The 23rd Annual Iowa Turfgrass Institute/Iowa GCSA Benefit Golf Tournament raised more than $10,000 for turfgrass research and scholarships. Special thanks to Bill Byers, CGCS and Des Moines Golf & CC for hosting the 2004 event.
The success of this event depends on the involvement of many individuals, vendors and allied associations. Teams included members of Iowa GCSA, the Iowa Section of the PGA, Iowa Professional Lawn Care Association, Iowa Sports Turf Managers Association and the Iowa Golf Association.
Chad Pitts, Joel Kissel, IGA Executive Director Bill Dickens and LeRoy Oxley
Sponsorships are an essential element of the financial success of the Benefit Tournament. Hole sponsors are recognized by a sign, and by use of a small card given to each player as part of the ‘tee package’. The card has a blank line for each of the 18 holes, and a blank for the players name. Each player completes the card with the name of the hole sponsor as he or she progress around the course. Cards are collected following play, and one winner is drawn from the completed cards. This year’s winner received a 5.2 megapixel digital camera — great for sending pics to friends, colleagues and the chapter newsletter.
The "tee package" is important to building loyalty to the event. Each player receives a cap, sleeve of balls and the hole sponsor card. Golf towels, sunscreen packages and ball markers or tees also add value to participation. Some of our players have ITI/IGCSA Benefit caps dating back to 1981. This year each player received a sleeve of Pro V1’s with the ITI and Des Moines Golf & CC logos.
Sponsorships can be expanded to other parts of your event. The only limit is your imagination. Our chapter had sponsorships for the tournament flags, and dinner for the 128 players. Other tournaments have beverage and lunch sponsors, as well as ”title sponsors”. We also have a raffle with prizes donated by a wide array of vendors and individuals, with great fun during dinner and many people take something home from the event. Prizes range from caps and shirts to golf equipment and autographed memorabilia.
A great venue is very beneficial to filling the tournament field. Des Moines Golf & CC hosted a US Senior Open in 1999. The 36-hole facility recreated the Senior Open course for our event. That special ”flavor” is extremely important to bringing players back year after year.
One final note, and this may be the most important part of any successful event, send thanks to everyone. A personal note from the association, letters from the tournament director, association president and others are appreciated and make it much easier the next time you call for a team, sponsor or donation. We give a tournament flag to each member of the winning team and send a flag from the event to the dinner sponsor and flag sponsor. The flags or extra caps are also great gifts for the host Superintendent and/or staff. Recognize the sponsors in your publications and on your website. Good luck with your future events.
Submitted by Jeff R. Wendel, CGCS, Iowa GCSA
To share your chapter's success stories, please email them to Leann Cooper.