It’s club championship time shortly. It’s an exciting time for many but it can also be a nerve-wracking experience that, for many players, ends in disappointment. A lot of golfers perform far below their potential and expectations in the club championship because they’re not as prepared as they could be. They don’t arrive on the first tee with as much confidence as they should. Also, many golfers aren’t sure how to be their own best coach – how to effectively execute shots and a sound game plan under tournament pressure.
1.Plan ahead. Give yourself the necessary practice and playing time to prepare for the club championship. Be clear on your preparation for this event at least three weeks prior – write it down. Block your calendar and plan sufficient practice time and pre-event rounds.
2.Practice effectively. Good performance in tournament golf is largely attributable to consistent tee shot execution: minimal errors and penalty strokes, high percentage putting conversions in the 4-10 foot range, and sound wedge play. Spend a high percentage of your pre-event practice time and effort on these skills to build competence and confidence.
3.Hole out in casual rounds don’t fall into the trap of not holing your short putts in casual rounds before the club championship. The habit of accepting “gimmies” – short putts in the 2-5 foot range – is common place. Expect to be nervous and miss a lot more of these critical length putts in competition if you don’t practice holing them out in your regular social rounds. If the putts are in fact that easy, then putt them in the hole.
4.Coaching check a week or two before the event it is a good idea to have a coaching session with your Professional – not a technical session but rather a session on key scoring skills and to discuss your game plan and execution strategies. Tap into your professional’s experience and expertise.
5.Set realistic goals in sports, less than 10 per cent of participants can expect “career” performances in major events. Preparing your best beforehand makes this highly probable. Know your skill and performance level, for example, a typical 12 handicap may likely have a 79-85 scoring range. Set up a game plan and shot strategies that are in alignment with your range. Don’t try to play a game that you don’t have. Don’t force shots – let the magic happen!
6.Create a written game plan. Write down how you plan to play each hole. Know your tendencies and where you feel the most confident and the most vulnerable on the course. Be appropriately aggressive and don’t be shy to play cautious on holes that are potential blow-ups for you. your plan should be focused on enabling you to hit as many greens in regulation as possible and planning for the most probable up and down conversion spots when you miss greens.
7.Focus on deep breathing to get relaxed over your shots. When golfers peak perform they are in a calm and relaxed state over the ball. Focus your energy and attention on using your breathing. Here’s a technique. Breath-in deeply through an imaginary straw and completely empty your lungs when you exhale; soften your body tension and lower your mental tension when you are over the ball. as the great George Knudson said, “don’t play golf to relax – relax to play great golf.”
8.Think the “right” stuff. Players perform their best in competition when they engage the right side of their brain – this is where the athlete lives. Right brain thoughts are “external” on the target, tempo, desired flight and simple performance cues like “full back and through” or “smooth roll.” Be careful not to play “golf swing” in competition: this can be a deadly performance buster – it is left-brained thinking on technique or a “to do” list. Leave this thinking on the practice tee.
9.See yourself succeeding. Visualize and imagine yourself executing your game plan – escaping from trouble and hitting good shots. Winners see themselves winning before they begin. Moe Norman always said that Jack nicklaus had the Green Jacket on his breakfast plate on Thursday before the first round of the masters.
“Players perform their best in competition when they engage the right side of their brain – this is where the athlete lives.”
10.Just play, enjoy the opportunity to compete and challenge yourself. expect some mistakes and deal with poor shots. Don’t make the tournament bigger than it is. Your identity and personal self-concept are not related to your golf score in the club championship. Smile and have fun!