Playing in competitive golf tournaments can be one of the most fun, challenging and rewarding experiences of a young golfer’s life. It’s a chance to get the competitive juices flowing, compete against top players in your area, or the country, and sharpen your skills. What’s not to like?
There’s just one problem. Tournament scheduling can often be summed up in one word: Confusing!
A frustrated parent in a New York Times article in 2012 summed it up well:
“It’s an Information Wasteland”
And we agree! There are thousands of events to choose from, including local, PGA section, club, regional, state, USGA, AJGA, junior tour and national events. Never mind single day, multi-day, open events, invitationals, events with performance-based entry and more.
Here at The Hub, we are pragmatists. So let’s cut through the clutter and give you some practical advice to get tournament scheduling right!
Here are five tips to crush it on the tournament circuit in 2018:
1. Clearly understand the three basic types of tournaments
- Local: These events are close to your house, 18 holes, and draw players from a given portion of your home state. Think local PGA section events, U.S. Kids events, or events at your home club.
- Regional: These events are multi-day, 36-plus hole tournaments that draw from a diverse field of players across a given state or region. Think regional Hurricane Tour events, North Texas PGA All American Tour (North Texas), US Challenge Cup (Northeast), Southeast Junior Golf Tour (Southeast), Rocky Mountain Junior Tour (Rocky Mountain region) and many more.
- National: These events are 36-plus hole events that draw a significant portion of the field from players across the United States or the world. Think AJGA, U.S. Junior Amateur, Orange Bowl, Trusted Choice Big-I and more.
2. Crawl, Walk, Run through the different levels
The Hub recommends a Crawl, Walk, Run strategy through the different tournament levels. This means you first compete at the Local level, then progress to Regional, and finally National.
No skipping steps!
When you are either (a) winning, or (b) highly competitive at your current level, you are ready to start dipping your toes into the next level. It’s like what Ben Hogan said about playing golf:
“The best way to learn golf is a great deal like learning to play the piano. You practice a few things daily, you arrive at a solid foundation, and then you go on to practice a few more advanced things daily, continually increasing your skill”
Same thing with tournaments. Progress well through the different stages. Get yourself to the Local level. Play well. Get yourself to the Regional level. Play well. Get yourself to the National level. Play well. Makes sense!
3. Be thorough in selecting your Regional events
All Regional events are not made equal. For example, there are (a) Ranked events, or (b) events eligible for AJGA Performance Based entry.
Orienting your Regional schedule towards these types of events is important for an aspiring college player. For example, you will need to play in a minimum of four 36 hole ranked events to get a Junior Golf Scoreboard ranking.
Use Junior Golf Hub’s Tournament Finder to find ranked Regional events in your area. Also, if you are playing in the AJGA, you will want to orient your tournament schedule towards the events in the AJGA’s Regional PBE map. This will help you earn Performance Stars which are the currency you need to get into AJGA events.
Make sure you are thorough in setting your Regional event schedule!
4. Play in enough tournaments
Make sure to play in enough tournaments in a given year. Playing in just two or three events is not going to cut it! We learn by doing and acting repeatedly.
We like to see players at The Golf Performance Center, our parent company, play in roughly 10 – 12 tournaments per year. Playing in enough tournaments will allow you to play against constantly changing competitors, in all types of conditions, and against all types of golf courses.
Variety and new challenges! Now that’s what we’re talking about!
5. Use The Hub’s Tournament Finder and Calendar for scheduling
Did you know that The Hub released a completely free tournament finder?
Our simple user interface is a cut above the competition and allows you to easily search for ranked events in your area. Premium members can even click on the tournaments they like and add them to their custom playing calendar. Again, that’s what we’re talking about! Scheduling made easy.
Also access our tournament scheduling article in The Hub’s Essential Guide to college golf recruiting, which dives deeper into many of the topics contained in this article.
Now get ready to compete!
Enjoy your Journey!