Over the last few years, the golf industry has seen a drop in the number of golfers participating in traditional 18-hole golf outings. This is especially troublesome to charitable causes or nonprofit organizations that rely on these events for fundraising.
Starting in April, 2014, Sauganash Golf Club in Three Rivers, will offer a shorter, nine-hole fundraiser golf outing option to local organizations and will return 10 percent of the golf fees to the charity, according to Bob Bales, owner of the course and PGA member.
“One reason for the drop in outing participation may be the time commitment,” he says. “A typical outing for 80-100 people would tee off at 8 or 9 a.m. and finish, after food and awards, somewhere between 2 and 4 p.m. That is most of a day away from work or chores.”
People may not have five to six hours to commit to a traditional outing, no matter how much they support the cause, he says, so offering nine-hole outings is his way to shorten the time commitment and, hopefully, increase the number of golfers who participate.
The nine-hole charity outing also offers a significantly smaller entry fee to play in an event, which may bring in more and younger players, and as a result, a higher return to the charity.
“Outings in the $20-$30 per person range may attract more people to support the cause,” says Bales.
And another plus for the shorter nine-hole format is that it encourages golfers of all abilities and ages to help raise money by playing. Games and competitions beyond “longest drive,” or “closest to the pin” allow all players a chance to win, regardless of ability or age.
Finally, at the end of the day, as its way of helping the many worthy causes in the area, Sauganash will donate 10 percent of golf fees from the charity outing back to the organization.
“At some point, Sauganash will establish an annual charity event of its own for a worthy cause, but with so many to choose from, this seems like a good way to start,” Bales says.
Nine-hole charity outings cost as little as $22 per person and include nine holes with a cart, a light lunch or appetizers, and an awards ceremony. The nonprofit organization is encouraged to recruit sponsors for holes, prizes, and putting contests. Marketing and publicity support is provided by the course to help them get started. Other meal options and discounted prize packages are available from the course.
If you have a worthy cause, or know of a charity that wants to host an outing, call Bales at 269-501-0262, email firstname.lastname@example.org or LIKE Sauganash Golf Club on Facebook.
The course is located just south of Three Rivers at 61270 Lutz Road.