Many of us love golf, and Manchester does have a professional Golfer Pete Styles to be proud of. Though golf can often considered quite the lonely sport where you spend much time concentrating on your own game even if you go for round with a group of friends. However, entering tournaments with plenty of competition can help you to improve your game as you test yourself against others and experience new courses.
You will always remember your first golf tournament and you want that to be for the right reasons. Even if your first real tournament takes place on your local course, you still need to prepare well to ensure that you have the best experience and hopefully place well too.
So, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your first golf tournament so that you can focussing on enjoying yourself on the day.
Create a game plan
When playing in your first tournament it can be easy to be influenced by what other players around you are doing, especially if those players appear more experienced than yourself. Watching players on your round choosing certain shots or using specific cubs may sway you into doing the same when in fact your game is completely different.
Use your practice rounds to identify and practice certain shots and work on a strategy for each hole. If you have been practicing certain distances with certain clubs then stick to what you know, it makes no sense to change to a different club or attempt a longer shot just because you see someone else do the same. Plan your round hole by hole and stick to your strategy on the day. Don’t let big numbers affect your game or worry about hole to come on the day. Planning ahead means you can trust in your own game and you can enjoy the tournament instead of fretting over what is to come.
Identify problem areas
Another good thing to focus on during your practice round is identifying no-go areas on the course or areas which are most likely to cause you issues. Are there any large bunkers that you won’t be able to get out of? Any water hazards you know you won’t clear in one shot? Which holes are most likely to cause you problems if you try to hit the green too soon?
You are very likely to know the problem areas on your local course and automatically avoid them but if your first tournament is being played somewhere else then make sure you identify as many of these areas as you can on your practice round.
Get the right equipment
Obviously, if you are considering your first golf tournament then you will have all the right clubs, tees and bags but making sure you are comfortable on the day is important too. If your clothes are too tight or restricting, then this will not only be uncomfortable, but it may also restrict your game. Your clothes should not affect your movement as any restriction can alter how your swing and hit the ball. You may be tempted to buy a new outfit for your first ever golfing tournament so if you do then you should opt for clothes that have been designed for the sport. Really comfortable Nike golf shirts are a good option for your first tournament as you will not only look good on your first competitive round, but they are also loose enough that they won’t affect your game.
If you don’t have one already, then in the run up to your first golf tournament you should start working on a pre-shot routine for both your full swing and your putting shots. A pre-shot routine helps you to focus your mind and really get in the zone. During a tournament, adrenaline will be running high and you will be in an environment you may not be familiar with; on an unfamiliar course, with players you’ve never played with before or even with an audience. In this scenario you may need a familiar routine to help quieten the mind and help you to focus.
Create a pre-shot routine which works for you and helps you to focus and work on it so that it becomes natural and second nature. Then, when you are in your competition this second nature routine will help you to settle and feel more at ease.
Practice, practice, practice
The best way to truly prepare for any tournament is to practice. This may seem a very obvious tip, but it is the most helpful. Plenty of practice will improve your game so that you are up to the competition you will face on the day. You may want to focus on areas where your game often falls down, but you should relentlessly practice your putting as many tournaments are won and lost on the green.
Practicing whenever you can will also improve your confidence so when it comes to your first tournament you are riding high on the knowledge that your game is as good as you can get it. Having the confidence in your game can make all the difference on the day.
Get a good warm up
It is a good idea to arrive to your first tournament in plenty of time so that you can get in a good warm up before you tee off on your first hole. Take your time and warm up properly. Stretch your shoulder, arm and back muscles to prevent injury and then head to the driving range and work through a range of clubs and swings. Start with more lofted clubs and practicing swing and targeting and then move through your range of clubs. You want to aim to be swinging a few drives around 15-20 minutes before you tee off so that your body is relaxed, comfortable and used to hitting those long balls.
Your first tournament will hopefully be the first of many so remember the biggest tip of all is to enjoy the day, no matter what your scorecard looks like at the end of the day.