what’s the price of golf?
A friend of mine who works for a global oil trading company, recently told me that his company had just received a report compiled by a group of actuaries they had engaged, to find out how much they had saved in terms of costs, as opposed to losing in new and ongoing business from clients. The conclusion was startling and very much in favour of spending half a million dollars on a golf event to generate an extra 100 million dollars, yet, senior management have yet to re-establish the annual event held during the annual oil and gas conference, because apparently, they would like to find out more exactly what it was about the event that made the difference.
So what did make the difference, what is the price of golf and what made it work. There are many factors and opinions that go into running a successful golf event that will last in the memories of your customers and friends, and much like baking a cake, opinions vary on what the end client liked most about the said cake.
Now all the best sales and marketing books, articles and guru’s out there, tell you that the best way to understand what your customers like or dislike about you, would be to put yourself in their shoes, and in my experience, 90% of golf events are organized and run people who don’t even play golf. An example of this would be a tournament a played in a few years back, when my buddy won the longest drive, for which his prize was a regular shafted 3 wood, because every guy who can hit a drive 300 yards wants a fishing rod in his bag.
For me, the age-old formula for any successful business can apply to any golf event and that would be you must use 2 of the following 3 ingredients, “Horny, Lazy & Greedy”. Now these may just sound like 3 rouge dwarfs, but when you think about it, most things in life can be broken down into these 3 things, a classic example being a bar and whether it either sinks or swims. The horny part would apply to either the design of the bar, the people who hang out there or just the good-looking bar maid. The lazy part is easy, it’s either next door to where you work or live, or you have been going there for years and just can’t be bothered to go anywhere else. And with the greedy part, well that’s the easy one, it’s just cheap beer. Now the thing is, you can only choose 2, why, well if you have all 3 you will soon become bankrupt and if you only have 1, well then you may survive, but for how long.
So, let’s use this formula for a corporate golf event. Horny, this would be the same reason why people go to their favorite bar, the people are great and it’s a fantastic opportunity to network, the course has a great reputation for design and condition and lastly, the hostess with the mostess on hand to assist you, will keep you smiling for weeks to come. Lazy, well that would be the location, the day of the week, month and year that falls into your client’s hectic calendar. For example, why would you attend a golf event in Singapore during the rainy season, as the chances are, you won’t even see the 1st tee. And for Greedy, well that’s always going to be what’s in the goodie bag and prizes on hand for the lucky draw because you will never win after all, as the same bloke does every year anyway.
Now we are kind of getting to a point of understanding what will work, let’s break it down further and give an example of what usually happens and what I think would be a winning formula for say a $500 per person budget for 140 golfers.
Exhibit A – non-golfing organiser – quantifying value for money
- $250 on a tier 1 course that’s too hard for 90% of golfers to play on – also booking these courses can be extremely hard, therefore you end up being given a slot during the off season
- $100 per head on the hole in one insurance for the car - nobody ever gets near.
- $20 on 3 Titleist golf balls that will be lost within the first 6 holes.
- $20 on a golf umbrella that falls apart with the first breath of wind.
- $5 per head on the hostess with the mostess – not enough to go round, you see them only on 1 hole.
- $20 on last season’s golf shirt & cap – left in the locker or straight to the charity shop.
- $50 on pre-game drinks and food – people eat drink and leave asap, no networking. done.
- $30 per head on lucky draw & winners prizes - usually golf clubs we already hit well enough.
- Total S500
Exhibit B – my version – quantifying the experience
- $150 on a course everyone can play and in great condition – there are plenty about and easier to book when you want.
- $30 on a dozen golf balls that play to the ability of everyone there – if players are too precious to use them, they will be re-gifted to those who will appreciate them and never wasted.
- $20 per head on the hostess with the mostess – plenty to keep the players entertained while waiting for the group in front to putt out for 20 minutes.
- $150 on a full set of customised shirt, shorts, cap etc – golf shirts are like puppies, they should be for life, or in this case 20 rounds of golf, not just for a day.
- $100 on F&B – the longer they stay, the more networking they will do.
- $50 prizes, no lucky draw – these should be rounds of golf or lessons, we all need them and with this budget, it would equate to 30 rounds of golf to give away. One for each flight, then the rest for the usual nearest the pin and longest drive.
- Total S500
So, as you can probably tell by now, my version would be all about extending the experience and reliving the memories again and again, with free rounds of golf, plenty of golf balls, new friends and golf attire you actually want to wear again. This way we have satisfied the 2 main ingredients from the 3 rouge dwarfs earlier, them being Horny & Greedy. For me, if you want a great golf event, forget Mr lazy and focus on the other 2 and you will get value for money from your marketing budget and at the same time be able to quantify where it has all gone.
Now off-course, this is only my personal opinion and I’m sure there are many of you out there who would disagree, so I do apologise in advance, as I’m only basing this on attending 200+ golf events in the past 10 years.
dapper dan morby