Are you ready for the AJGA?

In our last post, we talked a little more about the AJGA’s Performance Based Entry system and provided an overview of 2017’s PBE data. So far so good.

A question we always get asked is ‘Am I ready for the AJGA?’

Good question! Here at The Hub, we like to assess ‘readiness’ in two different ways:

1. Competitiveness in Regional tours

Our Hub Philosophy as it relates to tournament scheduling is Crawl, Walk, Run. Meaning first play in Local events (one-day events close to your home), progress to Regional events (36-hole+ events pulling from a statewide or regional field) and then National events (36-hole+ events pulling from the entire country or world).

You progress to the next level when you are either (a) winning or (b) very competitive at the previous level. Kind of like a video game. So, the first barometer to considering the AJGA is asking yourself a few good questions like:

  • How competitive am I at the Regional level?
  • Have I won an event? Or placed top 5 or top 10 in multiple events?
  • Do I have a solid track record? Not just one or two good rounds.

If you can answer these questions in the affirmative, then you may be ready for the next level! If not, time to pause and reconsider whether the AJGA is right for you.

2. By the cold hard numbers

The AJGA also publishes the scoring average ranges by gender and type of event on its website. Here is a summary!

 

This is a treasure trove of information and tells us precisely what it takes to compete on the biggest stage in junior golf. Let’s distill it together.

Remember that to give the AJGA a run you are going to need to accumulate Performance Stars. No Performance Stars = No Entry. We also know that the best path to earning Performance Stars is to play in one-day Qualifiers. Finishing in the top 50% of the Qualifier field gives you a Performance Star.

Given that we can now establish the following parameters to consider the AJGA:

Boys need to be able to consistently shoot:
  • 78 – 79 or lower
  • At target yardages (~6,800 for Open, ~6,600 for Junior All-Star)
  • Under National tournament pressure
  • On competitive golf courses
Girls need to be able to consistently shoot:
  • 80 – 81 or lower
  • At target yardages
  • Under National tournament pressure
  • On competitive golf courses

Consider these as entry parameters. If you are not in this range, you will be unable to earn enough Performance Stars to even qualify for future events, meaning you have little chance at progressing through the AJGA or playing in enough events.

Of course, you still might participate for the experience of competing at the next level and testing your mettle against better players or to use as information on where you stack up versus the competition. Just recognize that it may be difficult for you to compete regularly due to Performance Based Entry.

One other factor to consider is age. Of course, if you are 12 years old shooting 78 it’s a different story than if you are 17. Take that into account when you are considering the sample parameters above.

And here are the parameters to progress within the AJGA:

Boys need to be able to consistently shoot:
  • 76 or lower
  • At target yardages (~6,800 for Open, ~6,600 for Junior All-Star)
  • Under National tournament pressure
  • On competitive golf courses
Girls need to be able to consistently shoot:
  • 76 – 77 or lower
  • At target yardages
  • Under National tournament pressure
  • On competitive golf courses

Based on the table above, if you meet these criteria it means you will be able to (a) qualify for events and (b) earn Performance Stars after playing in the events. You may not be at the top of the Rolex AJGA Rankings but you’re competitive enough to earn the currency that will allow you to pay your way into AJGA events.

 

Getting started with the AJGA

Next, let’s go through some practical advice on where to start after joining the AJGA. When you are ready to set sail after joining the AJGA, the first thing to check is your age. Simply put, the path you take will depend on how old you are. The AJGA has a great video of this on their website. Here’s a recap of the key steps:

Age 16+

1. Play in a Preview Series event

Playing in a Preview Series is a great entry point into the AJGA. Given there are no Performance Star requirements it’s an opportunity to have a great chance to play in an AJGA event, test your game against the better peers in your region, and a great opportunity to earn Performance Stars you can cash in during the rest of the season.

Sounds good! Also, the Preview Series fields are sorted by graduation year, meaning juniors and seniors have a great shot at getting into the event of their choice.

 

2. Play in Open Qualifiers near you

Qualifiers are a great way for an AJGA member to get started for a wide range of reasons including:

  • You can earn Performance Stars (top 50% of the field earns at least one Star)
  • There is no limit to the number of Qualifiers you can play in
  • If you qualify, you have the opportunity to earn more Performance Stars

We recommend you take a good look through the AJGA schedule at the beginning of the year and target playing in Qualifiers within a reasonable driving distance (Mom and Dad get the car warmed up!).

3. Play in non-AJGA events on PBE Map

Remember that you can still earn AJGA stars at non-AJGA events. To that end, we recommend you filter through the AJGA PBE Map to find events in your area or region that qualify for PBE and then orient your Regional tournament schedule towards some of these events if possible. And then, of course, play well!

 

Age 12 – 15

The young guns of the AJGA have a slightly different path than the older junior players. In fact, there is a whole series of events (ACDS Junior All-Star) which cater to this age demographic. Here are our Hub tips for navigating the AJGA as a young gun:

1. Play in Junior All-Star Qualifiers

There are 20 events on the AJGA schedule in 2018 specifically devoted to the 12 – 15 age bracket (ACDS Junior All-Star Events). Of these, 17 have Qualifiers. These qualifiers are a terrific opportunity to earn Stars that can get you into other Junior All-Star events.

2. Apply for a Junior Golf Hub Preview Series event (12 – 15)

The Preview Series has four events specifically dedicated to the 12 – 15 age bracket. These events do not require Performance Stars to play in. Keep in mind the field is sorted by graduation year with older players gaining first position and younger players with a lesser position.

3. Play in Junior All-Star Events

Once you have earned enough Performance Stars to get into an ACDS Junior All-Star event, it’s time to play in the events themselves.

4. Consider Open qualifiers or events (if you are ready!)

If you have the game and distance to compete in the AJGA Open events (~6,800-yard courses for Boys, 6,000 yards for Girls) then consider giving Open events a chance. Start with the Qualifiers if you don’t have enough Stars and navigate to Open events as your Performance Star count increases.

As always, remember to use our Tournament Finder to search for  AJGA events and non-AJGA events that qualify for PBE near you!

So there you have it. Some factors to consider when asking yourself ‘Am I ready for the AJGA?’ And then where to go to get started once you’re ready! Look out for our fifth and final Beginner’s Guide to the AJGA post next week where we’ll discuss tips on estimating costs with the AJGA and other common frequently asked questions!

Pin It on Pinterest