It's that time of year where clubs and courses are starting their tournament calendars. And that puts your game on another level. Bobby Jones said that there was golf and tournament golf, and they're not much alike. I think he's right.
Pressure does strange things to people, and it is best illustrated when you put your game on display with something on the line. Some people like to gamble on the golf course. It's totally different playing a friendly game for a few dollars than it is to have a hundred or more on the line. And some people rise to the pressure better than others.
We saw that on television on Sunday. The best players in the world hit some shots that probably made you scratch your head.
How does Tiger Woods hit a pop-up dead pull on 14? Then follow it with a clutch birdie? How do these guys dunk short 9-iron and wedge shots on 17? Even at their level, the nerves can tighten and put you all out of sorts.
If you like to play tournaments, just understand that your game will be under a different kind of pressure than your regular daily game, even if you play for considerable wagers. There's just something about it. But playing for something every time you are on the course does help prepare you for the pressure of tournament golf. If you don't like gambling on golf, find other ways to put pressure on yourself. Challenge your performance with something you like or dislike ... mowing the grass, doing dishes, household chores, etc.
The key is that you have to subject yourself to pressure in order to get comfortable with it.
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My very first tournament was last years World Am. I never felt nervous at all consciously but no doubt I was subconsciously because on my front 9 of my opening round I shot a 52. On hole 9 I hit a massive 5 wood and that snapped me out of my nerves and then went on to shot a 39 on the back 9. :) The next day I shot an 83. I learned more about my game during that week then any other time before that. Too bad there aren't more week day tournaments.
I agree with Terry and Bobby Jones. Even the senior golf tournaments in which I participate really get the juices flowing. I have had countless crash & burn moments but every once it a while one gets to experience the sublime feeling of success. Nothing in golf feels better than to perform well under the spotlight.
I played in the first tourney of the year last weekend. I was soooo nervous all three days until about hole #5. Then the nerves stopped and the game was on. I ended up winning my flight which was great for a confidence builder for this up coming Monday for the state am qualifier.
I've heard a good deal of negativity surrounding tournaments - with respect to rules regarding handicap, etc. Also, it seems some people get real ugly when they lose. Is cheating common in these kinds of tournaments? How do people cheat? I understand sandbagging, but are these kinds of tournaments policed?
I was playing a sociable tournament with my cousin, and brought my handicap in from outside their club. Their rules stated that I could only contribute a certain number of strokes to our foursome. I can't remember the exact scoring system, but I was really playing well that day and contributed the max. When we got in to the clubhouse, some old time member started arguing with my cousin when they realized we won. He was basically trying to intimidate us. The rules were brought up and reviewed, and the old timer was way out of line. Nevertheless, my cousin gave in to restore peace at the club. We ended up having to pay a good deal of money too. Is this common? These kinds of disputes?
Of course the playing was great, but the settling up was a real chore. I have a friend who never pays up when he loses. It's always... "I'll catch you next time..." and the next time never comes or is forgotten. Is there a statute of limitations for sociable bets (beers, lunch, etc?).
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