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First tournament advice?


SeeRed
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Well I have a few things that probably work well for me and that I can think of that could help you as well.

 

BEFORE THE ROUND

Course Preparation, I get as much information on the course as possible from practice rounds and/ or research or asking the club pro about the course. Any information is good information so you can get 'members kicks' so to speak on missed shots. If it is your home course you have a lot less homework to do then if you have never played that course before.

 

Game Plan, have a way to approach the golf course on paper before the round. This is where the information comes into play you want to make a literal shot by shot strategy guide for the course from green to tee for different hole locations.

--> Know where you can miss a tee shot that won't give you a PS

--> Know where you can miss greens and get up and down majority of the time

--> Know what location on the green is best to give yourself opportunities at making putts

--> Your game plan is to eliminate the big number and assume you are always shooting for par on every hole

 

DAY OF THE ROUND

tournament day routine, I always show up 1.5 to 2 hours before my tee time. I want a lot of time so that I take things slow in getting to the course, eat a light meal at course take my time in eating. I then go to the putting green and hit a few putts, few chips and pitch shots for a little while. Then I walk to the practice tee and hit no more then 30-40 golf balls just to loosen up taking my time making my pre-shot routine each shot. I take the last 2 or 3 balls and play hole number one for my strategy for that hole. First ball is the drive, 2nd ball is the approach shot, third is normally used as a par 5 ball in 3 strokes or if i hit the drive bad and had to punch out back to the fairway. If you hit two good shots then use the third ball as a little pitch shot or the 2nd hole drive.

 

Course Management, This is used when you strategy doesn't go to plan and you hit a few loose ones and misses. Always hit the highest percentage shot and take your time thinking about the shot. Again protect par like it is your child and make sure to stick to your game plan regardless of how you are striking the ball. You optimized the plan based on making par the easiest way correct? Birdie chances will come remain patient.

 

Mental approach, stay relaxed and just think about the good weather and positive thoughts, you don't need to worry as you have confidence in your preparations. Think about the birds chirping or a sports game in-between shots. Then put 100% focus on only the shot that you have in front of you going through normal pre-shot routines like you are the only person on the golf course, don't feel rushed to do anything.

 

I hope this helps others can add to it if they would like.

Callaway Epic Max 12.0 (-1/N) @ 44.50" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 Stiff

Callaway Epic Speed 18.0* @ 42.75" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-8 Stiff

Callaway Mavrik Pro 23.0* @ 40.00" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 95 HYB Stiff

Sub-70 639 Combo (5-P) w/ Nippon Modus 3 125 Stiff, Standard Length, Weak Lofts (27-47, 4* gaps)

Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 59-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 63-09 C-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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More good stuff- I had a feeling I was drawing on a pretty good resource by asking the question on this forum. jmiller, you actually touch on the one aspect of this particular golf facility that irks me to no end- the "practice" area. Not sure if any of you are familiar with The Links at Bodega Harbour, but it is a beautiful, challenging course. It's nearly always windy, and though the card shows short-ish distances from all tees, it plays much longer (1-4 and 10-12 are all uphill). Great golf course, no-so-great golf facility. The practice cage is one of the worst I've ever seen or used. It's an afterthought, really. They have the space and probably the coin to do much better. End of rant. The weather has been atrocious lately (high winds, driving rain), so the tournament should be interesting. Keep the tips coming!

PING i20 8.5*, TFC707D (S)
Callaway RAZR Fit 15*, neutral setting, stock shaft (S)
PING i20 20*, TFC707H (S)
Adams Pro a12 23*, Matrix Ozik Altus (S)
PING i20 5-PW, TT DG S300, 1.5* flat (purple dot)
SCOR 50*,54*,58*, Genius 12 KBS Tour (S), 1.5* flat, -1/4"
STX xForm 3, 35"
 

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More good stuff- I had a feeling I was drawing on a pretty good resource by asking the question on this forum. jmiller, you actually touch on the one aspect of this particular golf facility that irks me to no end- the "practice" area. Not sure if any of you are familiar with The Links at Bodega Harbour, but it is a beautiful, challenging course. It's nearly always windy, and though the card shows short-ish distances from all tees, it plays much longer (1-4 and 10-12 are all uphill). Great golf course, no-so-great golf facility. The practice cage is one of the worst I've ever seen or used. It's an afterthought, really. They have the space and probably the coin to do much better. End of rant. The weather has been atrocious lately (high winds, driving rain), so the tournament should be interesting. Keep the tips coming!

 

I have been to a course that had a putting green / chipping & pitching, then they had 3 hitting nets as their practice tee. That does the job for you if the goal is only to get your muscles lose and working freely and smoothly after stretching. No you really can't get results of the typical miss for that day but it will do the primary goal in getting lose to make a free golf swing on the first tee. You are not wanting to 'work' on your golf swing on the practice tee day of a tournament anyways just not being results oriented and that is about it. When i don't have a 'range' so to speak then the routine changes a little obviously.

 

Main thing is putting, chipping, & pitching, then just some full swings hitting a ball to losen up. As a side benefit when you have a full 'range' then you get to see your normal miss after you are lose or play the first couple holes in your mind.

 

With the wind thing you will be able to think about how the wind will effect each hole if the 'range' faces to the east and is straight down wind then you know by which way the holes on the course face will be downwind and into the wind so that you can adjust the game plan / course management based on wind. Most places have a 'standard' directional wind that I normally take into account for the game plan on where ech shot needs to be placed.

Callaway Epic Max 12.0 (-1/N) @ 44.50" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 Stiff

Callaway Epic Speed 18.0* @ 42.75" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-8 Stiff

Callaway Mavrik Pro 23.0* @ 40.00" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 95 HYB Stiff

Sub-70 639 Combo (5-P) w/ Nippon Modus 3 125 Stiff, Standard Length, Weak Lofts (27-47, 4* gaps)

Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 59-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 63-09 C-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Well, yesterday's tournament was...educational. It has been a long, long time since I felt that far out of my comfort zone. I played well above my hcp, which is always tough to accept. The conditions were difficult, but that wasn't it. Now I know what to expect and believe in the future the tournament scene will be easier to handle. On a more positive note, I met and played with some good guys. Thanks to all who provided tips and advice!

PING i20 8.5*, TFC707D (S)
Callaway RAZR Fit 15*, neutral setting, stock shaft (S)
PING i20 20*, TFC707H (S)
Adams Pro a12 23*, Matrix Ozik Altus (S)
PING i20 5-PW, TT DG S300, 1.5* flat (purple dot)
SCOR 50*,54*,58*, Genius 12 KBS Tour (S), 1.5* flat, -1/4"
STX xForm 3, 35"
 

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It happens. Most of my best and worst rounds ever have been in competition. The highs are the best feeling ever, and the lows, they're hard to take and they leave a mark. Its the joy of competing. Dust yourself off and get back out there, the nerves and jitters do get better with experience.

Ping I20 8.5* - Aldila NV 65g S
Adams XTD Super Hybrid 15* - Stock Fubuki S
Adams DHY 21* - Stock Matrix Ozik White Tie S
Mizuno MP58 4-8 Irons - Fujikura MCI 100 S
SCOR 42,46,50,54,58* - SCOR/KBS Genius S
STX Robert Ingman Envision TR 35", Iomic grip

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Well, yesterday's tournament was...educational. It has been a long, long time since I felt that far out of my comfort zone. I played well above my hcp, which is always tough to accept. The conditions were difficult, but that wasn't it. Now I know what to expect and believe in the future the tournament scene will be easier to handle. On a more positive note, I met and played with some good guys. Thanks to all who provided tips and advice!

 

You are not alone, there are other factors at play that in your first tournament you are not used to dealing with. I know I sucked my first time out in a tournament.

Callaway Epic Max 12.0 (-1/N) @ 44.50" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 Stiff

Callaway Epic Speed 18.0* @ 42.75" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-8 Stiff

Callaway Mavrik Pro 23.0* @ 40.00" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 95 HYB Stiff

Sub-70 639 Combo (5-P) w/ Nippon Modus 3 125 Stiff, Standard Length, Weak Lofts (27-47, 4* gaps)

Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 59-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 63-09 C-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Drugs, alcohol = NOT a good idea!

 

I have played some tournament golf, and I can tell you from experience that you WILL be nervous, especially on the first tee. Usually by the second or third hole, you will be almost completely relaxed again. That is, until you find out on 17 that you are in the hunt. Then it begins all over again!

 

The best way to combat it is to slow everything down! The natural tendency when we are nervous is to do everything quickly. So consciously slow everything down. Very slowly get the ball and tee from your pocket. SLOWLY walk to the tee. Everything is exaggeratedly slow. This will help. Also, having a pre-shot routine helps a lot too. It at least gives you something else to think about :)

 

One last thing that helps me, is to realize that in a big tournament EVERYONE on the tee is nervous. If your opponent doesn't look nervous, he's just hiding it better than you are. He's dying inside just like you!

There is no spoon.

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Drugs, alcohol = NOT a good idea!

 

I have played some tournament golf, and I can tell you from experience that you WILL be nervous, especially on the first tee. Usually by the second or third hole, you will be almost completely relaxed again. That is, until you find out on 17 that you are in the hunt. Then it begins all over again!

 

The best way to combat it is to slow everything down! The natural tendency when we are nervous is to do everything quickly. So consciously slow everything down. Very slowly get the ball and tee from your pocket. SLOWLY walk to the tee. Everything is exaggeratedly slow. This will help. Also, having a pre-shot routine helps a lot too. It at least gives you something else to think about :)

 

One last thing that helps me, is to realize that in a big tournament EVERYONE on the tee is nervous. If your opponent doesn't look nervous, he's just hiding it better than you are. He's dying inside just like you!

 

+1000, great post Fade.

 

To add to it learn what works for you in slow rounds to keep you from getting 'anxious' or 'impatient' between shots when you have a lot of time 'standing around'. I normally just turn my back to the group in front of me pay zero attention to what they are doing other then a glance here and their to check up on them. I will swing a club at 20% just to keep my body moving and lose a lot of times this will be a wedge and not the club i need for the shot. When the group is clear then I start my pre-shot routine as if I didn't have to stand there for a good period of time. Managing your mental state and keeping relaxed is always a great plan however you know to pull it off, it will be slightly different for everyone.

Callaway Epic Max 12.0 (-1/N) @ 44.50" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 Stiff

Callaway Epic Speed 18.0* @ 42.75" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-8 Stiff

Callaway Mavrik Pro 23.0* @ 40.00" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 95 HYB Stiff

Sub-70 639 Combo (5-P) w/ Nippon Modus 3 125 Stiff, Standard Length, Weak Lofts (27-47, 4* gaps)

Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 59-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 63-09 C-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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It was interesting. By #5 I had calmed down and was playing my game (actually birdied #6), and played pretty well on 5-15. By #16 I felt drained. I walked and it's a hilly course to walk, but I think it was more mental than physical. Consequently, 16-18 were crap. On the whole, the round was a good lesson in maintaining a steady level of physical and mental exertion throughout. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the round took 6 HOURS to complete. Yeah, that was ridiculous.

PING i20 8.5*, TFC707D (S)
Callaway RAZR Fit 15*, neutral setting, stock shaft (S)
PING i20 20*, TFC707H (S)
Adams Pro a12 23*, Matrix Ozik Altus (S)
PING i20 5-PW, TT DG S300, 1.5* flat (purple dot)
SCOR 50*,54*,58*, Genius 12 KBS Tour (S), 1.5* flat, -1/4"
STX xForm 3, 35"
 

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It was interesting. By #5 I had calmed down and was playing my game (actually birdied #6), and played pretty well on 5-15. By #16 I felt drained. I walked and it's a hilly course to walk, but I think it was more mental than physical. Consequently, 16-18 were crap. On the whole, the round was a good lesson in maintaining a steady level of physical and mental exertion throughout. Oh, I also forgot to mention that the round took 6 HOURS to complete. Yeah, that was ridiculous.

 

LOL, 5 - 6 hours for a tournament round is pretty standard.

 

If you shot 80 with a 45 second pre-shot routine and swing all together then you spend 20% of your time in your pre-shot routine and making a stroke over 5 hours, about 17% of the time over 6 hours. No one can focus straight through on golf for even 1 hour, this is what I was trying to say about staying relaxed and thinking about anything besides golf in-between strokes.

 

Anyone can give 110% focus on something in 30sec to 90second time segments, that's all you need to pick a club, pre-shot routine and then swing. Practice 'being present' mentally, this just means give 110% of your focus on each shot and once the shot is done turn off your golf brain and just 'be present' feel the warm weather on your face, hear the birds chirping, think about relaxing things, once it is your turn to play again, 110% focus goes into it, just keep repeating this process through the entire round. It works the best when the score is not known you just play shots one at a time.

 

Probably dig up some mental stuff in the Golf Mental Lessons stuff on this kind if thing I know i have a few different posts in the MGS University sections on various things.

Callaway Epic Max 12.0 (-1/N) @ 44.50" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-7 Stiff

Callaway Epic Speed 18.0* @ 42.75" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-8 Stiff

Callaway Mavrik Pro 23.0* @ 40.00" w/ Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 95 HYB Stiff

Sub-70 639 Combo (5-P) w/ Nippon Modus 3 125 Stiff, Standard Length, Weak Lofts (27-47, 4* gaps)

Callaway MD5 Raw 51-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 55-13 X-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 59-11 S-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Callaway MD5 Raw 63-09 C-Grind w/ Nippon Modus 125 Wedge

Golf Swing & Putting -- Bruce Rearick (Burnt Edges Consulting)

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Game day routine:

 

Get there early, walk around, clear your head and watch somebody play the first hole ( don't watch them, watch their ball. See how the course is playing. Fairways, greens rough...)

 

Grab a light snack and keep the fluids up....lack of fluid make your muscles tighten up.

 

Putt a few and chip a few but don't judge or analyze anything the practice green means nothing...don't forget that.

 

Just before tee time do something that will ease your mood( I listen to Otis reddings sitting on the dock in the bay on my iPod, yes every time) it make me smile and forget about everything.....

 

And last, but most important.....Remember that it's a game, you're on a golf course, even the pros do it for fun. Play your game and enjoy it.

 

The numbers will follow.

DRIVER: Taylormade R11s 9 (set to 7.5) Stock RIP shaft

3 WOOD: Nike Vr Pro Str8 Fit VOODOO stiff shaft

HYBRID: Taylormade Burner 2.0 #3

IRONS: 4-Pw Titleist AP1's (Origionals)

WEDGES: Cleveland CG14 52

Cleveland CG14 56

Vokey Oil Can 60

PUTTER: PING Scottsdale Pick Me Up

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

BAG: PING Staff

"If it feels good in YOUR hands, bag it....the next guys hands are only good for taking your money"

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Honestly the most important thing to remember in a tournament is to play your game. Don't worry about what the other guys in your group are doing, just focus on executing every shot you have. The moment you start getting into a "match-play" mentality against your playing partners is the instant you'll start making mistakes.

 

Play well, and good luck!

Driver--Taylormade RBZ Tour 9* Aldila RIP Phenom 65s

Fairway Metal--Taylormade R11s 14* Aldila RIP Phenom 70s

Hybrid--Taylormade RBZ Tour 18.5* RE-AX 85 gram S

Irons--Nike Vr Pro-Combo 4-PW True Temper Dynamic Gold S300

Wedges--Nike SV Tour Forged 50*, 56*, 60* True Temper Dynamic Gold

Putter--Scotty Cameron California Del Mar

Ball--Taylormade Lethal

Grips--Lamkin R.E.L 3Gen (Woods-green, Irons-red, Wedges-white)

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