Player Handbook

U.S. AM TOUR
PLAYER HANDBOOK

OUR MISSION

To provide an unrivaled, immersive, authentic, comprehensive, and professional Tour and Tournament experience to amateur players of all ages and abilities.

Tour Players play and compete for a variety of reasons which include access to great courses, outstanding competition, Order of Merit Points / Player of the Year / Performance Promotions, professional tournament organization, camaraderie with fellow players, great prizing and trophies.

 

MEMBERSHIP

The U.S. Am Tour is open to any amateur golfer. The membership fee is $139, includes a commemorative gift, and is valid for 365 consecutive days from the date of registration.

Returning players renewal membership fee is $99, also includes a commemorative gift, and is valid for 365 consecutive days from date of registration or from renewal date – whichever is longer.

Tour membership begins immediately once the membership application is submitted.

 

TOUR & TOURNAMENT FORMAT

The U.S. AM Tour operates tournaments on a local, regional, and national level, culminating each season with the National Championships, which are scheduled for Innisbrook Resort in September of 2024. Tour Players of all abilities enjoy the most professional and authentic Tour and Tournament experience available.

The vast majority of tournaments are flighted, individual stroke-play utilizing gross scoring and play is governed by the Rules of Golf as set by the United States Golf Association (USGA®). On-site Tournament Officials conduct player registration/check-in, provide player assistance, monitor and enforce pace of play, and apply rulings as necessary. Other formats that may be offered include team competitions, match play, specialty events etc.

 

TOUR COMPETITION

U.S. AM Tour offers six separate flights for both Open and Senior players. Senior flights are guaranteed at the Senior National Championship but may not be available at local or Major tournaments, depending on participation and interest.

New players are initially flighted based upon their current USGA® handicap unless their first event is a Major Championship, in which case their lowest USGA® Handicap will be used for flight placement. If a new player does not have a USGA® Handicap that player will be flighted based upon correspondence with Tournament Director, noting that strict measures will be in place for protection and integrity of the flight.

Field sizes and flight offerings will vary at local and major events. Tournament Directors have final authority on combining flights based on player participation at all tournaments.

 

SENIOR FLIGHT ELIGIBILITY

Senior flights are designed for players 50 years of age or older and are guaranteed at the Senior National Championship but may not be available at local or Major tournaments, depending on participation and interest. For the Senior National Championship and to compete as a Senior flight during the season, a player must have turned 50 on / before January 1 of the current year.

 

TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION

Tour Players can register online or by emailing / calling their local Tour Director. Each tournament will have a limitation on the number of entries, and therefore each event will become full on a 1st come, 1st served basis. Players are strongly encouraged to register early for each event as they may sell-out well in advance of the entry deadline.

It is the responsibility of the Tour Player to submit the required entry fee prior to the entry deadline. Entry fee payments may be made via the tournament website but may be paid in other means (i.e money order) with the permission of the Tournament Director.

Entry fee typically includes all green fees, cart fees, range balls, scoring, prize fund, and trophies.

 

CANCELLATIONS / NO SHOWS

Withdrawal from any event must be done in accordance with the posted tournament cancellation policy, which can be found on each Tournament Information Page. Registered players who withdraw prior to the deadline will be subject to a cancellation fee.

Any tournament no-shows will forfeit the entry fee and may be suspended from registering for future tournaments.

 

TOURNAMENT PRIZING

The winner of each flight will receive a trophy, plaque, or like item commemorating the achievement.

A portion of the entry fee is also used to generate the prize fund which is based upon participation and can vary based on late entries, withdrawals etc. All payouts will conform to USGA® Rules of Amateur Status.

The following is a prize fund for local, single day tournaments. Two-day events, Major Championships and National Championships are more.

*All payouts are in the form of a gift card in accordance with USGA® rules of Amateur Status
*Paying out 25% of each flight

U.S. AM TOUR ORDER OF MERIT

The U.S. AM Tour Order of Merit is a competition that awards points based upon a player’s performance on Tour. The Order of Merit may be used on your local Tour for a hometown “Player of the Year” if such award exists and is recognized on your home Tour. The Order of Merit is designed to rank players on their local Tour and within a designated flight and is primarily used as a factor in earning a qualifying spot into the National Championship.

Points will be awarded as follows:

Tour Players may compete in as many events as they wish, however, only the best eight (8) finishes will count for the Order of Merit as it is designed to reward your performance and not necessarily your participation.

Double points will be offered at Regional Major Championships and your (local) home Tour Championship. The U.S. Am Tour National Championships will be worth triple points. All other tournaments will offer points as described above.

 

NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR

U.S. AM Tour will recognize a National Player of the Year for each flight at the National Championships. The National Championship will count toward your point total, along with your best ten (10) finishes throughout the season. The National Player of the Year for each flight will win a commemorative crystal trophy, logo’d travel bag, and a paid membership for the following season. Players who finish in the top 5 (including ties) on the NPOY Standings will also receive a paid membership for the following season.

 

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

National Championships – Overview

Qualifiers from across the country will come together in celebration of the Tour and compete for a place in Tour history and the honor of becoming the National Champion in their respective flight! The National Championship and Senior National Championship (designed for players 50 and older as of Jan 1 for the calendar year) are 72-hole stroke play championships:

The 2024 U.S. Am Tour National Championship will be contested September 14-17 at Innisbrook Resort in Tampa, FL.

The 2024 U.S. Am Tour Senior National Championship will be contested September 8-11, 2024 at Innisbrook Resort in Tampa, FL.

National Championships – How To Qualify

Each player that is approved to compete in the National Championship must be both “Eligible” and “Qualified”:

Eligibility

Each player obtains eligibility as described below. Please note a tournament round is defined as a posted 18-hole tournament score on Tour during the 2024 season. For definition, the 2024 season is from September 1, 2023 – August 18, 2024.

  • Championship & Senior Championship Flight – Four (4) total rounds must be completed on Tour during the 2024 season.
  • All other Flights – Six (6) total rounds must be completed on Tour during the 2024 season. At least two (2) of the round must come on/after June 1, 2024.

The primary function and purpose of eligibility is to help ensure proper flighting at the National Championships.

Qualifying

There will be a priority system in place with priority given in the following order:

  1. Past National Champions
  2. Past Founding Member Champions from 2020 (Innisbrook & Mission Hills)
  3. Top 5 and Ties, per flight, from 2023 National Championships
  4. Top 3 and ties from any Major Championship in 2024 season
  5. Any 3-time Champion on Tour from the 2024 season
  6. Any player who earns a “Performance Promotion” in their new flight
  7. Top 3, not previously qualified above, from the 2024 Order of Merit
  8. Top 2 finishes and ties, not previously qualified above, from your local (home) 2024 Tour Championship
  1. Top 33% of each flight per Tour

Players are encouraged to apply early and must be a member in good standing. A position in the field is not guaranteed and is limited to the first 500 per championship.

*Note: Flight demotion requests will pause as of May 31st, 2024 and reviews for demotions will resume after National Championships have completed.

SPECTATORS & CADDIES

Caddies and spectators are welcome at each tournament, noting that each course may have different policies that we abide by as guests of the host facility.

Caddies and spectators are the responsibility of the associated player who is solely responsible for their proper golf etiquette and general decorum. If any issue(s) arise with their behavior or lack of proper golf etiquette they will be asked to leave the premises.

Golf carts are limited at each event to two carts per group and players always have priority use of a golf cart. Caddies and spectators should anticipate and expect to walk the course.

 

PLAYER CONDUCT

Players and/or their guests shall always conduct themselves in a professional and responsible manner consistent with the great game of golf. U.S Am Tour reserves the right to disqualify any player for unbecoming conduct which includes incidents and/or actions that are detrimental to the Tour, fellow players, or the host facility, all of which may be grounds for suspension or even expulsion, without a refund, from the Tour. These include but are not limited to: Excessive displays of anger, willful damage of the golf course or golf course property, public criticism of host course or verbal abuse of course/tour staff or other contestants, potential endangerment of others, manipulation of scores posted for handicap purposes, offensive or unbecoming language, illegal drug use, alcohol abuse, disrespect to fellow players or staff.

 

PACE OF PLAY

Efficient pace of play is a driving factor of a successful and positive tournament experience for all participants. The Tournament Committee at each competition will determine the maximum allowable time each group is permitted to play the round, noting a player is expected to maintain a pace faster than the maximum allowable time. Typically, the maximum allowable time will be 2 hours 15 minutes for nine holes and 4 hours 30 minutes for 18-holes.

Lead Group(s)
The first group(s) should finish their first nine holes at a pace faster than the maximum allotted time which will typically be between 2:05 and 2:15. If the lead group finishes over the maximum allotted time after nine holes, each player in the group will be assessed a 2-stroke penalty applied on their 9th hole. Exception: If the lead group is held up by public play that was sent out before them or that began on the opposite tee they will be absolved from the penalty provided they finish within 14 minutes of the group in front of them.

All Following Groups
Groups are always expected to be waiting on the group directly in front of them. A 2-stroke penalty will be assessed to each player in a group that is over maximum time and fails to finish within 14 minutes of the group directly in front of them. Penalties will occur at checkpoints on holes #9 and #18.

Advisories
•    Tournament Officials are not required to notify a group they are out of position – knowing this is the responsibility with the player and their group.
•    Each group is responsible for monitoring and policing their pace of play. Being in position means to be immediately behind the group in front of you.
•    As a courtesy, the maximum allotted time will be on your official scorecard and policy will be reiterated to you on your starting hole.
•    Any player penalized three (3) times during a calendar year will be suspended from the Tour for six (6) months.
•    A player concerned about slow player(s) in a group should first remind the player of the pace of play policy and encourage them to play more efficiently. The concerned player may request an official to monitor the group and offending player(s). If a player is identified as holding up the pace of play, penalties may be applied to that player and rescinded from others. Appeals will only be heard and considered upon completion of the round in the scoring area.

 

WEATHER POLICY

Weather-related conditions may delay or suspend play such as:

  • Lightning
  • Course being deemed unplayable as determined by host facility

If such inclement weather is present, every effort will be made by the tournament committee to complete the full number of holes. Under a delay, all players should remain on property and await official announcements from the tournament committee.

If the course remains unplayable and/or lightning is present, and, as the last option, the following may result in an official tournament:

  • 18-hole events may become shortened to nine holes.  If this is not possible, it may be rescheduled
  • 36-hole, 54-hole, or 72-hole tournaments may become official and shortened to an 18-hole tournament

While the Tour will do everything possible to complete the full number of prescribed holes, there will be no refunds should inclement weather shorten the event.

 

CHECK-IN & STARTING

Tour Players should always check-in with the tournament committee on-site prior to the start of the first round and at least 30-minutes prior to starting time. It is the responsibility of the player to be at their starting hole approximately ten (10) minutes prior to starting time.

A player arriving to their starting hole at their starting time or up to five minutes late will incur a 2-stroke penalty. Any player arriving five (5) or more minutes after their starting time will be disqualified.

 

TEEING GROUNDS

Below approximates distances typically used on Tour (based on course/flight availability):

Actual yardages may vary based on conditions, courses etc.

 

ELECTRONIC DEVICES

Distance measuring devices that provide factual information are allowed at each event.

Cell phones and other electronic devices should always be silent out of respect for fellow competitors.

 

GUEST POLICY

If you are interested in playing on Tour, please contact your local Tour Director.

 

DRESS CODE

Players shall maintain a positive dress appearance at tournaments as representatives of the U.S Am Tour. Golf shirts are required, should be tucked in, and no denim, jeans, jogging outfits, or sweatpants are permitted. Hats, when worn, should be with the bill facing forward.

 

TOUR INDEX

The Tour Index is designed to group players into flights of similar ability to create and foster fair competition and only considers rounds completed on the U.S Am Tour. A player attains a Tour Index by completing three (3) rounds on Tour. When this is achieved, the Tour Index will be used to place the player in the appropriate flight if it is lower than their USGA® Handicap Index. Similarly, it may also be used to justify a move to a higher-handicapped flight, however, this request must come from the player and in accordance with further policies and procedures as outlined below.

The U.S Am Tour reserves the right to re-flight a player at any time and final decisions are solely at the discretion of the Tour.

The Tour Index is based upon the calculation below:

 

FLIGHT MANAGEMENT

The genesis of Flight Management is to protect the integrity of the Tour competition. Players are expected and encouraged to challenge themselves and, in doubt, compete in the more competitive flight.

Flight Policy – General

  • The Tour reserves the right to promote a player at any time and/or re-flight a player at anytime
  • Any player with a Tour Index may only play in one flight higher than his/her current, verifiable USGA® handicap index and this responsibility rests with the player. EX: Joe Golfer has a USGA® Index of 3.5 and a Tour Index of 14.3. Joe Golfer can compete in the Championship (3.9 or less) or Player Flight (4.0-7.9), but would not be eligible for the Hogan Flight (8.0-11.9). Failure to follow this policy may result in immediate re-flighting and/or disqualification, as well as a deduction in points on the Order of Merit.

Flight Policy – Performance Promotions

  • If a player’s Tour Index improves to correspond with a better flight, he/she will be awarded with a “PERFORMANCE PROMOTION” to the next flight and will be notified, promoted, and awarded of this distinction of improvement. Performance Promotions occur on the first day of each month. Any Performance Promotion will automatically qualify for the National Championship only in their new flight. In addition, the player will be presented with a commemorative bag tag for this achievement and will be given a $100 gift card if they compete in the 2024 National Championship.
  • Eligibility for a “PERFORMANCE PROMOTION” mandates that a player must have an established Tour Index for a minimum of one (1) month and a minimum of four (4) posted rounds on Tour prior to earning the promotion
  • Order of Merit Points will be deducted starting on February 1st, if necessary, into a tie for 3rd place as player recognizes that the points accrued were in a less competitive flight
  • National Player of the Year points will be deducted starting on February 1st, if necessary, into a tie for 10th place as player recognizes that the points accrued were in a less competitive flight

Flight Policy – Player Movement to a Higher Handicap Flight

  • A player who feels he/she is not competitive in their current flight may request to be demoted and provide the ancillary data (Tour Index) to support the claim. The Tournament Committee will review information and the request will be approved or denied in a timely fashion. The request must be made six (6) days prior to a local event and fourteen (14) days prior to a Major Championship. Points may be deducted as described above.
  • A player who wishes to move to a higher handicap flight may request the demotion only once their Tour Index reaches two full strokes higher than the lowest threshold of the original flight. EX: Joe Golfer wishes to move from the Jones Flight (16.0-19.9) to the Tiger Flight (20.0 & above). Joe Golfer would be eligible for review to the Tiger Flight once their Tour Index reaches 22.0 or higher. Under this scenario, player points will be adjusted if needed.
  • Players who are reviewed and granted a flight demotion will be closely monitored. If it is found that the player has the ability to compete in their former flight, the Tour has the sole discretion and authority to move a player back to their original flight, regardless of Tour Index and time of year.

Flight Policy – National Championships

The Tournament Committee reserves the right to disqualify any non-Championship Flight player from the 2024 National Championships if that player outperforms the competition and it is apparent that they are not in the correct flight. Qualifiers must understand that playing in a flighted National Championship is a privilege and the integrity of the competition is of the highest priority to the Committee and its participants. If a player has any doubt, they should formally request to move to a more competitive flight prior to the start of the competition.

*Note: Flight demotion requests will pause as of May 31, 2024. Reviews for flight demotions will resume after the National Championships have completed.

MORE INFORMATION

More information will be available in the next version of this Tour/Player Handbook, scheduled for October, 2024. For any specific questions please do not hesitate to contact:

Northeast and Midwest            Rick Adamek     813-765-1987     Radamek@usamtour.com

Southeast and Texas                Mike Rich          407-312-3501     Mrich@usamtour.com

West                                         Joe Wagner       858-245-4655     Jwagner@usamtour.com

*Note: All information on the official website www.USAmTour.com shall supersede information contained here.