By Beth Buehler
With an average of 300 days of sunshine and a temperate climate nearly year-round on the Front Range and areas of the Western Slope, making golf part of a meeting itinerary is almost a no-brainer. Destination Colorado asked Jim Edfors, PGA, assistant golf professional and tournament coordinator at Hilton Denver Inverness in Englewood (Denver metro) several questions about hitting the links with groups.
DC: What are your top three tips for planners looking at hosting golf events for their corporate, nonprofit or association group?
JE: START EARLY! Getting out “Save the Date” announcements to your target audience well in advance of the event, contacting potential sponsors ahead of the rest of the pack competing for their dollars and securing volunteers well ahead of time prevents a last-minute scramble to cover necessary responsibilities.
DELEGATE! Don’t try to do everything yourself. Put different people in charge of different aspects: have a volunteer coordinator, a sponsorship coordinator, a registration coordinator, etc.
WORK CLOSELY WITH THE GOLF COURSE REPRESENTATIVE! The tournament coordinator at the hosting course is a valuable source of information, and that person often can help you avoid the pitfalls that lead to a stressful time in the run-up to the event. They will often have checklists and forms to help make sure all the important items are covered. Don’t be afraid to ask!
DC: What makes Colorado and your golf course special for golf outings?
JE: Our altitude makes the ball fly farther and straighter! Here at The Inverness Golf Club, we are renowned for our customer service and tournament administration. The course is well known for world-class conditions and fast, subtly sloping greens. Our semi-private resort status means that a golfer may only have the opportunity to experience our golf course through tournament play. Didn’t pack your clubs? We have nearly 60 rental sets on hand!
DC: How can non-golfers be involved in a fun way at a golf outing?
JE: Volunteers are often needed as witnesses for Hole in One or Closest to the Pin shots on par 3’s. There are also a variety of games that can be set up on the course to pass the time while waiting to tee off, like chipping contests with sponge balls, etc. Tournaments are often looking for volunteer photographers or volunteers to drive around passing out water and refreshments and interacting with (heckling!) the participants.
We have set up a miniature course on the practice green as a side event for non-golfers while the shotgun tournament is underway, and our PGA professionals can always run a golf clinic to help turn non-golfers into golfers!
DC: Why should planners consider a golf outing/activity for their groups’ itineraries?
JE: Fresh air and exercise is always good for brain function! Groups that interact with play often find themselves working better together as well. A golfing outing doesn’t have to be a 5-hour+ commitment for 18 holes, it can be half that time for 9 holes or even less for a clinic or a practice session. Dozens of Colorado resorts can customize a program to meet each groups’ unique needs.