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paininthenuts

Tips for Playing in Competitions

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I haven't been playing very long, ten months to be precise. To get the experience i need, I am playing as many comps as I can, albeit I really don't enjoy them much. Some people thrive when playing a comp, as it makes them concentrate more, whilst others struggle. I fall into the latter. I have managed to win a couple comps, but only because everyone else played worse than me, rather than me playing well. I managed to score 38 Stableford points once, only to be beaten by a score of 42. Other than that I have only had scores lower than my average. It's easy to say relax and enjoy it, but in reality some things are easier said than done.

 

What are your tips ?

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The first tip is to practice more and get generally better at the game.  The better you are, the more you will enjoy the competitions.  My first few tournaments I was not very good, so obviously I did not enjoy them as much.

 

My other piece of advice would be to have a pre-round routine that you follow.  Do whatever works for you best to get you loose and put you in the mindset that is relaxed yet focused.  I find that having a "tournament routine" helps me get in the right mindset versus just a normal round for fun.  Personally, I like to get to the course about 45 mins before my tee time.  I take my time with a small bucket of range balls, hitting a few wedges, then about 5-6 seven irons, a few 4 irons, then only 2-3 swings with my driver before hitting 3-5 more wedge shots.  This helps to loosen me up and just get a feel for my swing that day.  I'll then take my time walking over to the putting green, and putt for about 10 minutes before heading to the tee box.  Throughout all of this I stay relaxed and take my time, even grabbing a snack and a gatorade for the round.  Again, this is just a small piece of advice that I like to follow for my pre-tournament routine. 

 

Good luck out there.

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Just to elaborate on what @tigerrag said, not only having a pre-round routine, but also a pre-shot routine.  Whether that is taking a couple practice swings before every shot or whatever.  If you are taking a couple practice swings before every shot though, that can be ALOT of swings your making in a round of golf which could be draining on the body.  I usually take a slow and controlled practice swing before my shots, that way I'm not exerting too much energy, but still feeling what I want my swing to be like.  Coming up with a pre-shot routine helps to keep you relaxed while playing so you're not rushing everything and just hitting the ball.  Practice it at the range too so it becomes habit.

 

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To elaborate further, when practicing prior to the competition, find only ONE mental/swing thought to bring with you to the course that makes the swing click.  Too many thoughts and nerves are more likely to get the best of you.  Also, never work on your swing during the competitions, take whatever you have and make it work.

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Relax, relax, relax. Uptight, nervous, pi**'ed off doesn't play good golf. Have fun

Edited by chilepepper

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In match play competitions I play my opponent, not the course.  I typically play more conservative than I do during stroke play to force my opponent to beat me rather than beat myself.  

It's weird but in the match play tournaments I've played in my opponents were uncomfortable when we were all even and would push to take the lead.  In C flights no one is a great golfer so watching them go for shots that even pro's would have difficulty with would often lead to problems for them.  On par 3's they would aim for the flag, I'd aim for center of green, on long par 4's they would take risks to land on the green in 2, I'd be content to reach in 3.  The more they pushed, the more frustrated they would get because they were attempting shots we just weren't good enough to make.  

I guess my advice is be patient, capitalize on your opponents mistakes.  

 

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Here are things to consider:

  • Warm up before round; don't try to "fix anything."
  • Bring ones and fives. Yes, we're talking $$$. Everyone hits our uber-efficient ATMs en route to the course, and drink and snack clerks will be out of change after the first six foursomes. So, peel off $7 for a $5.75 {snack + drink} at the turn, and the staff will applaud you, and you'll actually have time to eat the snack before you launch it on No. 10.
  • Good news = free range balls // Bad news = free range balls. It's a 54-hole event... If you hit 200 balls after opening day, and 200 balls after round #2, you will be all over the golf course during Round #3. Like, you'll be really tired going into round #3, and it will get worse.
  • Warm up before the round; don't try to "fix anything"
  • Season #1 is boot camp. Just surviving the ceremony and protocol of "tournament golf" is an accomplishment in itself. Slow play, the fact that good-scoring golfers don't have a clue on the finer points of the rules, deconflicting local rules vs. USGA dogma... surviving this noise is an accomplishment all in itself.
  • I promise you that season #2 will be a lot better.
  • Warm up before the round; don't try to fix anything; (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

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Play all your rounds like you would a tournament. IME what kills the guys in our league is they are two different golfers. Casual and loose with rules outside of league and wound tight for tournaments because they aren't prepared. Not saying they're cheaters but constant gimmies and things like that kill them. 

 

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Don't let the cumulative effect of your score for each hole, good or bad, dictate how you play.

Just play 18 separate holes to the best of your ability. If you start of great, don't get too hyped up.

If you start poorly, don't get too down on yourself.

I've seen some of the craziest stuff happen in stroke play tournaments and a lot of it is because players tend to lose their composure.

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14 hours ago, WUTiger said:

Here are things to consider:

  • Warm up before round; don't try to "fix anything."
  • Warm up before the round; don't try to "fix anything"
  • Season #1 is boot camp. Just surviving the ceremony and protocol of "tournament golf" is an accomplishment in itself. Slow play, the fact that good-scoring golfers don't have a clue on the finer points of the rules, deconflicting local rules vs. USGA dogma... surviving this noise is an accomplishment all in itself.
  • I promise you that season #2 will be a lot better.
  • Warm up before the round; don't try to fix anything; (Are you seeing a pattern here?)

I think this is great advice for a new golfer.  Competitions test both your physical ability and your emotional composure.  The more experience you have, the more you'll understand the emotional effects, and the better you'll be able to deal with them.

14 hours ago, Dave2512 said:

Play all your rounds like you would a tournament.  

And I love this bit of advice.  Play your informal golf pretty seriously, so truly serious golf won't be much of a change for you.  When you get to a competition, play the same way you've been playing all along, don't change a routine that you've learned that works for you.

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Additionally remember that you are already doing it. The more you do it the easier it gets to not be nervous. You have already made mistakes and you have definitely seen others make big mistakes. Remember you have nowhere to go but up because you continue to do it. If you keep positive and realize how you do compared to others (and it sounds like you are doing well, you said you won but because others played crappy-guess what? That's because they have some of the same fears and emotions and thoughts as you do and you prevailed under the same circumstances. Well done, and bravo says I!).

All good advice above, just remembering that everyone has the same mental road to travel as you is comforting. More comforting is knowing you don't have to travel it the same way they did, and that realizing they too have rational fears and stress you can let go of it more and focus on playing good golf (begin to revel in the idea of letting them sweat!).

Lastly, before big shots, don't forget to breathe. Keep on truckin.

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Note: This thread is 1584 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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