There’s no doubt about it: COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and fundraise. Its long-term impact remains to be seen, but as health and safety restrictions and guidelines remain in place heading into the end of the year, organizations large and small are tasked with the challenge of planning amid the uncertainty of the year ahead. Here are eight predictions for golf fundraisers in 2021 and how to prepare so you’re ahead of the curve.
1. GOLFERS WILL BE EAGER TO PLAY
For years, the golf industry has reported incredibly high latent demand (that is, tons of people who report that they want to golf, but haven’t or don’t regularly). The pandemic, almost at its immediate onset, poured fuel on the fire—challenging folks to get out and play. In fact, the industry as a whole has reported a record season with tee times booked consistently by golfers of all skill levels. This is good news for charity golf outings. Golf fundraisers traditionally use the scramble format, which means golfers don’t necessarily need to be extremely skilled at the game to participate in a charity tournament.
With a huge uptick in rounds played by both new and experienced golfers in the 2020 season, event organizers can expect to have an easier time filling teams, especially by spring, when winter will be clearing up and folks will be eager to get out of the house.
2. EXPECT TO SEE MORE TOURNAMENTS ON THE CALENDAR
With many organizations forced to cancel their other fundraising events, a lot was riding on golf fundraisers in 2020 and many long-standing annual events were able to safely press on thanks to some creative modifications and the use of technology. At the same time, many organizations that ended up making the difficult decision to cancel will have high expectations for 2021. Coupled with first- and second-year events born out of necessity during this time, organizations can expect to see not only a renewed interest in golf from donors and sponsors, but a renewed interest in golf fundraising events across the board and more events taking place overall.
This makes early planning more important than ever. You’ll need to get save-the-dates out with enough time for players and sponsors to act. That means, if you’re planning a spring event, you should get a quick notice out to supporters ahead of year end (especially sponsors, who will be planning budgets). It’s also a good idea to get an event website for your golf outing set up so you can list available packages and supporters can start to actually commit. If you end up needing to postpone or modify the event, an event website designed around the nuances of the golf outing also makes it easy to do so.
3. SOCIAL DISTANCING & OTHER SAFETY PROTOCOLS WILL LINGER
No one can predict with certainty what’s ahead, but there’s definitely some merit in the old adage: Plan for the worst and hope for the best. It’s likely that event organizers and golf facilities will need to continue to modify events to meet capacity limitations, mitigate contact, and ensure social distancing. For golf events, this means using online registration, modified formats where necessary (i.e. tee times as needed), touch-free mobile scoring, and other adaptations that keep your event safe.
4. EXTENDED PLAY & MULTI-COURSE EVENTS WILL BE MORE COMMON
Virtual golf outings are another trend that has taken root in 2020 and will likely continue into 2021. Instead of an on-screen gaming experience like many virtual events, virtual golf outings are played remotely. The event is extended over multiple days and/or across multiple courses so players can essentially donate their round and participate in an aggregate leaderboard without being in the same place at the same time as 100-plus other golfers. One benefit of these modified virtual outings is that they’re particularly convenient for participants, who sometimes can’t make a one-day event due to busy schedules. Virtual events also broaden the scope of the outing so it can include more supporters (i.e. there’s a much larger field size limit). Lastly, these events often require minimal overhead and less planning—making it possible to hold them without a ton of costs, time commitments, or months of advanced notice.
5. LEADERBOARDS WILL BECOME MORE COMMON
Mobile scoring solved the problem of paper scorecards and the need to touch and pass them around, and there’s likely no going back. Live leaderboards allow tournament participants to score their round in real-time, so players and spectators can see standings at all times. The benefits are numerous: the event becomes instantly more competitive, golfers playing remotely in virtual outings are connected by a central scoreboard, and event organizers are able to sell exposure on the live leaderboard at a premium. What’s more, event leaderboards are a great place to collect additional online donations from event participants and those following along.
6. SPONSORS WILL BE EAGER FOR DIGITAL EXPOSURE
With virtual elements and the adoption of technology, there comes digital advertising and opportunities for sponsor exposure. Digital logo placements are helpful for event organizers in that they’re easy to manage (just plug in a logo on a website, in a mobile app, or on leaderboards) and often have little to no overhead costs compared to signage or branded merchandise. Sponsoring businesses have also shown a propensity to support the technology that helps nonprofit organizations run more efficiently and effectively, making digital sponsorships a key opportunity for events that are evolving to leverage technology.
7. ORGANIZATIONS WILL FOCUS ON CAPTURING EVENT & DONOR DATA
Data has been the big buzz word in the sector for years, but there are some events and programming that seem to escape data capture and tracking mechanisms. The golf tournament has historically been one of those events, but it shouldn’t be. Indeed, the golfer demographic is, statistically, an affluent one. When golfers field a team, they tend to call on their networks and sphere of influence to do so. Perhaps most importantly, the golf outing can be a key entry point for corporate sponsors and partnerships. But none of this works if you don’t know who’s fielding teams, who’s being invited to play as a guest, who’s sponsoring your organization, and where the tournament falls into that supporter’s larger giving history.
The easy fix here is to use a platform that offers an event website with online registration and secure payment processing so you can capture and export that crucial information into your donor CRM. If your organization is fortunate enough to be the beneficiary of peer-to-peer fundraising or events run by third party organizers, capturing this data can be even more tricky, but it’s a huge missed opportunity if you’re not doing it. And, it’s still possible so long as your supporting events use the right technology.
8. TIME SAVINGS WILL BE A CRUCIAL CONSIDERATION
With many organizations facing budget cuts and staff consolidations, fundraising professionals have more on their plates than ever before heading into a high-stakes year. That means constant cost-benefit analyses, it means the ability to delegate is more important than ever, and it means organizations have to get creative to adopt technology to save time without adding more line-item expenses.
Gov. Doug Ducey stood near the sideline of a basketball court inside the UA’s Campus Rec Center, scanned the athletes and facilities around him, and practically cheered.
“I’ve been doing this for five years … and this is the first I’ve seen any of this,” Ducey told UA president Robert C. Robbins, one of the half-dozen power brokers who gathered Tuesday for a tour and dedication.
Tuesday was a day to impress for the UA’s nationally renowned adaptive athletics program. Organizers took Ducey, Robbins and a cadre of dignitaries, including Tucson auto dealer Jim Click and former UA president Peter Likins, on a tour of the UA’s sparkling Disability Resource Center. Then they watched the Wildcats’ nationally acclaimed wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby teams compete inside the rec center before dedicating a new adaptive golf simulator upstairs.
Ducey, making his 68th trip to Southern Arizona as governor, called it “my most memorable visit to the UA.”
“I’m proud that Arizona’s leading as an adaptive athletics system,” Ducey said, wearing a red and blue striped tie that could have come from Sean Miller’s sideline collection. (For those who care about such things, the governor holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from Arizona State University, but in 2006 was named Entrepreneurial Fellow at the UA’s Eller College of Management).
The praise was mutual. Tuesday’s event doubled as a thank you to state lawmakers, who appropriated $160,000 to the Arizona Board of Regents in the 2020 budget earmarked for the state’s adaptive athletics programs.
Since the UA is the only in-state school to offer adaptive athletics, it will receive the full sum. Money will be spent on scholarships, uniforms and transportation, giving financial firepower to a program that’s long been considered among the nation’s best. The Disability Resource Center includes a “Wall of Paralympians” that showcases the 38 current and former UA athletes and coaches who have represented the United States. Six Paralympians are currently on campus as players or coaches.
Arizona’s teams are particularly impressive. The Wildcats’ wheelchair rugby team practiced Tuesday under a pair of banners commemorating their 2018 and 2019 USQRA national titles. The wheelchair basketball team played for more than an hour, producing highlight-reel plays when Ducey, Robbins, Click and crew arrived. Arizona’s women won national championships in 2012 and 2014 with Peter Hughes, the UA’s current director of adaptive athletics, in charge.
In all, 50 UA students take part in adaptive athletics annually, with the program also featuring students from Pima College and members of the Tucson community.
Those who participate in the adaptive athletics program are better suited to life after college, Hughes said. Research shows that nationally, people who use wheelchairs have an 18% employment rate. Among those who have a college education and play adaptive athletics, the employment rate rises to 53%.
“These are true champions in each sense of the word,” Ducey said.
The one-time allotment from the Legislature came with some minor strings attached. The adaptive athletics program had to prove that it could match the funds, receiving only as much as it could match up to $160,000. An endowment from Click allows the adaptive athletics program to draw down $40,000 annually, and the Jim Click Run N’ Roll — a longtime fundraiser scheduled this year for Oct. 6 — brings in an additional $90,000 per year.
The UA’s wheelchair basketball team plays before the Red-Blue Game every year, receiving between $8,000-$12,000 from the Wildcats’ athletic department.
There are other private donations, too, and additional gifts that might not show up on the balance sheet.
The UA’s new state-of-the-art golf simulator was built by TeeItUp Enterprises at a significant discount.
Hughes met TeeItUp’s managing partner, Jon Moore, on a flight five years ago. When Moore’s son lost his vision following brain surgery, the golf simulator boss reached out to Hughes and asked how he could help the UA’s cause.
The result: a new simulator located inside a former racquetball court at the rec center. It’s mobile, and can be rented out as a separate source of revenue.
As a result, “thanks to Pete Likins and Dr. Robbins, this university probably has more outreach for people with disabilities than any university in the United States of America” Click said. “This university welcomes everybody.”
The next step, UA officials agree, is to find in-state competition.
“We want our own Territorial Cup,” Hughes said to the governor. “We want to take them down.”
September 21, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tucson, AZ – Under the banner, Invisible Shield, several select nonprofits have formed a strategic alliance to provide increased support and exposure to the critical causes that match with their missions. The Heart of a Lion John Daly – Major Ed Foundation, the Patriot Golf Foundation, the Uncommon Grit Foundation, and TIU4ALL comprise the founding organizations of Invisible Shield.
“Invisible Shield is based on the definition of invisible as ‘someone or something that cannot be seen’, and shield as ‘one that protects or defends’”, states Chick Linski, President of the John Daly – Major Ed Foundation and one of the drivers behind this collaborative effort. “The term ‘Invisible Shield’ was coined during a conversation with Darren McBurnett, US Navy SEAL (Ret), leader of the Uncommon Grit Foundation. We feel that we are providing the recipients of our missions with a sense of protection from their personal challenges by providing valuable resources, support, and opportunities. Each of the foundations involved want our benefactors to be the focal point of our efforts, not the organizations per se.”
Heart of a Lion is a new foundation formed by 2-time Major Winner John Daly and Major Ed Pulido, U.S. Army (Ret.). Both John and Major Ed have a long history of giving back to others less fortunate including the Boys & Girls Club, St Jude’s Hospital and several notable foundations and charities supporting our wounded Veterans and their families.
The Patriot Golf Foundation provides both resources and access to military veterans through its national Patriot Golf Schools. According to Ted Simons, Executive Director, “The game of golf has proven to be therapeutic for veterans suffering from PTSD, physical, mental, and emotional challenges as the result of their service. Each golf school includes veterans at no cost to learn, play, and socialize with the sponsors for the day.” Proceeds from the golf schools are shared with qualified foundations that support military veterans and their families.
Uncommon Grit Foundation’s mission is to raise awareness and increase community support for military, first responders, and their families. Darren McBurnett,leads Uncommon Grit as an extension of The Bone Frog Open; a golf, entertainment, and social event that honors fallen U.S. Navy SEALs. The Bone Frog Open is about awareness, remembrance, patriotism, camaraderie, and fun and a way to thank our military and first responder men and women for being the ones that run toward danger, not away from it.
TIU4ALL (Tee It Up 4 All) provides resources, access, support, and equipment for adaptive golfers in the U.S. As with all the members of Invisible Shield, TIU4ALL brings ‘the healing power of golf’ to disabled military veterans, first responders, and the general population that will benefit from participating in golf. Access to adaptive equipment, instruction, and tournaments are key elements which benefit from TIU4ALL. In addition, Jon Moore, Director of TIU4ALL, directs the adaptive golf program at the University of Arizona, the first adaptive golf program in collegiate sports.
Future collaborations, events, and opportunities between the foundations will be announced soon.
Marketing and Media Director
For additional information on each of the INVISIBLE SHIELD organizations, please visit:
“HEART of a LION” John Daly – Major Ed Foundation www.jdme.org
UNCOMMON GRIT FOUNDATION www.uncommongritfoundation.org
PATRIOT GOLF FOUNDATION www.patriotgolffoundation.com
Linked In Profiles:
Maj. Ed Pulido: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ed-pulido-b019629/
Darren McBurnett: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmcburnett/
Chick Linski: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chick-linski-6662035a/
Ted Simons: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ted-simons-80ab9a3/
Jon Moore: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diamanteglobal/
Brendan Lawlor is used to breaking new ground on the fairways and this week the Dundalk man will take another giant step on his remarkable journey when he becomes the first disability golfer to play in a European Tour event.
The Co Louth man (23) has a rare condition called Ellis-van Creveld syndrome, characterised by shorter stature and shorter limbs.
But that hasn’t stopped him turning professional and joining Ryder Cup player Tyrrell Hatton and LPGA Tour star Leona Maguire in Niall Horan’s Modest! Golf stable, earning an invitation to compete against Major winners Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer in the ISPS HANDA UK Championship at The Belfry this week.
“It’s just crazy,” said Lawlor, who is supported by Carton House, American Golf and adidas and yesterday became the first disability golfer to sign a professional club contract with TaylorMade.
“This week is a huge step forward for the inclusion of disability golfers in the game. I am not expecting to win the tournament but if I put two solid rounds together, which I know I can, I hope I will not be too far away from the cut line. It’s a massive ask but I love competing. I love to set goals and if you don’t set your goals as high as you can, sure where would you be?”
Ranked fourth in the world rankings for disability golf, Lawlor played in the Challenge Tour’s ISPS HANDA World Invitational Men|Women at Galgorm Castle last August, carding rounds of 78 and 74 to miss the cut.
“ISPS HANDA asked be to an ambassador and I was delighted they extended me an invitation this week to help promote the power of sport for everyone,” said Brendan, who turned professional late last year and joined Tiger Woods and Ernie Els in helping promote disabled golf at last year’s Presidents Cup.
Now he’s got a chance to compete against some of the game’s superstars with Lee Westwood and Ireland’s Paul Dunne and Niall Kearney also in the field.
“I always had the mentality to play at the highest level I could,” added Brendan, who has been paired with England’s Richard McEvoy and Denmark’s Jeff Winther for the first two rounds.
“I played Senior Cup and Barton Shield for Dundalk against very good players. I might not beat the Caolan Raffertys of the world, but if you are competing close to their level, it gives you confidence.”
He’s no stranger to pressure, teeing it up in disability events played alongside the 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf and last year’s Scottish Open, KPMG Trophy and DP World Tour Championship.
“Those were integration events where disability golfers had their own event within the event,” he explained. “This is a bit of added pressure, to be actually competing against these guys. I am not here to win but enjoy it and hopefully people will watch me and take inspiration from it.”
Modest! Golf’s Mark McDonnell is simply inspired by Lawlor’s attitude to life.
“Signing Brendan is probably one of the most rewarding things we have done as a business,” McDonnell said. “He’s a trailblazer in every way. It’s not about what he scores this week but about giving hope to people out there who might not play sport because they are embarrassed to or they have a disability and don’t feel they’re welcome.
“If he can help people get into sport and help their mental health, he feels he’s doing a good job.”
Courtesy of the Irish Independent
Starting Monday Aug 10th, you will find the whole SoloRider lineup on our website for adaptive athletes and golf courses who want to comply with ADA and also increase your cart revenue. SoloRiders have proven that you can decrease your pace of play by as much as 35%. We have consumer financing and commercial lease financing as well as fleet financing for golf facilities.