We all love our golf tournaments, don’t we? But they can feel a little same old, same old if you’re not the only ones hosting them. These days, even high school sports teams are putting tournaments together as fundraisers. If you want to stand out from the nonprofits and others who are hosting similar events, you need a little creativity.

That’s why we’ve pulled together some creative ideas from the Chamber Pros group on Facebook on what’s been successful for them and threw in a few of our own. You might just say that these things will help you find the winning fore-mula. (Okay, bad dad joke in honor of Father’s Day last weekend.

First, before we get creative, let’s talk essentials.

Key Factors in a Successful Chamber Golf Tournament Event

A successful golf tournament goes beyond just a day on the green with beverage in hand. Here are the key components that contribute to a memorable and impactful event:

Clear Goals and Objectives
Define the purpose of your tournament—raise funds for a specific cause, promote networking among chamber members, or simply provide a fun day of golf? Setting clear goals will help guide your planning and decision-making.

Strategic Planning and Organization
Line up volunteers with diverse skills and experience. Assign roles and responsibilities to ensure efficient planning and execution. Create a detailed event timeline and golf tournament budget to track progress and manage resources effectively.

Attractive Golf Course
Choose a well-maintained course that’s challenging yet enjoyable for players of varying skill levels. Consider the course's location, amenities, and reputation. Negotiate favorable terms for green fees, cart rentals, and food and beverage services. If you have an in with an exclusive or sought-after course, you will draw more golfers.

Engaging Format and Activities
Golf doesn’t have to be golf by USGA rules. Select a format that suits the purpose of your tournament and appeals to participants. Options include scramble, best ball, and stroke play. Incorporate fun activities and contests (longest drive, closest to the pin) and interactive challenges to keep players entertained.

Sponsorships and Partnerships
Secure sponsorships from organizations to offset costs and enhance the event's prestige. Offer various sponsorship levels with different benefits and promotional opportunities. Partner with vendors to provide food, beverages, and other services.

Marketing and Promotion
Create a comprehensive marketing plan to reach participants and sponsors. Utilize various channels, like social media, email marketing, your chamber newsletters, and local media outlets. Design eye-catching promotional materials and highlight the unique aspects of your tournament.

Registration and Check-In
When people are looking forward to a day on the course, the last thing you want to do is start their day off with a line at registration. Look for ways to streamline the check-in process on the day of the tournament to ensure a smooth start for all players.

Swag and Prizes
Provide high-quality swag bags filled with practical and memorable items that golfers will appreciate. (More about that in a bit.)
Offer enticing prizes for winners and runners-up, as well as for on-course contests and raffle drawings.

Food and Beverage
Cater to participants' appetites with delicious food and refreshing drinks. Consider offering a lunch, snacks at the turn, and a post-tournament awards ceremony with dinner or drinks.

Fundraising Opportunities
If your goal is to raise funds for the chamber, incorporate various fundraising activities such as silent auctions, raffles, putting contests, and ball drops. (We have a few ideas so keep reading.)

Recruit and train volunteers to assist with things like registration, scoring, social media coverage, beverage cart service, and event logistics. Express your gratitude for their contributions and ensure they feel valued and appreciated.

Post-Tournament Follow-Up
Send thank-you notes to sponsors, participants, volunteers, and the golf course staff. Gather feedback through surveys to assess the success of the event and identify areas for improvement in future tournaments. Share images and quotes from participants with sponsors and volunteers so they know how their efforts contributed to an amazing day for everyone.

While following up is always important to those who helped make the event a success, it’s also important to run a debrief so you understand what worked and what could’ve been done differently.

Then with what you’ve learned on your first tournament, take a swing at planning next year’s event.

Creative Ways to Make Your Mark

Again, you want your chamber golf tournament to be remembered. That means using creativity at every step. Here are a few ideas where you can let your ideas shine and stand out from what everyone else in town is doing.

Golf Swag Bag Awesomeness
Here are a few creative ideas for golfing giveaways. If they don’t fit in your budget, you could make it a sponsored item.

Custom Golf Balls with Local Flair
Feature the chamber logo alongside a unique design representing the region (e.g., a landmark, state flower, etc.).

Divot Tool & Ball Marker Set
Engraved with the chamber's name or tournament logo, this becomes a cherished keepsake.

Personalized Golf Towel
A practical item? Or memento? Yes, please.

Eco-Friendly Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Branded with the chamber logo, showcasing commitment to sustainability (and sun safety).

Mini Bluetooth Speaker
Perfect for the golf cart. Go the extra mile and have AI come up with a chamber theme song for all to enjoy.

Gourmet Snack Box
Filled with locally sourced treats and beverages, promoting your culinary and beverage scene.

Discount Booklet
Featuring exclusive offers and promotions from participating chamber businesses, encouraging attendees to explore the community. You could also have some fun like what they do at baseball or hockey games basing a discount on what happens at the tournament. For instance, get under a certain score on this hole and receive a 20% discount on a specified day.

Unique Awards and Gifts

If you have contests or awards at the tournament, here are a few gift ideas.

  • Experiences like a hot air balloon ride, private cooking class with a local chef, or tickets to a sporting event
  • Portable phone chargers or earbuds
  • Personalized Golf Shoe Bag
  • Portable Putting Green
  • Golf Club Headcovers
  • Customized Golf Ball Retriever

Turn the Tournament into a Party

Make golf only part of the fun. Book a local band or artist to perform at the awards ceremony or after-party, creating a festive atmosphere.

Set up a themed photo booth with props related to the tournament, allowing attendees to capture memories and share them on social media. Don’t forget the hashtag!

Partner with a local charity and donate a portion of the proceeds or hold a silent auction for a good cause, adding a meaningful element to the event.

​So what are other chambers doing? Here are some insights from the Chamber Pros on their successful tournaments.

Golf Tournament Advice from Chamber Pros

Here are some valuable insights from experienced chamber professionals in different areas of golf tournament planning and hosting:

Course Selection and Logistics
Kami Spieker from the Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce shared that you should begin by contacting local golf courses to inquire about availability, fees, and the services they provide for tournaments. It's also crucial to have a golfer on your planning committee or staff to ensure a smooth event.

Joell Hamilton added, If you're not a golfer, assemble a committee of members who are passionate about the sport. Include the golf course pro on your committee for their valuable insights and experience in organizing tournaments.

If you’re not a golfer, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Technology and Scoring
Liz Simpers pointed out that many golf courses offer scoring apps for tournaments, simplifying the process. Check with the course to see if they have an app. While you’re doing that, save yourself some headache and check to see if they have staff available to assist golfers with downloading the app and using it. (You can thank Liz later.)

Fun and Engaging Activities
Kaelea Saulsberry hosted a wine and beer putt on the putting green during the tournament.
This adds an element of excitement and, in their case, broke up the second half of a 9-hole course.

Fundraising Opportunities
Liz Simpers shared that "Putting for Proof" is a popular fundraising activity where participants pay for a chance to putt and win a bottle of liquor. Pre-selling tickets for this activity, along with mulligans and raffle tickets, can generate additional revenue for your chamber.

Speaking of additional revenue ideas…

Creative Ball Drop Ideas

Here are a few easy ball drop fundraiser ideas (no heavy equipment on the golf course involved):

​Elevated Platform Drop
Construct a simple elevated platform (e.g., scaffolding, sturdy ladder will do) near the putting green. Participants purchase numbered golf balls, and you drop them from the platform onto the green. The ball closest to the pin wins!

Drone Drop
Partner with a local drone operator (or use a chamber member's skills!) to conduct the drop.
Numbered golf balls are attached to a net or container suspended from the drone.
The drone hovers over a designated target on the green and releases the balls.

Hand-Thrown Drop
Create a designated "drop zone" on the green.
Participants take turns throwing their numbered golf balls toward the drop zone from a set distance.
The ball closest to the pin wins.

Putting Contest Drop
Set up a putting challenge on the practice green with multiple targets or zones.
Each target corresponds to a prize level.
Participants putt their numbered balls and win a prize based on which target they reach.

Reverse Raffle Drop
Sell a limited number of tickets for the raffle.
Instead of picking a winning ticket, you eliminate numbers based on a ball drop.
Balls are dropped onto the green, and the numbers on the balls closest to the pin are removed from the raffle.
The last remaining ticket holder wins the grand prize.

Water Drop
If the course has a water feature (pond, lake), you can use floating golf balls. Participants purchase numbered balls, and you release them into the water. The ball that floats closest to a designated marker wins.

These ideas can be adapted to fit the specific layout of your chosen golf course and the preferences of your participants. The goal is to create a fun and memorable golf tournament for all.

​By putting (ha, one more) these tips from chamber professionals to good use, you'll be well on your way to hosting an unforgettable and successful golf tournament for your community!


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