There’s a lot that goes in to putting on a golf tournament, and the Golf Academy has become exceptionally good at it. That’s because each year, the GAA puts on 60 tournaments for an average of 50-70 students per tournament.
During your first three semesters at the Academy, Tournament Golf class is mandatory. It’s always on a Monday. If you have your sights set on passing the Playing Ability Test through the PGA of America (in order to earn your PGA Class A Certification), it’s the closest thing you’re going to get to experiencing real, feet-to-the fire tournament pressure.
But once you get to your fourth and final semester, Tournament Golf becomes an elective, and you have to take Tournament Administration in order to graduate. There’s a new workforce to train every semester.
Knowing how to conduct a competition is really good experience and could be the differentiator between you and someone else applying for a job in what’s becoming an increasingly competitive golf industry. From the moment we first walked through those double glass doors at the Golf Academy, we’ve been groomed to get ourselves to stand out from the rest of the herd. This is just another way to do that.
Before we graduate, we have to serve as Committee members for at least two tournaments. This past week, I helped run my first tournament at Oakwood Golf Club in Sun Lakes with the help of two of my classmates. In the week leading up to the event, we assembled the field using our Tournament Management software. We prepared a notice to players, produced pairings sheets based on handicap and score cards, and posted tee times and hole assignments on the community bulletin board.
On the day of the event, my classmates manned the registration table to check players in while I put the finishing touches on the announcements. I spent almost a decade in broadcast news, so makes annoucements using a bullhorn instead of a microphone is no big deal.
I went over the tournament format, the teeing areas, course announcements, on-course contests (in this case, closest to the pin), and a few of the Rules. On this day, there were several formats in play: round one of the Playing Ability Test through the Golf Academy, round one of the Stroke Play Championship, and qualifying for the school golf team.
Then at the end of the round, we collected all the score cards and entered them into the tournament database so we could post them on campus the following morning. Overall, it was a great experience and a lot of fun!
Seven of my classmates and I will be playing in the National Collegiate Club Golf Association (NCCGA) Tournament this weekend at El Conquistador Golf Resort in Oro Valley. Even through I’m from Tucson, I’ve never played the course. I tied for the low round of the qualifier, a one-over par 73 from the back tees in the wind at Oakwood on Monday. I’ll take it!
After qualifying for the team and the tournament at Oakcreek Country Club in Sedona first semester, I failed to qualify again last semester while exploring several swing changes. I’m proud to say I fought my way back, and I can’t wait to tee it up near my old stomping grounds this weekend.