Posted by Erin Oakley on 4/15/2017
to Disc Golf
This is for all the tournament directors (TDs) and organizers out there whether you are a seasoned professional or want to learn some more about running a disc golf event. There are so many little things that you need to be successful and organized. Being organized is a huge key in running a smooth event. If you don't have your stuff together, it can be stressful and no one wants to feel that way, so I have been working on tools and tips to help myself, as well as others, to be prepared for the big day.
The first, and probably most important, thing is to have some volunteers helping you. Running a disc golf tournament or event, is a team effort. Have at least 2 other people who will be willing to hang out at tournament central for you while the event is taking place. They can be responsible for checking in and registering players in the morning, setting the scoreboard with players and their hole assignments, checking and adding scorecards in between and after rounds. This will allow the tournament director some time to answer questions from players and spectators. You can also use volunteers as spotters who can watch for players discs on tough holes that have tall grass, or places that may not be visible to the players as they throw, and holes with ‘out of bounds’ so the spotter can get an accurate view for the line of play if someone goes out. With the growth of our sport, we can always use photographers to get great shots of the players in action on the course. It is always nice to “tip” the volunteers with tournament gear. Make sure they get at least a minimum of 1 disc per round for helping. They will more likely return to help again even if they did it just because they wanted to help all because you appreciated their help.
Try to have your CTP prizes, raffle prizes, payout prizes, etc..., already separated. It makes for much less work during the day of the tournament. If you know how many CTPs you will have and what holes they will be placed on, get the CTP markers/flags ready to go. This simple step can easily be forgotten at events if not prepared before the day of the event. Many TDs are so caught up in making sure things are set for the players in the morning, that it is sometimes looked over (I’m totally guilty of this!).
When looking for event sponsors, be prepared to offer them something in return for their sponsorship. Most disc golf related sponsors, companies or friends, will give donations for a simple thank you at the players meeting because they are willing to give back to the sport. However, if you're looking for some non-disc golf specific items for your event, make sure when you ask for a donation that you tell them what you're willing to do for them. Your return favor could be a thanks at the players meeting, a printed thank you in an event program, and for bigger sponsors you could offer their company logo on flyers or discs or banners. It is important to them that they are getting exposure for helping you out.
The more donations you get, the more stuff you can give away! This is where the extra volunteers or your local club members could help also! Ask your local members if they work at a place that will donate a # of something for player packs. The more items you get donated to the players, the less $ you have to account for (such as taking it out of the entry fees to get the money back that you have spent prior to the tournament), and the less money you take out for player packs, the more money stays in for payouts.
It is often assumed that player packs and prizes must consist of disc golf related items. However, you’d be surprised how many people already have enough discs, towels, minis...etc., so why not get some local businesses, or even online businesses to donate gift certificates/gift cards. This way the players can go pick out something they need or want.
I always give back everything that the tournament has brought in. If there is any leftover money flow from the event after paying our vendor, it will be used to prepare for the following year, or sometimes be donated to other women-only disc golf tournaments or junior entry fees for other events. Each year I start from scratch again and it is completely rewarding to see the continued success of my events. I wish you all luck and hope you too can stay organized and stress free when planning and running disc golf events :)