Golf and conducting business seem like a natural fit. But are you spending your marketing dollars wisely? Here’s what you need to know.

High cost, low impact

Branded golf balls may seem to be a logical giveaway for golf lovers, but there’s typically a minimum purchase—12 dozen per order for balls with logos, although a typical order is 50 dozen. For 50 dozen Callaway-branded HEX Warbird balls, you’ll pay $1,076, including shipping. Titleist Pro V1 golf balls will run you approximately US$2,758 if you order from the U.S., and in Canada will cost $2,594. So they’re pricey and tend to either
get lost or gather dust on shelves: not the image you want to project.

Low cost, high impact

A trip to the driving range in Charlottetown, PEI costs $6 because you only pay for a bucket of balls. You can play a round of golf at Fox Meadow in P.E.I. for $69 per player. A bucket of 50 balls in Kelowna, B.C. costs $7, and a round of golf at Sunset Ranch in B.C. is $56 per player. A driving range visit in Oakville, Ont. costs $8.50 for 50 balls. If you want to impress, a round at Glen Abbey, home of the Canadian Open, costs $165 per player in the regular season and $160 in the off season. With this gift, you get face time with your client and more value for your dollars.

High cost, high impact

Charity golf tournaments often need corporate sponsors for cash or swag. These tournaments can be as simple as a fundraiser for a local charity, or a large tournament for the Canadian Cancer Society or MS Society. You can sponsor a “closest to the pin” contest for less than $1,000—sometimes for as little as $100, depending on the charity—and corporate sponsors can play in the tournament and bring staff or clients. Some charities will give special perks to different levels of corporate sponsor. For instance, sponsors may receive preferred tee times for their foursomes, a free golf cart, recognition on signage or in the program, or get a chance to speak at a dinner reception—all of which can boost your image in the community and curry favour with your clients. Also, local charities have a harder time attracting sponsors, so they’re usually happy to give more recognition.

When nothing but the best will do, send your A-list clients on a golf getaway. Golf plus hotel at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Fla. costs US$459 per person, per night. Travel is
extra. Golf, plus hotel, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. averages $300 per person, per night.

Lisa MacColl is an Ontario-based financial writer.