• Hole #4: Budget and Finances for Golf Tournaments                

    Phil Immordino  •  July 29, 2021

Don’t spend more than you bring in

Sounds crazy but there are many groups that lose money when producing a golf tournament. Why, because they do not manage their money. For many of you money is the purpose of the event. 90% of golf events are fundraisers. So it only makes sense to make as much as you can. Creating and sticking to a budget will make the difference between making money and losing money.  The goal should be to maximize income and minimize expenses, yet at the same time not being cheap. Golfers and sponsors do not want to participate in a cheap event. We should all try and produce a first-class event.

When creating your budget let’s remember a few things:



  • SPONSORS – Sponsors are the main source of profit. Sponsors are best sold through relationships and offering them a return on investment. The more sponsors you have the more money you will make.  
  • GOLFERS – Golfer registration fees cover the cost of the event. The key is to ensure that golfers get value, getting more than they pay for. We will discuss how much you should charge in just a moment.  
  • AUCTION – If an auction is done right it can generate a lot of income. The key is big items and promoted in advance through emails and on your website. An auction should be promoted to many others, not just your golfers on the day of the event.  
  • APPEAL – Do not forget to ask for more money at the awards ceremony. If you put together a nice heartfelt presentation of your organization and where the money is going, you will raise additional funds. 
  • GAMES & CONTESTS – Incorporate games and contests that generate additional income. Golfers love them and when they win they will remember your event in the future. We will discuss several of these games in step #12.
  • SUPER TICKET – Golfers are tired of you asking them for $5 at every turn. Consider packaging everything into one great deal. Include raffle, mulligans, games and contests and sell this package online in advance and at registration.
  • RAFFLE – A raffle can generate thousands of dollars. Utilize smaller items with one big grand prize that gets the golfers excited about buying the raffle tickets. Give everyone at least one ticket for the grand prize to keep people to the end of the event. 
  • MULLIGANS – This is a do over. Golfers love to buy do over’s. But do not sell too many. Limit them to 2 per golfer. This way no one can buy the tournament.
  • DONATIONS – Many companies and individuals will want to offer a cash donation without being involved in the event. Give them that opportunity on the website and include their name somewhere, either on the website or the brochure.



Our job here is to keep the expenses low but at the same time not to be cheap. Golfers and sponsors want to be involved in a first-class event. So we are to watch our expenses carefully but not necessarily go with the lowest price. Here are just a few thoughts on your expenses.  

  • GOLF COURSE – The course is your biggest expense and one of the main reasons golfers play in your event. Golfers want a great golf course in good condition. Do not go with the cheapest rate.
  • FOOD – Golfers want more than just a burnt hot dog with a drink ticket. Give them food that they get excited about.
  • BEVERAGE – Pay for the beverages, sodas, and water. It goes a long way and golfers will remember it. DO NOT PAY FOR THEIR ALCOHOL.
  • GOLFER GIFTS – The Golfer Gift Package (Goodie Bag) the first thing that they receive when they arrive must have an impact. It shows a quality event if it is a good package. Ideally, sponsors will cover the costs. 
  • CONTEST PRIZES – Golfers want to play for something worthwhile. It is great if you can get these items donated but if you must pay for them. 
  • SIGNS – Make impact with signage. Sponsors want to see their name placed prominently and big. Do not settle for the little signs that you have seen in the past (2’ x 2’). Make your event look bigger with bigger signs. Get three quotes and the best price.  
  • INSURANCE – Hole- in-one insurance is a fun expense but prices are across the board. Get three quotes and ask what else comes along with that price. Many companies offer additional prizes for the other three holes.
  • WEBSITE – You must have a website for your event to add credibility. They are not expensive and they come with golfer registration and reports that will help you organize your event. 
  • ADVERTISING – You may want to consider spending a little money on advertising. The goal is to reach golfers and get exposure for sponsors. If there are trade magazines and blast email programs to reach your demographics then take a look at the return on investment. 
  • PRINTING – Brochures can be an added tool to your marketing. Do not print them before you sell sponsors. Sell sponsors first so that you can put their logos in them. The purpose of the brochure is to get golfers. 
  • POSTAGE – You will need to spend a little money on postage. Mainly to mail brochures to potential golfers.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – We encourage a team photo for the golfers to take home with them. They love it and hold on to them. This offers you ongoing marketing of your event. 
  • BANK FEES – You should be accepting credit cards. It will stream line sponsor, donor and golfer collections. However, when accepting credit cards comes fees from the bank. Do not forget them and build them into your budget.




When setting Registration fees there are some important factors to keep in mind. Your goal is to fill your field with golfers. There are many golf tournaments in your town and you want to price it right so as to offer value to your golfers. Do not over charge. Do not try to make a lot of money from your golfer registration fees. Keep the fees as low as you can to ensure a full field of golfers. Sponsors are your profit. Sponsors like to see a full field. When you are established or have a waiting list then you can consider raising the fees. This is not to be applied when hosting a Pro-Am or Celebrity – Am. You can charge a lot more with these type events because you are offering more value.  

Registration Fee Formula

Take your expense per golfer and charge a little more. Example; Green Fees $75, Food $25 and Gifts $25, your total cost per golfer is $125. You can charge $130 to $150 per player. Remember that you are trying to create value, giving the golfers more than they pay for.

STAFF INVOLVEMENT – Your organization staff should not be involved in the event during operating hours. If they are you need to add the time that they spend on the event into your budget. This is why we encourage volunteers.

TRADING –  Trading can be a very valuable tool.  It allows you to get the items you need without spending real money.  Trade for as many things as you can, but make sure the item you want is more valuable than the hard cost of the item you are trading. DO NOT TRADE FOR THINGS THAT COST YOU MONEY; Green fees, lunch and gift packages. Trade for sponsorships and exposure only.   


Items to Offer in trade:

Sponsor Signage on Hole – The value is $300 and up, the cost is only $25.

Name in the Program or Brochure – This is no cost to you, but great value to a sponsor.

Include them on the website.

Things to Trade For:

Advertising – This can help promote your event.

Printing – Can save you money on your brochure.

Merchandise – Shirts and caps for golfers.

Prizes – For contests, raffle and auctions.

Trophies – For the winners.

Signs – For your sponsors.

Discount Green Fees – Get a better deal on the course by giving the course exposure.

Discount Food – Be nice to the Food & Beverage Manager



No one plays for free. Not committee members, sponsors, or friends and family. This is one way you will lose money. Make sure that everyone pays. Committee members should sell a foursome and they can play in it or have a goal for them. If they bring in 4 foursomes they can play at a reduced fee. When creating sponsor packages and offering foursomes, make sure that you build in the cost of the golf into the sponsorship.

Your budget is your guideline to your success. Watch it carefully. Make sure that you get several quotes on each item. Do not let anyone on the committee spend money without authorization.