Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be on your own version of the PGA Tour, where you get to play different courses and compete with other golfers using handicaps, all of it on your time with no scoring hassles or tee-time headaches? Cornell University alum Dan Hershberg has made this elite experience a reality for the rest of us with the launch of the Amateur Golf Society of America and the AGS Tour. Hershberg had a successful trial run with last year’s Work Horse Tour, a precursor to AGS he developed for Workhorse Brewing in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where he was cofounder and chief branding officer.
When the pandemic forced the closure of the Workhorse taproom and event space back in 2020, Hershberg created the Workhorse Tour as a way to maintain customer connections and drive beer sales in one of the few safe places outside of home—golf courses. The tour enjoyed sizable growth over its first two years, going from 200 to nearly 700 members, with six times the weekly engagement year over year. Its unique format allowed amateurs to play competitive tournament-style golf on their own schedule. “Buoyed by this success and the scalable nature of the business model, I decided to approach my cofounders at the company with the opportunity to spin the tour out as a golf-centric company, rather than a beer initiative at golf courses,” says Hershberg.
Then the Golf Association of Philadelphia expressed interest as a strategic partner, helping move the concept into multiple new markets and dedicating resources to grow membership even further. “I’m no longer involved in the day-to-day operations at the brewery, though I’ll retain my seat on the board of directors and I still care deeply about the company,” Hershberg says.
There’s a reason the format has already proven so popular with amateur golfers: It addresses most of the obstacles they face in their efforts to play more golf—cost, course access, tee-time availability, work and family constraints, and people to play with. As opposed to one- or two-day events at a fixed day or time, weeklong competitions allow members to tee it up during a seven-day window at top public courses, with real-time scoring and leaderboards powered by Golf Genius software developed by Wayne, Pennsylvania, native Mike Zisman.
Six flighted divisions provide competition for golfers of all skill levels. Along with four handicapped flights from 0-36 index, there are separate 55-plus and women’s divisions. The latter run in partnership with the LPGA Amateur Golf Association. Members get exclusive access to event tee sheets at or near rack rate. They can play when they want for prices they’re comfortable paying, with no minimum commitment.
Tour members compete each week for prizes from sponsors and partners. They also earn points on a season-long list, much in the way PGA Tour professionals compete in the FedEx Cup. “The AGSA app is probably the single biggest thing we’re excited about,” Hershberg says. “It streamlines the experience for our golfers by providing everything they need in one place.”
The tour also offers competition in Delaware and New Jersey, with the opportunity to earn points toward season-long leaderboards regardless of where you play. “We’ve also partnered with the Philadelphia Section of the PGA to host a series of one-day match-play events at top private clubs in the area,” says Hershberg.
The tour’s lineup includes about 40 public and private golf courses in three states. It also has a host of local and national sponsors already onboard.
To preregister, visit amateurgolfsociety.com.
Related: Coach David Zimmaro Influences Youth Golf Around Delaware