Eighteen years ago a group of Greater Detroit GCSA (GDGCSA) members agreed to raise funds for the Michigan Turf Foundation (MTF). They wanted to do something a little different, and they wanted to reach more people than just superintendents. They created “The Big Event”. The event generally raises around $20,000 annually for the MTF.
What is The Big Event?
The event is a golf tournament held over two weekends in October at two different private clubs. This year it will be held at the Polo Fields Golf & Country Club and the Detroit Country Club. GDGCSA members are encouraged to bring along friends or family members that might like the opportunity to play these wonderful facilities.
“Typically we will have a field that is split 50/50. About one-half of the players are in the golf industry while the other half are not. The Big Event is a great opportunity for your average golfer to play courses that aren’t generally open to them,” Mark McKinley, Class A member, Polo Fields Golf & Country Club said.
The tournament is a four-person scramble. Each person pays $150 to play. There are also raffles held each weekend, with a big-ticket item as the grand prize. All prizes are donated, and the golf courses donate all green fees and carts to the cause. “We try and rotate the private clubs on a five-year cycle. That way we aren’t asking the same courses every year,” McKinley said. The GDGCSA schedules the event at a time of year when the golf season is winding down. This creates less competition for the use of the golf facilities and the golfers.
Will this work for my chapter?
Most chapters hold scholarship and research tournaments benefiting their local university or turfgrass association. Chapters might consider tapping into a slightly different market when they advertise their golf events. Not only will your chapter be reaching out to a fresh source to raise funds, but your chapter could have a wonderful public relations opportunity. “It’s a great opportunity for our guys to talk about the golf course management industry. They discuss what’s new in the research field, and how golf courses are not only a fun place, but an environmentally friendly place as well,” Kay Patrick-Hiles, GDGCSA executive director, said.
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.