Golf Events – Selling is a VERB!

Having helped raise millions of dollars for charities the past couple of years, I cannot help but see so many of the same mistakes happening day after day, event after event.


So much effort and work put into an event on such absolutely trivial things. Things that others will handle for you, things that really mean nothing in the bigger scheme and things that will never even be applauded or cursed when the success of the event is eventually measured, as success will be measure with a $ sign in front of it.


What color bags to hold player gifts? How many tables do you think we need at registration? Do we need duck tape? What happens if the wind doesn’t stop? Do the carts have roofs on them? Will Betty remember to bring donuts since she drives right by the bakery on her way to the course? Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. ……….


Upon arrival at the golf course, somehow, the registration tables are set up. Elves? The wind is less that you remembered on your driveway and while Betty didn’t bring the all-important donuts, she sent an “emergency text” to her daughter who is supposed to work registration to grab them on her way in. Sadly, she forgets your favorite pumpkin glazed, but what the heck, she is only a teenager. Damn that Betty for forgetting something that you talked about two meetings ago!


Idle chit-chat, laughter and camaraderie among volunteers is the norm as you see that your day has finally arrived without tragedy and you all somehow feel a chance to breathe a sigh of relief as if the calendar somehow wouldn’t land on your special day because it knew you intended a golf event today.


Slowly you set up what you need at registration, you run into minor setbacks. The tables are a bit too close to the wall, only one outlet, you look for help unloading the goodies from your van now that you have some helpers and you look for hot coffee and the bathrooms.


Surprisingly, players stumble in sooner than you thought. OMG, you are not quite ready for them. The laptop isn’t on, the goody bags are not set up and the gal who is supposed to be SELLING raffle tickets and mulligans is talking with the girl in the golf shop about fall fashions.


No big deal… you figure that you and Betty’s teenage daughter can handle these 4 early birds. Computer is finally booted up, you get their names, check them in and usher them down to the teenager who passes them their goody bags and ASKS them, with a “Price Is Right Model” wave of her hand, “Would you like to buy any raffle tickets or mulligans”.


As they already have waited far too long to check in due to the registration table being unprepared for their arrival, they shrug off her “more than generous offer” to invest their money in her Cause and search out the coffee for themselves.


Opportunity and over $100 in revenue lost right off the bat. The teenager’s response is the typical… “whatever”.


And that is just one group! Certainly it will get better. The law of averages guarantees it. But registration lasts only 2 hours. Now it is time to play golf.


The volunteers that spent months and months getting ready for the last two hours of their lives at registration, lean back in their chairs, smile, breathe a sigh of relief and commend each other on a job well done. Almost as smooth as you planned it for the past several months, except for the donut thing and that one idiot group that arrived 45 minutes before registration was supposed to start. You hear a muffled “whatever” from Betty’s daughter again.


But it is far from over. There are no wallets standing in front of you any longer! All of your money is now whipping around the golf course in little white plastic carts. Yet these volunteers are sitting on their collective duffs in the clubhouse! WHY?


The golf course is smart enough to know where the wallets are for the next 5+ hours and they have literally sprung into action. There are two beer carts, ONE GIRL in each, actually chasing after the money, chasing down their customers. YOUR customers! They have one goal in mind. Relieving them of as much of their money as they can, while your group is still milling around the registration table deciding on “important things” like…. Should you put the left over goody bags in Betty’s van because you have to go to soccer practice after the event, and is it O.K. if you toss out the rest of the donuts in the golf shop garbage can.


IF and when your volunteers finally do get out in your own little white plastic golf cart, oddly, the fun and camaraderie still remains the goal, but you brought a roll of raffle tickets “just in case”, and there are 3 girls crammed into the seat. The teenager just wants to drive the cart, the girl in the middle just wants to see how her husband is playing, but really doesn’t know what hole he started on and for that matter doesn’t know the layout of the course anyway, so she is just enjoying how pretty the course is while wondering what guys get out of this stupid game. The girl hanging off the end of the seat is hoping the teenager doesn’t hit another bump in the fairway or decide to make a sharp left turn, otherwise she will dump her bucket of 12 jello shots (which, of course, she has had to sample to make sure they were alright).


Whizzing past players with a half-hearted… “Wanna but a raffle ticket”? while they were putting really does nothing for SALES, but that is O.K., she is really looking for her husband’s group anyway. Once she finds him and realizes that he is indeed still on the golf course, she will feel better. After all, it has been a whole hour since she has seen him at registration.


And it goes on and on and on……all day long. “Oh, there he is… let’s go over there……..




The fact of the matter is… SELLING is a VERB. It is an action. It takes some degree of effort. There absolutely is a huge difference between SELLING and “offering for sale” with a cursory hand wave toward a pile of items on a table.


Player Registration is a time when you literally get to see, 90% or more of your players and they have one thing on their mind. GIVING YOU MONEY!


They are not thinking about their putting, their next shot or the location of the beverage cart. They are not thinking about their score or who is riding with them in the cart.


DO NOT greet players and guests in a seated position. If you cannot stand for the short duration of the registration process, find someone who can. Other than in medical exceptions it is absolutely disrespectful to remain seated when greeting a guest, especially a guest who has paid more money than they should to be there AND a guest that you hope to get more money from. You would not do it in your home. Do not do it at your golf event!


Smile, introduce yourself to each player, reach out and shake their hand. Now you have formed a bond with them. They know your name and you know their name, they feel they know you and that they will be seeing you more than once this day. This is a good thing. They are now your friend, at least for the next 3 minutes if not for the day. It is harder for a “friend” to say no to a request, and make no doubt, you are getting ready to make a request of your new friend.


Literally pick up the item that you want them to buy. Hand it to them so they perceive ownership. Once they hold it, touch it, feel it, they will know that it is theirs. At the same time, in this case, raffle tickets, you tell them how much they cost. Tell them that you accept cash, check or charge and hold out your empty hand casually in wait. DO NOT ASK THEM if they would like to purchase them. They already have them in their fingertips. Those raffle tickets are theirs, you are now just discussing price and waiting for payment.


The very second that registration slows down because there are only 6 more players to register, leave as there are more “wallets” outide than will ever be at your registration table. Again, follow the money. Get a cart, grab EVERYTHING that you can to sell on the course, a money bag for making change and head right down to the staging area where all of the golfers are sitting.


Leave your fellow committee members behind. You do not need them. You are a grownup and this is business. And your business only will last for the next 6 hours.


Walk cart to cart, SMILING, laughing, talking, offering raffle tickets, 50/50’s, strings, mulligans, whatever you have, touting what the money will benefit for the day and thanking everyone that you come in contact with for being there supporting your event, remembering as many names as you can from 30 minutes ago at the registration tables.


If you are a guy, don’t do this job, go get a girl to do it. Sorry, but girls sell more than guys.


SELLING is a VERB….. Offering something for sale is a waste of time.

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