How To Prepare For Your First Golf Tournament

Golfing can be hard enough, but when you participate in a golf tournament things somehow get even more difficult.

  1. You have most likely paid extra fees to get into the tournament and you subconsciously feel like you are now competing against Tiger Woods.
  2. There is increased pressure to perform. Whether for your own motive to play well or to simply not make a fool out of yourself. Lastly, you don’t want your poor play to affect others around you especially when money or a prize is on the line.
  3. Depending on the tournament style, you may have to play with strangers and that can add a whole new dynamic to the way you are used to playing with your friends.

We can’t guarantee your success, but here are some tips to help you prepare for your first golf tournament.

1. Read The Rules

When you golf with your friends and family, things will most likely be very leisurely.

When you hit a bad shot someone might say, “Hit another one!” or when your ball is close to the hole on the putting green they might say, “Pick it up”.

In a golf tournament, everything counts. We would also highly suggest looking up the differences between the white, red and yellow stakes.

Tip: Some rules have changed even recently in December 2018. Check them out here.

Next, the type of tournament you are playing might have specific rules such as a scramble and requiring a team to use a single players shot at least once etc.

Next, the local golf course itself might have focused long drive contests or closets to pin holes that affect scoring or gameplay.

Finally, there may be course conditions or drop zones highlighted specific to that tournament that you need to be aware of.

To summarize, read the rules and listen to the Head Golf Professional or tournament director before you tee off.

2. Practice

This falls closely in line with #1. They always say practice makes perfect and this is very much the case before a golf tournament.

Even if it is a casual tournament there is always something about the setting of a tournament that can get your nerves going.

If you allow yourself to practice a day or two before the tournament by hitting the driving range or spending extra time on the putting green you will have much more confidence in your golf game during the tournament.

One tip is to try to practice with better players or by teeing it up on the back tees for added pressure. Learn how you react to those changes and find ways to control your mind or body with a little adrenaline pumping through.

3. Wash Your Golf Clubs Hours Before Or Even The Night Before

We know this might seem a little strange but this is the exact same thing as getting a clean shave or brushing your teeth before a job interview.

You want to be sharp and feel your best before heading into that door. Doing this has always made us feel READY for that big swing off the first tee.

4. Bring Sunscreen

When you play golf with your family or friends you might play golf very quickly as you play “ready golf” and you pick up your putts etc., but tournaments almost always will last longer and everyone, including the group in front of you, will take it more seriously.

Let alone, tournaments are usually stacked with a full playing field on a weekend vs that Tuesday morning you normally play.

Expect close to 5 hours of playing time and even longer for all the scores to be submitted.

You may also remain outside for a lunch or dinner party after that. Don’t make the next few weeks of your life miserable and be prepared with sunscreen.

5. Show Up Early

This is the worst thing you can do before a golf tournament. Get there even earlier than you normally do when you golf.

On tournament days you will often forget stuff in your car, scramble around for the new golf glove you just bought, stand in long lines to pay for the tournament and/or sign up for other tournament knick-knacks.

There are lots of variables on tournament day and you will often be running to the tee box later than expected. Don’t let this be the beginning of your round as you will be in a frustrated state on that first tee.

6. Go To The Restroom Before You Tee Off

Yes, we know this might sound silly but especially for your first golf tournament, you WILL be nervous no matter how much you try to hide it.

What often comes with being nervous is that you will have to go #2. Get that out of your system before you tee off and you will have a better chance of hitting a good first tee shot.

Nobody wants to hit the porta potty up on the 2nd hole while all your playing partners wait around for you.

7. Don’t Forget To Have Fun

We know we talked a lot about controlling your nerves above which is why we wanted to share this last tip.

Your first golf tournament is not your first trip to the Masters. Relax.

Try to remember why you signed up for the golf tournament in the first place, to enjoy the experience.