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Golfers need patience and discipline to thrive during tournament play

Chuck EvansBy Chuck Evans,
Special Contributor
Success in golf tournaments
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With practice and prepration, success in golf tournaments is not as hatd as you think. (.)

Playing golf with your Sunday group is a completely different animal then playing and preparing for golf tournaments.

First, there is no pressure when playing with your group of regulars. You all generally shoot the same scores, have the same handicap and get out to enjoy the surroundings. If you miss a putt it may cost you some "skin" money or a beverage of choice but you will see these guys again next week.

Tournament play on the other hand is much different. Instead of three players trying to beat you, like your regular group, there are 154 players all trying to do the same thing -- win the tournament.

Winning a golf tournament is a combination of skill and luck. You could hit a great shot, have it hit a sprinkler head and then kick out of bounds. Or you could hit your tee shot into the trees and have it kick back in the fairway.

Preparing for a tournament takes time, if done properly, gives you an edge when the bell rings.

Practice rounds are just that -- practice. In preparation for your tournament you need to know exact yardages to the front, center and back of the greens. How far is the trouble off the tee? What club would you hit off the tee to leave the ball short of the trouble?

Have you considered charting the greens? Divide the green into quadrants then chart the breaks, grain, and any slopes. The pin will be in one of these quadrants during the tournament, so wouldn't it be great to know beforehand where to hit your approach shot and then know how the putts break?

Players need to develop a strategy and then stick to their game plan. You develop that game plan during your practice rounds. For instance, if you decide to hit an iron off the tee on a par 4 or par 5 then keep to that strategy, don't fall victim to what other players are doing.

In fact, during the practice round hit a couple of different clubs off the tee to see which one gives you the best opportunities and plays to your strengths.

I have seen many major championships lost because of the ball over-curving. Yes, the player hits a draw normally and then under pressure hits duck hook resulting in either a shot that now cannot reach the green or even worse: a penalty shot of some kind.

Take your time and chart the course, find yardages from every possible location - you may not hit the fairway on every hole so what it the yardage to the green from these locations and what shot options are you going to have.

Take these tips and apply them and you will see a difference the next time the "bell" rings.

Chuck Evans, G.S.E.D., a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher, is one of only 31 golf instructors worldwide designated to hold a doctorate in golf stroke engineering. He is executive director of instruction for the Medicus Golf Institute and has served as director of schools for the PGA Tour Golf Academy, and as director of instruction for the United States Golf Institute. He is also the author of "How To Build Your Golf Swing."

 
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