I had written this article a few years back, but thought with all of the “arm chair” golf instructors talking about what Jordan and Cameron “should” be thinking about today, in the final round of the Masters, it would be a nice time to revisit.
We’ve all, at some point in our golf careers, had a match or a tournament that we’ve either won or really wanted to win.
What separates winning from finishing behind the winner?
Here are several things that players need to do to put themselves in a position to win whether you are a low and or high handicapper, there are commonalities to look for.
First, you must play within yourself.
This means that you don’t attempt any shots that you have not practiced many times beforehand. If you are a fader of the golf ball and the shot calls for a draw then don’t try to hit this shot. Play to your strength and not your weakness.
Secondly, play the golf course and not your opponent. It’s the last round of the tournament, and you are leading. Keep doing what you have been doing to get in this spot! Feeling the need to throttle back, or “protect” will only produce anxiety…and that can be dangerous!
This is where many players get caught up in the moment. They try to keep up with their opponent in driving distance, hitting clubs that they cannot get to the green, trying shot shapes that don’t fit their stroke pattern and a host of others things.
Thirdly you must prepare for the event.
This means charting the course and the greens even if you have played the course many times before. Develop a strategy for how you are going to play the course and pick the holes that you can attack and the ones you will need to be a little more conservative on. If you are an aggressive type of personality then you must attack, attack, attack!
But pick your spots to be aggressive!
Winners see things happening in a positive manner. Players that don’t win see negative images instead.
They think about things like, “Don’t hit it to the right, there’s water over there.” Instead of recognizing that there is a problem down the right side and saying, “Ok, let’s keep it down the left side.”
Players also need to check their equipment. Are your loft and lie angles correct for you? Have your wedges been knocked weak? If you play a lot of golf or practice a lot you need to have these checked on a regular basis. PGA Tour players have theirs checked every week and adjust them based on course conditions or the shot shape and trajectory they will need for that particular course.
Some other things you will need are plenty of golf balls, tees, a marker to mark your golf ball, new golf gloves – if you wear them – clean grooves on your irons, an up-to-date rule book and making sure before you reach the first tee that you have counted your clubs to make sure that you have no more than 14. Ask Ian Woosnam about this one!