The Week of Golf Firsts (Part 2)
The second of the golf firsts was playing my first two golf competitions ever over the long bank holiday weekend. Once you’ve jumped over what you felt was a scary hurdle of getting your handicap, you may as well throw yourself into two competitions in the same week too!!
A couple of weeks before the competitions I posted a story on my Instagram account asking how my followers prepare for a golf competition. I had a great response and the main things were warming up beforehand, doing some practice swings, chipping and putting. Other advice included treating the day as a normal golf day, practising different shots to make you confident with the situations you may face out on the course and having an early night the night before. The more jokey advice (I think they were jokes anyway!) was to smoke 4-5 cigarettes and not go the range to warm up, lots of burpees, eat Werthers Originals and trash talk!
Both competitions were on the same course at my club so I played a few holes there the week beforehand every other day or so. I wanted to practise to build up my confidence and get a better understanding of the course layout but I didn’t want to overdo it and get frustrated. The day before each competition all I did was some short game work on a couple of the holes.
Although I was nervous ahead of the competitions, on the actually morning I was not as nervous as I thought, mainly because I knew I just had to get out and play and had lots of reassurance from my friends and family. I told myself that I’ve done a lot more scary things in my life than play in a golf competition and I should just treat it as playing any other round. I only did a little warm up on the day if I’m honest – just a few practice swings with my irons and driver to get a good feel and some putts.
The first competition was a mixed foursomes format. I played with my dad in both competitions. We decided I’d play the odd numbered holes and he’d play the evens. There wasn’t really any exact science as to why we decided to play in this way other than a couple of holes where we thought one of us would do a better drive to set the other person up for the next shot. The second competition was a greensomes format where each person in your team tees off and then you chose whichever tee shot you want and alternate shots. I was very fortunate that the other couples in our group for both competitions were really friendly which made things much easier and it did feel like any other round with the added benefit of getting to know new people. Being part of a team meant you had someone to strategise with as well as the slight added pressure that you wanted to play well to complement your teammate's previous shot or to get yourselves out of a tough situation. We didn’t win but we didn’t come at or near the bottom in either competition (not that it would have really mattered anyway despite worrying about coming last ahead of playing).
My competition top tips are as above – warm up a little beforehand, go out and play without any pressure pretending this round is like any other and most importantly have fun – it is an opportunity to meet new people and play the game you love. There's no doubt I will be nervous ahead of every competition I do in the future but I'm glad that I can finally say that I've played in them. A good test for my game now will be when I'm out playing as an individual.