John Renslow: How would your game measure up? | TheUnion.com
John Renslow
Golf Columnist

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John Renslow: How would your game measure up?

Competition is central to games and sports. One can enjoy sports without competing and there are a host of benefits from playing that do not require a victory lap. The rewards are many; exercise, fresh air, beautiful surroundings, and time well spent with friends.

However, if you are interested in becoming a better player, how do you know what "better" is? How does one measure up against other players? For some, the goal is to be the best. For others, it is simply a joy to watch the top players compete at the highest level.

Of course, the best professionals on the globe play on the PGA Tour. Nearly every week, these players meet on championship courses to match skill and wits. The better the performance, the larger take of the purse, and if they don't play well, they don't get paid.

As a result, each week is important. Yet, a there are certain events that carry more weight, that are more 'valuable' to the players and four of these tournaments are superior. In fact, as a group they are known as "majors."

Next week, at Erin Hills Golf Course in Erin, Wisconsin, the United States Golf Association hosts our national championship. It is available (or open) to virtually any skilled player who would like to qualify. Certain events are by invitation only, but this one is even open to the public. Aspiring professionals and many of the countries best amateurs will plunk down a few bucks and tee it up with the goal of qualifying.

Qualifying begins at the local level. A small number of top players will then advance to a regional or "sectional" qualifier. After two rounds (36 holes) at the sectional level, a few elite players will go on to compete in the United States Open Championship. All told, about 8,000 players will make the attempt and a few dozen of these "at-large" qualifiers will compete among the world's best players.

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The names you know from the Tour (and international players) enter the field or advance to the second stage of qualifying based on their performance through victories or earnings on the Money List. Then, the field is complemented with those who made their way through these two challenging stages.

It's a full week of wall-to-wall television with professionals and elite amateurs on one of the nation's great golf courses. It doesn't get any better than this. Stay tuned next week for details on Erin Hills and a look at the players most likely to become part of history.

John Renslow is a PGA Class A Professional and Instructor at Alta Sierra Country Club. Please contact John with your questions or comments at jrenslow@yahoo.com.