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ZJBogey2

Men's League - Tournament Golf

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Hey everyone!

I recently joined a local men's league where we'll play tournament style golf every 2 weeks or so. Pretty nervous given I'm a higher handicapper and haven't played in this type of setting before. I've played in a work league on a short executive course but was more casual. I chose to signed up for this men's league to get out more, meet some fellow golfers, and continue to improve my game. 

I was looking for some advice on best ways to approach it and any tips. Appreciate it!

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I was in your position a couple of years ago. Wanted to do something competitive and got invited to join a local golf league. While it is a lot of fun, it took me way too long to adjust because I put too much pressure on myself to shoot low scores. That's probably the biggest thing to remember going in. I'm assuming it's a full handicap league, so your handicap should take care of leveling the field. So my best advice is just to relax and have fun (that's why we play golf anyway right?) and let the adjustments from your handicap take care of your scoring.

Another big thing to remember is to manage expectations. Most people forget that the simple math to calculating your handicap is around 85% of your average strokes above par. So your 22 should mean you typically shoot somewhere around 100. So the net score for your average round should be more like 78 than 72. It's the days you shoot 'on your number' or better where you'll wind up in the money near the top of the leader boards.

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Relax, have fun with it, keep your expectations realistic, make new friends(and probably an enemy or 2), but above all, have fun with it.

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Relax and don't worry about being a higher handicap player.  The only one that will put pressure on your game is you.  Play your own game and have fun...men's leagues are typically more about enjoyment than cut-throat gamesmanship.  

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We'll all tell you to relax and just enjoy it, but I can understand that is easier said than done. I joined a men's league last year and it was pretty eye opening, or maybe I should say humbling. I played some of the worst golf of my life and it only got worse as the year went on. But because it was so bad for me, I didn't finish it out the season. Most of the guys were really nice and tried to encourage me, but there's always that one. Anyway, I was suffering from the shanks last year and that had a ton to do with the way I was playing. Long story short (or not), I decided to give it a try again this year and have 2 second place finishes thru 2 tournaments. The league I'm in does 1 tournament a month with some of them being individual and some being 2-man teams.
Use your handicap to your advantage, know the course (especially the greens) and where you can score, and play wise (to your strengths). It might not click the first couple tournaments, but hang in there. Hope that helps.


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Good advice above. I would just add, Focus on what you do well. 

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Most leagues use your handicap to some extent. That being said enjoy it as most golfers are good guys and just as nervous.


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Lets face it, bad shots happen.  Being a high capper, we've been there before and we sure know how to hit out of some tough spots.  Use that to your advantage to remind everyone that golf is fun.  You'll be nervous on that first tee, we all have been.  But at the end of the day, it's just you and the course.  You play it and no one else.  They are just there to talk to.  You'll be great, enjoy the walk or the ride and find that one good shot! @ZJBogey2

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Two years ago, I played in my first league and it was a miserable experience. All because of me. My expectations were way higher than they had any business being. I forgot that playing golf was supposed to be fun first as I’m not any good at it.

Last year I had a much better experience as I was able to change my expectations and enjoy the camaraderie. Funny enough, I played better golf when I changed my perspective and expectations.

It was harder said than done though. We are always our own worst critics. All of this is to say, define what a successful league season looks like for you. Are you there to meet as many people as possible or to win as much money as you can or somewhere in between. The correct expectations and goals go a long way to having an enjoyable time.


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Posted (edited)

I was in a league 4-5 years ago, and stepped onto the first and started getting the normal bad time.. Mind you I had played in the league for a couple of years.. and proceeded to top the ball. It hit the ground 6" in front of my tee and spun backward 10 feet.. Embarrassed does not even put it into context. Now I'm hitting 2 from even further away.. My mind was racing, just put it in play, do not F this up.. Launched a beauty, play the rest of the round to 3-4 below my handicap.. but I got my nervous energy out on the 1st tee, What i did from there was not going to be as bad as my 1st tee shot.. and I just played golf with some great guys and had a good day.. 

Just go play golf and let the game be what it is.. you'll get comfortable and enjoy it.. 

Edited by Reesedw
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Hey everyone!
I recently joined a local men's league where we'll play tournament style golf every 2 weeks or so. Pretty nervous given I'm a higher handicapper and haven't played in this type of setting before. I've played in a work league on a short executive course but was more casual. I chose to signed up for this men's league to get out more, meet some fellow golfers, and continue to improve my game. 
I was looking for some advice on best ways to approach it and any tips. Appreciate it!

I was in that same situation 3 years ago. My game was pretty decent when I played alone or with someone I knew well - but a disaster in league. We had a club championship that same summer and I came in last. A bit embarrassing when you see your name on the bottom of the leaderboard (for everyone to see). Vowed now to let that happen again. Yes a part of it was my game BUT a bigger part was my head. Did a lot of reading over the winter on the "head" part of the game. And in early spring (before the course opened) I would chip 50+ times a day for a month.

The following year everyone had commented on how my game had improved. And while I didn't end up at the top of the leaderboard for the club championship I had made a significant improvement (leap) on the leaderboard.

So my advice: practice, practice , practice - that will drive a higher confidence level. Also read up on overcoming the mental challenges of golf. A good starting point is "Be a Player" by Marriott and Nilsson. Lastly play in as many competitive events as you can - that will drive a higher comfort level.


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Take advantage of playing with lower handicap players.  Watch and observe how they handle shots, when they take risks and when they back off.  Take note of how they chip, how they read the break of a green.  You can learn a lot by seeing how better players play.  I love playing with low digit handicappers.  I watch their setups, their decision skills, their swing, and their methods.

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Thanks for all the advice everyone! A lot of good stuff and much appreciated. 

I think my biggest challenge is going to be turning off the competitor in me (former college athlete) and just relaxing and having fun instead of putting unneeded pressure on myself. I dont have any expectations to win or place but I'll have to turn my mind off and not stress. 

First event 4/6, cant wait!

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On 3/25/2019 at 5:23 PM, ZJBogey2 said:

Hey everyone!

I recently joined a local men's league where we'll play tournament style golf every 2 weeks or so. Pretty nervous given I'm a higher handicapper and haven't played in this type of setting before. I've played in a work league on a short executive course but was more casual. I chose to signed up for this men's league to get out more, meet some fellow golfers, and continue to improve my game. 

I was looking for some advice on best ways to approach it and any tips. Appreciate it!

Thanks for posting this - I'm also a high handicapper and have been considering looking for a suitable League for pretty much the same reasons. Gonna follow this thread .. keep us updated on your impressions, progress, etc.!

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2 hours ago, cksurfdude said:

Thanks for posting this - I'm also a high handicapper and have been considering looking for a suitable League for pretty much the same reasons. Gonna follow this thread .. keep us updated on your impressions, progress, etc.!

Go for it!

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Alright, the first event is in the books! My goals for the day were to have fun and to just not have the highest score (74 or so guys in the event). It was the opening tournament, a 4 man best 2 ball format, playing from the forward tees to just make it a fun and interesting day.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning with no wind and a few clouds in the sky. You couldnt have asked for a better April day in CO. Got to the course early to check in, have a bite to eat, and hit some range balls. I was really feeling great and didnt think my nerves were too high....

Until playing golf actually started. I played my worst round in the past 3 years and shot a 115...just two days before I played the course and shot a 94. I didnt feel that I was overly nervous but I couldnt hit a fairway off the tee. When I did hit a fairway and placed the ball where I wanted, I couldnt hit an approach shot. Playing from the forward tees got me too, I wasnt use to the normal course management and was in my head too much about what to hit. Around the green and putting was meh as well. The low and high of the day came after a 10 (+6) on the 10th but then rebounded and followed that up with 2 straight pars. 

The guys in my group were great and encouraging. Was great getting to know each of their unique stories. I was surprised one of them even exchanged numbers with me after the round to play in the future. I look forward to meeting more folks as the summer goes on.

Despite the discouraging start, already signed up for the next event and ready to improve. 

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Alright, the first event is in the books! My goals for the day were to have fun and to just not have the highest score (74 or so guys in the event). It was the opening tournament, a 4 man best 2 ball format, playing from the forward tees to just make it a fun and interesting day.
It was a beautiful Saturday morning with no wind and a few clouds in the sky. You couldnt have asked for a better April day in CO. Got to the course early to check in, have a bite to eat, and hit some range balls. I was really feeling great and didnt think my nerves were too high....
Until playing golf actually started. I played my worst round in the past 3 years and shot a 115...just two days before I played the course and shot a 94. I didnt feel that I was overly nervous but I couldnt hit a fairway off the tee. When I did hit a fairway and placed the ball where I wanted, I couldnt hit an approach shot. Playing from the forward tees got me too, I wasnt use to the normal course management and was in my head too much about what to hit. Around the green and putting was meh as well. The low and high of the day came after a 10 (+6) on the 10th but then rebounded and followed that up with 2 straight pars. 
The guys in my group were great and encouraging. Was great getting to know each of their unique stories. I was surprised one of them even exchanged numbers with me after the round to play in the future. I look forward to meeting more folks as the summer goes on.
Despite the discouraging start, already signed up for the next event and ready to improve. 

Trust me we've all been there. A good book for the "head" part of the game is "Be a Player".


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