How to Play Well In A Golf Tournament

Performing when the pressure is on can be challenging for many golfers (amateur or professional). There really is no magic formula…..or is there? I honestly believe that I have solved the challenges facing golfers when playing in a tournament. Unfortunately, the process to playing well starts long before we tee it up for the first hole. Yet, the first shot is still the most critical to start your event on the right foot!

SPORTSPAL Golf Tournament 26-27 September 2020 – Osprey Links Golf Course

Yesterday was the first round of my final tournament of the 2020 season. It was a best ball format and as a team Blair and I shot a 3 over 74. That is with 2 3-putts and leaving the ball on the lip twice. We definitely could have scored lower, but alas 74 is where we landed. Regardless of the score and the lamenting, I thought we play well and to our handicaps.

Realistically, that his the key to playing well in a tournament. Did you miss it? Let me explain it again. Scoring to your handicap is the key to playing well in golf tournaments. It sounds very simple, but trust me that is a huge obstacle for many players.

As you can surmise, the first step to may process is to establish a legitimate handicap. This can be accomplished through Golf Canada and right now I am sitting at a 3.6 index. During yesterday’s best ball round I played to my handicap exactly. I had the opportunity to play better, but as it turns out I played to the scores I have posted over the past 47 rounds.

The handicap index is a benchmark that most golfers use to determine the quality of their score. During a tournament, if you play to your handicap then you will likely be in the prizes. You may not win the tournament, but you will be competing in the proper flight and that makes a difference when gauging how well you played in a tournament.

Well, that is my secret to how to play well in a golf tournament. Focus on shooting your handicap. If you do, you might be surprised at how consistent you will score. Additionally, the more consistent you play, the greater chance of playing better than your handicap. When that happens, your round will likely be considered outstanding.

Circling around to my first premise, playing well in golf tournaments starts long before the first round. It starts by putting the time in to establish a legit handicap and work to improve it. When you do that, then playing in tournaments becomes easier because you understand your abilities and this helps manage your expectations.

Do you have an established handicap?

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!


4 thoughts on “How to Play Well In A Golf Tournament

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  3. Jim, I’m assuming Golf Canada uses the WHS algorithm which is based on your best eight scores out of your last 20. So you are absolutely correct. If you can shoot your handicap, you’ve played one of your better rounds, which is good for tournament play. There’s no way to assure yourself that you’ll play to your handicap when the pressure is on. The best I’ve found is to try and apply that pressure to yourself during practice and play a week leading up to the event.

    I keep an unofficial handicap with Fairway Files on-line. It uses the same algorithm and is generally accepted for all tournaments I play in. It let’s you know which scores are used to calculate your index and right now I know that my 16th-20th rounds by age are going to drop off with my next five scores. None of those rounds was a handicap round, so my 4.1 index cannot go up, but only down or stay the same with whatever I shoot. I’d love to get it sub-4.0 before the season ends.

    Play well today in your best ball round.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian

      You are exactly correct, we use the WHS. Golf Canada has a great tracking website and it only costs $40 a year. Plus there are many other benefits. So a serious gofer should be a member in Canada. Plus it helps support the governing body in the sport I love. So, it is win win to be a member.

      Cheers Jim

      Liked by 1 person

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