Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Golf Channel AM Tour - what is it? how it works? what it costs? short personal review about Golf Channel AM Tour

Golf Channel AM Tour presented by Golf Galaxy - amateur golf tour professionally organized and nation wide for all handicaps

I am in the golf business for over 20 years. Successfully selling , teaching and managing. But why did I get into the golf business in the first place? To play professional golf.  Playing professional golf was and is my goal and dream. I had a good start many years ago, but because of work and personal situations I had to take several brakes. As a matter of fact, for almost 10 years I had to step aside and do something different.

About 8 years ago my love and passion was turned back on again and I decided to go for it another time. Yet, it took me another 6 years to actually begin to work on it.

Another year later I was ready to go. I committed myself to play again. Knowing the way to professional golf I knew that I need to put in a lot of practice and play. So I needed to find 1. practice opportunity and B. Tournaments and amateur golf tours.

I started with skins game groups and the West Florida Amateur Tour. Both helped me to get back in tournament mode. However, both are small and although organized, not even close to a professional tournament setup.

So I was looking for something else. An amateur golf tour which is competitive, plays stroke play, is affordable, national and holds it’s tournaments based on the same structure like professional golf tours.

It took me a little , but I found exactly what I was looking for.

The Golf Channel Amateur Golf Tour - presented by Golf Galaxy.

I found this tour through the Internet. There is many others, but this one appealed to me by just looking at the website’s first page.

It looked professional and gave me the feeling of a big amateur golf tour playing all over the nation by just looking at it.

My first click was on the schedule link. I wanted to find out where this tour is holding tournaments and how much are the entry fees are.

I was pleasantly surprised about all the tournaments which were offered all across the Nation. That immediately appealed to me. Then I checked out Florida, the state I am living in and got really excited. There was plenty of tournaments available all over Florida.

Also I found , that there is one day, two day and even championship type tournaments. So you can play , qualify and test yourself against big fields.

A very positive point I found was that your official handicap determines your flight, of which there was plenty. Making this a fair and real test for every player.

Next I checked out the About section to learn more about the history of the tour and was impressed. Last I checked out some comments and read a little bit in the results section.
At that point I made up my mind that I want to play on this tour. Making it the second official amateur tour to help me prepare to go back to professional golf.

Before signing up I checked out what I will get for my money, after all I was ready to pay 199 $ for 12 months to be part of the tour. If I would get lots of merchandise was not a big issue, but I thought I will find out what it is and again I was pleasantly surprised.

In 2012, when I signed up first signed up I received a shirt, hat , balls, tags, stickers, discount cards for Golf Galaxy and a tour card. Since I do not recall all of it and do not have any photos I will add photos from my renewal in 2013 below.

Signing up was really easy. You can do it online and just use your Credit card. You will get confirmation emails and then be part of the tour. Your welcome package takes a few weeks to get to your home, which I did not like, but was OK with it as I did not expect anything in the first place from any tour.

After signing up you are ready to go. You can build a great profile and create good statistics. Most important, you can sign up for tournaments with a discount. The average discount is , I believe 25 $. So going by money online, you need to play 10 times to get back your membership fee.

But this is not entirely accurate. The shirt you get looks great and is very good quality. A shirt like this costs about 40 $ to 70 $ alone. The hat is great and of good quality probably costing you 20 $ to 25 $ when you buy it. Two sleeves of balls worth 15 $ and a discount card for 10 $. Adding all that up, you only need 3 tournaments to make it worth your while.

I played 3 tournaments, 2 in Florida and 1 in Washington State. Despite the fact I was not very successful I have to report , that those tournaments are organized very professional.

Sign up is very easy. Go to the website, log in to your account, find the schedule, pick the tournament and sign up with Credit Card. You will get a confirmation within minutes and are ready to go.

Once signed up you are eligible for a practice round on the course the tournament will be held. That is another , sometimes overseen benefit. Some country clubs do not let you play at all or you need to pay lots of money.

If you are a Tour Member you often get practice rounds on country clubs for 25 $ to 50 $. That includes are cart and makes it a great deal.

I usually play a few days before the tournament.

On the day of the event show up about 1 hour before you tee off. That gives you time to sign up, get ready and warm up. You get your tee time 3 days before the event via email.

They have a sign up table which has all your info. Side games are offered , but you do not have to enter any of them if you do not like. I personally like to do that, because it makes it more interesting and you could win substantial amounts at times.

You will receive 2 tickets at sign up. One for a drink and one for a lunch. This is unique and I only know that the tour in Florida I am playing on does it. In Washington they did not do that. I would ask the tour in your state.

Next you get free range balls to warm up. After warming up you should be at the assigned tee box about 10 to 15 min before play. They usually have a little tent there with the starter.

Typical starter tent at Golf Channel AM Tour event ( not sure where that was)

It is great. You get free tees, free water, pin placement sheet .

When it is your turn you are greeted and the starter explains local rules or any other rules for that day. Then he announces who starts first , second, third and fourth.

Last the starter is loudly announcing every player with name and residence which is followed by applause from fellow players and people who are around.

Clearly the attempt to help you get used to tour play.

Score cards are exchanged and the first thing you will notice is , that on every hole there is a time printed when you should be there.  Reason being, that the Golf Channel AM Tour is actually timing you and assessing penalties for slow play.

I love it. This keeps the game moving and you almost for sure accomplish the target time without being in a hurry.

After the round you bring in your signed scorecard which will be entered in a computer and  you can see all flights live on a large computer screen and the Internet. I love this scoreboard feature.

All you need to do is wait for everybody to come in to find out if you won anything. While you are doing that you can enjoy a free lunch and a free drink.

The price ceremony will be held after all players are in and all results are put in the system.
It all goes very fluent and with much fun. You receive certificates and if at times cash for hole in ones or skins games.

Overall I have to say , that the Golf Channel Amateur Golf tour is a very well organized amateur tour for players of all abilities and age. Playing all across the Nation with national championship. It is affordable and much fun.

This I think is the best organized amateur golf tour I have played in and they really try to make it feel like a professional tournament.

I renewed in 2013 and received the following package after only 3 weeks.
Already played 1 tournament and finished 2nd , which gave me certificates and some cash.

Membership package off Golf Channel Amateur Golf Tour

Official hat and bag tag of the Golf Channel Amateur Tour - two items of package

If you want to play tournament golf in a professional setting, the Golf Channel Amateur Golf Tour is a good start and great way to go. It will teach you how professional tournament play works. If you can succeed here, you can succeed on any amateur golf tour.

Have you tried any amateur tours or played on the Golf Channel tour? What do you think about this tour and others. Always like to learn more about new tours where I can play , learn and get better.

( Make sure to put my name in as a referral if you sign up and learn about the referral program which they also have as an additional benefit.


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