How to Start Playing in Golf Tournaments

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To start playing in golf tournaments, you have to know if you will qualify. In this aspect, you have nothing to worry about because as long as you know how to play even the basics of the game, you are off to a good start.  With the golf tournaments (locals and amateurs at that) typically categorized by age, handicap and gender, everyone is included.

Initially, look for golf tournaments in your area. Go to golf shops, ask Google, and even pay golf courses near you a visit. You will find golf competitions that you will be interested in. Don’t show up empty-handed, though. Make sure that you are prepared physically and mentally.

More importantly, do not expect to receive cash prizes if you will start playing for the amateur tournament. The rules of the USGA do not allow it.

How Exactly Do You Qualify for a Golf Tournament?

To qualify for a golf tournament at the local level, you do not have to be the best player. Formal education is not even important in joining a golf tournament.

Everyone including you can qualify to play in the golf tournament as long as you know how to play golf. Anyway, the majority of golf tournaments categorize their fields by gender, age, and handicap; therefore, you have nothing to worry about not being able to qualify.

But, is your skill level preventing you from joining a golf tournament? Do not get intimidated – understanding on how to start playing in golf tournaments is half the battle. Play in your first amateur golf tournament and experience the fun and enjoy the rewards. Everyone is given the opportunity to be part of the golf action. Local or amateur tournaments can give you the exposure you need should you get serious about going all the way to PGA Tour.

Here are the things that you should do:

  1. Learn the rules of amateur golfing, including wearing proper golf attire and bringing survival kit.
  2. Study the golf course and have a few practice rounds so you will get familiar with the track.
  3. Focus on your game. Never mind the crowd, expect a large one.
  4. Should you qualify and make the cut, you will play in the final, which happens after a few weeks.
  5. Keep in mind your use of clubs. Create notes.
  6. Learn the yardage of the golf course.
  7. Bring a caddy as they can help you focus on your shots and keep your stamina up by carrying your bags and clubs.

Remember, you are an amateur golfer—a full-time employee or a businessman. You are not a PGA Tour professional golfer so do not be pressured. Make the most of your experience.

Can Amateur Golfers Win Money?

No. According to Rule 1 of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA), amateur golfers must only play golf for enjoyment and to experience challenges presented by golf tournaments. They do not play for the prize money or its equivalent so they can focus on the game.

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Do not be confused, however, if you are seeing amateur golfers playing in competitions or golf matches that offer money or its equivalent. Rule 1.3 of the USGA allows their participation provided that they will not accept the prize money if they win. They waive this right before joining the tournament.

If the amateur golfers will join a golf event with the purpose of donating the prize money (or its equivalent) to a known charity, they will also be allowed as long as the governing body approves it. The governing body refers to the national group association or union of the country.

Every rule has exceptions, however.

USGA specifies that they cannot accept a prize (except for trophies) in a competition or series of competitions that has a value of more than $750. However, even if the prize (voucher, gift certificate, or gift card) has a value lower than $750, this is still subject to the approval of the governing body.

If the amateur golfer makes a hole-in-one, they can accept the prize money or voucher more than the $750 limit, regardless if the golf match is held during or outside the round of golf.

Additionally, this is not limited to contests on a golf course as this also includes those that are conducted in a golf simulator, a putting green, or others, provided that the shot length is 50 yards at the minimum.

How Do I Enter Golf Tournaments in My Area?

Follow these steps to enter golf tournaments in your area:

  • Know where the golf tournaments are.

The first thing that you should do to be able to enter golf tournaments in your area is to know where or how to find them.

  • The Pro Shop – Being a golf enthusiast (or a golfer), you surely know one pro shop in your area. Call or visit this golf shop and they will tell you the different golf courses that hold golf events near you. They may even have a list of the coming golf competitions for amateurs.
  • Nearby Golf Courses – Pay golf courses closer to your location a visit. Inquire about their coming golf tournaments. Ask about the schedule of events, qualifications, fees, and others.

According to the Golf Tournament Association of America President Phil Immordino, every golf course in the US holds an average of 50 tournaments each year.

So, you only have to multiply the number of golf courses in your location by 50 and you get the average number of golf tournaments available in your city or town. This also translates to the number of golfing opportunities you have in your area.

  • Golf Tournaments List Search – Check out websites that publish a complete list of golf tournaments in the country. You may narrow down your search to location, date, tournament type, and others.
  • Google – Do what everyone on the Internet does: ask Google for the information you want to know. In your case, type “golf tournaments near me” or “golf tournaments in (type the name of your city or state)”. You will surely see a long list of search results. Check them one by one and see which result matches your search or which golf tournaments available appeal to you.
  • After searching for possible golf tournaments to join, the next thing to do is make inquiries. Ask about how you can enter, qualifications, fees, etc.
  • Prepare for the tournament.
  • Show up in the tournament.
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What is a Jack and Jill Golf Tournament?

A Jack and Jill golf tournament is when men and women become pairs to create teams. Some golf tournament organizers prefer to use this term while others opt to call it “mixed”.

This type of tournament does not follow any scoring format as it can choose whatever competition or scoring format the organizers prefer. The name ‘Jack and Jill Golf Tournament’ does not indicate the actual playing format, unlike the other golf matches. It just says both men and women will comprise the teams.

Two-person teams are composed of one man and one woman. On the other hand, four-person teams are comprised of two men and two women. Greensomes is a common playing format for two-person teams.

In Greensomes, both players tee off then they switch balls, where the man plays the woman’s ball and the woman plays the man’s ball. They do alternate shots into the hole after.

As for the four-person teams, the commonly used format for the Jack and Jill golf tournament is the Two Best Balls. A typical Two Best Balls tournament assigns the two players who got the lowest scores among the four golfers on every hole to do the counting as the team scores.

In a Jack and Jill tournament, the Two Best Balls combine the low scores of the two men on the team to the low scores of the two women on the same team to be able to determine the team score for each hole.

There is also the ‘3 Jacks and a Jill’ organized by the Ladies Golf Association (LGA). Each member of the LGA pairs with three men to form a team.

Start competing in golf by learning the basics of the sport. You do not have to be a great player to be able to join local tournaments and even amateur tournaments.

You only have to know and follow the rules governing these competitions, including the wearing of proper golf attire. More importantly, you just have to find the golf tournaments that interest you the most.

To take the pressure off your shoulder, practice playing in the golf course where your first tournament will happen. Familiarity with the golf course will give you an advantage over the other golfers who have not played in the facility yet.

Expect a large crowd as well. Focus on your game and think that you are there to learn and gain experience and not to get the prize money. Anyway, amateur golfers are not allowed to get cash money, per the rules of the USGA.