We love golf in Canada. We love playing it and we also love following the pros. Competitive golf is always incredibly entertaining and enjoyable to watch. With this said, it’s interesting that many golfers love to play the game and love to follow competitive play, yet never play competitive golf themselves. This is not due to a lack of options. There are some really terrific tours for golfers of all playing abilities to enjoy throughout the country. One of the major leaders in competitive amateur golf is headed up by the Golf Channel. Through the Golf Channel Amateur Tour, they have tournaments available from coast to coast in Canada, providing golfers of every level with the opportunity to experience the excitement and overall enjoyment that comes with competitive golf.
If you consider yourself a fan of golf, provide me with a couple moments to persuade you as to why playing competitive amateur golf will enhance your overall enjoyment of the game, and create some wonderful experiences in the process.
10. Camaraderie - Great friendships can be developed through the game of golf. Even in fierce competition against another, many players find that they develop great friendships. It’s a fact which makes golf so unique compared to other competitive sports. Following his 2015 Open Championship win, Zach Johnson spoke of the respect professional golfers have for each other out on tour. He spoke of how players desperately try to defeat each other when out on the course, but are quick to celebrate each player’s successes following play. It is the same on amateur tours - friends play to defeat each other, but respect and camaraderie persists making for a more enjoyable competitive experience.
9. Great courses - While enjoying competitive play, you can also play many great courses in your area. Most amateur tours make it a habit to bring tour stops to courses well respected throughout the country. It was through the Golf Channel Amatuer Tour that I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario. I grew up watching the pros play the RBC Canadian Open at this location, and being able to compete on the course myself was a terrific experience. Amateur tours allow you to begin crossing many great courses off your personal bucket lists.
8. Test yourself - Many players are hesitant to join a tour because they don’t know what to expect, and are often times concerned that they’re simply not good enough. They fear putting themselves in a situation which could lead to embarrassment that results from poor play. These concerns are understandable, but amateur tours provide golfers with the opportunity to put their abilities to the test. The old cliche “You never know what you can accomplish until you try” is absolutely pertinent. There is incredible enjoyment in going out and testing yourself. The worst thing that happens is that you play poorly, you learn from the experience, and become motivated to perform better the next time. This is what competitive golf is all about!
7. Play with a purpose - Practice rounds and practice sessions can be much more meaningful when you know you have a tour event approaching. It allows you to focus more intently on what you want to accomplish as a golfer, and this is fun! Even myself, playing competitive rounds on the Golf Channel Amateur Tour has allowed me to recognize some aspects of my game that need some attention, and I’m in the process of formulating a personal improvement plan. It’s a process that I’m enjoying. Amateur tour events allow you to go from simply playing golf, to pursuing golf, and in my opinion, this makes the game more fun.
6. Feel the pressure, and love it! - Pressure which comes from competition is another reason why many individuals shy away from competitive golf. The best competitors are those who feel pressure, accept it, and use it to bring out their best. They feel the pressure, and love it. Amateur events are the place for golfers to learn how to develop such a mindset. They learn that pressure is a very real thing in golf, and that it often will hurt performance, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a challenge you can learn to enjoy. It is a personal triumph for any golfer who can come off the course after a pressure packed round and say, “Wow, that was nerve wracking...but what a rush!”
5. Overcome the pressure and have fun - While many players can learn to love the pressure that is often experienced during a competitive round of golf, there will be others who are more interested in putting the pressure asside and are seeking the sheer enjoyment of the game. If this describes you, you'll be happy to hear, there’s a place for you in competitive golf too. For these players, amateur events allow you to go out, experience the thrill of competition, with good company, on great courses and have a fantastic time while doing it. Although winning is great, it's important to realize that it doens't have to be everything. Competitive golf is for everyone to enjoy, regardless of the mindset that you bring to that competition.
4. Prizes - As an amateur you cannot play for money, but you certainly can compete for some great prizes. Stores such as Golf Galaxy and Golf Town offer sponsorships to the Golf Channel Amateur Tour allowing golfers to earn some great prizes. Competitors can redeem gift cards immediately, or save their winnings to buy that new set of irons that you’ve had your eye on. If it’s money you want, most tours run 50/50 and skins games and provide players with the option to participate. With the opportunity to play competitive golf on great courses, while at the same time earn some great prizes, competing can be a very rewarding on multiple levels.
3. Bang for your buck - Not all amateur golf is played within a local tour. Some events can be qualifiers for regional, state, provincial or national competitions. For those who qualify, these events can be very good deals financially. Not only do you get to play your qualifying round(s), but then the competitive rounds as well, all for one entry fee. And don’t forget the sweet gifts that are often bestowed on qualifiers for the event.
2. Be “on tour” – While at first this may sound a little far-fetched, it really is a lot of fun to join a competitive tour and travel around playing at different tour stops during the season. One of the exciting aspects of the PGA Tour is the fact that players travel from course to course throughout the United States competing at different tour stops. While this is not a reality for amateurs, they can experience what it is like to travel from stop to stop around the area in which they live. With the Golf Channel Amateur Tour you can also travel across state lines, and even the U.S./Canadian border to compete against new competition if you are so inclined. This is one reason why I really enjoy competing on this tour, for it is very well established, professionally run, and backed by one of the major leaders in the golf industry - The Golf Channel.
1. National Championship - Usually national championships are reserved for the best amateurs and professionals in the game, but this is no longer the case. Well developed amateur tours now provide players of all abilities with the opportunity to compete on a national stage. There often times are qualification processes, but this is a goal that is within reach. National Championships are always tremendously memorable experiences.
About the Author
This article was written by Jonathan Carr (@jonathanwcarr) as part of our weekly 'Top 10' series. As a scratch golfer himself, Jonathan has a keen eye for what it takes to be successful on and off the golf course. His passion for golf is surpassed only by his passion for his faith and his family.
Read some of Jonathan's other articles here.
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.