My 1st (real) Tournament


And this is probably obvious but when you are focusing on everything else around the tournament, sometimes you forget about the weather. Be prepared for almost anything. Since you have a caddy, stuff your bag full of gear, even if you doubt you’d need it.

I played a tourney once where the forecast for the next day was sun and no clouds.
Woke up, still forecasting sun and no clouds.
Get to the course, sun and no clouds.
First tee, clouds start rolling in.
2nd and 3rd holes, torrential rain.
Rest of round, sun and no clouds.
Had no rain gear with me at all. Not even a backup glove so I stuffed my glove deep in my bag during the downpour and played barehanded. Played those 2 holes in +7, rest of round was +1. Those two holes made a 20 place difference.


Tournaments are fun, and as was already mentioned, everyone is nervous. The hardest part is the first two shots so just get yourself prepped for those two plays. It might sound stupid, but focus on those first two shots when you are warming up. Don’t try to do too much off the tee, just try to get on the short grass and be ready to get the next one on the green (or really close). Everything ratchets way down after the first hole is out of the way, so play conservatively until you get your nerves under control. It goes from nerve racking to fun quickly.

Also, make sure you crap out everything possible well before you head to the first tee box. :+1:


  2. It’s absolutely crucial that you remember that in high pressure situations the 7-4-7 swing thought system becomes the 11-7-12 system.


I too would like to know what kind of event is because I think it makes a big difference. I passed my PAT for the PGA on my fifth try two years ago, and I won my first individual golf tournament of any sort this past April. Both very tense, but both very different situations. Through the years, I’ve learned that it’s very important to give yourself time to breathe. By that, I mean if this is a tournament where you’re provided a cart, and hit a few bad shots in a row, or perhaps more importantly, a few GREAT shots in a row, get out and walk to your next shot. Let yourself relax, take it easy, collect yourself, and refocus before the next one. Also on the breathing note, consciously tell yourself to breathe. When I’m in a competitive round now, I always tell myself to take at least two deep breaths when I’m over the ball before I swing. Easy way to get tension out and relax your muscles.

I echo a lot of what everyone else said. Everyone else is nervous too, nerves show that you care, try and have fun, and also, one last thing. At the end of the day, you’re hitting a white ball with a stick. One thing I’ve come to realize in working tournament operations when people get pissed off… IT’S JUST A GOLF SHOT. It has no significant bearing on your life. Because, does it really truly matter if you missed that 5 footer? Nope. Good luck, Brolock!


Enjoy the experience, its 4 hours (well likely more like 5-6 hours) and treat it like that, its not the only thing in the world, not even the only thing you will do that day.

And like Azinger said on the NLU pod, the game is different everyday for everyone. Which I take to mean, don’t set expectations; breathe, do you best to relax, have fun and focus on having a great experience, which doesn’t necessarily translate to good golf (although it obviously helps.)

I set a no expectations in my Club Champs last year and played great and had fun, it was more a mental exercise in not trying to calculate how many behind the lead I was, how many over I was for the day, if I birdie this hole I will get to xxx. Totally changed my way of thinking, for the most part played one shot at a time and played the best tournament golf of my life…


I know you played your practice round and went to google earth , but you may want to go to and look up the course you’re playing . they have detailed hole by hole and green layouts, where you can move the pin around to the tees and various points on each hole for yardages etc. They may also have the tournament pin placements shown on the green for each hole with green mapping.

good Luck and let us know how you did.


If nervous, try and remember that you are there because you want to be. It’s a hobby and something you do for enjoyment. This helps me to be relieved of pressure.


Yo! How did it go today?


Rained out after all that ha! South NJ got 3 inches of rain the last 24 hours. Luckily, they called it early and I drove to the Delaware beaches and ended up playing Baywood Greens which is a great track.

Will let everyone know once it happens!


I started playing in MGA and LIGA events last summer and again signed up for a few this summer. Here are things that help me…

  1. be ready to be entirely uncomfortable - once you establish that you will likely feel nervous early on before every shot, you set the bar so that when after a few holes you start to feel normal again; set the expectations for nerves extremely high, especially on short putts, and then what you will face won’t match as bad as you planned for. Have a go to first tee ball shot - even if it’s just a get it in play shot. That will quickly calm down any first tee jitters.

  2. use an app like 18 Birdies to scout the course before hand and make some notes so that if you are seeing a course for the first time you don’t run into questions like - is that bunker reachable? there any trouble over the ridge?

  3. make sure you have everything you want to bring in your bag the night before. figuring that stuff out the morning of, or even at the course is added stress. limit stress as much as possible. Another way to limit stress is get there plenty early so you don’t feel rushed in any way. Even be ready to tee off a few minutes before your time - avoid running from putting green to first tee. I always like to watch the group ahead of me tee off and get comfortable with the way they official goes over the rules and scorecard. try to make everything as familiar as possible.

  4. set a personal goal that is something other than winning. be ready to accept personal victories regardless of finish. you are likely playing with other good players or players your ability so use the opportunity as a chance to test yourself and not compare yourself to others.

  5. @3wiggle is spot on about practice and warm-up - pay no attention - and in fact, research what kind of warm up situation will be available. Depending on the situation you should mentally prepare yourself to get ready with resources they provide (is it a mat only range; do they let you hit driver at the range, is there a short game warm up spot)…you just want to know what you are getting into as much as possible so not to panic if you can’t hit driver at the range.

  6. The round will not feel entirely fun until it is finished…but you should find ways to enjoy the process of the round. tournament golf is unlike recreational golf for me in that it is a process. Focus on every shot. Think about every shot. Stay present in the round. but if you can find comfort in the process you will be happy with the outcome regardless of how you do and that in itself is fun.


Just started playing some FSGA events 15 years after my last true “tournament” round in high school. I no longer want to go full “Opus Dei” after a bad shot. I wanted to enjoy golf in an organized competitive environment from time to time and this did the trick. So far what I’ve noticed that really helps is:

  1. Get loose on the range, but don’t pound balls. You’re not going to fix or solve anything on the range pre-round, and if you aren’t hitting them great on the range it will only negatively affect your mental state. Just get loose and go to the 1st tee with positive thoughts.

  2. Don’t keep track of your score during your round. Take each hole as it comes, and just play it to the best of your ability. So many times a guy I play with will say “If I just finish out even par or -1 I can shoot ____.” They inevitably get aggressive, make poor shot choices, and eject hard. Always entertaining.

  3. TAKE YOUR MEDICINE. (not talking about ripping your weed pen) I’m progressively learning that when I’m out of position, or in real trouble, the correct decision is to channel your inner @ClubProGuy and punch out. If you try to hit some aggressive trick shot, you’re about to turn that bogey/double bogey into a 10. I know this is basic golf knowledge, but it’s insane how a fun little tournament round melts your brain into trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

  4. Don’t be a dick. Played with some really cool guys, and some really not cool guys. Unless it’s some USGA qualifier, just have fun man.


Was 3-up in a match play event this weekend and did not abide by this. Nearly hit myself in the head with the ball (that proceeded to ricochet OB). Extended the match unnecessarily when a bogey would have pushed and gone dormie. Always take your medicine!


Ummm, this is the NO LAYING UP refuge… don’t lay up! Go for it like Phil with a 3 inch opening in the trees.

Signed… most conservative player ever


Adding some - this is a great thread for everyone who does play tournaments.

  • if you blow up on a hole. Move on. Down dwell. First of all we are mostly amateurs doing this so important to realize everyone does it and second, there is still satisfaction to be derived out of the process. Set a new goal (like if I blow up I say, okay don’t post 90) and start the process over.

  • decide how you want to treat clean-ups. Finish or mark but know what you want to do. Don’t let indecision creep in. Similarly decide how you want to use the pin sheet if they give you one. Don’t second guess if you should check it or not, get a habit going to crest consistency in your approach


Also in the camp of not having played a real tournament in 15 years but the biggest thing for me was just getting off the first tee. I was fine after that and it felt like a normal round.

To overcome the nerves on the first tee box I always just tried to have 2 swing thoughts:

  1. remember to move your shoulders, they lock up when nervous
  2. Eliminate one side of the hole. Figure out if your bad miss is a hook or slice. For me it was a hook so I would just try to play a soft cut.

Have fun.


A few things I do that I didn’t notice above:

First is to get yourself a scorecard holder. I know they are “for tour use only” but having to hold a pin sheet, scorecard, and yardage book + more in tournament mode can be a hassle. It also gives you a firm surface to write down scores, especially when you are nervous early on. You can find basic ones on eBay for $20-$50. Well worth the investment and saves you a wet, sweaty, crumpled scorecard when you go sign cards.

Second is expanding on the Google maps suggestion. If you right click on Maps, there is a measure distance option. You can play around with different carries and angles. It has helped me diagnose holes that look completely different on the ground. Remember, it’s a shotgun, not a sniper rifle. Your driver probably has a 50-70 yard dispersion and your 4 iron a 30-50 yard dispersion. Measure treeline to treeline distances or hazard to hazard widths.

Lastly, create your own wind chart (this becomes much easier to hold if you have a scorecard holder). I will check the weather and wind direction the night before and print out a miniature course map from Google maps (make sure North is pointing up obviously). After printing out, draw lines with arrows for prevailing wind direction. You’d be amazed how many times you get lost out there saying “well, it was downwind on this hole!” There was an instance last year where I got turned around, looked at my wind sheet, and clubbed down. Hit it to 12 ft instead of 10 yards over the green.

#37 has the same thing for a lot of courses and I find it easier to use that Maps. I’d check if the course you’re playing is listed there.


18Birdies app


Embrace the double cross.


Played another One Day event today, and well, I DIDNT EVEN LISTEN TO MYSELF! Boys, we’re talking hitting driver OB on a 405 yd Par 4, TWICE. I hit my hybrid 250. Just went full eject on 2 holes. Played the other 16 just fine. Some great, some just okay. Finished 3rd by 6 strokes. Which brings me to my next point. Just because you’re stroking your driver, or 3 iron, or whatever, don’t abort your gameplan and play stupid golf. Come up with your strategy, and go with it.

*Redeemed myself by birding a 305 yd Par 4 by hitting driver pin high just right of the green. Got the NLU towel on the bag, who am I kidding, I’m always gonna hit 14 drivers a round.