With more than 25 million golfers in the United States (statista) and over 6 million in Canada (Golf Inc.), golf fundraisers are a great way to raise money, attract new donors, and spread the word about your cause.
9.6% more rounds of golf were played in North America in 2022 versus last year. That includes a 7.5% increase in Canada, with BC (15.9), and Québec (8%) leading the upswing.
To help you tee off, we’ve come up with a list of 30 golf tournament fundraiser ideas:
Ideas for a successful golf fundraiser.
Dinner and awards ceremony.
No charity golf event is complete without a dinner and awards ceremony. Host a charity auction, present the day’s awards, set up a photo booth… (You can even host it online as a virtual event for donors who can't make it.)
We reached out to an event planning expert for some help and solid advice.
Branded merchandise for your next golf tournament.
Branded golf merchandise is a creative (and lucrative) way to outfit your golf fundraisers. You can host a presale (Zeffy’s eCommerce feature can help) and sell and giveaway your merchandise at the tournament.
Partner with a vendor to create custom merchandise that features your logo and the golf club name. Think branded golf balls, towels, shirts, socks, hats...
Most golf tournaments have food and drink carts.
Golf makes you thirsty. And hungry. So, recruit volunteers to drive around in golf carts full of drinks and snacks—you can even ask local sponsors (think breweries, restaurants and grocery stores) to donate or sponsor the cart.
Free tap-to-pay apps will let your nonprofit collect donations by debit and credit in person.
Set up a photo booth or hire a photographer to wander around and take pictures during your tournament. Golfers can donate to use the photo booths or purchase photos as souvenirs.
Golf skills clinic.
Planning a charity golf tournament wouldn’t be complete without a golf skills clinic. Create a registration form using your free fundraising platform, and allow participants to sign up for golf clinics.
Good to know: Most golf courses have a pro on site that can lead the clinics.
Dress up contest.
If there’s one thing all golfers have in common, it’s that they love to dress the part. Up the ante with a dress up contest that encourages participants to take their golf look to the next level.
Local celebrity guests.
If you’re looking for a way to attract new participants to your golf fundraiser, convincing a local celebrity to attend, is a fail-safe way to spread the word and up your participation.
Once you’ve got a local celebrity signed up, encourage them to share your event on their social media accounts and, if they’re feeling generous, host an after party!
Renting a digital scoreboard is a fun way to encourage a little friendly competition, while keeping golfers and their families up-to-date.
Allow participants and their families to make donations that influence the scores or outcomes of the game. For example, you could make a donation to subtract strokes from a team's score.
Mini put tournament for kids.
Organizing a charity golf tournament is an excellent way to engage donors while fundraising for your nonprofit. But, have you ever thought of organizing a mini putt tournament to raise funds?
With a mini putt tournament, the whole family can join in and, if you time it right, you can even use the fundraising event to hype-up your golf tournament fundraiser.
Golf fundraising ideas: Skill contests.
A golf a thon—aka: make a pledge per hole, birdie, par, swing, etc.
Every golfer hopes their next game will be their best. Why not hype-up this mentality with a mini peer-to-peer campaign? Ask participants to sign up online and create their golf a thon campaign.
Once they’re up and running they can start collecting pledges from friends, family, or colleagues based on their upcoming performance.
Donors can pledge a certain amount per hole, birdie, or other golfing achievements.
Sell mulligans (extra chances to replay a stroke).
There isn’t a golfer out there who will buy a mulligan in advance, but when they need one, they’ll be willing to pay for it.
Offer a mulligans package at registration and mention that mulligans will also be available during the tournament for a much more generous donation.
(Zeffy’s Tap-to-Pay app even lets you accept debit and credit card payments in person—no fees attached.)
Longest drive contest.
This golf fundraising idea is pretty straight-forward: just choose a hole where golfers can compete to hit the longest drive, charge an entry fee for each attempt, and the golfer with the longest drive wins a prize.
Speed golf challenge.
Another easy one, a speed golf challenge combines golf and fitness, while mixing up the (sometimes) monotonous game.
Ask golfers to pay to attempt completing a round in the fastest time—without sacrificing accuracy.
A quick way to earn a few extra donations is a hole-in-one challenge.
Golfers can pay to participate, and if someone successfully makes a hole-in-one on the designated hole, they win a spectacular prize. (Maybe the golf course will offer membership for a year, etc.)
Closest to the pin.
This is another fun way to up the friendly competition quota of your golf events.
All you have to do is choose a par-3 hole and create a contest for participants to hit their ball closest to the pin.
A putting contest pits golfer against putting green. All you have to do is choose the hole and get putters to sign up for a chance to sink a long putt or navigate a challenging green in the fewest swings.
Beat the champ or pro.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Golfers sign up to compete against last years champion or the course pro. They can donate more for extra swings and other advantages.
You can assign a winner per hole and an overall winner for the course.
Set up target areas on the course, and charge participants to hit balls as close to the targets as possible.
Different targets can have different point values, and the golfer with the highest score and the end of the game, wins a great prize!
Golf fundraising ideas: Raffles and auctions.
A caddie auction.
We know, this one sounded weird to us too. But, hey, it's a creative way to raise additional funds!
A caddie auction is exactly what it sounds like: an auction for a personal caddie.
Before your golf fundraiser (use your event website), auction off the opportunity for golfers to have a celebrity or notable figure (Or, if all else fails, anyone will do.) as their caddie for the tournament.
The winning bidders get someone to carry their clubs for them.
Set up a silent charity auction.
Golfers love the latest swag and that means a silent auction is a great way to earn a little extra at almost any fundraising event.
Ask sponsors to donate silent auction items. Swag, clubs, gift cards, memberships, anything and everything that a golfer and their family will want to bid on.
You can even host an early bird silent auction on your event website.
A 50/50 raffle. (Or any raffle really.)
Selling raffle tickets during your golf fundraiser is a great way to raise more for your cause.
You can hold a traditional raffle for golf course memberships, swag, or lessons; or a 50/50 raffle where half of the proceeds go to the winner and the other half to your nonprofit.
A classic golf ball drop. (AKA: helicopter ball.)
A golf ball drop is a creative and fun way to raise money for your cause during your golf tournament.
All you have to do is sell numbered golf balls before and during your tournament. And, at some point during the day of the event, drop them from a helicopter or a designated height.
The ball that lands closest to a target wins.
Everyone loves golf bingo.
Golf bingo is a great way to engage golfers and spectators.
Create bingo cards with various golf-related challenges or achievements (e.g., birdie, longest drive, first player to order a beer, etc.). You can get really creative with these and include more personal elements too.
Participants pay to participate, and they mark off spaces on their cards as they accomplish the challenges.
The first to complete a line shouts "bingo" and wins!
Golf fundraising ideas: sponsorships.
Offering different levels of sponsorships for local businesses or individuals can really help your nonprofit raise money, while spreading the word.
Your packages can include sponsorships for specific holes, events, or activities during the tournament.
We’ve written a few more articles to help you create your sponsorship packages and presentations:
Every golfer has a favourite hole—one they know (or think they know) they can birdie or maybe even get a hole-in one.
By allowing donors to dedicate a particular hole to someone, you’ll be helping players claim their hole and earn a few extra dollars for your nonprofit.
Golf cart sponsor.
This one is exactly as it sounds: get a sponsor to cover the cost of renting golf carts for the tournament. In return, they can have their logo displayed on each cart.
Golf cart parade.
This one is pretty creative!
A cart decorating contest and parade is a fun way to get the whole community involved in your golf tournament fundraiser.
Participants and sponsors pay an entry fee to decorate their carts. During the lunch break, the carts can pass by one after the other.
By allowing businesses or donors to sponsor individual holes on the course, you can let participants literally brand their favourite holes.
Local businesses can display their company signage, distribute promotional materials, and interact with participants at their sponsored hole.
Beverage cart sponsor.
Partnering with a local brewery, distillery, grocery store, or restaurant to sponsor your beverage and snack carts is a creative way to raise a little extra while providing drinks and snacks to participants throughout the tournament.
Sponsors can deck their carts our with signage, free swag, prizes, whatever they can think of!
A few dedicated awards.
Allow local businesses and donors to sponsor awards during your golf tournament fundraiser is a fun and creative way to keep your community involved.
Awards can be named after individuals, businesses, ideals, impresive feats, anything!
How to host a golf tournament fundraiser:
A charity golf tournament sounds like a lot of fun—and is a great way to raise funds for your nonprofit. But, planning a charity tournament is a whole other story.
These 11 steps are here to help. (Read our complete article: How to organize a charity golf tournament.)
1. Define your fundraising goal.
Before doing anything else, set a goal for what you want your charity golf tournament to accomplish. This will help you decide on the an amount you want to raise and guide you in the rest of your planning decisions.
2. Plan your fundraising golf tournament for your golfers.
One of the first questions you need to ask when planning a golf event is: who do you want to attend?
Maybe your tournament is more of a family event, meaning guests will be paying out of pocket to attend. Or, you might want to consider corporate donors, meaning companies will be paying for the tickets.
Once you’ve landed on a target audience, you can then decide on the number of golfers you plan on inviting. A tournament on an 18-hole course can hold up to 144 golfers. 40 golfers is the suggested minimum for a fun and challenging tournament.
3. Form a fundraising team to help plan your charity golf tournament.
To help you organize your charity golf tournament, and to keep from loosing your mind, we recommend recruiting a core group of people to help you out. The smaller the committee, the easier it is to communicate and be consistent. From there, you can delegate to other volunteers.
4. Outline your charity event budget.
A clear budget (with a little wiggle room) will help you attain your fundraising goal or maybe even exceed it! You’ll want to keep your overhead investment at a necessary and reasonable level—and knowing where and what to spend your money on will help with that.
Always build a buffer into your event budget of at least 10% for unexpected expenses.
- Ally R. Potel
Sponsors can be a big help here. With the help of your designated sponsorship committee member, create sponsorship packages with different levels and associated perks.
You’ll also need to decide how much you will be charging your guests. (Golf tournaments are some of the pricier fundraising events for donors so, sponsorships can go a long way to keeping the ticket prices reasonable.)
5. Find the right local golf course.
One thing that can make or break the success of your tournament is the course you choose.
We’ve got a few things for you to keep in mind when choosing your golf course.
Helpful considerations when choosing your golf course:
- Does this course match the type of player you are trying to attract?
- Does the tournament package being offered work within your budget?
- Is it close enough to the guests you want to attract?
- For some of your donors, what’s most important is not choosing the greens, but the venue for the party afterward!
One last thing, once you’ve confirmed everything with the golf course and any other necessary venues, insist on signing a contract.
6. Reserve the golf course.
Speaking of contracts… It’s one thing to ask for one, it’s another to know what to look for before you sign it. We can’t help you with all the finer details, but here are a few things to double check:
- Date and time.
- Course services.
- Settle on the unknowns.
- Cancellation and weather policies.
7. Begin promoting your event.
When it comes to getting golfers to attend your event, word of mouth works wonders! But, if that doesn’t sell all the tickets, there are a few different audiences you can reach out to come support your organization. (And not everyone has to play golf.)
- Supporters of your cause.
- Avid golfers.
- Locally known personalities.
- Younger golfers.
8. Choose a free event registration and online ticketing platform for nonprofits. (Such as Zeffy.)
This may sound like we’re promoting ourselves, and we are. But, hear us out. Choosing a nonprofit event ticketing platform that fits your needs while saving you money is an important step in organizing any event.
9. Find additional fundraising ideas for your charity golf tournament.
Make your golf tournament even more successful by adding additional opportunities to give to your cause—and if those opportunities are original, it’ll also make your event unforgettable.
There are 30 fundraising ideas in this article. But, in case they don’t cut it, ChatGPT is a great place to start.
10. Recruit volunteers.
Work with your volunteer committee member to recruit volunteers to help you plan and run your charity golf tournament to keep it running smoothly. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and ensure their tasks and schedules are clear so that your volunteers can prepare and know what they’re going to be helping with pre, post and during the event.
11. Say thank you.
Thank everyone. Your volunteers, the golfers, donors, the golf course, your sponsors. This probably isn’t news, but a friendly reminder never hurts.
ChatGPT can help you write your thank you emails, but a personal touch is always a good idea.
Make your golf tournament fundraiser a success with Zeffy.
You’ll want a platform that’s customizable so you can create as many different ticketing options and events as you need and, most importantly, help keep track of sales, attendees, meals, raffle tickets, merch sales, etc.
A few examples of what Zeffy (or other event registration platforms for nonprofits) can help you with:
- Event ticketing for half a cart, individuals, dinner only, or just donations.
- Raffle ticket sales.
- Meal choices and dietary restrictions.
- Group creation and peer-to-peer fundraising options.
- Tax receipts.
Most ticketing platforms will cost you around 7% of the ticket price. Zeffy's different. Zeffy doesn’t charge any fees (we even cover transaction fees) for any of our services. So, 100% of what is paid actually goes to your nonprofit.