Tournament Planning Guide

This planning guide is a first step to a well planned and executed event.  It will help you decide what type of event will work best for you and it will help the golf staff gather the information it needs to provide a well-informed quote.

    Why should we have a tournament?

    The first question is “what is the business reason for this tournament?”  Do you want to promote a new product or service? Do you want to thank and build future loyalty with your current customers or suppliers? Add new customers? Reward your employees? Build team spirit? Or several of these?

    Golf events are surprisingly inexpensive for promotional purposes. Direct costs average about $30 per player. Still, it is money spent and your company should have a clear expectation of the return on that investment. 

    Pick a day… and a time

    It is important to make this decision early and reserve the course. But it is also important to put some thought into your selection. Our weekday rates are considerably less expensive than our weekend rates, but if your guests are unable to take off work, the weekend might be the better option.

    Likewise, your preferred tee-off time deserves some thought. Morning tee-offs usually mean the entire day will be dedicated to the event. Early or mid afternoon tee-offs allow guests to work a half-day before starting. Your start time will also impact the catering requirements. If you start around noon you should consider providing some form of lunch (barbecue or box lunches). If you plan a sit down meal after the tournament you will want to plan your tee-off so you finish about 5 or 6pm. 

    Tournament format

    How many holes?

    Will you play nine holes or eighteen?  Each nine holes will take about two hours to play and the walking distance is about 4km. The demands of time these days often dictate nine-hole events but 18-hole events remain popular as well.

    Ambrose Format

    The Ambrose Format is the overwhelming favourite for corporate events. In this format each foursome plays as a team. All players tee-off and then play their next shot from the best resulting ball location. They continue in this fashion until the hole is finished.

    The advantage of the Ambrose format is that it takes the pressure off of new or inexperienced golfers. It also speeds up play. Since each foursome plays as a team, it is an ideal format for team building events or for building camaraderie with customers or suppliers. You will want to remember this aspect when you decide which players will be included in each foursome. Make sure your sales people are teamed with key customers or prospects.  Likewise, make sure your executives are teamed with appropriate guests.

    Ambrose Format Explained

    Download a thorough description of the popular Ambrose playing format for corporate and charity tournaments (95KB PDF)

    Competitions and awards

    Awards are usually given to players on the top three teams. Sometimes it is fun to give an award to the last place team as well. This is where promotional items such as caps or tee shirts come in handy.

    Another aspect of formatting is selecting individual hole competitions to add interest.  Examples are “nearest the pin” competitions on a par 3 or “longest drive” competitions.  You can have special awards for getting a “2” on a hole.  You can also purchase insurance and have a large prize, such as an automobile, if a player makes a hole-in-one.

    As part of our planning services we provide the markers and equipment you need on course. We offer Waahi Taakaro logoed shirts, caps, towels and balls which make great prizes and mementos. 

    Assigning foursomes

    Some thought should go into who you put in each foursome. Business reasons may dictate who plays together.  You should identify those relationships and assign to foursomes appropriately.

    Balancing foursomes for competition is another issue. Golfers have handicaps which allow players of unequal ability to compete with each other. Many of your guests may not have official handicaps. If you want to balance your foursomes for competition you can ask each player for their handicaps on their entry forms. If they do not have a handicap, ask them what they score on average when they play.  Deduct 72 (par) from their average score to determine a probable handicap.

    You can determine a foursome handicap by adding together the four handicaps and divide by four.  In that way you can determine a differential for each foursome which will allow them to compete fairly.

    You should give each guest a document that explains the tournament format and rules and lets him know which foursome he is in and where he should start the round.


    You should consider catering needs before, during and after the tournament.

    Before the tournament

    If your start time is around noon you should consider providing a light lunch before you begin. This can be classic barbecue fare or a box lunch. If you are renting the course (as opposed to a group fee), you may also bring your own equipment and serve using your own staff. Tournament participants almost always appreciate beer and/or wine as well.

    During the Tournament

    If you are renting the course you can have course stations, or hospitality tents, wherever you would like on the course.  Often these course stations are sponsored by suppliers and offer water, soft drinks, beer, wine along with food tidbits.

    An electric cart is available as well. This can be stocked with the above items and driven around to serve your guests on course.

    After the Tournament

    Sit-down meals offer plenty of time to conclude the event, award prizes and allow the entire group to socialize. Stand-ups, where finger food is on offer, can reduce your costs. The right choice for your company will depend on available budgets and should match the business reasons for conducting the event.


    There are options for handling the bar.

    • Guest Pays:  Each guest buys his own beverages
    • Company Pays:  The company picks up the bar tab.
    • Combination:  The company provides a drink ticket to each guest which can be exchanged for a beverage of choice. Additional drinks are paid for by the guest.

    What happens if it rains?

    Course rental fees can be set aside if the weather precludes any play on the course.

    Should it rain, however, please note that catering costs for food and preparation have already occurred by the day of our tournament. You may decide to go ahead with the meal or we will reduce the catering costs by 30% if you cancel. 


    • A golf instruction session is a nice touch many guests will find valuable. Our teaching professional will provide a 20 minute session for the group on any aspect of the game
    • A putting contest either before or after the tournament is something all players enjoy
    • A nearest the pin contest on our Junior’s Course is another idea.
    • Customized scorecards are available at Waahi Taakaro.  If you provide your logo files we will print score cards that promote your company and your sponsors.  Guests names and start locations can be printed on each card

    Also consider ...

    What happens when the guest arrives? 

    Will you have a place to sign-in? 

    Will you provide tournament kits (balls, tees, give-aways)? 

    Will you need hire equipment? 

    How many sets? 

    Ladies or gents? 

    Left or right-handed? 


    Deposit is $100. Remaining payment on the day unless prior arrangements are made 

    How to get a quote

    Complete the Checklist and send it to us….or bring it when you come to visit.  We will provide a formal quotation in return which, upon your acceptance, will confirm and reserve all the dates and times requested.

    Download the Tournament Checklist (8.2KB PDF)

    Download the complete Tournament Planning Guide

    The complete tournament planning guide is available for download, including the checklist (19KB PDF).