Playing Golf In Front Of A Crowd

Have you ever played golf in front of a crowd? I mean more that the group in front and the group in back watching/waiting for you to hit. Well, I have actually played a few holes where the crowd exceeded 50 people. The funny thing is that as I played more holes with a crowd, the better I played. Not surprisingly, the more holes I played my confidence grew to a point where the presence of the crowd was a non factor. Let me explain.

The first time I played a shot in front of a crowd of 75 players was at the Ontario Military Region Golf Championship in Kingston, Ontario. I won the honour of being team captain for my base and was the third player in the first group to hit during the tournament. As I strode up to the first tee, the players continued to gather and they turned our focus on me. As I bent down to put my ball in a tee, my nerves started to flare. Oh yeah, this particular tournament was about 27 years ago. As I stood over the ball, I could barely see the ball. I swung and squibbed my ball about 50 yards off the tee. I was so embarrassed as I walked to my ball. With know one watching, I hit two great shots and sunk my par putt!

As years past, I played about another 15 holes in front of the same size crowd. As time progressed, I played better and better. I focused less and less on the crowd and more on my game. During my last time, I hit a good shot into the 18th hole and had a 25 foot putt for birdie. Since I was in the last group, the entire field was watching the last group. As I walked around the my putt, I could hear the other players mulling around the green. As I started to immerse my mind in my putting process, the noise of the crowd and the crowd itself was erased from my field of focus. As I lipped out my putt, I heard the crowd groan as they all thought it was dropping (me as well), but was left with tap in for my well earned par.

Playing golf in front a crowd is not a easy thing to do. I applaud all the players who (professional and amateur alike) can stay focused and put the crowds on the back burner. It is a mental challenge and found that my game only improved when faced with the increased pressure of repeatedly playing in front of a crowd. Additionally, I was able to take that experience and apply it to the rest of my game and found that past pressure situations are not nearly as challenging anymore.

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

6 thoughts on “Playing Golf In Front Of A Crowd

  1. I have had a lot of occasions where there were crowds of people around when teeing off at a tournament or after a rain or frost delay. It does not usually make any difference to me as I played lots of hockey and fastball in front of crowds. But there was one occasion that was very different.

    In the early eighties, I was a member at Peterborough Golf Club, and they hosted a two day tournament that drew a very strong field from across the province. There were five flights with a maximum handicap of 12 and I was eager to participate and got in on a cancellation.

    When I arrived at the course, it was unlike any other time I had played there. The place was packed and I could see the van from the local TV station parked close to the tenth tee…the one that I was going to start on. After warming up on the putting green, I met my fellow competitors and all of us remarked that they had never seen so many people around a tee and all of us wished the TV crew would leave, they didn’t.

    The tenth hole was a 370 yard par four, slightly up hill and dog leg left with trees on both sides. But all I could think of was, don’t embarrass yourself and make sure you hit the ball. I took my usual 3 iron and fortunately made a good stroke which got a lot of nice claps from the gallery. I was so relieved. When I got to my ball, I had hit it twenty yards further than normal, that’s what adrenaline can do. When we made the turn at eighteen, a 450 yard par four, there was still a pretty fair crowd still around, but fortunately I only had a short putt and I was more relaxed.

    Fourty years later, I have played several times with crowds around, playing in plus fours with hickory clubs and occasionally a video crew and I enjoy the experience now. But I will never forget that time in Peterborough. I just wish I could my Driver as far as I hit that 3 iron fourty years ago 😀😀😀.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s funny because I never really had that problem off the first tee where the crowds could be the largest. I had it though when the group in front let me go around. Something about that made it harder for me to put out of my head. It never made any sense to me and I am very happy that I don’t still suffer from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Going through a group is a bit different. We are trying to speed through as not to hold them up. It is usually a curse for me and something that still bothers me. It still applies as a crowd, but slightly different as well.

      Cheers Jim

      Like

  3. Most golfers do not enjoy playing in front of a crowd, I am the opposite. I take a bit more time and put my best swing on it knowing that I am being judged by good golfers. For me, The bigger the crowd, the better the result.
    BMc

    Liked by 1 person

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