Golf fundraising tournaments have become extremely popular, especially with celebrities looking to hit a few bogeys and birdies for a deserving cause. The Golf Tournament Association of America reports that there are more than 800,000 golf tournaments dedicated to raising money for charity each year.
Whether or not you get celebrities to attend, you can pull off a successful fairway fundraising event for the charity of your choice. And if you’re already planning on running an online fundraiser, supplementing your crowdfunding campaign with a golf fundraising event can be the perfect way to increase donations and raise awareness in your community.
Small-scale golf fundraisers can be used to drum up support for other causes, too—memorials, medical bills, adoption fees, and even community scholarships, to name a few.
Take it from the pros
Rick Peters is a PGA Golf Professional who serves on the executive committee for The Legacy, an annual golf tournament aimed at raising money for charities in San Diego, California. The Legacy has achieved great success over the past 15 years.
“Individually, one may have limitations on the ability to make an impact on the lives of others,” Peters said, “but the collective effort of a golf tournament aimed at fundraising can make an enormous difference.”
PGA Golf Professional Shay Blechynden of Rancho Santa Fe, California, has also organized and participated in successful golf tournament fundraisers.
“The attendees always seem to have a good time, the charity receives much-needed funds, and the course improves its revenue stream,” Blechynden says of the benefits of golf fundraisers. “The best part is the passion that people have for their cause.”
After speaking to Blechynden, Peters, and others to gain some insight into best practices, we brainstormed a handful of fundraising ideas for golf tournaments, both on and off the course.
Set up a golf-a-thon fundraiser in which participants ask friends, family, and community members to pledge donations to your campaign. Pledge amounts can vary depending on whether the participant gets a par, bogey, birdie, or hole in one—the lower a player’s score, the greater the donations generated. The winner (worst performer) earns bragging rights and a small prize, such as a lesson donated by a golf pro.
2. Celebrity golf
According to celebritygolf.com, there are over 30 celebrity charity golf tournaments planned each year. Hop on the bandwagon and bring some legends to the green. Ask local icons like your favorite news anchors and popular college athletes to participate as tournament celebrities, creating incentives for community members to participate. If the beneficiary of your campaign can attend your fundraiser and play, have him or her serve as the celebrity—after all, the entire event is dedicated to helping that person.
3. Mulligans for money
In the golf world, a mulligan is a bad stroke replayed without a penalty. Capitalize on this golf rule by having participants buy tokens for mulligans through your fundraising page. Traditionally, each person gets about one mulligan per round, but since this is a fundraiser, pick a maximum number to sell to each participant, perhaps two or three—they’re likely to purchase the maximum so competing players don’t get an extra advantage.
4. On-course contests
An entry fee isn’t the only way to get donations from your golf tournament. Throughout the event, hold various short contests that bring in bonus donations for your cause. Participants can enter each contest by making an online donation via a mobile device. They can then challenge each other on the course to spark healthy competition. Considering the following on-course contests:
Closest to the pin
You’ll need a pen, ball markers, and a tape measure. In essence, this is a putting contest. Each player gets one stroke. After each, measure the distance from ball to pin, then record that number and the player’s name on the ball marker before replacing the ball with the marker. Once everyone’s had a chance to hit, the ball markers make it clear who the winner is.
For participants waiting to tee off, set up a putting contest to see who can successfully sink the longest putt. You could also run this as a standalone contest on a putting green.
Grip it and rip it: The longest drive
Many golfers are familiar with the phrase grip it and rip it. This contest tests who can hit the ball the farthest. Use multicolored or marked balls that can be used to determine the winner once each player has made a drive.
Inspiring golf fundraisers on YouCaring
Fore our heroes
Each year, Gary Manley and Mike Pottorff, business partners in a restaurant in Texas, organize a golf tournament and donate the funds to a charity or family in need. In the past, they’ve given funds to The Staurolite Foundation, a small nonprofit based in New Mexico that hosts mountain safaris and hunting excursions for wounded veterans. Their campaign, Fund Our Wounded Heroes Mountain Top Safari Elk Hunt Trip, outlines how the excursion gives veterans a chance to gain support and develop friendships with other veterans. Through crowdfunding, Gary and Mike have found a way to give back to multiple individuals in need by simply holding an annual golf tournament.
Tee time for judy
In memory of Judy Palmer, a beloved nurse, wife, and friend who passed away in 2012, Judy’s husband Skip set up a nursing scholarship fund. To raise money for the fund, he holds a golf outing each year. As of the Fourth Annual Judy Palmer Memorial Golf Outing, six students have been awarded the Judy Palmer nursing scholarship. This annual golf fundraiser has allowed Skip to memorialize his wife in a way that brings friends and family together to celebrate her life and support a great cause.
Be a caddie for change
No matter what the official score, a golf tournament is a win-win for everyone involved. It rallies communities together, gives people a chance to play on a course they might not have had access to otherwise, and raises money for a worthy cause. Before you plan your own event read Seven Simple Tips for Hosting a Successful Fundraising Event.
Start your free fundraiser on YouCaring and supplement your online campaign with a rewarding golf tournament fundraiser.