By Zack Parker and Nick Duffy, BGGA Senior Coaches
Summer is the season to play golf tournaments. Students should be preparing and training throughout the year and then playing golf tournaments throughout the summer.
Just like tour professional are always prepping for the majors, summer time is the majors for junior golf.
Summer is a competitive five to eight weeks when junior golfers can treat themselves like college players or tour professionals as they are playing week in and week out and getting into a true competitive state.
Playing summer tournaments is very important, especially for students who are getting ready for the college placement process. The best time to get exposure to college coaches is during the summer tournament schedule.
Summer is also the time when juniors with little AJGA status can gain stars to become fully exempt. There are more tournaments and more opportunity in the summer.
There’s no magic formula for creating the perfect tournament schedule. Creating a plan should be centered around where you are with your game and where you want to go. Too often everyone wants to play in the best tournament, but the reality may be that you need to play in the tournament that allows you to shine and get exposure to college coaches. Getting into an AJGA and finishing last is far less appropriate than playing your local tournament and winning.
For junior golfers 15 and under, the best way to make your plan is to play in tournaments that suit your desires and abilities. When you start finishing in the top five consistently, then move on to the next tier of tournaments.
For junior golfers ages 16-19, you need to reverse engineer what you are trying to achieve with a college coach. You should go to places where the college coach is going to be in attendance. You should email the college coach to asking what tournaments they are going to be traveling to this summer, and then figure out a way to play in those events. If you’re a mid-level player and you’re trying to find a school, you should be playing in the geographic location of that school, because it may be easier for that coach to drive over and watch you play.
If you want help in a tournament strategy, consider attending a golf academy like BGGA, and some of your summer tournaments will be planned for you.
In conclusion, every student needs to have a strategy that focuses on what their goal is and then build their tournament schedule based on that. A junior golfer shouldn’t be playing in all major championships even if they are a great player. We recommend playing a third of the tournaments that you think you can win, a third of the tournaments that will get you exposure and a third of the tournaments that will be a great learning experience for you regardless of where you finish.