How To Beat The Bunkers Out Of Fund Raising!

by Ron Barefield, Barefield & Associates

So, you’ve decided to have a golf tournament to raise funds for your favorite cause or charity? Great idea!  Special events are one of the most cost-effective ways of raising funds for non-profit organizations. One group recently reported that it was the most cost-effective way. And a golf tournament fits in the special events category.  Anticipating a few bunkers can prevent your fundraising efforts from going bonkers.


Putting a single handicap golfer in charge of the event

Most single handicap golfers are serious golfers and are not able to make the sacrifice to make the game fun for us hackers.  Instead of looking for a good golfer to put in charge, look for a good worker who shoots in the 90s or even 100s.


Allowing the tournament director to play

During the course of any tournament there are always problems that arise that only the director can solve.  If he’s on #13 and you have a problem at the clubhouse, the problem only gets bigger.


Underestimating the ability of your players to pay higher entry fees

Several years ago, I was waiting for a light change at the intersection of Glenstone and Kearney with two friends.  One of them suggested that we have a tournament in the mountains of Colorado and charge $2,500 per golfer to play.  At that time, we felt that we could get two or maybe even three foursomes.  Since it started, that tournament has distributed millions to charities around the world.  (There is a big difference between raised and distributed.)

I’m not suggesting that you set your entry fee that high.  A  local tournament probably can’t support that high of an entry fee.  However, do set the entry fee high enough so that your charity can enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Of course, if you have a strong enough appeal, you can try what we tried in Dallas one year.  Let everyone play free but charge them to get out.  We netted six figures for the organization, but that kind of tournament has to be by invitation only and you have to have a very good invitation list.


Not having an awards event

I prefer to have a banquet meal if possible.  This is another opportunity to get your

project before your friends.  If a meal is not possible, a drawing for a nice prize helps keep people around who are out of contention.



Catering to the good golfers

Good golfers aren’t necessarily good donors.  Make it so that the bad golfers can win as much as the good golfers.  Do this with flights and equal prizes for the good, the bad, and the ugly.

You’re not putting on a golf demonstration.  You’re raising money.  I just read that only 10% of golfers consistently break 100.  So, if you hit from the championship tees and make it as difficult as possible, you’re catering to a small percentage of good golfers.  What are the 90% who don’t break 100 doing?  They’re out making money to donate to your organization.

Pray that your big donors do well.  We had the ultimate happen during a tournament in Acapulco.  The top donor to the sponsoring organization had his first hole-in-one.

It can’t get any better than that!

These are just a few of the bunkers you can get into.  There are many, many others.  But, when done properly, a golf tournament can raise friends and funds for your organization each year.  And, rest assured, next year’s tournament will be easier because you’ll discover a few bunkers of your own to avoid.

Ron Barefield produces numerous golf tournaments throughout the country for charity fundraising events.