“There are two kinds of golf: golf and tournament golf … and they are not at all the same.” – Bobby Jones, who won the Grand Slam in 1930
I thought I was prepared to play in my club’s member-member tournament, The Crew, this weekend. I say that because our head pro, Andy Fisher, had me turning more and swaying less. In other words, my swing was in okay shape. It’s important that both players are in reasonable form given the format – best ball on Day 1; BOTH balls on Day 2. However, when I got the word on Thursday that it had been postponed for a week because of all the rain we’ve had and the rain that has been predicted, I felt a sense of relief. Upon reflection, I reacted that way because my preparation had been one dimensional -- strictly physical. I hadn’t paid any attention to the mental side of the game because of my recent travel schedule.
Neglecting the mental side of the game is especially dangerous in a team event where being “on the same page” is a necessity. Now that I have the extra week to prepare, I will go to the range and the putting clock and play a round or two, but I will also pay attention to the “other side” of the game. Below are a few tips, reminders and quotes that I hope will make me a better prepared tournament player -- and a better tournament partner.
“If you and your golf partner cannot have fun on the course, you should not be partners. … When there is tension on the course, having a laugh, cracking a smile and helping one another relax is crucial. It really bothers me to see two golf partners who are too serious on the course and think being angry, not talking to anyone, and taking themselves too seriously is enjoyable. -- Kris Hart, NextGenGolf.com
”If you're playing a team event, be sure to erase one word from your vocabulary. “That word? ‘Sorry.’
"Don't say sorry to your partner ... ever. I don't think the expectation of your partner is that you're attempting to hit a bad shot. Based on memory, I don't ever remember apologizing to a partner for hitting a shot left that I meant to hit right. There's no point. Bad shots happen. Bad holes happen. There are ups and downs. The hope is that your partner understands you're trying to hit the best shot on every shot and sometimes it doesn't pan out. It works both ways. I don't believe in an apologetic mindset when it comes to team play." -- PGA Professional Ryan Benzel
“Golfing potential depends primarily on a player’s attitude, on how well he plays with the wedges and the putter and on how well he thinks.” -- Bob Rotella, from his book, Golf is Not a Game of Perfect
“The poetic temperament is the worst for golf. It dreams of brilliant drives, iron shots laid dead and long putts holed, while in real golf success waits for him who takes cares of the foozles and leaves the fine shots to take care of themselves. – Sir Walter Simpson, The Art of Golf (1887)
“When something’s not right about your swing … I would try to take the club back slowly with everything moving together. One of the main things I see with amateurs is that they allow tension to build up and they ‘snatch’ it back. I used to tell my amateur friends that if they ‘snatched’ a fork the way they ‘snatched’ the club back, they’d starve to death.” – 7-time Major winner Sam Snead
And last, three Tiger Tips:
- DO establish a game plan before the round – not during it.
- DO get the correct yardage to both the front of the green and to the flagstick.
- DO accept that there is such a thing as a “good” bogey.
Allan (Still a 13)