Charity Golf Challenges

TaylorMade R11 Driver - great prize, but not for the Long Drive Contest.

Golf outing season is here and with it, the constant drive to procure wow-factor prizes for all the course games and event winners.  This seems to be the biggest problem next to finding golfers to fill up the teams.

In recent years, with the down-slide of the golf industry, this once foolproof fund-raising machine has slowed.  It is just too expensive. Courses are trying to milk every dollar they can, charity golf committees are trying to avoid paying that top dollar, and golfers are searching out where they can get the best bang for the buck.  Committees who were once loyal to certain clubs year after year are now playing the field, trying to find the best deal by often coming in armed with multiple quotes for bargaining power.  In the end, the golf tournaments with the strongest committees – who can ‘strong-arm’ business associates and friends to play – are the most successful.

Do remember that people enter events often not knowing what the prizes will be, unless it is advertised as a big money or grand prize laden tournament.  Translated, that means don’t spend the money or the time worrying about it in order to get sign-ups.  Stick with top quality, medium price-point prizes and people will be happy.  Generally, golfers are there to support the charity or the person who invited them.  You can distribute flyers statewide but 99% of the time people come to golf outings because someone personally asked them.

Prizes are often hard to come by.  Unless you have connections to businesses within the golf industry or area businesses, it is often a struggle to secure prizes as well as the ubiquitous auction items.  People lament ‘but it is for a good cause!!’ and yes, it is, but when you consider the argument from the perspective of the golf shop or big box store or restaurant or resort – who have all heard this plea literally hundreds of times – you can understand why they may say no.  As a business, you simply cannot keep giving everything away.  It is always best to ask for something from businesses you already patronize.  As a customer, you will be given priority.

As for prize selection, there is one thing that boggles the mind: why do the majority of golf outing committees insist on giving the winner of the Long Drive contest a new driver?  The person who hit that ball obviously does not need a new driver.  Yet outing after outing features exactly that.  Drivers are a very personal choice and the club will likely end up in the garage corner, given away, or sold to someone else. The same goes for any Putting Contest winner.  Why on earth award a new putter?

TaylorMade Ghost Putter

Putters are also very personal and once you find one you love, you keep it.  Again, anther dust collector.   Instead, give one of the gift certificates or a good bottle of wine to reward the accomplishment – not another club.  Instead, put that club – or any club you receive – in the raffle.

Speaking of raffles, if you are fortunate enough to have collected dozens of gifts, save the best ten for a live raffle at the end of the evening.  After a long day of golf, people are anxious to go home and do not want to sit through another 30 minutes of drawings.  Many groups are using the ‘Chinese Raffle’ format where people drop a raffle stub in a box located by a gift they actually want to win.  This makes better use of all the wonderful prizes your committee has made the effort to gather.

With door prizes, collect the ticket at registration, and while the golfers are playing, draw ticket stubs and place them on the dozens of prizes available or on a board listing the prizes.  The board is a good idea because donors or sponsors are recognized more prominently. When golfers come in, they can simply go check to see if they have won and you don’t need to spend time drawing yet more numbers.

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