“Stop trying to make your tournament rounds feel more like practice. Start making your practice feel more like tournament rounds”
Many times I hear girls and parents say “I played great during my practice round” or “I can shoot X score when I play at home”. Bottomline is those are not and never will be the same as tournament golf. The goal is to better prepare for the difference and how you are inherently going to feel and react during tournaments.
Use practice rounds to learn the course and better prepare for the tournament, not as a time to keep score. Use it as a time to prepare for worst-case scenarios. Take lots of notes, consider all conditions that may change, specifically identify your targets, know your layup spots, and get a feel for short-game shots.
Yes be confident going into the first round, but confidence comes from knowing that when things don’t go “as planned” or “as expected” you are prepared. It does not come from expecting to play perfect golf.
My college coach at Furman University, Mic Potter, who is one of the best to ever coach (now the U of Alabama coach) said on Golf Channel a few years ago that he “tries to make practice so hard that tournaments feel easy”. That is how you get better and make tournament golf “easier”, by creating scenarios and drills during practice that force you to have consequences and get “stressed” as you try to complete your intended drill.
But it is on you to hold yourself accountable for completing drills and challenges as you plan and not cutting corners. You will start to feel what it’s like to finish them and how that can relate to what it’s like to stand on the tee in a tournament needing to hit the fairway, or standing over a 3ft putt to shoot your lowest round of win a tourney.
You can’t avoid “stressed golf” but you can better prepare yourself for it by getting more comfortable with the stress and learning how to adapt and adjust when things don’t go as planned.
Listen to the full “Tap Into College Golf” podcast episode about this topic HERE
Please reach out to Brandi Jackson, RecruitPKB College Consultant at email@example.com