By Paul Myers

You don’t have to play in tournaments to enjoy being a golfer. There is nothing wrong with simply enjoying social rounds of golf with your friends, and trying to get better without placing yourself into a competitive event. However, playing tournament golf is an exciting opportunity that can be enjoyed by almost everyone who chooses to participate. If you have never played in a tournament, it might be worth the effort to at least enter one and see how much you like it. Many clubs have tournaments throughout the year that welcome players of all skill levels. Thanks to the handicap system in golf, you can compete against players of many different skill levels in the same tournament.

To get you started off on the right foot when playing in a tournament, we have offered a few tips below –

  • Don’t Change a Thing. One important thing about playing in a tournament is to treat it as much like a ‘regular’ round of golf as possible. You don’t need to try harder, hit different shots, warm up longer, or anything like that. You will likely be most comfortable playing the game as you usually do, so stick to what works for you.
  • Temper Your Expectations. If this is going to be your first tournament, it is a good idea to keep your expectations under control. Tournament golf can be harder than playing a typical Saturday round with your friends, so your scores might be higher. For example, if you average shooting 90 during a regular round, expect your score to be in the higher 90’s during your first tournament or two. It can take some time until you become more comfortable in the tournament setting and are able to perform closer to your standard level.
  • Bring Your Patience. There are a couple reasons you can use an extra dose of patience before a tournament round. The first is simple – the round will likely take longer than you are used to. With everyone in the tournament trying to play their best, the pace of play can slow down and the time it takes to complete 18 holes usually increases. Beyond that, your level of frustration could be higher when you make a mistake. Whether you miss a short putt or hit a tee shot out of bounds, there is bound to be something that tests your patience and your temper during the round. Try to relax, and simply give your best effort for every shot all day long.

A golf tournament should hopefully be fun as opposed to stressful, so try not to let the pressure of the competition outweigh the enjoyment you get from the event. Try your best, stay focused on each shot in front of you, and have fun along the way. Hopefully, at the end of the round, your scorecard will add up to a score that you can be proud of.

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