You’ve done it… you’ve signed up for your first competitive golf outing from the many options available on the SCGA schedule. Whether it’s been years since you’ve played official competitive golf or it’s your first time ever we’re here to help! Follow the below 7 tips to get tournament ready and as the saying goes, “kick butt, take names, and leave no prisoners.”
ONE: PRACTICE LIKE YOU MEAN IT
Hit the driving range with a notepad in hand. On the first couple of pages write down each of your clubs from driver to wedges. Spend quality time on the range dialing in the specific yardage distances for each club and make notes on your play. For example, if your 9-iron is a consistent 100-110 yards but typically drifts right, write that down. Your goal for practice is learning your game and that’s it. The more you know your tendencies during play the easier it will be for club selection on course. Give yourself targets on the range and work towards hitting those marks or at least landing the ball relatively close. Move to the putting green and practice, practice, practice. Work on everything from three feet to thirty feet.
TWO: KNOW THE COURSE
Although we all may not have the luxury of heading out to play the tournament course multiple times before the big day make it a point to go play at least once. Bring that same notepad you used during range time to take notes as you play through your round. Don’t try and shoot the course record but instead focus on simple play just so you can take advantage of seeing each part of the course. Notate blind shots, lay up needs, and green specifics. By taking the time to review the course you’ll be able to build in some local’s knowledge, be more prepared to play a smarter round for scoring, and alleviate some pre-round jitters. (You’ve seen the caddies on tour review their yardage book and don’t think you can’t do the same!)
THREE: CLEAN YOUR CLUBS & PACK YOUR BAG
No one wants to pull out their wedge on the first hole only to find a dirty and mucky club face. Give those puppies a nice warm bath the night before your tournament and be sure to clean away any old dirt, sand, or mud leaving the grooves fresh and ready for battle. Take a quick tour of your bag to ensure it’s packed properly with enough golf balls, tees, your lucky ball marker, glove, and whatever items you might need. Do you have a pen to mark your golf balls? Do you have some sunscreen or chapstick in the small pocket? How about any rain gear you might need if the weather has a potential for some drizzle? Be sure to add some mid-round snacks and a bottle of water.
FOUR: SLEEP, EAT, DRINK (WATER)
Set your DVR and go to bed early the night before the big tournament day. A good night rest can be a big difference for how you’ll feel come tournament time from your brain down to your legs. Wake up and have a good breakfast that won’t leave your stomach hurting and dashing for a bathroom every couple of holes. There is truly nothing worse than an upset stomach while playing golf and realize that you may have some nerves and that will add to any stomach issues. Be sure to drink a lot of water in the morning to get hydrated and if you’re a coffee drinker don’t forget your cup of jo but don’t overdo it.
FIVE: TAKE THE TIME FOR A PROPER WARM-UP
Once at the course give yourself a proper warm-up instead of your usual half stretch. Truly stretch your muscles, take some practice swings, go for a short walk to get the blood flowing and then hit the range. Don’t spend too much time on the range using each club but instead pick up four or five (wedge, 9-iron, 7-iron, hybrid or fairway wood, and your driver). Afterwards spend some quality time on the practice green to get a feel for the day’s roll.
SIX: PREPARE YOUR BRAIN
Before your scheduled tee off time go back to your notepad and review. Don’t over analyze but just refamiliarize yourself with your gameplan and the course. Where do you want to put your ball if you could be on target? Where do you want to try and avoid? Take some deep breaths and concentrate on you and you alone. Prepare your brain to stay in the present and should any missed shots occur to be mindful of letting go and moving on.
SEVEN: ENJOY YOUR ROUND AND DON’T FOCUS ON WINNING… WELL, SORT OF
Once you’re off the first tee enjoy the day. You’re golfing! Keep your eye on the prize and remember… it’s just another day on the course, but one that you could walk away as a winner. Don’t forget, there is most likely a net and gross competition during the tournament so play your best and compete against your own handicap.
What is the most important tournament day thing you bring with you in your bag? Do you have a specific ball mark you add to your ball? Maybe a lucky ball marker? Share below!
See the full SCGA tournament schedule HERE.
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