March 5, 2010
Why I Play the IGTA Golf Tour - by David Sellers
The IGTA Tour is a golf mini-tour comprising of 24 or more weekend golf tournaments per year. The IGTA Tour is excellent developmental golf tour that uses handicaps (USGA handicap software). Many of the IGTA golf members have gone on to play on the PGA Tour, Nationwide Tour, and Hooters Tour. Others that play on the TarHeel tour, Gateway Tour, Adams Pro Golf Tour, Senior Sunbelt Tour, Minor League Golf Tour, Peach State Professional Golf Tour, Dixie PGA and Florida PGA members also played on the IGTA Tour. Such as D.A. Points, and Jerod Turner now on the PGA Tour. One of our players, Don Gadberry, just became a full-time 2010 PGATour caddie for Martin Flores. For a list of known players, go to www.igtatour.com.
There have been many professional golf tours come and go, such as the US Pro Golf Tour. For various reasons, many of these tours have vanished. Many of their tour players were left holding a check they couldn't cash. Well, the IGTA Tour, operating for 10 years, has paid out over 2.4 million dollars. The IGTA Tour is a credible tour. We members thank the Tour operators, many times for their due diligence (not to mention the thousands of travel miles) in providing us such a great tour. Their passion in making the IGTA Tour the top mini-pro developmental tour is consistantly ongoing. The IGTA Tour enforces the Rules of Golf. The IGTA Tour plays some of the top 100 courses in the USA. Anyone can win on any given day, usually the one who practices the most.
Many golfers headed to Q-School (tour qualifying school) for both the PGA Q-School and Champions Tour Q-School, come to play the IGTA Tour to improve their game by playing for competitive purses ranging in $15,000 to 25,000 and more. 1st Place averages 5,000 dollars with 5th place 1,000 dollars.
I have played in several Champions Tour Pre-Qualifiers and the IGTA Tour has better prepared my game. Before playing on the IGTA Tour, my scores were not very close, because I had not been playing under real pressure -- like a 1st Place $5000.00 check. Twice now I missed the cut by only 1-shot to get to the Qualifier. My game on the IGTA Tour has improved, winning 4 tournaments (1 in a playoff), placing in the Top 10 dozens of times and placing 2nd in the Points Race the last 3 years, and yes, this also pays a nice check. Many guys, who play in Champions Tour Pre-Qualifiers and U.S. Senior Open qualifiers, do not play enough REAL competitive golf. They play at their home course in golf dogfights, golf skins game and sometimes even Golf Calcutta's. They shoot anywhere from 66 - 72 on a consistent basis. Their golfing buddies tell them to get on the Champions Tour. But when it comes to having to play major tournaments on courses that they are unfamiliar with, then the frustration usually shows itself in the mental side of the game. Sure, on your home course you know exactly what to hit to reach a dog leg, lay up to a creek, what side of the green to hit to, which way the grains go and so forth why they shoot lower scores. The IGTA Tour plays the tougher courses (mostly in the southeastern states, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, South Carolina) with golfers of all skills levels that challenge not only your golf game but your mental abilities. I have averaged over 15,000 a year the past 3 years receiving a yearly 1099 for tax purposes. I save my receipts for tournament entries, travel expenses and necessary equipment purchases and apply those expenses to my income tax worksheets, which I consider a 2nd source of income and an advantage of playing and earning money on a mini-golf Tour.
You can still play on the IGTA Tour as an amateur receiving up to $750.00 gift certificate for 1st Place thru 7th Place. Since I'm not planning on playing for the U.S. Amateur, or Georgia Amateur, I did not see any reason to maintain amateur status. There's a huge difference learning to play under pressure in a money golf tournament as opposed to playing for a trophy or a gift certificate. I have plenty of trophies, plaques and kind of got tired of using gift certificates to buy marked up pro shop merchandise. There are many Amateur Tours such as The Golf Galaxy Tour, eGolf Amateur Tour, Sports Fan Golf Tour, The AGA Tour and The Golf Channel Amateur Tour which they all seem like fun, but if you are really serious and want to get your golf game to the next level then it is time to upgrade your golf game. Remember, with risks comes rewards -- no risk, then no reward. Right after I won one of my first Senior Club Championships, a friend suggested I bring that game to the IGTA Tour and win money. It took some time before I finally realized that I'm not getting any younger - take the risk. And I did with no regrets. I wish I would have done it years ago.
Champions Tour Pre-Qualifiers allows you to play with non-conforming golf clubs, but if you qualify for the Champions Tour Qualifier, then you must have conforming golf clubs. My TaylorMade R7 irons are non-conforming so I recently was custom-fitted at the Reynolds Plantation TaylorMade Golf Center where PGA Golf Pro's frequently visit. I went thru the complete process including the MATT (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) System swing analysis to fit my driver, irons, wedge and putter. The staff will attach reflective markers to your body-head-to-toe-as well as on the shaft and head of the fitting club. Nine separate high speed synchronized cameras capture the motion of the reflectors and instantaneously render a 3-D image. The image can be rotated to display countless angles, so that you can see what your swing looks like from above, below and every way in between. Inside and out, launch monitors and other devices record your swing speed, ball speed, launch angles, spin ratios-they'll cover them all. At the end of my fitting session, I ended up with the TaylorMade R9 TP irons with KBS shafts (we went thru a lot of shafts before we found the one consistent with my swing). Being a mini-tour player, I qualified for a discount. Nice!! If you're a mini-tour golfer, you may want to inquire as I'm not sure that this is always offered. And, most importantly, plan ahead, as they remain booked a month or two in advance.
The IGTA Tour members consist of many players trying to get to the next level and many are businessmen who love the game of golf. We compete off the course as well, whether it is a chipping contest, putting contest or a Texas Holdem card game-- we like the competition. There's always a happy hour where we tell the tales of what was or what could have been. And there is always a big decision on where we go to dinner. Another thing you will find are great golfers (some are teaching pro's) who offer suggestions on improving certain parts of your game. You'll find many, after a round, on the practice range working on their game or helping others. One thing is for certain, you'll find your weekends most enjoyable with these guys. I have created dozens of great new friendships with guys in different cities.
We all have two things in common (in any order) - Get to the Next Level and WIN!
For the latest IGTA Tour newsletter, go to: http://www.igtatour.com/IGTANEWS09.pdf