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USGA Boys/Girls Junior Qualifying -- how do they determine # of spots per site?


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2 hours ago, NYBogeyGolfer said:

Anyone know how the USGA determines the number of qualifying spots per site? I figure the USGA has some kind of algorithm that looks at the number of competitors and utilizes some ranking like WAGR or JGS to determine strength of field, but there's no real info available on this, so curious if anyone knows how it works.

It is done by a percentage. The larger the field the more the qualifying spots.  I think it is 5% of the field with 2 alternates.

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1 hour ago, Golfquant said:

there's no strength of field calculation, which is why you see so many people traveling long distances to compete at an "easier" qualifying location

 

Interesting, and a little surprising. Since they don't release the fields until after a certain date, how do applicants do this usually? Are they just guessing based on historic strength of field and/or picking historically weather geographies, or do they transfer sites once the field is released?

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17 minutes ago, NYBogeyGolfer said:

 

Interesting, and a little surprising. Since they don't release the fields until after a certain date, how do applicants do this usually? Are they just guessing based on historic strength of field and/or picking historically weather geographies, or do they transfer sites once the field is released?

you'd have to ask someone who travels a long distance, what their methodology is

 

here's an example from last year's US Am qualifying in NJ:

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3881409

 

the two qualifiers were from NC, and someone came out all the way from CA (maybe they were visiting relatives?)

 

gives new meaning to "geographical arbitrage"

 

 

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36 minutes ago, NYBogeyGolfer said:

 

Interesting, and a little surprising. Since they don't release the fields until after a certain date, how do applicants do this usually? Are they just guessing based on historic strength of field and/or picking historically weather geographies, or do they transfer sites once the field is released?

My understanding is that the field is only released after the close of transfer and entries.  You are basically locked in at that point in time.  It is a little bit of luck involved, as you don't know who will play where. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, NYBogeyGolfer said:

 

Interesting, and a little surprising. Since they don't release the fields until after a certain date, how do applicants do this usually? Are they just guessing based on historic strength of field and/or picking historically weather geographies, or do they transfer sites once the field is released?

 

It's been 20ish+ years since I was playing in US Jr qualifiers, but I grew up in a southeastern state that wasn't really known for it's golf prowess (not GA, FL, or TX).

 

Our US Jr Am qualifier always had a max field of 50 for 1 spot, and without fail we always had guys coming from far off thinking they would be a lock. I guess they just saw our little old site on the list and thought "there aren't any good golfers there"...

 

The funniest part was it was always someone from my state who qualified (myself twice and a good friend of mine the other two years) 🤣

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1 hour ago, Golfquant said:

you'd have to ask someone who travels a long distance, what their methodology is

 

here's an example from last year's US Am qualifying in NJ:

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3881409

 

the two qualifiers were from NC, and someone came out all the way from CA (maybe they were visiting relatives?)

 

gives new meaning to "geographical arbitrage"

 

 

The Danville CA golfer plays for Seton Hall so perhaps he stayed in the east coast for summer work? 
 

For this year, I did hear of a SoCal college commit who’s playing in Hamilton, NY for the US Jr Am qualifier. 

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7 hours ago, NYBogeyGolfer said:

Anyone know how the USGA determines the number of qualifying spots per site? I figure the USGA has some kind of algorithm that looks at the number of competitors and utilizes some ranking like WAGR or JGS to determine strength of field, but there's no real info available on this, so curious if anyone knows how it works.

 

It is largely by size but if you look at last year's qualifying results you can find examples of a smaller field size getting more exemptions that a large field size.  So strength of field has to play a role in it.

 

For US Am and US Open, the strength of the field definitely plays a role in the qualifying spots.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Golfquant said:

you'd have to ask someone who travels a long distance, what their methodology is

 

here's an example from last year's US Am qualifying in NJ:

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3881409

 

the two qualifiers were from NC, and someone came out all the way from CA (maybe they were visiting relatives?)

 

gives new meaning to "geographical arbitrage"

 

 

 

Qualifiers are sometimes difficult to schedule because of conflicts so you might have to travel for reasons other than arbitrage.  For instance, in their infinite wisdom the TXGA scheduled both Texas US Junior qualifiers at the exact same time as the biggest junior event in Texas, the Byron Nelson Jr (which they also schedule).  Lo and behold, it was one of the handful of sites that still had lots of openings.

 

Last year my son went to Illinois for his US Junior qualifier and NY for his US Am qualifiers.  Both were because they fit into other planned travel plans.  We're also from Illinois and a family friend could caddie for him there.

Edited by wegobomber31
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12 hours ago, wegobomber31 said:

 

It is largely by size but if you look at last year's qualifying results you can find examples of a smaller field size getting more exemptions that a large field size.  So strength of field has to play a role in it.

 

For US Am and US Open, the strength of the field definitely plays a role in the qualifying spots.

While the USGA says in all of its championship regs that they adjust for strength of field, I'm not exactly sure they would be able to do that accurately.  Would they use GHIN indexes?

 

Can you provide an example of a smaller field size getting more exemptions?

 

Here is an example of 2 qualifiers with very different strength of field, but almost identical number of qualifying spots per entry:

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4210297

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3918085

 

The qualifier in Rome, New York had 3 spots for 65 entries, while the qualifier in Georgia had 6 for 132 entries.  Almost the exact same ratio.  The competition doesn't look comparable just observing the number of recognizable (high-ranked) players in each.  And a quick glance at scores vs course ratings also shows there is a pretty big difference between the two fields.

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This one had 48 for 3 spots. 
https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4243544
 

You can find examples with more players and 2 spots. Here’s Ardmore OK (my home course!)


https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4004021


I assume they use WAGR for Strength of Field but haven’t looked into it enough to know for sure. My bet is they use WAGR as of a week before the entries close, as that is the time they set the last set of exemptions. 

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17 minutes ago, wegobomber31 said:

This one had 48 for 3 spots. 
https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4243544
 

You can find examples with more players and 2 spots. Here’s Ardmore OK (my home course!)


https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/4004021


I assume they use WAGR for Strength of Field but haven’t looked into it enough to know for sure. My bet is they use WAGR as of a week before the entries close, as that is the time they set the last set of exemptions. 

At the OK qualifier, there were 7 Withdraws (only 1 after teeing off) and 4 No Shows - which means there were really only 43 competitors who actually teed off for 2 qualifying spots; whether it is possible for the USGA to make a game-time decision on number of spots right before the tournament begins is unclear

 

The TX with 3 for 48 could be a rounding (up) issue

 

Using WAGR for strength of field might make sense for the US Open/Am qualifiers, but the % of junior golfers who have a WAGR ranking is not that high

 

Lastly, I have just observed that the number of qualifying spots don't seem to be adjusted for strength of field - there are certain qualifying locations that have disproportionately weak competition historically; hence aspirational players/parents going to (and traveling) great lengths in order to try to qualify

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19 hours ago, Golfquant said:

there's no strength of field calculation, which is why you see so many people traveling long distances to compete at an "easier" qualifying location

 

the informational PDF says: 

 

QUALIFIERS' PLACES; TIES; SUBSTITUTIONS

The number of qualifiers' places in each location will be determined by the USGA after entries close, based on size and strength of field.

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, Golfquant said:

At the OK qualifier, there were 7 Withdraws (only 1 after teeing off) and 4 No Shows - which means there were really only 43 competitors who actually teed off for 2 qualifying spots; whether it is possible for the USGA to make a game-time decision on number of spots right before the tournament begins is unclear

 

The TX with 3 for 48 could be a rounding (up) issue

 

Using WAGR for strength of field might make sense for the US Open/Am qualifiers, but the % of junior golfers who have a WAGR ranking is not that high

 

Lastly, I have just observed that the number of qualifying spots don't seem to be adjusted for strength of field - there are certain qualifying locations that have disproportionately weak competition historically; hence aspirational players/parents going to (and traveling) great lengths in order to try to qualify


I think you hit the nail on the head. Since the % of junior golfers without a WAGR is high, WAGR treats every non-ranked player the same in its power ranking. It assigns them a replacement ranking of the worst WAGR ranking plus one. 
 

so effectively WAGR power ranking of these qualifiers is going to mostly scale by field size. 
 

Also they are not making game time decisions on qualifying spots. They announce it in advance.

Edited by wegobomber31
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54 for 2 (49 played)

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3922699
 

49 for 2 (48 played):

https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3890436
 

Ames 50 for 2.
https://www.golfgenius.com/pages/3917796

 

Memo to contestants dated May 22

Memo to Contestants in association with
USGA.
Date:
To:
May 22nd, 2023
U.S. Junior Qualifying
From:
Nate McCoy, Official-In-Charge - lowa Golf Association
Subject:
Details for U.S. Junior Championship Qualifier at Ames Golf & Country Club This memo verifies your entry in the 2023 U.S. Junior Qualifier to be played on Monday, June 12th at Ames Golf & Country Club in Ames, IA. There are 50 entries at this site. This site will advance two (2) players into the Championship proper. We will also determine two (2) alternates. 

 

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10 minutes ago, wegobomber31 said:

 

the informational PDF says: 

 

QUALIFIERS' PLACES; TIES; SUBSTITUTIONS

The number of qualifiers' places in each location will be determined by the USGA after entries close, based on size and strength of field.

Yes I realize and mentioned earlier that they state this

 

Perhaps you can explain to me how southern/western golf-rich states like FL, GA and CA have the same ratio of qualifiers/entrants as NY, MA, CT, South Dakota(!); the level of competition is not remotely similar

 

Just a quick glance at the scores and names of competitors tells you there is not a (working, reasonable) strength of field adjustment

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Golfquant said:

Yes I realize and mentioned earlier that they state this

 

Perhaps you can explain to me how southern/western golf-rich states like FL, GA and CA have the same ratio of qualifiers/entrants as NY, MA, CT, South Dakota(!); the level of competition is not remotely similar

 

Just a quick glance at the scores and names of competitors tells you there is not a (working, reasonable) strength of field adjustment


I’m the last person to defend WAGR as working and reasonable. 

Edited by wegobomber31
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21 minutes ago, LawGenius305 said:

USGA needs to change qualifying for US Boy's and Girl's Junior. It is a major championship. Any kid can catch lightning in a bottle for a day. It should be a 36 to 54 hole qualifier. Treat it like the major it is.

Yes, and let’s have fewer international exemptions. Not saying they’re not deserving, but let’s not make it like the IMG where they’re just trying to put up more country flags as bragging rights. Further, too many geographic arbitrages for US Jr & IMG - unless they just want the bottom 1/3 or the field to be so obviously out of place. 

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33 minutes ago, LawGenius305 said:

USGA needs to change qualifying for US Boy's and Girl's Junior. It is a major championship. Any kid can catch lightning in a bottle for a day. It should be a 36 to 54 hole qualifier. Treat it like the major it is.

 

Not sure exactly when they made the switch, but it used to be 36 holes and most sites played all 36 in one day.

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, golferdad8 said:

Yes, and let’s have fewer international exemptions. Not saying they’re not deserving, but let’s not make it like the IMG where they’re just trying to put up more country flags as bragging rights. Further, too many geographic arbitrages for US Jr & IMG - unless they just want the bottom 1/3 or the field to be so obviously out of place. 

Agreed. It is the US Junior not the international Jr. Let them come over here and play in the qualifiers.

31 minutes ago, Abh159 said:

 

Not sure exactly when they made the switch, but it used to be 36 holes and most sites played all 36 in one day.

The girl's went to it in 1996. Not sure about the guys but was soon after.

Edited by LawGenius305
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1 hour ago, LawGenius305 said:

USGA needs to change qualifying for US Boy's and Girl's Junior. It is a major championship. Any kid can catch lightning in a bottle for a day. It should be a 36 to 54 hole qualifier. Treat it like the major it is.

 

I agree it should be 36 holes.

 

A lot of this would be helped if WAGR was more accurate.  You could swap out the bottom 40 international kids with the next 40 U.S. kids and it would be a much deeper and much better championship.  Yet it would get less WAGR points.  Go figure.

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USGA qualifier selection is mostly luck. Trying to travel to a out of way place in many cases doesn’t work because a lot people do that.

 

The best thing you can do is select a course that you like and hope for a weaker field.

 

The usga juniors are also way easier then the US Open qualifier's with pro’s in a lot cases juniors have no chance when there are ton of pro’s playing if they end up at the wrong location.

 

If your looking for more spots go and play in a competitive state where a ton players will play locally.  However I don’t think your chances go up that much with more spots.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Knowing someone who traveled it was simple to them. They were trying to avoid a state like Texas Florida Cali so they left to a weaker typically golf state. It worked for them several times over so there is that but yes it’s all luck on getting the right field and all of that. But that is one person mindset on why would travel. If you are one of the bigger golf states you see those kids traveling. 

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13 minutes ago, darter79 said:

Knowing someone who traveled it was simple to them. They were trying to avoid a state like Texas Florida Cali so they left to a weaker typically golf state. It worked for them several times over so there is that but yes it’s all luck on getting the right field and all of that. But that is one person mindset on why would travel. If you are one of the bigger golf states you see those kids traveling. 


this was the year to play in Texas. Most of the best players are playing in the Junior Byron Nelson, which is the same week as the U.S. Junior qualifiers. The same organization sets both calendars, oddly enough. So nearly every good Texas kid has to travel outside the state to play in a U.S. Junior qualifier. 

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Looking at results and it basically the same ever year.

 

Most junior parents think they need to travel north for a qualifier where hardly any kids play.  What happens is multiple kids who can have a good day show up and the result is a good majority don’t qualify.

 

Then the other fun thing to see if parents avoid the harder courses.  Easy courses are bad for qualifiers you need to have your best day for a chance.

 

The goal should be to find the hardest course nearest to you with the most number of spots historically for the best chance.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/24/2024 at 9:31 AM, LawGenius305 said:

Agreed. It is the US Junior not the international Jr. Let them come over here and play in the qualifiers.

The girl's went to it in 1996. Not sure about the guys but was soon after.

When I was 15 years old back in the 70s, on my first try it was 36.   The next year was also 36.  When I turned 17 they went to 18 holes, I made it through that year.   Don't know when it went back to 36 after that. 

 

But I agree, it should always be 36. 

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