Brian Stubbs, PGA, is the Executive Director of the Fred Haskins Commission.
When I was the PGA Professional at the Country Club of Columbus, in Georgia, a Georgia versus Auburn golf tournament was held the Sunday prior to the football game, which is a fierce rivalry. This golf tradition began in 1986 and is ongoing. From 1986 until 2002, the golf tournament was played every other year, but beginning in 2002 has been held annually. It’s wildly successful, capped at 100 players. Two head coaches are appointed, and players, both men and women, sign up as two-person teams. Participants are encouraged to dress up in team colors and decorate their carts; it’s a big competition. Children and families come out to decorate the carts, and photographs are taken. Awards are given for best-dressed players and best-decorated carts for each side. The head coaches determine the pairings, but the foursomes decide their own format, scoring system and handicap strokes, if necessary. All that is recorded is who wins each match. This plan allows players of all abilities to participate. Right before the shotgun start, the team golf cars are separated by 20 yards and the coaches give inspirational speeches, sometimes even bringing in outside speakers. People take this tournament seriously and love the pomp and circumstance. A cookout with a tailgate theme mimics the football game experience.
The entry fee is $45 per player, $90 per team. No prizes other than best dressed and best golf cars are given. Hats were given as tee prizes last year, at a cost to the club of $8 per player. The club spends between $750 and $800 each year on tee gifts. The prizes are gift certificates for the golf shop. Families gather around to hear the award announcements. The tailgate cookout is included in the fee, but extra food & beverage purchases are a significant revenue source for the tournament – up to $10,000 for the club. In addition, because some participants don’t play a lot of golf, there are extra sales of balls, gloves and collegiate-color-themed apparel with the club logo. Not only is this tournament enjoyable for all involved, it is also a financial success for the club.