Where there's professional golf, there's often automotive sponsorships. It has more to do than just auto makers and dealers loving of the links.

Golf is important to marketing vehicles, says Steve Lyons, Ford Div. president and chairman of the annual Ford Senior Players Championship.

“Why is it important to business?” he says. “More than 34% of golfers have a Ford in their garages. Twenty-three percent of golfers plan on purchasing a new vehicle in the next 12 months.”

Golf sponsorships are “a way to reach them.”

Local dealerships often pitch in when such events come to town, ranging from participating in the promotions to distributing tickets to customers.

“Dealer involvement is critical,” says Lyon.