The "Am Tour" as the people here locally call it seems to have some great benefits to it, but i'm sure it has drawbacks too, just like every other amateur tour that has been created. In either case, there are 6 different 'flights' based on handicaps (0-3.9, 4-7.9, 8-11.9, 12-15.9, 16-19.9, 20+). You play 'gross' within the flight you are placed into.
I would say the courses that you play are above average courses, but the best part is that you get to play in an event similar to what the top amateur golfers and top professionals get to experience. There is a starter, rules officials and a scoring system/point system that enables you to qualify for Nationals (PGA West/TPC Sawgrass).
Good people, but I think the hardest part of the Am Tour is the attempt to cater to ALL golfers. Let's be honest, there is a reason that a majority of people play with a similar group each time they play - it's because they all know each other's habits, leeway in rules and enjoy their company. The Am Tour in a sense forces you out of your comfort level by playing with people you dont know, having to play by the rules of the game and putt everything out, take every penalty, etc.
I was previously a competitive golfer in the sense that I thought I was a scratch golfer - I then played the Am Tour and learned I wasn't a scratch golfer...but the Am Tour sure did help me in the sense that i was able to improve my way to be a scratch golfer. Now that i've 'proved' myself on that level, i've moved up to play more state amateur events and hopefully the US Amateur someday.