The excitement is great, the trial swings before the first tee do not suggest anything good: The first golf tournament is, above all, a test for the psyche. However, if you take a few things into account, even if your nerves flutter, there is a good chance that the first “endurance test” of your golf career will not be a flop.
Five tips for the first golf tournament
Golf tournament tip 1: Avoid stress in advance
Anyone who packs their golf bag or checks the bag for completeness on the day of the tournament will certainly not reduce nervousness. If possible, lay everything out the evening before and check that you have packed everything. The fully packed bag only has to be put in the car.
Even unnecessary time pressure does not necessarily ensure relaxation. It is better to drive to the golf course a little earlier to prepare in peace. It is also worthwhile to be on the tee a moment earlier than required.
Golf tournament tip 2: Maximum security on the first tee
Especially when the nervousness is great, you should play it safe with the first tee and choose the shot with which you feel most confident. If in doubt, it is better to use an iron if the accuracy of the driver leaves a lot to be desired. A nervous golfer who has to start the tournament with an off-ball is sure not to calm down!
Golf tournament tip 3: minimize risk
Anyone struggling with excitement is badly advised to play with an aggressive strategy. Especially with difficult holes, it is better to aim at the green instead of the flag. The probability that the result will be better with this game strategy is high.
When it comes to risk minimization, it is okay to play a little unorthodox if there is great excitement. Even if the pitches are hit quite safely, it can make sense to unpack the putter on the pre-green to get safely close to the flag.
Some golfers have “favourite distances” or irons with which they particularly like to play safely. If you are one of these golfers, take advantage of this and base your playing strategy on it: Plan your strokes of a hole so that you pull your favourite club out of the bag as often as possible. You can do this by setting goals for each individual hole – see tip 4.
Golf tournament tip 4: plan your strokes
Inexperienced golfers often try to use the stroke that allows the greatest distance. In many cases, this is not the best option – especially not in the case of advanced tournament duration when strength and concentration have already decreased. Before each hole, it is better to think about where you ideally want to land to achieve the best possible results with the greatest possible likelihood.
For example, suppose you feel comfortable with the pitching wedge and the six iron (for distances of around 80 meters and 120 meters = 200 meters). In that case, you should also plan these two clubs instead of choosing the eight iron twice (2 x 100 meters = also 200 meters) if you don’t like to play this that much.
Even golf tournament “newbies” should orientate themselves on the par, even if this goal is often missed in practice. This can be very useful as a guide. For example, based on the assumption that you need two putts on each green for a good result, the plan for a par-5 hole might look like this:
1st shot: on the fairway
2nd shot: on the fairway
3rd shot: on the green
4th shot: near the hole
5th shot: in the hole
With a par four hole, simply think away from the first stroke here, with a par three hole the first two strokes.
Golf tournament tip 5: Don’t forget to eat and drink
Especially when the excitement is great, it is easy to forget to drink and eat enough. This is particularly noticeable when the tournament is a bit advanced because if the body does not have enough energy available, the concentration suffers.
If you suspect that eating and drinking will be forgotten during the round, you should place a few small snacks (a banana or a few nuts and a small water bottle) in the golf bag in a way that they catch the eye from time to time, for example in the side or front pocket where the tees are.