So the clocks have gone forward, the weather has started to pick up and we’re now into spring, which signifies the start of the major golfing season.
The most prestigious tournament in golf, The Masters, is being played this week at it’s traditional home, the Augusta National Golf Club, Georgia USA. It’s a really exciting event and we always find that the momentum of this ripples through the world of golf, attracting new players to the game. Whilst a lot of regular club golfers have played in many competitions and tournaments, entering your first one can be a daunting prospect. So here I’m going to discuss how to best prepare yourself for your first tournament.
Got A Handicap? Enter A Club Tournament!
There are many things to consider when entering your first tournament, but you can make life a little easier if you just follow the tips we give you here. Even the more seasoned players will be able to learn something, as not enough golfers approach the game with a set strategy. Anyone with an official handicap can enter a club competition, yet not enough do. This can be for a number of reasons; varying from a lack of confidence up to the ‘I only play for fun’ outlook. However, the benefits of competitive golf, where the field is much bigger, can really help improve your game and also increase your level of enjoyment as a result. There’s no such thing as not being good enough, this is why we have the handicap system in the first place!
Have You Got A Game Plan?
The best thing you can do to help prepare for your first tournament is to set yourself a game plan. This is simply a predetermined strategy for each and every hole and how to get the best score out of your game. If you do this, you’re bound to have an advantage over most of the field already, as precious few do it. Wouldn’t you find the game much easier broken down in to 18 separate parts rather than just 1 big game that you get frustrated with as soon as you mess up a hole?
It takes a lot of discipline to stick to a game plan, as quite often people are influenced by their score or playing partners. If you’ve been practicing certain distances with certain clubs, then it makes no sense to try and use the same clubs at longer distances, trying to keep up with a lower handicap player. They will have their own strategy, which will be different to yours, so don’t be influenced by it.
During the practice rounds at The Masters this week, all the players will have a course planner, which they will be filling out with notes and a strategy for each hole. As well as knowing the areas to hit the ball to give them the best chance of scoring well, perhaps more importantly, they will mark out ‘no-go’ areas. These are areas of the course that they will want to avoid at all costs, as ending up here could have a big number attached to it at the end of the hole.
Identify The ‘No-Go’ Areas
This is something you can implement yourself; your first competition will more than likely be your home course. Having landing zones and ‘no-go’ areas that work for your game is sure to give you an advantage, so take your time during your practice rounds to work this out. Are there water features that you can’t make it over, or that are risky to attempt? Are there ridiculously sized bunkers to avoid? Where is the best landing spot on a particular green? All these things can be added to your course planner and become a big strength in your game.
If you can prepare yourself like this at your home club then you will be better prepared for when you play a course away from home. Few players play to their handicap on a different course purely down to a lack of strategy, preferring to hit the driver everywhere and judge what club to hit based on the outcome.
Preparation = Confidence
The main thing about a competition and how you perform in it, is the pressure you put yourself under. This is all in your head and comes down to how well you’re prepared mentally. Hopefully you will be able to implement the points we’ve talked about here and step up to the tee with confidence in your preparation.
If you have questions, then Luke is always available to talk through any issues you may have, it’s really rewarding to see people winning! If you’ve entered yourself into a tournament, or this has inspired you to do so, tell us where you’re playing! Leave a comment below, or get in touch via our Facebook page.
To find a golf tournament in North Wales, visit the Golf Empire website here.