In our last post, we covered the basics of performance based entry and explained the main ways to accumulate performance stars in the AJGA. So far so good.
Stop the presses though.
How many Performance Stars does it take to get into an event?
For starters it depends on the type of event you are talking about. For example, Preview Series events are open to anyone (no Performance Stars necessary) and Invitationals are not PBE based.
That leaves us two main classes of tournaments: Open events and Junior-All Star events.
Here’s a quick rundown of the number of Performance Stars needed for Junior All-Star and Open events in the 2017 season:
Junior All-Star Events: 2017
Performance Stars required for entry in Junior-All Star events last year
Open Events: 2017
And here is a similar table showing the number of Performance Stars needed for Open events in 2017:
Lots of numbers!
Before we get too far let’s make sure to understand these Performance Star counts change every year. They are not fixed or static. This is just for the 2017 schedule and counts for 2018 could be different (we explain why below).
That being said here are a few lessons from our table above:
1. Many Open Events require high Performance Star counts
The average number of Performance Stars to enter an Open event in 2017 for Boys was 17 and 19 for Girls.
Considering you only get a few Performance Stars for joining the AJGA, that can be a high bar. Of course, these figures are just averages and there is wide variability by the event which is what we’ll cover next.
2. Number of Stars required varies widely by event
Looking at our table above it’s obvious that the number of Performance Stars for an Open event varies widely. Why? There are a few key drivers including field size, time of year, state/region, and gender. Let’s go through each one.
Field Size: Events with smaller field sizes tend to have larger Performance Star counts as well. Basic economics again, when the supply of spots is limited, the number of Stars go up! Note the restriction in field size is often limited by the time of year (less daylight) or course restrictions.
Time of year: Events at the beginning or end of a season often have higher Performance Star counts than mid-season events. Why? A few reasons. First, at the beginning of the season, the AJGA lets you carry over Performance Stars from the previous year into the following season. This creates an effect where players have stockpiled Performance Stars from the previous year for use in the early season events. End of season events (post-Labor Day) can have higher Performance Star counts as well as players have had a full season to earn (and then use) Performance Stars. Lastly, both early season and late season events may have smaller field sizes due to shorter days and less daylight.
State or region: Star counts also vary depending on the state and the number of events in the state or surrounding area. For example, in 2017 California held eight Open events, with average Performance Star Count for boys of 21 and 22 for girls. Vermont held one event with a Star count of 6 for boys, 6 for girls. Quite a difference!
Gender: Note that the average Performance Star count for Girls is higher than Boys. This is largely because girls who make the cut in an Open event are awarded four Performance Stars versus a corresponding number of two for boys.
3. Multiple opportunities for lower Performance Star events
It’s possible to actively seek out events that will land at lower Performance Star counts but to do so you’ll need a bit of guidance. Our Hub analysis shows the two vital drivers for Performance Star counts at an event are (a) time of year and (b) field size.
Consider the table below which shows entry Performance Star counts during the summer of 2017 (Memorial Day to Labor Day) with final field sizes greater than 100.
A veritable feast of lower Performance Star count events.
The lesson? If you are at the lower end of the Performance Star count totem pole consider seeking out (a) summer events with (b) larger field sizes (preferably >90+). Try to find events close to your house. If not, get the travel bag ready.
4. Junior All-Star events often require fewer Stars than Opens
Just glancing through our tables above it becomes clear that Junior All-Star events, in general, require fewer Performance Stars than Open events. This is because there are fewer opportunities for the players to earn Performance Stars at this level both at the AJGA and on the PBE map.
Ok we’ve come to the end of Part 3. How are you hanging in there? We’ve covered a lot of ground together.
One final note. The AJGA is extremely helpful when it comes to navigating their members to events that may be right for them. Give them a call if you have questions!
And stay tuned for Part 4 next week where we’ll cover the basics of how good you need to be to consider the AJGA.