Is your game ready for the Golf Channel Am Tour?
I’ve never competed in a true golf tournament in my life.
Watching and covering the Golf Channel Am Tour Senior National Championships in La Quinta, Calif., has sparked my interest in trying.
I’ve won several tournaments before, but they have always been just media events where drops are casual and gimmes are still in play. The Am Tour seems like a cool place to start. In 2013, the Am Tour conducted more than 700 local championships and 31, two-day “Major” Championships for more than 7,000 members.
On the Am Tour, the rules are followed and the competition serious, but the casual attitude of the players doesn’t make it feel like life or death. Everybody at nationals was there just to have a good time, and of course to play their best.
The best part is you compete against players of similar ability. At nationals, there were national championships up for grabs in six flights, ranging from the best players in the Championship flight (for handicaps from 0-3.9) to the Snead flight (for handicaps 20.0 and above) and everybody in between. My current 8.5 index would have put me for the Hogan flight (for handicaps 8.0-11.9), which was the most competitive of the week.
The Am Tour regularly tees it up at some of the nation’s best public courses. This year’s national championships - which you had to qualify for - were held at PGA West. Check out the photo above of the feared 17th hole, called Alcatraz, at the Stadium course. Major events in 2014 will be at Turning Stone Resort in upstate New York, The Homestead and Kingsmill Resort, both in Virginia; Paiute near Las Vegas and several other sites.
There are 53 ‘local’ tours attached to major cities and golf meccas around the country. The tournaments are held in 32 states, along with Puerto Rico and Toronto, Canada. The first tournament of the 2014 schedule for my local ‘Detroit’ tour will be Oct. 7 at Oak Pointe Country Club, which is normally a private course. The rest of the Michigan courses for 2014 have yet to be published at the tour website (click here), but the warm-weather states will be humming with events all winter long.
Several players I interviewed said joining the Am Tour has renewed their interest in golf. Tired of playing in the same foursome or league? Tired of hitting the same bad shots over and over? Maybe playing in the Am Tour will spark the competitive juices that haven’t flowed since you played sports in college or high school.
Give it a shot. Maybe you’ll see me out there.
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