If you don’t play golf, the group golf outing—where business is done and careers are sometimes made (or broken)—is daunting. With little knowledge of the sport, how do you survive planning such an event? Here are my top tips.
» Learn the lingo. In a group outing, nearly all “tournaments” are scrambles. (Note: This is not an egg dish served before the game.) It simply means everyone hits their own ball from the tee box, then the team picks the best shot, and all players play the next shot from there. The teams repeat this process until they finish the hole. This format is great because it takes the pressure off novice or first-time golfers.
» Take advantage of space on the course. Every tee box has room for sponsor tables, which makes for a fun and exciting day while also maximizing networking possibilities for both vendors and attendees. Ask your course’s F&B team about options for sponsors to hand out at their tee box (mini sliders and craft beers samples are always a big hit). Adding interactive elements like this creates interest for attendees and sponsors, and also shortens the day by eliminating the need for a separate indoor space for exhibitors.
» No clubs, no problem. Make sure attendees know they can borrow clubs from a friend, or reserve rental sets ahead of time with the course. This is especially important if your attendees will be flying in for an event and want to avoid bringing clubs on the plane
» Communicate the dress code. Instruct players to bring a pair of golf shoes—if they don’t have any, they’re easy to find at a local sporting goods store or even online. Collared shirts and any type of pants or shorts are great. The key is not to dress in Scottish plaid and not to wear hot pants. Basically, think smart, casual business wear (and no metal spikes or denim).
» Everyone loves takeaways. Offer attendees a fun takeaway or something special just for them, such as a sleeve of golf balls or bloody marys waiting for them on the carts. You can even look into getting golf shirts with your company’s logo on them—this is always my favorite, especially for team photos.
» Never forget about the post-golf dinner. People are hungry, tired and most likely have been drinking. They’ll want to eat right away post-round and then relax. My recommendation is to plan for a family-style dinner, as it’s quicker than plated service and provides as many offerings as a buffet does without your attendees having to wait in line.
And if all else fails, make sure everyone has a beer, something to eat and a joke to laugh about. As they say, any day on the golf course is better than a day in the office.
Jennifer Dalsbo is the recreation sales manager at Grand Geneva Resort & Spa where she focuses on golf and ski groups. With more than 10 years of progressive sales experience, Dalsbo is passionate about group ski and golf outings, including larger tournaments, corporate outings and charitable fundraising events.