Substitute Closest-to-the-Hole Prizes for Hole-in-one Prizes

Thomas-BrinsonThomas Brinson, a PGA Certified Professional and a CMAA Certified Club Manager, is the PGA head professional at Raveneaux Country Club in Spring, Texas.
During our tournaments, we traditionally had two of our four par 3s as hole-in-one contests with something along the lines of a $25,000 cash prize or a car. The insurance costs average around $850 for the people who are running the event, and all that money is spent for a very slim chance of a contestant walking away with the prize. It’s definitely nice to walk onto the tee box and see a beautiful car or a sign for a $25,000 cash prize, but nobody is going to get a warm and fuzzy feeling at the end of the day unless they hit a miraculous shot. So what we did was take the $850 and offered much more impressive closest-to-the-hole prizes, such as two Bushnell rangefinder units, each at a $300 value, and two smaller prizes to round out the par 3s. This is done in order to guarantee that four people walk away extremely happy at the end of the day. The reality is that you don’t have to offer a trip to the Bahamas, a large cash prize or a car that probably will never be given away as prizes. The endgame is that you want people to have a good feeling and you want them to come back to play your course and/or support the group hosting the tournament. This is a win-win for both parties for the same price as hole-in-one insurance; it helps the tournament, by making for ecstatic participants, and our facility in many ways, including return business.

Not only are we selling $850 dollars worth of merchandise out of the golf shop each event, but we are also allowing for a greater likelihood of repeat business. Our clients are going to look at our club and see how we helped them out with doing a really neat event. The better we can make them look, the more favorable they will look at us and the more likely they are to want to return their event to Raveneaux next year. While nothing ever comes down to just one added feature, we’ve never lost an event since we started doing this and it has helped make our tournaments more successful.

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