Winning At The World Am
By Kickntrue on 8/25/11
Ed. Note- This is a repost from last year, but it's good advice for playing well in any event, and just being a rounded golfer in general. Nathan and I will be joining multiple oobers next week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (GO AWAY IRENE!) and will be posting updates of our days each evening. The rest of your can sit at home jealous... in fact, that is the entire reason we keep bringing this up. We gave you plenty of heads-up. We told you it was the greatest week of golf ever. Why didn't you sign up?!

The World Am is finishing up today as the winners get to play the amazing TPC of Myrtle Beach. I'm not one of them, but I have tips on how you could be in 2011. This was my first competitive golf ever. I guess I technically played as a pre-junior for like 3 events over a summer before I got sick of getting whooped by kids who weren't hitting golf balls for the first time in their lives, but essentially this was it. I've never even played in a league, so it was all new to me. Any competitive golf experience you have will help you, but it's certainly not necessary. Here the the things that stood out to me the most:

Play Different Courses
Your handicap is comprised of the best 10 scores of your last 20. If you play a home course over and over and over, your handicap is going to be very inflated. I could point to every player I was with in my 4 days and tell you which was a one course player and who had variety. If your handicap is established at a place you know, inevitably you'll know the course and play better. Put these people on completely foreign lands and they melt. I'm in a relatively unique position- but I play everywhere I can. Out of my last 20 scores 17 of them were different courses. That means I'm always guessing and playing what's in front of me. It means my 14 handicap is built from that experience. A single-course's handicap is legit, and so is mine, but mine is going to be better suited for 4 courses in 4 days.

Know Your Ruleboook
I saw a couple guys get DQ'd and it wasn't fun. I watched a guy get DQ'd yesterday in the clubhouse and almost come across the counter to punch the pro. Nobody likes to see someone removed from competition but the rules are the rules and they play by all of them. I didn't memorize the rule book- but you need to be smart enough to know when something COULD be an issue so you do the right thing in the moment. Rule 3-3 says you can play two balls through a hole and then sort things out in the clubhouse later. Sure beats making the wrong decision and getting hammered later.

Shake The Nerves
Kevin said he was so nervous he was shaking for his first 4 holes on Monday. I wasn't as nervous (ice in my veins baby) but I know where he was coming from. I started my 3rd round in 5th place (in the money) and shot a 98. I didn't have a knot in my stomach, but retrospectively I can't blame it all on bad breaks. I'd never encourage gambling (hahaha) but you need to put yourself in situations where the outcome matters. Play for a couple bucks. Play for dinner. Play for humiliation if you don't want to use money, but you've got to do something ahead of time where that knot in your stomach does exist- and you fight through it.

Practice And Get Hot
I was a 14.5 handicap when the event began. After 4 rounds I'm down under 13. I didn't sandbag. I didn't cheat. Everything was perfectly legit, but I worked on my short game a bit and made sure I was ready to go. Again- your handicap is comprised of the best 10 scores from your last 20. Mine is currently being calculated from my last 13 because I've been playing so well (for me...).

Play With What You Got
I'm going to sound like Wedge Guy here, but you need to adjust in round and play to your strengths. Coming into the week I couldn't hit a drive straight to save my life. On Monday, I couldn't even hit 6i off the tee in the fairway. Strangely, my driver was on FIRE. So- even on 315 yard par 4's where 5 or 6 iron was the smart play- I switched to driver and made it work for me. The "smart" play is playing to what works.

Bermuda Grass Is Your Friend
I live in Mississippi where everything is Bermuda. There were a ton of people I played with who weren't quite ready for it. This is obviously specific to this event, and Myrtle Beach, but a lot of the stuff down here is Bermuda and if you've never hit from Bermuda rough- you're going to get beat up. Come a day or two early and at least get a round of two in on it.

Have Fun
No matter what- the whole event is first class and a great time! I played well and that sure helped, but regardless I got go hang out for a week playing golf and enjoying the rest of the festivities my entry fee covered. The 19th hole is free beer and top-shelf liquor, along with free food, guest speakers like Dave Pelz and David Fehrety and hitting ranges with tons of new equipment. Myrtle Beach has a ton of great food, the ocean and is the mini-golf capital of the world. Bring a couple buddies- save up! If you're a golfer you WILL have fun at the World Am Handicap Championship!

I know this SEEMS like a wrap-up, and while it kind of is- I have a couple more nuggets from this week that I'm going to share next week. I expect to see more oobers here next year!

[ comments ]
dpoimboeuf says:
Can you use your OOB Golf handicap to enter, or do you need an official USGA?
mustang6560 says:
The World Am accepts oobgolf handicaps since our handicap system uses the same formula as the USGA handicap system. You headed to the World Am?
dpoimboeuf says:
Not this year, but I always wondered about that. I don't know why the USGA makes it so freaking hard for people who aren't members of country clubs to get handicaps.
dpoimboeuf says:
Good Luck to you if you're playing!
birdieXris says:
@dpoimboef - you can get an official usga handicap at just about any course. theres usually a fee, normally $10 or so.
dpoimboeuf says:
Really? I did not know that. Thanks!
mantajim says:
Although I tend to agree with the first tip, 'Play Different Courses', I would add that if your home course is a tough track you'll have an advantage. I play my home course about 90% of the time, but it's a 135 slope from the senior tees, 138 from the men's tees. There is not one hole that you can wail away. Everything is shot making, target golf, placement, etc. We recently went to Florida on a golf vacation and played The Ryder course at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie. Now I'll admit I had a pretty magical round, but I shot even par from the Tournament tees. (3 birdies, 3 bogies) They had a slope of only 128, the course seemed easy and wide open compared to my home course.
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