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Guidelines for Hosting a Golf Tournament

Organizing a golf tournament can be fun, but it’s a lot of work – and it can be costly. In the past, well-meaning SOWF supporters have spent 50% or more of the funds they raised to pay tournament-related expenses.

We ask that if you hold a golf tournament to benefit the SOWF that you limit expenses to 25% of the funds raised.

You can always contact us to discuss your tournament idea, but here are some guidelines that might be helpful for anyone who hasn’t organized a charity golf outing before, but is considering it.

It takes four to six months to properly plan a tournament.

Try to get the golf course donated or at a reduced rate. Having a tournament in the middle of the week during the off-season will provide the best rates.

The opportunities to raise money come from corporate sponsors and not from individual golfers, including military personnel.

Please do not request the SOWF to find sponsors, put you in touch with our board members, or provide you with the names of our sponsors or donors. We regret we do not have the time and manpower to search for sponsors for your event; our board members already give generously; and in keeping with nonprofit best practices, the SOWF does not release sponsor or donor information.

Develop a simple one page flyer that can be emailed as a PDF file.

If you are having an auction, then you must advise the participants prior to the event.

Auctions take a lot of time, so do not have too many items.

Do not advertise specific prizes in the flyer, as plans (and items) can change.

Use personal contacts and emails to advertise. Newspapers and flyers in golf clubs rarely produce sponsors.

Learn the 944 rule:

Recruit 9 committee members

Each committee member is responsible to get 4 corporate sponsors.

Recommend each committee member sell one corporate sponsor level of $5,000; one sponsor at $2,500; and two sponsors at $1,000 per corporate team (total of 4). If you follow this rule, you will raise $85,500.

The corporate sponsors are responsible to fill their teams with four golfers.

Your golf tournament should be sold out if/when you reach 36 teams and 144 golfers.

Each committee member is responsible to collect prizes for tournament winners/raffle prizes.

You will need volunteers the day of the tournament. How many will depend on the size and scope of the event.

Do not buy expensive gifts or provide large trophies or cash prizes to winners.

The Special Operations Warrior Foundation will not pay for, nor provide cash for, prizes.

As a door prize or raffle prize, golfers would love a foursome with a free round of golf at a nice golf course. Save the best courses for your first-place winners, and plan on providing prizes to the top three gross score teams.

If a car is offered for a hole in one, then make sure the car dealership pays for the insurance.

If tickets for free alcohol are provided, they must be limited to two tickets per person. (This does not prevent alcohol from being sold on the course).

Never have the lead planners play in the tournament. You will need four to five people working behind the scenes while the tournament is in play.

You do not need an expensive bag for the player gifts, unless it is donated.

Plan a simple meal and have it ready 4 hours and 30 minutes after the golf begins.

Provide hole signage for each sponsor.

Set aside most of your raffle items while golf is being played. Save several of the best prizes to be raffled during the post tournament activities. During this period, be sure to verbally recognize top-level sponsors along with donors of the prizes.

Limit your post-golf program to one hour or less.