Kristie Fowler, an LPGA Master Professional and 2011 and 2015 LPGA Central Section Professional of the Year, is a PGA assistant professional at The Gallery Golf Club in Marana, Arizona.
Our club places a priority on attention to detail, and our tournament tee gifts, prizes and overall event ambiance make a unique and memorable experience. However, setting up a tournament, from typing pairings, dotting scorecards and hand printing scoreboards year after year, became a time-consuming, tedious task. We needed to become more efficient yet still deliver that “special” personal touch for each themed event. That finally happened in 2011 when we found tournament software. Wow, what a difference it made! Not only with our major member events, but our weekly men’s and ladies days with 80 players became nearly effortless. Setting up a simple event only takes minutes now and the software allows us to also be very creative, customizing scorecards and scoreboards for all formats with event logos, player photos and more color than you can imagine. Any last-minute changes are easily completed and stress-free.
We use a program called Sierra from Tournament Expert which is well worth the price (it costs several hundred dollars per year) since it saves considerable time and the custom capabilities are endless. For example, what used to be a two-hour preparation for a ladies event is now down to 15 minutes. We’ve also eliminated the cost of using potent magic markers, foam board and our expensive scorecards. Now we have the option to create something specific for each event with tournament logos, special instructions, different formats, a variety of tees and much more using inexpensive card stock and an ordinary printer. Soon we plan to take advantage of their newer features such as T.V. leaderboards and Internet Results Posting, giving members the option to view results from their computer, tablet or smartphone while sitting in the bar having a drink. Over the last five years, the staff has had more time for giving lessons, making sales and spending quality time with members. Many proud moments occur around the scoreboard when members are showing off the club to their guest. We just sit back, remember the old days, then smile and think “thank goodness for the magic of Tournament Expert.”