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Playing my first stroke-play tournament


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Hey fellow spies. One of my goals this past year has been to start challenging myself to play some golf tournaments as the next step in my golf journey. As such,  I am due to play in a 3-round stroke play tournament on 4th of July weekend.  I have never played in a individual stroke play event so I am looking for some tips and tricks for any spies that have. Seriously, any suggestions are quite welcome. 

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1 minute ago, HeathS16 said:

Hey fellow spies. One of my goals this past year has been to start challenging myself to play some golf tournaments as the next step in my golf journey. As such,  I am due to play in a 3-round stroke play tournament on 4th of July weekend.  I have never played in a individual stroke play event so I am looking for some tips and tricks for any spies that have. Seriously, any suggestions are quite welcome. 

Good luck in the tournament. I have been getting a little itch to get back to some competitive golf. I am sure you will have a great experience.

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Just now, ejgaudette said:

Good luck in the tournament. I have been getting a little itch to get back to some competitive golf. I am sure you will have a great experience.

Golf replaced what baseball used to be for me and I am now ready to go out and make a fool of myself! Should be a blast! 

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3 minutes ago, HeathS16 said:

Golf replaced what baseball used to be for me and I am now ready to go out and make a fool of myself! Should be a blast! 

I am sure you will do better than you might expect, you got this

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Plan your food and hydration. If you want to play consistently well over 3 days you must fuel yourself well. You need premium, dude!

 

Hope you play well.

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1 hour ago, HeathS16 said:

Hey fellow spies. One of my goals this past year has been to start challenging myself to play some golf tournaments as the next step in my golf journey. As such,  I am due to play in a 3-round stroke play tournament on 4th of July weekend.  I have never played in a individual stroke play event so I am looking for some tips and tricks for any spies that have. Seriously, any suggestions are quite welcome. 

Congratulations! Hope you have fun and do well.

Most of the advice is stuff you probably do anyway- but the thing that helps me in medal play is to not focus on what scores my playing partners are taking on holes. Being in tournament conditions can be overwhelming- with everything going on. We have a multi-day, multi- club competition every year that we have to qualify for, so in total it's about 7 rounds of USGA golf. I always have to convince myself of this because of the temptation to keep track of where I am- but what any other player does has nothing to do with your score. And any one hole has little to do with the outcome- so stay true to your game, keep within your routines and allow yourself a few errors. 

Being in tournament conditions will help you be ready for them going forward- it gets easier.

Ignore this if your normal routine is to be involved with what other players do- there are players that thrive on that.

Oh- and practice 3 to 5 foot putts until you can't stand it anymore! Being confident in that range will really come in handy when people are watching,

 

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Practice a lot of short game and putts inside of 10 feet leading up to the tournament. Probably no such thing as too much. I usually use last 2 weeks for this.

When out of position just try to make a bogey. You can live bogies but doubles are round killers (true of any round however).

Everything you know about your game, throw it out. Tournament golf will put you in different positions, different mental state and even feel different physically. That is not a bad thing it is just drastically different from a "normal" round. 

Spend some time on google earth prior to the tournament. Even if you play it everyday just confirm that your targets and club choice are correct off of each tee. Do this and then stick to that plan while playing. If it's not right you can adjust prior to next round. 

Don't chase anything. Start double, double, double, or par, par, par. The remaining holes should be played in the same as your pre round plan. 

Easy to type out for you hard to do in reality. But your mind will play tricks on you so having a plan and sticking to it will be beneficial. 

Have fun!! That is the most important part. 

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First, HAVE FUN!!

Second, try not to expect too much of yourself.  Expect to feel nervous, that's absolutely normal, just take a deep breath and carry on.  You are absolutely going to hit poor shots, so when it happens, just accept it and move on.  Don't take on excess risk, risk you wouldn't normally take on, just play your normal game, and don't try to "make up" for a previous mistake.

Third, refresh yourself on the basic Rules.  Simple stuff, OB, Penalty Areas, cart path relief.  Ask for help on the rules if you're not sure.  Mark your golf ball, and identify your ball every time.  

Last, HAVE FUN!!!!

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3 hours ago, Blueberry_Squishie said:

Plan your food and hydration. If you want to play consistently well over 3 days you must fuel yourself well. You need premium, dude!

 

Hope you play well.

THIS! Underrated advice for sure.  Been planning this out for the last week or so and I think I have a winning formula.  Gonna be extremely hot so this might be just as important as anything else that week! 

3 hours ago, Ohms said:

Congratulations! Hope you have fun and do well.

Most of the advice is stuff you probably do anyway- but the thing that helps me in medal play is to not focus on what scores my playing partners are taking on holes. Being in tournament conditions can be overwhelming- with everything going on. We have a multi-day, multi- club competition every year that we have to qualify for, so in total it's about 7 rounds of USGA golf. I always have to convince myself of this because of the temptation to keep track of where I am- but what any other player does has nothing to do with your score. And any one hole has little to do with the outcome- so stay true to your game, keep within your routines and allow yourself a few errors. 

Being in tournament conditions will help you be ready for them going forward- it gets easier.

Ignore this if your normal routine is to be involved with what other players do- there are players that thrive on that.

Oh- and practice 3 to 5 foot putts until you can't stand it anymore! Being confident in that range will really come in handy when people are watching,

 

3-5 footers.  They count just as much as the drive right? Time for the PuttOut

3 hours ago, THEZIPR23 said:

Practice a lot of short game and putts inside of 10 feet leading up to the tournament. Probably no such thing as too much. I usually use last 2 weeks for this.

When out of position just try to make a bogey. You can live bogies but doubles are round killers (true of any round however).

Everything you know about your game, throw it out. Tournament golf will put you in different positions, different mental state and even feel different physically. That is not a bad thing it is just drastically different from a "normal" round. 

Spend some time on google earth prior to the tournament. Even if you play it everyday just confirm that your targets and club choice are correct off of each tee. Do this and then stick to that plan while playing. If it's not right you can adjust prior to next round. 

Don't chase anything. Start double, double, double, or par, par, par. The remaining holes should be played in the same as your pre round plan. 

Easy to type out for you hard to do in reality. But your mind will play tricks on you so having a plan and sticking to it will be beneficial. 

Have fun!! That is the most important part. 

Love the advice on sticking to the plan.  I struggle sometimes with pressing the "eject" button when things go sideways during rounds.  Thinking about writing myself some sort of note to remind me to stick to the game plan. 

2 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

First, HAVE FUN!!

Second, try not to expect too much of yourself.  Expect to feel nervous, that's absolutely normal, just take a deep breath and carry on.  You are absolutely going to hit poor shots, so when it happens, just accept it and move on.  Don't take on excess risk, risk you wouldn't normally take on, just play your normal game, and don't try to "make up" for a previous mistake.

Third, refresh yourself on the basic Rules.  Simple stuff, OB, Penalty Areas, cart path relief.  Ask for help on the rules if you're not sure.  Mark your golf ball, and identify your ball every time.  

Last, HAVE FUN!!!!

Wouldn't have thought about taking to time to ID the ball every time and ensure rulings. Great advice! 

 

Appreciate the responses everyone! I'll be sure to post how each day goes. 

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If you are playing a course that you normally don't play, I would go and either play it in advance or at least ride the course to see the hazards, etc. Play to the center of the green, don't try to be an hero and play target golf on approach shots. The thing that usually gets me is staying focused, especially if the pace of played slows down.

Good luck to you and have fun.

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1 minute ago, GaDawg said:

If you are playing a course that you normally don't play, I would go and either play it in advance or at least ride the course to see the hazards, etc. Play to the center of the green, don't try to be an hero and play target golf on approach shots. The thing that usually gets me is staying focused, especially if the pace of played slows down.

Good luck to you and have fun.

I have played it a few times before and actually caddied for a buddy in the A Flight of this tournament last year. I know it a decent amount but I haven't seen the course in close to a year.  Planning on getting a practice round in here in a week or two. Even if I shoot 100 I'm still gonna have a blast. Thanks for the advice! 

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13 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

Even if I shoot 100 I'm still gonna have a blast.

This is the most important thing!  A couple of years ago a friend of mine at my home club played in his first competition.  He told me later he was terrified, exhilarated, and after just one time was addicted.  I hope you have the same experience, and the same addiction afterwards.

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18 hours ago, HeathS16 said:

Hey fellow spies. One of my goals this past year has been to start challenging myself to play some golf tournaments as the next step in my golf journey. As such,  I am due to play in a 3-round stroke play tournament on 4th of July weekend.  I have never played in a individual stroke play event so I am looking for some tips and tricks for any spies that have. Seriously, any suggestions are quite welcome. 

Congrats on taking the step into more competitive golf.  I can say that you will learn a lot about yourself and your golf game in a quick hurry.  I agree with @DaveP043 above... terrifying, exhilarating, and addictive!!  

As other's have said above, just do your best to focus on your game, and have fun with it.  If you hit a good shot, be proud of yourself, if you hit a bad one... don't be embarrassed, everyone hits a poor shot from time to time.  Take it in stride and move to the next shot.  

Good luck!!

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18 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

First, HAVE FUN!!

Second, try not to expect too much of yourself.  Expect to feel nervous, that's absolutely normal, just take a deep breath and carry on.  You are absolutely going to hit poor shots, so when it happens, just accept it and move on.  Don't take on excess risk, risk you wouldn't normally take on, just play your normal game, and don't try to "make up" for a previous mistake.

Third, refresh yourself on the basic Rules.  Simple stuff, OB, Penalty Areas, cart path relief.  Ask for help on the rules if you're not sure.  Mark your golf ball, and identify your ball every time.  

Last, HAVE FUN!!!!

THIS! Can't have said it better myself.  As others have said, practice those short putts, no gimmes. Work on your weaknesses or play to your strengths.  Don't change how you play just because it's a tournament and don't go for those hero shots unless you are super confident you can pull it off. Have fun <- I can't emphasize this enough as @DaveP043said.

 

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Man this is on my list to and is not coming to fuition this year, I am envious you are actually doing it!

Good luck, and others have said HAVE FUN! Cant wait to hear about it after you play!

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4 minutes ago, Lacassem said:

Man this is on my list to and is not coming to fuition this year, I am envious you are actually doing it!

Good luck, and others have said HAVE FUN! Cant wait to hear about it after you play!

The NH Am qualifier up the road caught my eye after and email from NHGA but probably not my year for that. Maybe next year.

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4 minutes ago, ejgaudette said:

The NH Am qualifier up the road caught my eye after and email from NHGA but probably not my year for that. Maybe next year.

Looking that way for me as well, house sale soaked up any major free time for something like this.

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On 6/15/2022 at 12:47 PM, Lacassem said:

Man this is on my list to and is not coming to fuition this year, I am envious you are actually doing it!

Good luck, and others have said HAVE FUN! Cant wait to hear about it after you play!

That seems to be the most popular advice that I am getting! Planning to make a day of it each day, the wife has even agreed to ride along with me for one of the days. I truly appreciate the tips y'all! Everyone has been so encouraging about this! I can't wait to tee it up now. 

On 6/15/2022 at 12:53 PM, ejgaudette said:

The NH Am qualifier up the road caught my eye after and email from NHGA but probably not my year for that. Maybe next year.

It took me 2 years to muster up the courage to just go out and do it.  The ultimate goal, for now at least, is to compete in the OGA Oklahoma Open at some point down the line. 

Where you at in NH? I lived in NH for 6 years during my later elementary and early middle school years. 

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On 6/14/2022 at 5:07 PM, HeathS16 said:

Golf replaced what baseball used to be for me and I am now ready to go out and make a fool of myself! Should be a blast! 

Me too but a long, long time ago, after college.  Once I quit playing baseball I played a lot of competitive golf (until I got married and had children).  I did not do very well.  I was a 3 handicap and could not play to it at all.  My main issue was that I took it way too seriously. 

 

After having children and graduating from seminary I started playing competitively again and loved it.  I was in my late 30's, I could still hit the ball fairly long and was a very tough 5 on my home course - so tough that I could even compete when I had a little stretch that brought my handicap down to a 2.  My game however did not travel well at all.  Then I moved to Wisconsin where the season was very short and my competition was limited to a 9 hole match play league.  Then I moved to Florida and at 50 my game really blossomed.  For about 5 years I was a solid 1, anywhere I played because I absolutely loved playing competitive golf, loved the nerves of it, loved meeting and competing against new people, loved holing big putts to shoot solid scores, loved winning, loved loosing because I knew that I could come back for another go round.  Sadly that ended when I got really sick and then developed an irregular heartbeat - I very much want to get back into playing competitive golf again - my club has games at a great time - I just need to get through the summer and I'm in.

 

Bottom line is I think that the more you focus on enjoying it the better you will do.  The biggest mistake that you could make would be to get out of your routine the day of the tournament.  If your normal routine is to show up half an hour early, bang a few balls and go putt don't suddenly show up an hour early because that's what the pros do - do what you do.  The other three things that I'd suggest that I haven't read (I may have missed them) as yet are:

 

1.  Play all golf straight by the rules from here on out including putting everything out.  You will miss some putts that you would have racked away in a casual round, it's okay, it happens, the more that you putt them out, the more comfortable you will be when it counts.  When I'm in competition and have a knee knocker I just think about the 1,000 of putts I've holed before.  

 

2.  Practice with a purpose.  You may be on the range but once you're warmed up, simulate play on the course - if you would normally hit driver down the left side and 8 iron on number 1 - do it.  If number 2 is a 178 yard par 3, tee up your 178 yard club and hit it and so on and so forth.  A few years back I was going to play a round at TPC Sawgrass.  For two months before I went I would tee up an 8 iron on the last shot on the range and hit the island green.  Every time I faced 135 yard shot on the course I was picturing hitting that green.  On the day that I played the course I had 137 to that back shelf, into a slight breeze and I hit my 8 iron about 15 feet short - it was never in doubt - practice with a purpose.

 

3.  On the days of your tournament slow down.  Your heart rate will be up, you will be nervous and excited, like stepping into the batters box if you were a hitter or facing the middle of the batting order if you were a pitcher - unlike baseball though golf can have that kind of pressure for 5 or 6 hours - so slow down when you get out of the car and stay slow throughout.  

 

Good luck - can't wait to read how you did - three days - that's a big tournament.  Have fun!

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Taylor Made Stealth 10.5  Aldila Ascent Red R flex

Ping G410 5, 7, 9 wood  Alta 65 R flex

Wilson D7 forged 5-GW -  Mamiya recoil 460 R flex

Edison Wedges 54 and 59 KBS Tour Graphite 80's

EVNRoll ER 5

Titleist Pro VIx optic yellow with revkev stamped on them

Still on that elusive hunt for a 3 wood that I'm able to hit - I don't know why, I crush the 5 wood and it's really a 4 wood anyway. 

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