Whether you are planning a small 12 person outing for your buddy’s bachelor party, or in charge of coordinating a huge fundraiser for over 100 players, there are several key elements to focus on which will help you streamline the golf tournament planning process and save you time.
Step 1. Plan ahead – No matter how well you know your friends or the group of people you are inviting to participate in your event, golfers seem to be notorious for signing up to play at the last minute. Their procrastination will result in your heartburn, so get your date on the books and give yourself the time you need to get commitments from your players. The smaller the group the less time is needed, however we recommend even for a group of 12-20, decide on your date at least 4-6 weeks in advance and give your players a drop dead date for sign ups. Often the golf course will require a final headcount, anywhere from 48 hours to 14 days (or more) in advance so we recommend that whatever the course’s deadline is for you, you set the deadline for your players at least 3 days prior to the course’s date.
Step 2. Location is key – Obviously you will want to choose a venue that is within an acceptable driving distance for everyone that is playing. Take into account local traffic and driving times, not just for the drive to the course, but also the drive home. A sure way to get your round off to a terrible start is to find yourself literally running from the parking lot, to the golf shop, to the first tee. Everything you learned from your golf instructor about “swing smooth and stay relaxed” will go right out the window, guaranteed. And most will agree that there is nothing worse than spending a long day at the golf course, with possibly a post round gathering in the bar or restaurant afterwards, and then having to drive home in stop and go traffic for an hour or more. On line map and direction services don’t always give you the most direct routes to the golf courses, so it pays to call the golf shop directly and ask the staff the best way to get to the property and where to park when you arrive.
Step 3. Ask about course conditions – San Diego is lucky to have some of the finest and most consistent weather in the country, however course conditions and maintenance schedules for each course will vary from property to property depending on the time of year, the type of grass, and even the financial success (or lack thereof) that a course is having. Always inquire about the maintenance schedule for the time you are planning to book your event: Will they be overseeding fairways or aerifying the greens? If there has been a lot of rain, has the course drained well or is there standing water? If temperatures have been extremely cold, is the course experiencing frost and is there a possibility for a frost delay? If temperatures have been extremely hot and/or humid, have the greens stayed disease free and have they been able to keep up with their usual watering schedule? One of the biggest mistakes that coordinators make is to visit a course for a site inspection in advance and see the course in excellent shape, but then several months later when their event date arrives, the golf course has experienced unusual weather patterns or begun maintenance, and the staff has conveniently “forgotten” to update the tournament coordinator. An unpleasant surprise that is avoidable.
Tournament coordinating can be great fun and easy to do if you follow these simple steps: plan ahead, know where you are going, and know what you are getting!
Step 4. Determine what services you need and what the golf course provides
Step 5. Communicate with the golf course and know your point of contact
Step 6. Arrival and set up
Step 7. On the course
Step 8. After the event