My 1st (real) Tournament


Ok - so next Monday I have my first ever real golf tournament. Part of me is so nervous I want to throw up (have all of a sudden developed the Driver yips which has been my go to club and game changer), the other part of me says I have nothing to lose and to go have fun and enjoy the experience. Really, I’d just like to be competitive and not embarrass myself as I’ve only played golf for 6 years and I’m sure others in the field have played most of their lives.

From those who have played in actual tournaments - what was your experience like, what tips do you have for a newbie, anything I must do the morning of, was there anything that surprised you or caught you off guard about tournament play that you wish you knew going in?

Appreciate all the help!


I would go to a tournament that you are not playing in and take a look around. You will see a bunch of great shots and some terrible shots, but you will have an idea of the competitive environment.

From a mental approach, I always try to remember that it does not matter if there are a thousand people or no one, you will always hit the shot that you are supposed to hit. Whether it is a top, hook, or one down the middle, it’s your shot. Own it and make no apologies.


I played in my Club Champs on Sat. I snap hooked 3 balls in a row off the first tee and was 7 off the tee before I’d taken a step onto the actual golf course.

Good luck! :joy:


Anxious for you!

First off, tournament golf is an entirely different game - obviously you know that or you wouldn’t be asking for advice.

It is such a played out discussion, but is so true it has to be mentioned here - always keep in mind that you are out there playing the course, trying to get the ball in the hole in as few shots as possible. Every single stroke matters from the first tee shot to the provisional ball to the 5 inch putt. Treat every shot with just as much care, even if you get frustrated. Never ever pay one second of mind to your playing partners. In the end, your result has nothing to do with what someone else is doing.

I’ve struggled with anger management my entire playing career. If you are like me, do everything in your power to avoid negative thinking. One hole does not define a full round. It is the sum of the good and the bad at the end of the day. You are never out of it!

You may play very poorly and that is OKAY - try and have fun anyways.

You will be blacked out nervous on the first tee - choose an ultra conservative line with your go-to club (even if that is a 7-iron). Just getting off the first tee without a penalty stroke is a huge win.

Practice 3-foot and in putts in your warm up.

Don’t take yourself or your game too seriously. Constantly remind yourself this is your first go at it and have zero expectations. This one round does not and will not define you as a golfer. Remember, Tiger Woods shot an 85 in a tournament once.

Good luck!


Yes! You are my hero!

Played three tourneys this year and have yet to get my first ball in play.


What kind of event are we talking about here Like a scramble? Money game? USGA qualifier?
Some general tips:

  1. Keep your mind away from golf until you have to golf. Can a friend caddy who you can chew that fat with about non-golf stuff? That will help immensely.
  2. Create your opening shot with your last 3 range balls and create a pre-shot routine that is rock solid.
  3. Get really into your breathing and walking rhythm. this will keep you steady.


Usually I’m okay on the first tee. Played Torrey South last year where the 1st tee is under the clubhouse balcony with about 50 people watching you tee off. Fucking striped it!

And I’m a slicer with my woods. I never hook them. I do hook my irons as I weirdly fade my woods and draw my irons. So no idea where 3 snap hooks in a row suddenly came from. In hindsight I think it was just the Golf Gods fucking with me for sport.

But Saturday, in front of a busy clubhouse, all my friends watching, and bang…bang…bang… dead before I’d even started. Everyone fell around laughing at me.

Round 2 on Sunday. I was last so am first out.

Point is, shit happens. No matter how prepared you are or how desperate you are to do well, or even if the goal is to just not be shit last, sometimes you just get fucked over. It’s hard. Don’t let it out you off the game.


@Lazstradamus on point number 2, didn’t @ClubProGuy say he likes to script his first two shots and not just the opener? So he’ll practice driver, then go over to the hedge and go over his punch out routine with a 7 iron with a few chewed up range balls?


Everyone is nervous, not just you. It’s hard to remember that, but it helps knowing that the people I’m playing with are nervous too, even though they might not show it.

Eat a banana halfway through the round, or before the round. It’s an easy to swallow food (if you’re nervous) and not messy, plus it gives you a good boost.

Don’t put any stock in how you hit it on the range or how you putt it on the green before your round. It’s just a warmup, not a practice session. Just because you miss 5 three footers in a row on the practice green doesn’t mean you will on the course.


I played in high school and college. Don’t play as much tournament golf as I used to, but I still have a few tips.

Biggest thing is to set out to enjoy the round. Sure, you’ll be nervous, but that just means you care about it and want to be there. Give yourself some slack on bad shots, and remember that it often only takes a good putt or chip to get out of there with a par. Stay positive and enjoy the good shots.

Also make sure to eat well. I used to get so wrapped up in my round that I’d forget to eat snacks along the way. It would always catch up to me and I’d have a stretch of bad holes because I was tired.

Have fun, man!


Given how predictable and trite that sounds, it makes sense.


haven’t played in a real tournament in almost a decade, but these things helped me somewhat.

Eat & Hydrate - almonds, banana, turkey sandwich type stuff. avoid blood sugar spikes with candy, etc.

Pay no attention to your warmup - you’re not going to cure any swing flaws in the 30 minutes prior to tee off. Just loosen up, see what miss you’ve got working with the driver and go. Depending on what level of tournament you’re playing the practice putting green could be a completely different speed than the actual course. Just relax and putt to a tee or the fringe. No need to see a bunch of lip-outs before letting it fly.

Take a look at a yardage book or course map the night before - planning out the night before helped me with visualization and nerves.


You know what…I’m just gonna get real up in here. Here are some hypotheticals that should point you in the right direction…

  • Do you own a flask?
  • Is marijuana legal in your state and can you buy edibles?
  • Are you familiar with CBD oil?


^^^ this


If you can play a practice round beforehand, that makes a world of difference. Nothing worse than being on a new course and not knowing what to expect with blind tee shots, runoff areas to avoid, etc. If you can’t do this, go online and look up pictures, course flyovers, yardage books, whatever you can find. I’ve even resorted to Google Earth to try and figure out what a course is like.

All the advice so far is pretty spot on. The long and short is just get off the first tee with as little damage as possible. After that, it’s all gravy.



  1. Yes - got my bro in law caddying for me and we def will be packing heaters
  2. Love this idea!
  3. Definitely something I need to work on - I pull the tigger too quick rather than taking my time and being patient before hitting the shot.


“choose an ultra conservative line with your go-to club”

Love this idea - especially as I’ve developed yips with my driver. I just wanna get off the 1st tee and get running!


Played a practice round yesterday. Last week went through Google Earth to map out distances to bunkers etc as best I could haha. Luckily, the course had a yardage book that we’ve scribbled all over with notes and numbers.

Appreciate the feedback


Wow - thanks everyone so far for the feedback - no doubt the NLU community is a special one


Summertime tourneys are all about moisture management, aka swampass mitigation. Gold bond and moisture wicking fabrics are a must.