The AJGA uses a Performance Based Entry (PBE) system to determine who plays in their junior golf tournaments; you can earn your way into tournaments by using Performance Stars.
Junior Golf Hub is here to explain the ins and outs of these AJGA Performance Stars, from the best ways to earn them to the best ways to spend them. Playing in AJGA tournaments has a ton of benefits, so it’s definitely worth figuring out their system if you want to play golf in college.
How Many Performance Stars Do You Need to Play in an Event?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to AJGA Performance Stars. Different events have different requirements.
In fact, some of the AJGA junior golf tournaments – like the Preview Series – are open to anyone; you don’t need any of your Performance Stars to play. AJGA Invitationals are the second type of event that doesn’t use Performance Based Entry.
That leaves using Performance Stars for Junior All-Star and Open events. The number of Performance Stars needed for each event each year fluctuates based on field size, date and location, so it’s important to check these on the AJGA site when you map out your tournament schedule.
Below are some other factors to keep in mind as you cross off items on your spring checklist.
1. Number of Performance Stars Required Varies Widely by Event
Between events and even within the same categories, Performance Stars differ. The main drivers of these differences are field size, time of year, state/region and gender.
Events with smaller field sizes tend to have larger Performance Star counts. Basic economics states that when supply of spots is limited, the number of Performance Stars increases.
It’s important to note that the field size restriction is often due to the time of year (less daylight) or golf course restrictions.
Time of Year
Junior golf tournaments at the beginning or end of the season often have higher Performance Star counts compared to mid-season events. At the beginning of the season, you’ll have the Performance Stars you carried over from your previous AJGA year; this creates an effect where players have stockpiled Performance Stars from the previous year to use in early season events.
End of season events (typically after Labor Day) can have higher Performance Star counts and players have had the entire season to earn and use more stars. Lastly, both early and late season events may have smaller field sizes thanks to the shorter days.
State or Region
Performance Star counts vary depending on the state and the number of events in the state or in surrounding areas. For example, with more events held in California than Vermont, you’ll notice more Performance Stars required in California.
The average Performance Star count for girls is higher than boys. Girls who make the cut in an Open event are awarded four Performance Stars compared to boys earning two; since girls can earn more Performance Stars, they may have to use more to enter an event.
2. Many Open Events Require High Performance Star Counts
The number of AJGA Performance Stars needed to enter an Open event is typically higher than a Junior All-Star event. Each Performance Based Entry AJGA golf tournament will note how many Performance Stars you need to sign up.
On the flip side, you’ll notice fewer AJGA stars are needed to play in Junior All-Star events than in Open events; because there are fewer opportunities to earn Performance Stars at the former level, the number of Performance Stars needed to enter is lower.
3. There Are Plenty of Opportunities for Lower Performance Star Entries
If you don’t have enough Performance Stars to play in the Open events right away, there are plenty of other tournaments you can play in to gain more.
Junior Golf Hub has analyzed the AJGA rankings and schedule and can confirm that in order to gain the most Performance Stars, you need to look mainly at the tournament’s date and its field size.
If you are at the lower end of the Performance Star count totem pole, consider seeking out:
- Summer events with larger field sizes (90 or more players)
- More events near home to play more often (or be prepared to travel)
How Do I Earn AJGA Performance Stars?
Believe it or not, you can earn Performance Stars before you become an AJGA member. There are over 1,000 non-AJGA tournaments where you can earn Performance Stars; you can also play in these as an AJGA member to supplement your current count.
Another way to earn Performance Stars is to play in AJGA Qualifiers: if you finish in the top half of the field, you can earn at least one Performance Star.
As you continue to play in AJGA events, you’ll have the opportunity to add Performance Stars to your arsenal. PBE events will note how many Performance Stars you can earn depending on where you finish in the field.
Do AJGA Performance Stars Expire?
Performance Stars are available the year they are earned and the following year, so they have a two-year life span; as you head into the 2023 season, your Performance Stars from 2022 will carry over and your stars from 2021 will expire.
AJGA membership Performance Stars, or the stars you earn upon registering for the tour each year, expire at the end of each year.
While it can seem like a complicated system at first, AJGA Performance Based Entry and Performance Stars will start to make sense the more you play. Feel free to reach out to Junior Golf Hub with any questions and be sure to download our app to help you keep your tournament schedule organized and visible to college coaches.