Preparing for Competitive Matches

So, I’m pretty new to competitive golf, as in, I’ve had no experience in actual match-play, or even stroke-play, at a club, against other members, for money. I did the 4-man team thing at our local simulator over the winter but that’s 1) video-game indoor golf and 2) team competition.

If you know you have a match coming up, how do you prepare leading up to it, the night/day/week before?

Also, let me preface this by stating my 11.4 index which has trended down from 13.2 to start the year. Actual course handicap at my club is 14 which is also trending down from 15. So I got that goin’ for me.

My first match was 3 weeks ago. Up to this point, my game was shaky and I lacked confidence in pretty much all facets. I remembered a few months back I ponied up for David MacKenzie’s “Ultimate Mental Game Training System” so I thought I’d go back and review the material, hoping to find something to calm my mind and give me confidence to face my foe.

Using David’s techniques, I won my match 4 and 3, against a 20-year member who plays to a 4.

Ever since that match, my game has improved and is trending, and I try to keep my mental approach consistent with each shot.

What methods or techniques do you/have you used to find confidence and success in competition?

*Motivation for this post driven by preparation for my next match against a 2 HDCP and past club champion tomorrow at 9am.

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Prepare for a ton of belly-aching about the strokes you’re getting. Revel in it. Play the heel. Rub shit in at every opportunity.

Also, refer to this thread for some below the belt gems:


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After reading through that thread @Lazstradamus I’m thinking you’re likely moonlighting as @ClubProGuy.

Rubbed in the strokes. Dude was done before the first tee. Helped he was also severely worse for the wear. Closed it out on 14.

Thanks for the tips, @Lazstradamus!


Moved through the next competitor in the semi’s and preparing for the championship match tomorrow afternoon.

Any further gamesmanship tips, @Lazstradamus?! My opponent is a 4.5 index, I’ve dropped mine to an 8.9, so course adjusted I’ll be stroking on 4 or 5 holes.

Preparing for the win and a few bucks in shop credit. rolls eyes

At this point, it’s more about bragging rights than anything, right?


Real tip, keep yourself in every hole as long as you can. Dont concern your strategy with the strokes youre getting.


Love this Real Tip and it’s been a big part of my mental approach. I have my opponent keep the card and don’t pay attention to the running stroke total, only the match.

For me, it seems freeing.

I’m the same way. my best rounds are always in match play, when i dont care what i “shoot”.

all my focus is on the next shot. just make each shot a good one, and always leave yourself a shot after that.

confident swings to conservative targets.

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Speed up if hes not hitting it great. Slow down a touch if he is hitting it well.


Subtle, yet effective gamesmanship.


This would have me rattled. Good piece of advice.

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The key, is you need to be in control of the pace. think of it like center court position in racquetball.

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Can you review the ultimate mental game system for me?

Agree with the pacing tip. I’ve never really seen any noticeable benefit to any gamesmanship that I have attempted, but my old man has definitely hit me with the slow play when we were coming down the stretch in a close match. I like to play very fast, especially when I’m playing well and it absolutely impacted me.

Not that anyone is sitting on pins and needles waiting for results but the guy I played in the final was a 4, and he played like it. He was 3 over thru 15 which is where the match was won. I played like a 15 instead of an 8. Had a rough day. Didn’t keep it between the mustard and the mayo.

Retrospectively, my mental state for this match was different in terms of my expectations. I told myself there’s no pressure as no one, including yourself, expected you to get here. Just go out and have fun. The other 3 matches I told myself to have fun, but you’re going to win.

Interesting to see the different mindsets and results.

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Women weaken legs.

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