18 Apr Preparing for Your First Golf Tournament
Signing up for your first golf tournament is an exciting and nerve-wracking time. You may question your training, the rules of the tournament or even worry about the others who have signed up. The best thing you can do is relax, and you can grow your confidence by preparing for your first tournament early. Here are four tips to follow when you’re playing a golf tournament for the first time.
1. Know the Golf Course You’re Playing
Once you know where the tournament is at, try to visit before the start to walk around and observe your surroundings. If you have the time, you can even practice on it, so you’re familiar with every hole by the time you compete. Checking out the course through videos on YouTube or even Google Earth is a great way to get a feel for the area if you don’t have time to plan a visit. Try to zoom in on particular areas that could give you trouble, so you feel more at ease.
2. Expect Different Ability Levels
Golf is as much of a physical game as it is mental. The key is not to feel intimidated and get to know the players around you. Everyone is looking to sharpen their skills, and many of the players may have different skill sets than you. That’s okay. Get used to sharpening your competitive nature and work on any weaknesses. As long as you start the tournament with a mindset of growth, you can achieve your goals.
3. Arrive At The Golf Course Early
Feeling rushed, especially at the start of a tournament, could quickly turn into your downfall. Try to give yourself 45-75 minutes beforehand to make sure you’re prepared. Go through your typical warmup on a range if it’s open and mentally prepare yourself for the day of play ahead. Make sure you don’t give yourself too much time, though. Just standing around could make you more nervous. Two hours or more is often more time than you need to get ready for your first golf tournament.
4. Know the Rules
Every tournament has its own set of rules. If you’re playing a golf tournament for the first time, knowing those rules can help relieve some anxiety and also make you a better competitor. No matter what tournament you’re signed up for, you should turn off your phone out of respect for all of your teammates and competitors. You should also follow these rules for specific tournaments:
- Scramble: A scramble tournament usually involves teams of two, three or four golfers where each team member tees off on every hole. You select the best shot out of all the teammates, and then each person plays their next shot from the spot you choose.
- Match play: During match play, the golfer with the best score on each individual hole wins that hole. The person who wins the most holes throughout the match wins.
- Stroke play: In stroke play, the golfer with the best score on all 18 holes wins the tournament. You have to go up against the course and outplay all of the competitors to win.
- Better/best ball: This type of tournament includes teams of two, three or four golfers that can choose match or stroke play. Each team member plays their own ball, but the team member with the best score is the one the team gets for the hole.