Livening Up Events

chris-hamburgerChris Hamburger, a PGA Certified Professional in golf operations, is the PGA head professional at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.

In order to help boost tournament participation, and of course revenue, we at Valhalla Golf Club have been employing a number of different tactics to help liven up our member events and outings. One of the most popular things we have introduced to our member tournaments is live scoring. Through the use of a mobile app, we are able to update tournament scores in real time, so that our members are always up to date on the latest scores, whether they are playing in the event or not. Our caddies input the scores after each hole completed, and we can even have multiple leaderboards in a single tournament for team or individual play or for flights. The members and guests have absolutely loved the live scoring feature of our events, and have all agreed that it has helped make the tournaments more memorable. We have also introduced contests that are unique to Valhalla’s championship history. Instead of offering a simple longest drive or closest to the hole contest, we replicate iconic shots that have happened during our multiple PGA of America championships that we have hosted. Examples include hitting from where J.B. Holmes’ near 400-yard drive on No. 17 ended up, the site of Phil Mickelson’s eagle chip on No. 18, and so on. Lastly, by offering unique prizes, such as championship belts, rather than the same old type of trophies, have really helped create buzz around some of our member tournaments.

By incorporating live scoring into all of our member events and 40 percent of our outings, it has not only helped create a tremendous amount of excitement during tournaments, but it has also helped cut down on scoring time after the conclusion of each event as we only need to verify each score. Many members like to keep track of where they stand in relation to the field while they’re out on the course and some even track tournaments from home! Our contests and unique prizes have also helped boost tournament participation here at Valhalla. With the introduction of the championship belts alone, we saw an increase in that particular events participation the following year. While live scoring is a little more involved than contests or prizes, it goes to show you don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel to help produce buzz and increase tournament participation.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email

Editor’s note: The above comments reflect the opinion and experiences of the submitting PGA Professional and are not endorsed by PGA Magazine or the PGA of America.