From the PGA

How to find the right tournament for your game

By Nextgengolf
Published on

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Playing in golf tournaments is fun. Whether you are playing to compete,  win, or to just enjoy the game, playing in a tournament is a bit more serious than just a casual round of golf. There is always something about playing by the rules, feeling the pressure, and making sure all putts go in the hole. Although tournaments are more serious in nature, there are tournaments available for all ages and all skill levels. Below highlights a few options on how to find the right tournament for your game.
If you are a beginner golfer, tournament golf seems very intimidating. Tournament golf will help you learn the rules, play with golfers better than you, and also prepare you to play better casual golf. Here are some tournament options and advice for beginners.
  1. Play a 9 hole event – As a beginner you do not need to play in an 18 hole tournament. Start with a 3, 6- or 9-hole tournament. That will be a good way to ease you into playing tournament golf.
  2. Play in a scramble format – Scramble format means that you take the best shot of “your team” on every shot. You will be able to contribute to the team while not having to hit every shot.
  3. Play in a charity tournament – Charity events are much more relaxed and a good starting place to play tournament golf. Playing charity events give back to the community too! Looking on Eventbrite or just a simple google search can help you find charity tournaments in your community. 
Average golfers
If you are the average weekend warrior who plays the game often, there are many options to play tournament golf. The majority of golfers fit into this category and tournament golf is a fun way to compete and take golf to the next level. Here are some options for the average player:
  1. Play on a golf team- Sometimes it is intimidating to play by yourself in a tournament and having a partner and team behind you is more fun. The Nextgengolf City Tour offers weekend, team tournaments for adults 21+. Players can put together a team or get paired up with players in scramble or best ball format accommodating all skill levels. Learn more and find a tournament near you. 
  2. Play in a local club tournament – Both public and private golf courses host tournaments throughout the year for their members. Contact the local golf course in your community and ask the PGA Professional for a tournament schedule. PGA Professionals typically have all types of events that range from serious stroke play events to fun dress up themed events so there should be an option for players of all abilities.
  3. Play in Pro-Am events – Third parties like PGA Sections have tournaments they put on at local golf courses. Playing in events put on by third parties can be fun and you often get to play new courses you otherwise may not play. Be sure to check out your local PGA Section to see if they offer any Pro-Ams which are event for amateurs and professionals to play on the same team. Playing and learning from a PGA Professional in the group can really help your game. Here is an example of Pro-Ams put on by the Minnesota PGA Section.
Serious golfers
Depending on the level of your game, competing in serious events will really help you focus and get your game to the next level. Below highlights the best options for very serious amateur golfers. Please note this list does not include events for serious players playing professionally (earning money for playing). 
  1. Club Championship – At every golf course, there is a club championship or “Open event” which brings together the most serious players at the club to compete with no handicap strokes. A first step to playing in serious events is to win your club championship at the local level.
  2. State Association Events – Every state has a golf association that puts on the most elite amateur events in the state. They usually host a State Amateur and State Open which bring together the best players in the state. Check out Mass Golf, the local State Golf Association in Massachusetts that puts on the most elite events in the state.
  3. National Amateur Invitationals and Championships – If your game is in really good shape, the next step beyond state championships is national championship events. The USGA puts on the best National Championship events for amateurs. If you make it to the final two players of the US Amateur, you also get an exemption into The Masters which is pretty special. Beyond the USGA, there are many elite amateur events such as the Western Amateur which brings the most elite players together. 
Wherever your golf journey is heading, let’s get you there. There are nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals ready to help. Find yours at