Over the past 15 years, we’ve had the opportunity to execute hundreds of corporate golf days. As the global leader in golf improvement, GolfTEC brings you this guide to hosting a successful corporate golf day from our perspective:
First, you should outline your key objectives for the golf outing. Why are you hosting the event, and what do you hope to accomplish? Here are four objectives that we most often hear from our clients:
Boost quality time with prospective or current clients
Chances are that your company already knows the benefits of hosting a corporate golf outing. After all, golf is the world’s leading corporate sport. Few other sports can lure senior executives from their heavy workloads and other commitments – especially when considering that a well-organized golf day is a 6-hour relationship building tool. If you compare this to the average 20 minute appointment with a harried client, you understand that a corporate golf day can do wonders for your business relationships.
Interact with clients in an environment where they are most receptive
Whether your goal is to share information, gain insights regarding a possible new business strategy or service line, or educate clients about a new product offering, a well-planned corporate golf outing sets the right environment for relaxed conversation. However, do not assume that that the mere act of inviting a client to play a round of golf is, in itself, enough to build that relationship. The devil is in the details. Pay attention to the details and remove any obstacles that get in the way of a smooth, relaxed day.
If you are known for creating an environment that fosters networking amongst all of your participants, your value increases. Make sure you create lots of opportunities for your guests to mingle – and not just with you, but with other guests who can help that individual’s business as well. Thoughtful pairings boost your favorability ratings.
A well-executed corporate golf day provides an opportunity to pair attendees up with each other for the benefit of each other’s goals. Sharing values reinforces relationships and distinguishes your company from your competition. Photo: VPAR.
Thank clients for their patronage
A corporate golf outing is an ideal way to say thanks to your clients for their continued support. Aside from the invitation to get out to play for the day, take advantage of all of the subtle ways to further illustrate your appreciation for your clients. Think through everything from the meal selection to the gift bags other amenities that can be incorporated into your golf outing.
The bottom line: Getting people excited about an event means getting to work well before the event itself.
We’ve run events for the world’s leading companies. We’ve learned what it takes to get an event kicked off so that by event day, we’re already building on momentum that was created in the days or weeks prior,” says Geoff Hiland, GolfTEC’s Director of Events.
Perform a site visit prior to your corporate golf day
Visit the site as if it were through the eyes of your guests. For example, look at existing onsite signage. Ensure that the following critical elements are clearly indicated. If not, you may need to order additional signage prior to your corporate golf day:
Will there be clear signage and communication as guests arrive/pull into parking lot?
Is the registration/check-in area easy to find and welcoming?
Are the driving range, lunch site and other important event locations clearly marked?
Meet with the professional staff
- What will they provide?
- How many staff members are available to help with bags?
- What are your expectations for food & beverage carts on the course?
Format: What works best at that facility?
- Choose the correct format for your corporate golf day
- Make certain that the format is fair for the group of players you expect
- Most corporate golf days will include players of all levels, so make sure the format is fun and enjoyable for each member of the group
- Here are some golf tournament format recommendations:
- Modified Four-Person Scramble: This format works well when you have an overall mix of better players. In this format, all competitors should play a ball from the tee. The team then chooses a preferred ball position from which to play their second shots. Players play their own ball for the remainder of each hole. The Team Score is the sum of the two low scores for each hole. Play can be either a Gross Competition (no handicap allocations) or Net Competition (where handicaps are applied and deducted from the Gross Scores). In any case, the max score is a bogey.
- Scramble: This format works well when you have a wide range of players. If you collect handicaps/skill level prior to the event, then you can assign each playing ability with a letter, e.g. A, B, C and D. Equalize stronger players with less experienced players, e.g. each team has one player at each level A, B, C, and D.
- Team Game: Perhaps a Ryder Cup-style format works well for your group. This kind of format encourages teamwork, and may be just the ticket for your specific event.
The bottom line: The good and bad with golf is you have players of all levels. This is good because with the right format, you can bring all of these players together for a day and make them competitive as a group. However, this is challenging because experience levels and comfort levels are not consistent amongst all of your guests.
What is the most important thing to consider at this stage of your corporate golf day? Overall, the day should be fun, relaxing, and meaningful for each of your guests. A well-planned event ensures that each player – regardless of ability – enjoys the day.
Run a Well Thought-Out Event
In addition to hosting a great tournament day for current and prospective clients, here are a few ideas for tournament add-ons that will greatly enhance your corporate golf event:
- Help your guests improve their golf game
- Personalized WebLesson drives clients back to your website
- Adds scale, as participants can share their experience with friends via social media
- 85% of participants return to view their lesson and stay for an average of 16 minutes
- Swing Capture Information Sheet (link to PDF)
- These clinics take place during the outing and welcome new or non-golfers to your event
- Beginner clinics and golf tournament end at the same time so that everyone can go to awards/dinner together
- Beginner Clinics Information Sheet (link to PDF)
- Bring the interactive and exciting action of live scoring to your event
- Enhance mobile and social branding opportunities
- VPAR Live Scoring
Beat the Pro/Celebrity
- On a Par 3, conduct a beat the pro contest with pro or celebrity
- If your guests hit it closer than the pro, they win a prize!
From beginning to end, here are essential elements that you need to communicate to your golf outing participants:
Does your online registration/information page contain clear information regarding:
- Recommended arrival time?
- Availability and accessibility to food and type of food served?
- Expected length of play?
- Post-event activities and timing?
- Information about the golf course?
- This golf course is known for…
- Course tips and strategies, e.g. “Practice your putting as the greens are large and have a lot of breaks.”
- Information for non-playing guests, e.g. activities peripheral to the course and area
How will you handle the arrival of your guests:
- Do you have an adequately staffed welcome desk?
- Have you communicated to the golf course staff how to:
- Assist guests with bags?
- Directing guests to your welcome/registration area?
- Will the facility staff assist in setting carts?
Will you offer Beginner Clinics for new or inexperienced players so they can participate as well?
Would your event benefit from offering Tournament Capture (PDF link)?
- You can even use this service to add more groups to the course. Add an “extra hole” and set up the capture station on the driving range or adjacent to that course’s signature hole. For example, groups can visit this station on their way from hole 18 to 1.
Will you offer Live Scoring for guests with mobile devices?
- Have you ordered gifts you would like to provide with enough lead time?
- Are you going to place them on the carts or hand out at registration?
Do you have any celebrity or event additions to incorporate within your event?
- Beat the Pro or Celebrity
Are you mindful of timing and efficiency?
- Be on the golf course and drive around and meet up with groups
- Do you have marshalls? One slow group can make the day miserable for many of your guests so it is important to help any teams that fall behind the expected pace of play.
- Remember, many of your guests are very busy and have strict schedules
Do you need team photos?
- Digital photos are the standard
- Have you assigned the task of capturing candid photos throughout the event?
Plan for rain. If it rains, do you have a space and alternate activities planned?
Following Up After the Corporate Golf Event
By delivering something of personal value to your individual players after your event, you create two things: First, the opportunity to distinguish the value of your golf event versus all others. Second, the opportunity to share your sponsor’s brand and messaging to each participant.
At a very minimum, for the most successful corporate golf day events you should include the following items on your post-event checklist:
A personalized email thanking guests for participating in your event
A recap of the event including results
Access to corporate golf day event photos
BONUS: Access to a personalized WebLesson
You should have certain technology at your fingertips – for example, GolfTEC Events incorporates a personalized WebLesson based on the golf swing capture during the event. This WebLesson includes video playback, audio tips from a coach, and video drills to help improve swing flaws. Swing capture does not slow down play or distract the golfers.
“The GolfTEC Events WebLesson is an incredible branding tool since we know that over 85% of event attendees spend over 16 minutes then reviewing that WebLesson. It’s a captive audience,” explains Hiland.
For example, generating a personalized WebLesson (User name “0556-00030″ and Password “daveb”).
Even after the event, you can build on the enthusiasm from the event to encourage social media sharing, discussion about game improvement, and dialog about your brand.
What about all of the latest golf tournament technology?
Interactivity is redefining golf events. Never before have you been able to experience such a 360 degree view of your golf day: mobile apps to track your progress through live leader boards in real-time as the game unfolds, golf swing capture analysis delivered right to your inbox, and the ability to share your experience with colleagues around the world. These are all opportunities to leverage your brand and connect with people in unprecedented ways. However, all of this cool technology can also clutter your golf event unless it is employed in the correct manner.
Players can track their progress through live leader boards, enabling them to check out the competition, and see what’s happening elsewhere on the course, in real-time as the game unfolds. Photo: VPAR.
GolfTEC Partner, VPAR, developed a live scoring system that enables a complementary, immersive event day experience. In addition to engaging your event attendees with the tournament swing capture, you can provide real-time leader board, game play tools such as GPS integration and social media sharing opportunities. GPS integration helps individual player performance by informing the player about the layout of the next hole, and exactly how far it is to the pin. It helps players decide which club to take and what shot to play.
The Branding Trifecta
A great corporate golf day offers opportunities for individuals to improve their game performance, share the experience with others, and builds your brand identity – all at the same time.
When you take advantage of the best technology – golf swing capture, live scoring and real-time leader boards, social media sharing and tools to help players understand the course layout and strategy – you create extraordinary golf events.
“This is where we shine — it’s event day. Our experience hosting hundreds of events means we’ve thought through every aspect of the logistics, event design and contingencies. We know how to use the best technology out there to enhance the player experience. We’re ready to engage players regardless of player ability. We can offer personalized instruction for beginners either informally or formally as a Beginner Golf Clinic to make them feel at ease. We know which game format works best for various types of events and player ability. We know how to engage the players and rise the competitive spirit in a fun way,” says Cory Boillot, GolfTEC Events Manager.
As one example, Boillot suggests that you communicate with golf event attendees prior to the event via a customized, branded email — perhaps including a welcome video and suggestions and tips for the event itself.
“Let your players know their swings will be captured on the day of the event. Whether we need to operate unobtrusively during course play, or set up as a “19th hole” on the driving range, we can capture each player’s swing on event day. This swing analysis is then packaged as an online personalized WebLesson, which opens up a huge opportunity for your sponsoring companies to communicate with event participants even after the event,” adds Hiland.
Generate excitement in advance of your event by letting players know their golf swings will be captured on the day of the tournament, while reinforcing your brand identity. Customized messaging reinforces your brand’s values, purpose and mission.
The lingering effect of a well-run golf event is overwhelmingly positive,” concludes Hiland.
Use your upcoming golf event as an opportunity to promote your sponsor and enable attendees to share their excitement with others. Engaging an online audience before the event creates valuable online exposure. Event sponsors are eager to create dialog around a brand’s values and mission, and social networks are ideal to spread that word.
Plus, getting players excited about the event helps you get everyone registered for the event in advance, which helps your event planning committee deal with those inevitable changes that will occur along the way, whether it relates to a menu substitution or changes to game format.
Kick it up a notch with leader board and GPS functionality across mobile platforms. Photo: VPAR.
“When you take advantage of the best technology and our expertise in hosting golf events for the world’s leading companies, and pair that with improving individual player performance, the result is extraordinary golf events that benefit every participant.” states Hiland.
Creating the right environment encourages your guests to linger, mingle during cocktail and dining events, and strike up a conversation with your sales reps on the course. Whatever the end goal of your specific golf event, creating the right environment comes down to choosing a golf event management company that knows how to walk the event planners through everything from pre-registration, on-site registrations, signage placement, branding opportunities, tournament format, access to food and beverage and other amenities, lighting and power availability, placing gift bags and premiums, to where, how and when to position key elements of your event such as celebrity or dignitary tie-ins.
It’s a long list, and unique to each event. By including these essential elements in your corporate golf day, you will boost the value of your event to your players while improving the return on your corporate sponsor’s investment.
A great corporate golf day offers opportunities for individuals to:
- improve their game performance
- share the experience with others
- builds your brand identity
Want to learn more about hosting a great corporate golf day?
What happens behind the scenes? GolfTEC Events customizes each corporate golf event to meet the objectives of our client. Whether selecting our Tournament Capture service or extending our event service to include VPAR’s innovative live scoring, we will create the best corporate golf day event for you and your golf outing participants.
Tournament Capture PDF Link
Link to VPAR