The 100th PGA Championship starts today. With the last Major of 2018 underway, all the preparation is finished and the players are ready to put all the efforts to the test. Like these professionals, I have played in many tournaments and my success over the years is directly related to the how well I prepared to play. Of course, execution is always important, but the better prepared I was, the greater the success. I would suggest that the players teeing it up at Bellerive Country Club today feel the same way. Preparation is the key to winning golf tournaments!
I bet the first question on your lips is, “that is great, but how do we prepare to win a golf tournament?” Well, I know what works for me and my process was developed over years of trial and error.
Obviously I will share my steps, but I stress that it is important for you find your own process because everyone plays differently and as such should prepare differently.
When I commit to a tournament I try to start my preparations about 3 weeks before the event. These 3 weeks help me address all aspects playing a specific course and focusing on what I need to hone before I tee it up. This is my process to play in a stroke event:
Analyze the course. This is the foundation of my preparation. Some courses required me to focus on distance. Others on approach shots. And others on bunkers and the long grass around the greens. Putting is always a focus, but as stated earlier, every course has a unique way to be played and must be analyzed to determine the appropriate strategy to win.
Build a Strategy. Every tournament should have a game plan. In my case, my strategy is based on my course analysis. If length was the key skill I needed to win, then I would develop my plan accordingly. I always try to determine which club to use off the tee so I could take advantage of my strengths; hitting the ball long all the time is not always the best way to play. I would also determine which holes I could take extra chances and those that I need to play conservative. I build as strategy as soon as possible and then move on to the next step.
Develop a Practice Plan. After understanding the course and how I plan to play it, I develop a practice plan to hone my skills that will help execute the plan effectively. If distance was the focal point, I would spend more time hitting long irons and the woods. If my short game was key, then shots between 100 to 25 yards would be my focus. I spend time in all areas, but my focal point garners more of my attention. Regardless, I spend at least a third of my time on my putting and fringe play. Without it, the rest just does not matter.
The above three steps are critical to me performing well in tournaments. Of course, I make sure my equipment is ready, my balls have my mark on them, and I watch the weather forecast. These are normal things for regular play, but for tournaments I pay special attention to the routine things.
Well, this is my process for getting ready for a tournament. It serves me well and was developed over many years of trial and error. It is important to note, that all three steps are required to adequately address my needs for competing in a tournament. Leaving out anything leaves my ill prepared come game time.
If you have competed recently, did you have a methodology to prepare for the tournament? If so, please share!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!