Rankings: How They Work

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Junior Golf Scoreboard



To be ranked in the JGS a player must:

  • Compete in at least four multi-day tournaments in a year and be identifiable in the results from the tournament by name, hometown, and year of high school graduation.
  • Still be in high school (or it must be no later than August 1 of graduating year).
  • Compete in age groups that: play at least 36 holes, have at least 5 competitors, play courses at least 4,500 yards long (and no shorter than the forward tees), and have no stroke-limit rule in place.

Three criteria are used to determine a player’s ranking:

  • 65% of the ranking is determined by individual scoring (discounting worst 15% of scores and comparing the best scores against the USGA rating for the courses played).
  • 25% of the ranking is determined by the strength of the fields in which the player competes (based on a proprietary formula, and a smaller number means the player competes against stiffer competition).
  • 10% of the ranking is determined by the strength of the player’s finishes, taking into account the size of the field at each tournament.

Coach’s Summary: The Junior Golf Scoreboard is probably the most widely used national ranking system for junior golfers. It definitely is a key ingredient in the process of player development, especially for those with a hopeful eye on college scholarships. The JGS is a crossroads for competitive juniors and college coaches around the country, and the system tends to be a good predictor of players from each state who will advance to collegiate golf. There are also more JGS-recognized junior tournaments around the country than any other ranking system, which opens the door for more junior golfers to achieve exposure. Many of the tournaments which have JGS rankings are affordable compared to other events and other ranking systems, again making it a fairly inclusive national ranking for young golfers.


Golfweek Performance Index



This is a rating system developed by Jeff Sagarin that is based on a player’s competitiveness against other players over the period of a year. All players in the rankings become inter-connected based on their head-to-head performances in shared tournaments.

To be ranked in the GPI, a player must:

  • Compete in at least 5 events in the past year.
  • Compete in events with a field size of 40 players for boys, and 12 players for girls, and which are considered regional or national events.
  • Compete in events that are a minimum of 36 holes and preferably 54 holes.
  • Compete in the oldest age bracket, unless all players play from the same tees.

The following criteria are used to determine a player’s ranking:

  • Power Rating: This is not a stroke average, but it does represent a typical score. It rates a player based on his previous performances and his stroke differential against all other players in the rankings.
  • Schedule Strength: A measure of the strength of the fields a player has played against based on all the individual power ratings that make up the field.
  • Records: A player’s win-loss-tie record in head to head competition (the winner of a 156-player field has a record of 155-0-0, and so on).

Coach’s Summary: The Golfweek Performance Index might be regarded as a somewhat more elite junior ranking system. It recognizes fewer tournaments, partly because of its preference for 54-hole events. It also tends to be associated with national events, and more expensive junior tours, which results in less broad access to its rankings. A ranking in the GPI tends to convey an elite level of junior performance.


Performance Based Entry (AJGA)ajga

Until 2003, the American Junior Golf Association used the strength of an application and resume to determine entry into its elite tournaments. Now it uses a system called the Performance Based Entry (PBE). By competing in PBE-recognized tournaments, players have an opportunity to earn “status” with the AJGA and potentially qualify for an AJGA event.

The following are the three status categories:

  • Fully Exempt: Players in this category have first priority into all AJGA Open events and earn it by having a top finish at a top-tier national tournament. (Generally about 20% of tournament spots are filled by Fully Exempt players).
  • Tournament Exemptions: Players in this category have the next level of priority into events (and players with multiple exemptions outrank players with one exemption). They earn this status with a top finish at a state or regional tournament (and some national events). (Generally about 60% of tournament spots are filled by players at this status level).
  • Performance Stars: Players in this category have the lowest priority in tournament entry, but have the possibility of improving their status. Four performance stars for boys, three for girls, earns a jump to Tournament Exemption status. A player earns a star upon joining the AJGA, and high school juniors earn two stars upon joining. Other stars are earned based on finishes in PBE events. (Generally about 20% of tournament spots are filled by players from this status level).

Players trying to earn entry into AJGA tournaments can improve their status by competing in PBE-recognized events on other junior tours. Another way for players to improve their status is to participate in AJGA Qualifiers which gives them an opportunity to qualify for a specific tournament, or earn a Tournament Exemption to increase their status for a later event. More info.

Coach’s Summary: The Performance Based Entry is a national ranking, but it pertains only to achieving status with the American Junior Golf Association. Playing in AJGA events is practically considered a must-do as preparation for college golf, and it can be tough to earn access to their tournaments. In 2003, the AJGA came up with the PBE rankings as a way for players to earn their way into events. Generally, if an event is AJGA-recognized it will also be recognized by the JGS and GPI. Tournaments recognized by the AJGA tend to be national in their scope and often fairly expensive. Beyond the outside tournaments that can earn AJGA status, the Association also holds its own qualifying tournaments, another way to earn credit that can be “cashed in” for a chance to compete in actual AJGA tourneys.