This is the fifth and final article in our Beginner’s Guide to the AJGA! We’ve covered a lot of ground! To review, parts one and two talked about the types of events in the AJGA tournament circuit and provided an introduction to Performance Based entry. In parts three and four we provided some useful tips on getting started with and navigating through the AJGA system.
Now let’s explore the cost associated with the AJGA.
Cost of the AJGA
The total cost to play in the AJGA per year depends on multiple factors but the key drivers are (a) how many events you play in and (b) how far away those events are.
For example, playing in the maximum number of events (five) and having to travel to each event by plane will put you into a completely different cost bracket than someone who registers and only plays in one or two events within driving distance.
So, estimating cost is tricky.
Let’s first start with the basics:
1. Membership costs $215 – $285 depending on your membership package
– Add $25 for international mailing addresses
2. Event fees range from $230 – $375 depending on the type of event
– $230 for Preview Series, $295 for Opens and Junior All-Stars, $375 for Invitationals
3. Qualifiers cost $110 for AJGA members and $135 for non-AJGA members
Outside of the AJGA fees, the next big cost factor is travel.
At our parent company, Golf Performance Center, we budget ~$1,000 – $1,500 for per event travel costs. This includes transportation, hotel, and meals.
Note this is an average and depends on the mode of transportation and how far away the venue is. Feel free to tailor this up or down based on your own personal circumstances.
To help you estimate your cost, we’ve put together a quick Hub calculator which allows you to select your event type as well as travel costs to calculate your annual AJGA budget.
Our experience is that the majority of AJGA participants will land somewhere in the $1,000 – $3,000 range per year when it relates to cost. This range assumes you play anywhere between 0 – 2 events per year (limited due to PBE) with the occasional traveling tournament.
For players at the top of the AJGA pyramid, it can be a different cost equation entirely! Players at the top of the pile jet-setting around the country for the maximum number of Opens (five) and then a few Invitationals can rack up $5,000 – $10,000+ worth of expenses pretty quick. A rare exception to the old adage “the rich get richer”!
Also, note the AJGA has a wonderful program in place called the ACE Grant which helps players who need a financial lift to play in the AJGA. This program has granted $3.6M to eligible participants over the years!
Check out https://www.ajga.org/acegrant/ to see if you are eligible.
Lastly, joining the AJGA has some major perks. For example, AJGA members receive 40% off equipment at TaylorMade plus exclusive offers from AJGA partners.
Not to mention 30 Days Free on The Hub!
A question that always comes up is: Do I have to play in the AJGA?
As far as we know, there is no law that says you have to play in the AJGA. We know many players who secured college roster spots who competed solely in Regional events.
If you are tearing up the Regional circuit with scores consistent with coaches recruiting profiles, then many colleges will take note of that regardless of performance in the AJGA.
That being said, there are multiple advantages to playing on the AJGA including (a) competing on the biggest stage in junior golf (b) testing your skills against National level competition (c) ability to draw recognition from college coaches who recruit AJGA players. And many, many more!
Ultimately, the decision is a personal one. Weigh the pros and cons carefully. Our simple Hub advice is that if you have the talent, financial means and will to navigate the system, then seriously consider giving the AJGA a run.
Potential ways to go wrong
Like anything else in life, there are a few ways to go wrong when it comes to the AJGA. Here are a few:
1. Your game’s not ready:
One mistake we see is that a player is simply not ready to compete in the AJGA. Mostly this results from failing to meet the minimum performance standards listed in Part 4.
If you are not ready, a few undesirable things happen. These include being unable to play in enough events, wasting money or playing poorly and having a ‘black mark’ on your tournament record in a National tournament. So carefully consider the entry parameters above before setting sail.
2. You start too late:
If your game is competitive, it’s better to start in early rather than later to (a) get your feet wet with the system and (b) test your game against the better players in the country. Both can be invaluable experiences.
Waiting until late Junior year or Senior year in high school may not give you enough time to thoroughly understand the system, where you stack up, and then make the necessary adjustments so you can thrive.
Also, keep in mind that it can take a while to gain momentum when it comes to accumulating Performance Stars. And your Performance Stars carry over into the next year making the AJGA a multi-year journey for many. Take note!
So there you have it. A Beginners Guide to the AJGA!
Did you hang in there? The AJGA takes a bit of time to learn and get used to but pays dividends.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Ben Franklin
Over time you’ll get over the initial learning curve and start right in on competing for trophies.
Enjoy your Journey!