Can you ever really have too many layers of entertainment? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. That’s like saying you can have too much pizza or fun or puppies—it’s impossible! So, when hosting your golf tournament event, let’s pile on the delightful amusements. Here’s some suggestions on how to entertain your tournament guests and leave them with (almost) best day ever overload. Point is to extend hospitality to guests.
1. Host a golf-inspired banquet.
If you have read any of our other blogs, you knew we were going to start with our favorite—food (and of course drinks!). You might be thinking not really special– every tournament does some type of food or banquet. So how are you going to make yours different and way more noteworthy? With a bit of creativity and maybe some golf-theme inspiration via Pinterest and a couple of dynamite blogs.
Can we do dessert first? Yea, let’s throw convention to the wind and do dessert first, consequences be damned. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll come up with almost endless golf ball and grass dessert ideas. So much deliciousness to choose from whether you are going to make it yourself or call in a professional.
To help you narrow it down, a couple of dessert ideas that we loved best were these golf ball truffles and putting green brownies, powdered sugar donut holes on cake pop sticks in craft grass (spiked or unspiked), dessert crumble sand traps, and/or designer golf cakes and cupcake toppers.
All of your food doesn’t have to be dyed green (you’ll be encroaching on St. Patty’s Day territory there) or be made to look like grass, that might be hard when you get to the main course stuff and appetizers anyway. Instead of turning everything into golf balls and grass, you can go the interpretive route with food and appetizers and give them clever golf-theme names, both of which you can find examples of here.
It’s not just the food that you want to keep with the theme, don’t forget about jazzing up the food tables as well. You can go with things like golf theme-centerpieces that include number flags, golf balls, and fresh flowers. We’ve seen so many clever ideas we think you’ll wish you hosted more tournaments just so you can try them all out.
All that driving—clubs and carts—really works up an appetite and it’s nice to give everyone a little something to keep them going. Plan to give the players some easy to eat on-course snacks (golf-themed, naturally) that can give them quick energy and keep them playing through the 18th hole.
for creative cocktail-ing. Or you can take classic drinks and give them golf-inspired names like Tee Off and The Eagle.
Whether you want to have alcohol or do mocktails (preferably both to accommodate everyone), if you don’t have Arnold Palmers available (half iced tea/half lemonade, spiked or without), are you really hosting a golf tournament?
2. Hold games within the game.
This is a change to ramp up the competition and challenge factors for players. If golf isn’t hard enough for some of the old pros on the links, adding some extra games within the game can keep the excitement alive. Have a hole-in-one competition (who gets the most) or have a contest to see who can get the biggest flock of “birds” (birdie, eagle, albatross). Think outside the box with some golf pong where players have to try to chip balls into larger buckets or barrels, or do some classic games like scramble and best ball.
What about incentives to play and win? We mean glory and links cred is great and all, but bragging rights just aren’t enough–players want you to show them the prizes. Depending on your budget, you can hand out trophies, golf equipment like customized balls, tees, or towels, gift certificates for things like free games or drink vouchers.
3. Have fun stuff for the non-golfers.
Not everyone plays golf or wants to play golf, but everyone wants to get out of the office for the day. But let’s be honest, not everyone is into watching others play golf, especially at binocular-needing distance. So how are you going to keep them entertained (besides the banquet and bar)?
Golf can be an intimidating sport and not something one just “picks up” in a day. Try to get everyone involved with a putting contest, even adding in some obstacles for more of a challenge (think small mini-golf course.
Seek out courses that offer help to ease beginners into the game such as clinics hosted by a club professional or getting to know the basics and etiquette of the game like they have available at California’s PGA-hosting Cordevalle.
Be sure to have fun awards for those who make an effort like “Most Improved” and “Biggest Potential”. You never know how many converts you’ll earn for next year’s tournament when you help make the sport fun and non-intimidating for the newbies.
4. Bring in the entertainment.
Like other corporate events, likely your golf tournament is an all-day affair. Mix things up with some non-golf entertainment (the non-golfers will thank you). Try booking some celebrity impersonators to mingle with guests anywhere from Tiger Woods to Happy Gilmore to non-golf celebs like Elvis.
Bring in guest speakers like athletes (local, regional, or national if you have the resources) or other local celebrities that have inspiring stories to tell. You can also lighten things up with a stand-up comedian or preplan a roast master event with one or two special “guests of honor”.
5. Have the band play on.
While special guests can entertain for shorter segments, a band can entertain for just about the entire day. Find a live brass band with a wide range of musical genres in their portfolio, allowing them to give everyone a little something they like. Golfers and non-golfers alike can tap toes, shimmy, and sing along to favorites whether eating lunch, taking a cocktail break, or just hanging out in the shade.
Another idea is to consider having the band near the 18th hole. They can play songs of victory to celebrate the success of the winners (or at least those who had a good game) or perhaps use music to help forget about a crushing defeat (scored a 130? Ouch!). Either way, upbeat music = happy times.
6. Golf cart drive-in theater.
If you want to think even further outside of the box, we think this is one of the most inspired ideas we’ve come across. At the end of the day, players and non-players alike can drive up and park their golf carts in front of a large projection screen and watch golf movies like Caddyshack, Happy Gilmore, of the Legend of Bagger Vance. If you think everyone might be golfed-out, pick a popular movie appropriate for a wide audience. Just don’t forget to have plenty of popcorn and soda available.
Many people love golf and it’s a great way to relax and socialize with colleagues and business connections. With some imagination, you can make it a memorable event for everyone—whether they love the game or love hanging out at the buffet. Happy golfing (or not golfing) to all!