How much should my child compete?

The first and seemingly obvious question is: how much does he or she want to compete? There is no point dragging your unwilling child to tournaments on a regular basis.

As long as motivation to compete is not an issue, planning the correct amount of competition into your child's program is vital. Both too much and too little competition can have severely detrimental effects.

Problems arising from too little competition:
  • Poor development of tactical and problem solving skills
  • Player can lack challenge and something to strive for, resulting in decreased motivation.
  • Player is not able to put learnings from the practice environment into action to complete the learning process.
  • Player does not develop mental toughness to cope with the demands of the game.
  • Player's ranking does not improve, so they miss out on further higher-level competitive opportunities.
Problems arising from too much competition:
  • Player lacks training time during which they can make improvements necessary for long-term success.
  • Player develops a game style that is effective for junior events, rather than a game style that will be effective in the future.
  • Player makes quick fixes for issues with their game to be ready by the weekend. The issues are never addressed later, and the player's improvement eventually reaches a plateau.
  • The player can get stale in competition.
  • The player doesn't get enough time off and can get bored of golf.
  • The player and their family do not get enough quality family time.
  • The player only has friends that are in golf.

If your child has indicated a true interest in pursuing the road to competitive golf, a healthy balance of competition and practice time is important for steady and improved play. Preparation for all competitions should start with the full knowledge of personal down time, practice times and family time. These times should be scheduled and documented on a calendar along with a competition schedule.

How much time is necessary?


Competition Events

Number of Holes (per year)

Under 7

Just learning the game and enjoying basic skills challenges


Under 12

5 to 10 events per year made up of:

9 hole events – 1 to 5

18 hole events – 3 to 5

36 hole events - 1

99 to 171 holes of competition

Under 16

10 to 20 events per year made up of:

9 hole events - 1 to 2

18 hole events - 5 to 12

36 hole events – 2 to 3

54 hole events – 1 to 2

225 to 450 holes of competition

Under 18

15 to 25 events per year made up of:

18 hole events – 3 to 5

36 hole events – 5 to 8

54 hole events – 4 to 7

72 hole events – 3 to 5

666 to 1116 holes of competition

This is only a guide (as outlined within the LTPD), because there are many other factors that come into play. It should give you a starting point from which to plan a tournament schedule. 

The importance of competition
Where to start competing
Common problems with rankings
How do I know which are the best events to enter?
Types of events to focus on