What rating level should I play?

Janie H, from Indiana ask:

What rating level should I play?

Find Your Level is a very helpful place to begin with your junior golfer.

Also, the W2G Ratings Guide was developed to track the progression of competitive play from junior (J) to amateur (A), and to open (O) events. Junior players new to competitive golf may begin with parent-junior events (level S). Next, add some 9 hole competitive events (J, level 1). Advance to 18 holes (J, 2) as comfort level increases with playing 18 holes in practice, playing with friends, and carrying one’s own bag.

Levels progress to 36 hole events, invitationals, and then to national junior events. While playing at junior level 3.5 – 4, add more challenge by playing in a local amateur event, (category A, level 3-4).

Confirm minimum age requirement for each amateur event by contacting the event’s association. Some amateur events may include or exclude junior golfers.

Strive to play and win at each level before advancing. However, also play in 1 or 2 events at the next level to stretch yourself. Playing in a few tournaments at a higher level may elicit nervousness and uncomfortable feelings with being out of your element. This response is great! Don’t get discouraged. Play your game. This is learning “on the job”!

Remember – playing at an uncomfortably higher level is a test to see if your confidence and game are ready for the next level. Perhaps after getting your feelings hurt by performing poorly, or feeling completely exhausted from playing well at a stretch event, resuming play at your current level may feel easy. I always found this to be true after playing in a U.S. Open. Playing in the Open stretched every ounce of me and wore me out emotionally, physically and mentally. However, the next few weeks on Tour felt “easy peasy”.