Eeny, meeny, miny, mo – which golf course will I choose for my golf day? I think I will choose that one over there.
Unfortunately choosing a golf course is not as simple as remembering one that you saw on television during a golf tournament or driving past one on your way to work.
When choosing a potential golf course venue a large number of factors need to be considered and each can have an important bearing on the success or otherwise of your event.
Over the next few weeks I will discuss each of these factors and offer a guide to make sure you choose the golf course which will give your golf day the best possible chance of succeeding.
Finding a Golf Course which is available
Probably the biggest factor in selecting a golf venue is the availability of the golf course to host your day when you want it.
A large number of golf courses make their course available to corporate groups on one day of the week. So in a given year, after taking out public holidays, Christmas and the lead up, January holiday periods etc there may only be 38 to 40 dates available for a given course each year. And in a large number of cases these are booked from year to year by the same group.
Feedback from companies who have tried to locate a golf course on which to host their day has determined that an average of 8 to 10 telephone calls are required to find a venue which may be suitable. This takes up valuable staff time.
Additionally premium venues like Kingston Heath in Melbourne, NSW Golf Club in Sydney and Royal Adelaide in Adelaide book out continuously from one year to the next. Existing groups generally rebook for the following year at the time they are holding their current golf day. As you can imagine it becomes a tough proposition to "get on this roundabout". Once you board the roundabout everything is fine but the challenge is to get on.
There are a number of ways of getting on to the roundabout:
Express your interest with the golf club - they may not have current availability but may keep your name on file should a vacancy appear.
Use an external event manager to organise your event - a respected golf event manager will have built up good relationships with many of the golf courses that you are looking at as a venue. Whilst the event manager cannot magically create availability from nothing, they are generally kept advised of late changes to availability ahead of a company which has had no prior dealings with a golf club.
Book a long way in advance - a number of golf clubs allow the booking of a day in excess of 12 months prior to the event. Whilst this requires plenty of forward thinking, it is a good way of getting on the roundabout.
So what is the best way of going about finding a venue?
Talk to your colleagues around the office who may be members of a golf club or have played at different golf clubs in your area.
Look up the Yellow Pages under the golf course section. This will generally only give you a list of public and resort type courses.
At the back of most street directories there are categorised sections outlining everything from churches to Golf Clubs. Use this as a guide and then contact each club individually.
Review golf magazines for golf courses offering their course as "the ideal venue for your corporate golf day" are all ways of finding a golf course.
The key to finding a venue which meets your needs is to do your homework about what the club can offer, book enough time in advance and visit the golf club prior to committing to a day. An onsite inspection of facilities is an important part of selecting a venue and can provide the "positive gut feeling" necessary to securing a suitable venue.