the event.

Cups/Flagsticks
At most courses, raised cups on the greens have become standard, and players are advised to avoid touching the flagstick by simply leaving it in the hole. Check with your course to make sure these precautions are in place.

Hole Sponsors
Limit the number of people representing each sponsor.

Work directly with your sponsors to ensure their planned activities and giveaways are touchless and allow for proper physical distancing.

Provide a touchless hand sanitizer station at each hole.

Scoring/Scorecards
Many courses have an app that will allow for easy scoring. If not, here are a few suggestions:

Paper scorecards: Ask that one person in each group manage, photograph, and submit the marking to prevent the sharing of pens/pencils.

Association software: Ask your software partner what options are available for score tracking.

Beverage Carts
Work with your course to understand their protocols for low-touch beverage serving and payments. If possible, relax the rules about participants bringing their own beverages.

Communication
Send texts, push notifications, or emails to players during the tournament to celebrate player victories such as hole-in-ones and prize drawing winners.

Those high fives and 1st– and 18th-hole handshakes? Encourage foot bumps instead. Or, since it’s golf, a club tap.

See further recommendations from USGA and the Event Safety Alliance.

As communities begin to open up, will associations return to
business as usual? Or will they see it as a chance to innovate?

MANAGE MEALS/BANQUET

Planning on offering lunch? Consider a box lunch instead. Have them set up so members can grab and go.

If you’re doing a banquet, be sure to allow proper distance between tables and make seating assignments.

Do not offer a traditional buffet-style meal. Consider these options instead:

A “tailgate” banquet with box dinners allowing for social distancing at the course, or at some other location that will allow for social distancing.

Provide gift cards to local restaurants in lieu of banquet.

AWARDS/PRIZES

Give low-touch prizes and awards such as registration to a future event, free sponsorship of an event, and gift cards that can be mailed to winners.

 POST TOURNAMENT

Prerecord a video of your staff announcing the awards. Email a link to the video to your attendees the night of the tournament or make it available through your member information center, push notification, smart text, or member app.

Post photos and videos from the event on your social media channels and your member information center or member app.

GOOD PLANNING RESULTS IN A SUCCESSFUL EVENT FOR EVERYONE

Applying some or all of these tips will help ensure your golf event is a success both generating non-dues revenue and putting peoples’ minds at ease about their safety.

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