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Practicing for a Match Play Round

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Thanks to good instruction on this site, we know how to practice for long-term improvement;  the 65-20-15 rule guides us when we don't have a glaring weakness.

We also know that, with a medal play tournament coming up, we should spend a bit more time on short game and putting, particularly with respect to shots we expect to see at the course of the event.

Is there a general practice guideline when we're about to play in a match play tournament or round?  Does whether we are giving or receiving strokes in the next round affect how we should prepare? 

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Match play is a great game, and my personal favorite style of golf games.

A. Don't get caught up in how your opponent is playing, play your own game.
B. Be prepared for a slower than usual pace, Matches seem to always slow players down.
C. After any extended time when it becomes your turn to play, take a big breath and focus, then hit you shot or putt.
D. Be careful with rule differences in Match Play.
E. When a few bad swings happen, refocus and remember Match Play is usually never over.
F. Do not beat yourself, do not give up.

In Match Play, the player who plays better for the majority of holes will win most of the time.

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10 hours ago, Club Rat said:

Match play is a great game, and my personal favorite style of golf games.

A. Don't get caught up in how your opponent is playing, play your own game.
B. Be prepared for a slower than usual pace, Matches seem to always slow players down.
C. After any extended time when it becomes your turn to play, take a big breath and focus, then hit you shot or putt.
D. Be careful with rule differences in Match Play.
E. When a few bad swings happen, refocus and remember Match Play is usually never over.
F. Do not beat yourself, do not give up.

In Match Play, the player who plays better for the majority of holes will win most of the time.

I agree with all of this, and @Club Rat is definitely a good match player.

To me, Match Play is just golf, so practice like you would for any other important round. 

When you play the match, play your own game, there are very very few times when you should deviate from your normal plan.  Aim for the centers of the greens (LSW), par, and net par if yo're getting strokes, will halve or win most holes.  If your opponent hits one moderately close, still hit for the center, a two-putt par will still probably tie him.  If he's REAL close, like 3 feet, then you can take a bit more risk, but if he's 10 feet he's only going to make 1 of 3 or something similar.  If you're in trouble, still follow the LSW concepts, make the play that is most likely to give you the best score you can.  You opponent is human, don't ever assume he's going to hit a great shot, he's going to screw up some of the time.

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12 hours ago, Club Rat said:

Match play is a great game, and my personal favorite style of golf games.

A. Don't get caught up in how your opponent is playing, play your own game.
B. Be prepared for a slower than usual pace, Matches seem to always slow players down.
C. After any extended time when it becomes your turn to play, take a big breath and focus, then hit you shot or putt.
D. Be careful with rule differences in Match Play.
E. When a few bad swings happen, refocus and remember Match Play is usually never over.
F. Do not beat yourself, do not give up.

In Match Play, the player who plays better for the majority of holes will win most of the time.

Thanks.  I really enjoy it too, and have a win and a T3 in my club's match play (but I haven't so much as won a match in recent years;  the win was 2015 and the T3 was 2014).  

A,C,E, and F are things I really need to remember.  D I was good about at some point, and I'll re-read the differences before Sunday's match.  For B, not only are we playing a match, but our foursome is filled out with another match, so that should be great for pace.  

1 hour ago, DaveP043 said:

I agree with all of this, and @Club Rat is definitely a good match player.

To me, Match Play is just golf, so practice like you would for any other important round. 

When you play the match, play your own game, there are very very few times when you should deviate from your normal plan.  Aim for the centers of the greens (LSW), par, and net par if yo're getting strokes, will halve or win most holes.  If your opponent hits one moderately close, still hit for the center, a two-putt par will still probably tie him.  If he's REAL close, like 3 feet, then you can take a bit more risk, but if he's 10 feet he's only going to make 1 of 3 or something similar.  If you're in trouble, still follow the LSW concepts, make the play that is most likely to give you the best score you can.  You opponent is human, don't ever assume he's going to hit a great shot, he's going to screw up some of the time.

Thanks!  I do have to remember that, especially with opponent's shots.  In thinking back to recent years, I did get out of my game for a while, whereas the year I won, I don't think I hit into any bunkers in any round (which meant aiming away from flags, I think that was early in the #DeadCenter era).  Unfortunately I didn't have a GG then so I don't have a record. 

I'm giving strokes, but on 5 of the 6 holes where I'll be doing so, they're long holes and my opponent is a short hitter.  Still, I think going for par will help, not trying to force anything.  A bogey will be a good score for him on those holes, and I need to remember that. 

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Ready golf doesn't apply in match play. If you have honor or are further away and your opponent hits their shot first, you can make them rehit. It's really effective if they smoked their shot.

You can give your opponent 2' and 3' putts even 4 footer for halving. then when it gets critical start making them putt. 

If your opponent is a fast player, take your time. Find your inner Bryson.

Likewise, if your opponent is slow, try to pick up the pace.

I've been down 4 holes right out the gate and nearly went A/S on 17 but my putt lipped out. If it hadn't I would have won on 18 because I had the distance to hit the par 5 green in 2... which I did when we played the hole.

Center of the green. Center of the green. Only pin hunt if you need to.

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9 hours ago, DrvFrShow said:

Ready golf doesn't apply in match play. If you have honor or are further away and your opponent hits their shot first, you can make them rehit. It's really effective if they smoked their shot.

You can give your opponent 2' and 3' putts even 4 footer for halving. then when it gets critical start making them putt. 

If your opponent is a fast player, take your time. Find your inner Bryson.

Likewise, if your opponent is slow, try to pick up the pace.

I have different opinions on a couple of these.  For the first, its absolutely correct, but I prefer to tell my opponent that I want to go first, I don't think its appropriate to let them hit without a word, and only then invoke the honor rule and make them hit again.  I would feel a bit guilty, and that doesn't help me to play any better.  But you definitely SHOULD enforce the honor when you feel like its in your interests to do so.  And if your opponent plays first even after you've asked him to wait his turn, feel free to make him replay the shot.

Remember that a player can practice putting on a hole once play is complete.  Conceding a putt doesn't mean he can't practice that putt before moving on.

I would never disrupt my own personal rhythm in order to try to disrupt my opponent.  I would try to play at a pace that is comfortable for me, but remain adaptable to whatever pace that traffic on the golf course forces us to play at.

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