The Good: The Golf Channel Amateur Tour (GCAT) provides a professional/competitive format for golfers of all skill levels. Whether you're a scratch golfer or a +30 handicap, the GCAT provides a well structured platform where you can experience the thrill of competitive golf.
The Bad: Based on my personal experience, the only negative I can point out is that a midst the nervous, tense emotions of playing in my first competitive golf event, it was tough to take a step back and enjoy my round with my usual happy-go-lucky attitude. Overcoming the pressure, is a challenge I look forward to tackling in future events.
The Bottom Line: If you want to experience adrenaline pumping from competitive golf, I'd higly recommend the GCAT. As the season and events unfold, follow your progress online with up to date statistics and tour rankings.
Although I've loved golf for as long as I can remember, I've never felt that my game was good enough to compete in individual events. As such, I've remained more of a 'weekend warrior', getting out once a week, playing in the odd scramble/best ball corporate tournament and relegating the thoughts of competitive golf to a far away fantasy world.
I'm sure every golfer, regardless of skill level, at some point has imagined what it would be like to compete on the big stage, such as on the PGA Tour. A couple years ago, while in Florida, I had the opportunity to play a couple rounds at PGA National, home of the Honda Classic. Knowing I was tee off and playing from the same spot as countless golf legends (albeit I was on a different tee box), the feeling was surreal and as I hacked my way around the course, I created memories that will last a lifetime.
This experience fueled my hunger to further explore golf at a higher more competitive level, which as a +19 handicaper, can be a little intimidating. Through friends and colleagues, I've followed the GCAT - USA for a couple of years and was thrilled to hear they were expanding north of the border into Canada. This would be the perfect opportunity for me to feed my desire for experiencing competitive golf. With 7 chapters across Canada, the GCAT-Canada provides a real sense that you're competing in a premier nationwide tour. Each chapter consists of a combination of one day events, two day tournaments as well as regional championships. Collectively, participants from local chapters also have the opportunity to compete in the National Championship, which this year (2015) will be held at the prestigious Hamilton Golf & Country Club.
With 6 flights set up to accommodate varying handicaps, players can find comfort knowing they'll be competing against golfers of a similar ability. Flights include:
A little nervous, I showed up to my first event with plenty of time to warm up, hit the range, practice putting and try to relax prior to teeing off in my first real individual golf competition. The event itself was very well organized with frienldy and engaging staff, provided a sense of professionalism and inclusion. I completed my warm up routine and felt as though my nerves were surprisingly starting to settle down. When I heard the starter announce "Next on the tee, from Keswick Ontario, Scott Stevens!" it gave me goose bumps. As I stood on the first tee, it felt as though the entire world was watch and I could feel my knees knocking together from the renewed nervous adrenaline coursing through my body. Still unknown to me, I somehow managed to stripe my tee shot straight down the middle of the fairway, which lead to an opening hole par.
"Wow" I thought to myself, "I was born to play competitive golf". Unfortunately, it only took a couple more holes before I was brought back to reality and the inconsistent game I was accustomed to had returned.
At the end of the day, I had a fantastic time, in a way I had never experienced before. My typical happy-go-lucky attitude towards golf had been replaced by a more business like mentality. This experience will undoubtedly be a lasting memory, representing my first real glimpse of competitive golf. I'm already looking forward to my next event, where I feel I'll be better prepared for the tense emotions invoked by competition.
Whether you're a scratch golfer looking to put your skills to the test, or you're a 'weekend warrior' looking to experience the thrill of competitive golf, I strongly erg you to check out your local Golf Channel AM Tour. Once you hear the starter announce your name on the first tee, you'll be hooked. Hope to see you at the next event!
About the Golf Channel Am Tour - Canada
Golf Channel Am Tour Canada is most authentic amateur golf tour in the country and welcomes players of all ages and skill levels. We offer more than 60 stroke-play tournaments including 6 Majors each season, all leading to the Canadian National Championships.
Members from across Canada will compete at some of the top class golf courses such as Jasper Park Lodge, Calbot Links, Osprey Valley, Wolf Creek, Northview, Angus Glen, Glen Abbey, Le Fontainebleau, Hamilton Golf & CC and many more.
Find your local tour today at www.GCAmTourCanada.com.