I am playing tournaments for many years and just about 3 years ago I decided to start again on the amateur circuit and work my way towards other tournaments. There is all kinds of different golf tours I am playing, but today I just want to write a short overview about the FSGA ( Florida State Golf Association).
It was only last year when I first heard about this organization. I think the reason was that I played mainly skins game events in the area for which I never needed a handicap. So the first couple years I actually never signed up to get a GHIN number. Only when I joined the Golf Channel Amateur Golf Tour I got myself a handicap again.
Last year I was not to eager to actually play any tournaments in stroke play format. That changed towards the end of the year and so I decided to actually join the FSGA.
They have different levels of membership which you can find on their official website. I picked the 50 $ a year membership. This level gives you the opportunity to play tournaments and that is all I was interested in. The other membership levels give you other perks, but naturally they have their cost.
It was pretty simple to sign up. Just went to the website and used my credit card to get going. Got confirmed very fast and was ready to sign up.
That is exactly what I did. Signed up for my first tournament at the Longboat Key Country Club, Harbor Side. They had two one day events right after each other and since I only played one of the two courses (Island side) so far I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.
Entry fees for those tournaments are were 50 $ each. That included play, cart, range balls and prize fund. What a deal. If you sign up after the entry due date, you are charged an extra 10 $ if you still can get in.
Considering the golf courses they play, this is a great price to get into competition, considering that most of the tracks you play are private and pretty expensive. Most of them you can not play at all unless you are a member or a guest of such member. Most of the time you can play a practice round for cart fee. That is another great bonus when playing on the FSGA. There is however some golf clubs who do not allow practice rounds. Although I think that is strange and there is really no good reason for it, we have to respect the club members wish.
I showed up for my first tournament at Long Boat Key Country Club about 1 hour before tee off. Sign up table was outside and easy to find. Jeff had all the info and I was checked in and ready to go within seconds. Paid money into the skins game fund ( it was and always is a reasonable 10 $ ) and started warming up with my free range balls.
I left my bag on the cart which was actually marked with my name and the name of my cart partner. We were told to be at the cart about 15 minutes before the shot gun start. But we did not have to watch the time since they actually made an announcement a few minutes before that time and again at exact 15 minutes before starting time.
The tournament director then welcomed everybody and shared information about rules and course rules. It all went down very fast and all was easy to understand. You also get a little sheet with info on it.
Staff members of the golf course then lead all players in direction of their tee box. After we arrived at ours we started right away. There was no horn or shot gun shot.
We got 4 hours and 30 minutes to complete our round. There were times for each hole printed on the score cards.
Penalties were to be given when you were caught causing slow play. Actually the entire group would have gotten a penalty ( I think there is a warning before that, please refer to the FSGA website).
I loved this part. In my mind there is no reason in tournaments like that or any tournament for that matter to play 5 hours or more. This particular course ( harbor side) we played in 3 hours and 58 minutes. We did not rush at all and took our time when looking for balls, getting ready or putting. It was fun.
Sometimes the FSGA representative checked groups and asked how things are going. I also liked that. They wanted to make sure that the tournament ran smooth and without incidents.
We came in , compared cards and brought it to the FSGA tournament director. The score was posted and even entered into the GHIN system right away. This is exciting. You do not have to do anything other than play golf. Because it was a shot gun start, groups came in pretty fast and all was done without long waiting times. The results were posted clearly on large boards and shortly after they announced the winners and gave out the pro shop certificates and paid out the skins.
All very simple, clear, easy. The second event at Longboat Key Country Club Island side was no different and as professional as the first one. As a matter of fact, the third event I played happened to be at Buckhorn Springs Golf and Country Club and was consistent with the others. I even heard that they offered some breakfast.
The FSGA offers one day events, Championship events and team events for men and women. You play with your handicap and even have the choice to play in the gross division. So there is plenty of opportunity to compete against players of the same ability or better.
If you come to Florida and are interested in playing competitive golf for a good price in a fair and old fashioned matter, the FSGA is a great thing to be part of. FSGA tournaments are professionally organized, not expensive and you get to play on premier golf courses in the area.
I will play on this tour whenever I have a chance and when the events are close to my home or in reasonable travel distance.
Have you played on any FSGA golf tournament before? What was your experience?
If you have never heard of the Florida State Golf Association and want to check it out visit the official site below.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE FLORIDA STATE GOLF ASSOCIAION