Playing in Your First Amateur Golf Tournament and What to Expect
So you noticed your town or community (or neighboring area) is hosting a qualifier event for their annual amateur tournament. You’re contemplating whether or not play in it – let me be the first to tell you: do it! Do not let your skill level hold you back. Playing in your first amateur golf tournament can be a very rewarding experience.
Amateur tournaments are designed to get local golfers some exposure and help them earn their way to the PGA Tour. On the flip side, it gives ‘not-so-great’ golfers a chance to be a part of tournament action. It doesn’t matter if your handicap is a 2 or a 22, if you are a fan of the sport you should sign up to play – it may just help your focus and improve your game.
Expect a large crowd of golfers from all over traveling to participate in the qualifying event. If you qualify and make the cut, just like the pros, you’ll be around for the final which is usually played a few weeks later. Some of the golfers in the field will be dialing in low 70s as other will be 90s to 110s. Yes I said it…110s.
Learn the rules from an amateur level; you don’t want to look like a fool out there. Read up on some of our articles such as Golf Etiquette Tips, Hazard or OB, and of course…Proper Golf Attire and Survival Kit. Be prepared with plenty of hydration and nourishment – you’ll be out there for at least 5 hours in the sun.
Learn the course and practice playing it a few times. You may be unaware of the hazards and dog legs that make up the course and having a few practice rounds under your belt could give you a bit of an advantage over some ‘out of towners’ who never played the track before. Study the yardage of the course and keep notes during your practice round of what clubs you used when – mimic that strategy of “club used” when the real day comes.
Most tournaments allow you to bring a caddy. A caddy will keep you calm and take some of the pressure off of you and will offer another pair of eyes at certain shots/green slopes. They will also help keep your stamina up by bringing you clubs and making the day a little easier on you. Don’t forget to take care of your caddy after the round – buy them lunch or dinner for doing all that hard work for you.
Most importantly, stay focused and don’t let your nerves get the best of you. You’re a full time employee and not a PGA Tour professional, so there is no pressure. Have fun and bask in the experience of competing in the sport you love. Be competitive but remain ethical and honest – for most of you, this will be your only level of tournament play in your life, so make the most of it.