I joined the Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA) a couple of years ago when I relocated to New York so I could receive an official USGA Handicap without having to join a specific club. I like to wander around and play golf so I can share my experiences and have not found a club I really want to join (or one that would have me).
The MGA has been great. I can enter my scores online or through my smartphone. They send out their newsletter with revisions every month (or 2x's a month) and I can stay current on local golf news. They have tournaments throughout the golf season but I don't qualify them because of age, location, or in most cases, lack of talent. Fortunately the MGA offers play days so I can play in a real tournament regardless of handicap.
What Are MGA Play Days?
MGA Play Days provide MGA members the opportunity to play some of the best courses in the area (public and private) in a tournament format. They are one day events open to men and women and offer gross and net winners. The cost is $75 and include golf, cart, breakfast, lunch, driving range and some prize for the winner. A great deal considering most of the golf courses would cost over $75 for the round alone.
My Play Day Experience
I didn't play in a single MGA Play Day in 2011 and almost went through 2012 without playing in one. There were a few reasons... First, I didn't know any MGA Members to sign up with. Second, I couldn't take the time away from the office. Third, I was a little nervous to play in a "real" tournament. I had not played competitive (and I'll use that word loosely) since 2005 when @999Places and I traveled to Hartford, CT for a local amateur tour.
Why did I finally sign up and make the last Play Day of 2012? Simple, I wanted to play Salem Golf Club and didn't have a connection to get on. I heard great things (I wasn't disappointed and will write a review) about Salem GC and saw an opportunity to play for $75. I couldn't pass it up and I'm glad I didn't.
The event itself was first class. I could go on for a while with this but here are the details:
- Registration: Registered online and received confirmation e-mail. Received email updates with rules, directions and other information. I felt prepared when I arrived.
- Check-In: Went smoothly. Dropped off my bag, gave my name, was handed a scorecard and told where the driving range and coffee could be found.
- The Round: Shotgun start, play your own ball, stableford scoring, keep someone elses scorecard. A little slow because of leaves on the ground (that's how Fall golf goes) but overall, it was great.
- Lunch: I'm sure it varies from place to place but Salem GC had burgers, hotdogs, wraps, cookies and a full bar (not sure if drinks were included, I had coffee and went back to the office).
- Scoring: Dropped off my scorecard to the official who handled to conversion of net/gross and point system. By the time I had finished lunch almost all 80+ golfers had scores posted.
I was paired with a great group who helped look for errant tee shots and provided yardages when needed. They wanted to win but like myself, were there to enjoy the club and some competitive golf. It was great to have others to ask rules questions and having someone who played the course before was helpful for navigation purposes.
If you're an MGA Member I highly recommend registering for a Play Day in the future. It's a great opportunity to play new golf courses (even some private ones) for a reasonable price. It was great to meet new golfers in the area and play a new course. If you're looking to break into competitive golf, this is a great first step. The stableford scoring makes it competitive for everyone regardless of handicap.
If you're not an MGA member, it's worth the $35 just to have access to these events. I look forward to playing in more next year and hope the MGA keeps adding great local courses.
Who: Metropolitan Golf Association (MGA)
What: MGA Play Days
Where: MGA Member Clubs in the Tri-State Area
When: During Golf Season
Why: Play private clubs, competitive golf, have fun.
Website: MGA Website