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September 2021

Changing Mindsets About the ‘Perfect Golf Event’

By Scott Kauffman

During the 2020 Year of the Pandemic, not even the perfect golf event could save all the charity tournaments that were cancelled. And that meant perhaps a couple hundred million in lost charitable monies for the thousands of organizations that count on courses to be a major means of annual fundraising.

At least that’s a conservative estimate based on the most recent “2016 U.S. Golf Economy Report” that cites National Golf Foundation data showing 84 percent of U.S. facilities hosted 142,600 charitable events in 2016, raising an average $26,400 per event or $3.4 billion overall. The cruel irony of it all is the fact that course owners  realized one of the biggest spikes in rounds played last year because golf was universally accepted as one of the few leisure activities deemed safe.

Now that large golf gatherings have resumed for the most part, Perfect Golf Event co-founder Paul Courter is busier than ever helping many of these charities make up lost time and revenue with new technology-based offerings and innovative thinking about what actually makes the perfect golf event.

On the technology front, something clients are clamoring to integrate are online auction events Courter’s Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based firm recently introduced, and the company’s cloud-based photo gallery where participants can select and purchase from a range of photos rather than just going home with the ubiquitous photo often handed out.

According to Courter, the company’s real-time “Perfect Silent Auction” platform can be seamlessly integrated with the event’s main website that Courter’s group also creates and manages in terms of player registration to payment fulfillment. That way, Courter says, the charity can focus on the most important thing: selling sponsorships.

The new auction website is a standalone website that covers the following functionality: online payment acceptance after a bid has been won, including credit card processing; option to accept additional donations and further generate additional revenue prior to the event day; ability to add other auction/consignment items from PGE’s auction catalog; email notifications to all bidders; links to social media platforms and more.

According to Courter, another key component of the virtual auction is it becomes another “effective way to promote sponsorships, as their sponsor logos are viewed more often with additional website views.” Of course, another invaluable benefit of these new auction and photo gallery platforms is the collection of data.

“For the organizations, this is a great way to capture emails for future marketing and branding,” says Courter, who also features 16 years of golf event experience via his bi-weekly “GolfEventCoach” webinars. “If you think about it, many of the golfers who go to these events are not familiar with the local charity at all. This allows the organizations to reach out and hopefully grow their future donor base.”

Perhaps the most dramatic change Courter is seeing to golf events, however, has nothing to do with technology. It’s simply embracing a different mindset about the “traditional” golf fundraiser format. For instance, the most popular concept Courter’s clients are adopting these days is setting up the facility so it plays as 18 par-3 holes in a range of 130 - 170 yards.

Even high-end private club and PGA Tour-quality venues are adopting these innovative changes, including Prestonwood Country Club in North Carolina earlier this year. Next year’s Folds of Honor event with the same format is already sold out.

“There’s 300,000 charity golf events, and 99.9 percent are 4-person scrambles,” Courter adds, “And if you played in them you know that they’re just basically a death march. You’re out there 5 to 6 hours and you get pencil-whipped at the end by some team coming in at 26-under. What’s great about these is you end up having 18 par-3 contests and hole-in-one prizes on all of ’em so there’s more sponsorship potential.

“And we’ll play 6-person teams which I like because it gives players more networking opportunities. Plus, I’ve never gone more than 3 hours and 40 minutes and the people love it. And the courses love it because they can now book more tee times.”

 

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