You know how it is, spring comes and talk turns to the annual office golf days out and those invites from suppliers you know you’re about to receive.
Inevitably there’s some you’re eager to RSVP to immediately, whilst there’s a few you’ll delay a response to in the hope you might get something better. There might even be some you’re desperate to give your excuses to, but you can’t remember which lame excuse you used last year!But what makes a golf day invite a golden ticket? Is it really all about the course? In our mind there’s 10 secret ingredients to the perfect golf days, so here goes:
1. The Course
Yes, undoubtedly the course is important but not always for the reasons you might think! A flag ship well-known name might well get my attention, but equally it may be a course that I’ve already received an invite for three or four times already this year. A more private course I’ve heard about, may intrigue me more. Or it may be a more corporate venue but one I know is not too difficult and always makes for some of the most fun golf days out. And that’s the point! What might be the perfect course for one event might not be the perfect course for another. It depends on your clientele.
2. Clear Communication
The venue’s right, but how do you keep me engaged enough not to cry off in the run up to the event? Clear communication either via email or through an online golf day microsite is the key. I want to know everything that’s happening, what times it’s happening, who I’m playing with, and who else is going to be there. We’re all naturally an inquisitive bunch and the more I feel comfortable about the day, the less doubt I’m going to have when other things inevitably come up giving me excuses not to attend.
3. The Welcome
Ok so result, you’ve got me to the day! But what’s really going to make this event one of the best corporate golf days I’ve ever attended? Like all things, first impressions really do matter. When I park up, I want to know exactly where I’m going to register, I don’t want to be looking around wasting my time and my energy. And when I find where to register, I want to see happy, friendly welcoming people who tell me the basics but don’t reel off endless bits of info. If I want it, I can ask, but really I just want to pick up the key info and grab some breakfast!
4. The Atmosphere
The welcome and general atmosphere of the event is absolutely key. I want to feel like it’s properly organised, but I also want to feel like it’s relaxed, friendly and warm. I want to be able to be myself, comfortable in my surroundings and able to perform my best both networking and of course on the golf course. It’s down to the event staff to make this work – the more they can do quietly behind the scenes, the more the host of the event can host and the more relaxed they will be at hosting. That rubs off on the guests.
5. The Service and Attention to Detail
The course is important but equally is the service I experience on the day. That’s from the events team with their welcome, their communication, the starter on the first tee, and their ability to deal with any queries but equally it’s the venue staff – the catering service, the quality of food, the pro shop. I want to come away feeling special and not just another customer on a conveyor belt of endless customers. I want to think ‘oh wow, they even thought of that’, and that might be as simple as a bucket of tees on the first tee or a personalised welcome on my buggy steering wheel.
6. The Network Opportunities
If I’ve chosen your day over other golf days and taken a day out of the office, I’m probably much happier if at the end of the day I feel I’ve gained something other than a round of golf. What were my fourball like? Were they the right mix? Did I have something in common to discuss? Did I get opportunities to meet others before and after golf? Was I sat at a relevant table? All things that a good organiser will ensure are covered.
7. The Gifts and Prizes
It’s definitely not all about the gifts and prizes, and certainly I don’t expect lots of expensive items, but if you are providing something it’s nice if it’s relevant, useful and something that I can proudly show off to others. What I don’t want is something that’s just going to get chucked in the cupboard at work or worse still the bin! Balls tend to be always welcome, but they’ve got to be a good ball, and yes it can be branded.
8. The Memories
If I’ve had one of those great golf days out – maybe the perfect round, or I’ve met some fun people it’s nice to have a memento of that. That doesn’t mean a staged photo on the tee necessarily but some candid photos or a short video montage capturing us laughing, having a good time or celebrating that putt. And if they’re sent to me on an email the day after or it appears on an online golf event site, then I feel like the event experience has lasted beyond the day.
Something that can affect my mood on the day and my overall experience is the journey. Hey, you might say, we can’t control the traffic and that’s a very valid point. But you can think about your guest’s average journey times to the venue, what time you plan to start, and whether you offer accommodation the night prior to make it a more relaxing experience. Because if you’ve chosen a venue that’s a nightmare to get to at 0900 on a Monday morning then that might well affect my feelings about the day!
10. The Weather
And finally ok, this is one you have zero control over! I can attend a day in the middle of June or a day in late October or March and the weather might be atrocious and quite literally a dampener on the day. But relax, I know you can’t do anything about that! If everything in points 1-9 are perfect, then hey a bit of weather won’t ruin my day and remember I’m a golfer and a British one at that, I’m used to playing in all sorts of weather!
So there you have it – ten straightforward secrets to perfect corporate golf days, well nine! Good luck and remember if you’re the one running the day, keep smiling and keep relaxed even when you’re really feeling the pressure. A smiling and relaxed you will undoubtedly make your guests happy and relaxed too!