What to do? What to do?

So the email comes in and it says, “we had 125 golfers last year and after expenses, our net profit was $25,000 but this year we want our golf outing to stand out more and to raise more money”. How can SMT Events help them?


I have to admit that I sat on this one overnight as the math on this one is something that I found interesting. I mean, to clear $25,000 with a field of 125 golfers means that you made a pure profit of $200 per player in your field. I wanted to applaud instead of try to fix something that was working seemingly rather well.


The business side of my reply would be simple. There are only three things that you can do to raise revenue;


  1. Raise player fees to play in the event.
  2. Cut costs by either finding a different course or negotiating a better price.
  3. Get more players.


While some of you reading want to add fun and exotic things like games, raffles, auction items etc. Please remember that people come to every golf outing on the planet with a fixed amount of money to spend and when that money is gone it’s gone. It doesn’t matter if you are promising crystal clear close up pictures with the Loch Ness Monster in the pond on Hole #18 for 30 seconds right after dinner for $100 per picture as your players are already tapped out from the activities of the day.


It is of course different if you advertise ahead of time so they know to bring that extra money to get a great wall hanger of Nessie doing her thing after the cheesecake has been consumed. It is also far easier if you get the “old gal” sponsored by a local company, in this case I suggest a really expensive custom frame shop, if you know what I mean.


If you have to raise the player fees to play in your event, you certainly have to increase the player value to justify the added cost. The same event that was $165 last year that is now $225 this year cannot give away the same sleeve of balls, bag of plastic tees and bottle of water in the goody bags. Of course that increases your expenses, but that’s what sponsors are for.


In the same breath, if you look to another facility to shave costs, you have to keep up the quality. Your customers and their guests will not pay $225 to play a course that they can play for $29 at their leisure. It is a balancing act to say the least.


In the example above, they only had 125 players. That means that they have room for 19 players to have a “full field” and more bodies would absolutely increase their overall revenue, but more importantly, they are also 163 players short of a Double Shotgun for their special day. Instead of half of the committee running around town collecting $25 dinner cards from the local pizza joint, they should be focusing every second of their day SHAKING HANDS with people (not sending email blasts) and asking them to play in their event, not because of the “cause”, but because every committee member simply knows a bunch of people. Use your connections at school, church, the gym, work and more to get a friend or acquaintance to come to your outing. Let them fill their own foursome. To fill a Double Shotgun field you only need commitments from 72 golfers to play in your event! Certainly your committee can get between 36 and 72 warm bodies to commit to play in your event. You don’t care who they bring with them.


As for making it “stand out more”, look to making your outing more of an event. Every person at your event has a wallet and every wallet has at least one credit card. You want to make sure that you are around as many wallets for as much time as possible.


Far too often I hear of golf outings and events that feel like they want to get their guests off the property as quickly as possible. Trust me when I tell you that you will lose 10% of your field to those that have to leave for personal, business or family needs anyway. The rest are all yours. Cater to them and their guests and THAT is where your profit numbers will increase.


Right from the start, try this:

Give everyone in the field a Gift Certificate to the golf shop of the course you are playing for $25, work out a deal with the pro where you buy the certificates at 20% off or $20 each and they are only good the day of the event. All certificates not redeemed at closing are refunded to you in the amount of $15 per certificate, which gives the pro a free $5 bill for all unused certificates. Since you raised your fee to play you are making money on every golfer but you are also giving them their choice of goody bag gift as well as profiting on both used and unused gift certificates all day long!

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