What Makes a Good Golf Promo (According to Charity Golf Event Organizers, Sponsors and Attendees)
Charity golf tournaments and company golf outings are a cornerstone of the promotional products industry. For one thing, there are a ton of things for logos to live on. Signage, apparel, golf balls, golf tees, hats. Gift bags for participants.
Despite its wide appeal, golf is anything but a one-size-fits-all sport. Ask any golfer you know about what kind of ball they like to use, how they like their gloves to fit, what brand of hats they like to wear, etc., and they’ll likely have an opinion.
The same goes for the gifts they receive at an outing. It needs to convey something very particular to the recipients that they can then convey to others. In short, it needs to have a very particular high perceived value, otherwise, it’s not worth it to pay to participate.
“There’s a balance between being too flashy and leaving the golfer feeling like, ‘That’s great, I’m coming back next year,’” Chris Riendeau, senior vice president of Stamford Hospital in Connecticut, told Golf.com.
Golf.com interviewed people involved with golf outings to get a sense of what exactly attendees are looking for in their promo products. The consensus among them was that the promos can be a make-or-break factor in whether or not people want to go to an outing. Sure, the golf is fun, and it feels good to support a cause. If you can get a pro involved in it, that’s a nice bonus. But, at the end of the day, the promo gifts are really what live on in the attendee’s head, and can be the deciding factor when it comes to sign up next year.
Ed Brockner, executive director of First Tee of New York and New Jersey, told Golf.com that if an event goes for the shotgun approach and just gives out a ton of promos, it's already missed the mark.
“There’s so much money spent on stuff that people don’t want,” he said. “You have to think about what you’d want to wear yourself. Some of those big, tacky logos may never make it out of the closet.”
Just like in golf scoring, sometimes less is more.
One retired banker told Golf.com that he’s had it with big white elephant-type gifts that take up space and gather dust, like plates, vases or even wine bottle openers. To him, the perfect gift is a bag tag with the course’s name on it.
A lot of commemorative golf products are small. Most courses have a poker chip with the course name on it. Maybe a golf tee or a ball marker. Things like that are subtle flexes that golfers can pull out to say, “Oh, yeah I did play at Pebble Beach, thanks for noticing,” without actually saying it.
After all, golf is a sport steeped in decorum and etiquette.
If you’re going to go bigger with your golf promos, it needs to have a wow factor. One example in the Golf.com article was for an annual event held by golf legend Jack Nicklaus, where attendees received a duffel embossed with Nicklaus’s Golden Bear logo and filled with things like shirts, glassware, a face mask, golf balls and an umbrella. These are all things that can be used on the course (or in the clubhouse after), unlike a vase or a plate. Also, it has one of the most recognizable names and logos in the sport on it, which adds some credibility.
The bottom line is that for golf, your first instinct should be understated and sophisticated. Not every golf outing participant is going to be Rodney Dangerfield’s character in “Caddyshack.”