Golf is all about being able to play our game when the pressure is increases. During in a tournament, the ability to make your smooth stroke after watching your opponent make a great shot is a skill that is developed over years. However, the real skill for any golfer to build is the foundation of play that allows you to close the door on your opponents when needed.
Over the years, I played a few rounds where the last four holes would make or break my tournament. One poor shot and I would lose. I have lost a few matches because I folded under the pressure, but fortunately I won more than I lost. At first I did not know the difference between my winning and losing. As I gained more experience by playing in pressure situations, I was able to develop a methodology where I could put pressure on my opponents without feeling it myself.
My method to close the door on my challengers is to play smart steady golf. This is not as challenging as it sounds. I stay focused on hitting each shot in the moment. I do not look to the future, nor worry about what has happened to that moment. I hit my shot in the moment by following my pre-shot routine and staying true to my course management strategy. It really is not any more complicated.
By learning to play my regular game under pressure actually forces my opponents to play under more pressure. I know it sounds too simple, but it really works. The more consistent I play, the more challenging my opponents find it to compete. At my level, par is always a great score and the more pars I make playing down the stretch, the harder it is for my opponents to catch me. All of this success is rooted in playing in the moment and focusing on nothing but the shot on hand.
The funny thing is that my ‘down the stretch process’ is pretty much the same as when I played all the other holes. I make a more pars than anything else, so my methodology works best for my overall game. Playing golf in the moment is good for my game and it does help close out my opponents.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Closing The Door On Challengers On The Golf Course”
Jim, we are philosophically aligned. I love just pounding fairways in match play, as it usually frustrates my opponents. What’s even better is hitting second off the tee. If/when my opponent hits a wayward tee shot, I’ll often drop down to a 3WD just to hit the fairway and put that extra squeeze on. First ball on the green also provides a bit of added pressure on the opponent. Using that strategy against a longer player who may be hitting a lot of approaches from the rough is a great equalizer for less length.
Thanks for the reminders!
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No problem. I am glad we are on the same page, but I usually hit my driver because it is one of the best clubs in my bag. Regardless, I will select a different club from time to time to ensure I make a safer shot. Playing consistent golf is definitely the way ahead during competition.
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I can understand that. I didn’t follow it today and because of it, I didn’t break 80 today. I bogied both the last two holes going for it rather than taking the safer option. But it was a beautiful day to be out on the course, and an 80 isn’t the end of the world. Plus I still won the round by a decent enough margin to cover the spread so, I guess all well. That won’t stop me though from wishing it had been better. lol
It sounds like you had a great day regardless of the score. I love days like that.