So I'm Trying to Qualify to the 2020 US Open

My name is Matthew Swabb, I’m from the Dayton, OH area, I’m 20 years old, and I have developed a dream. That dream is to play in the US Open. Although this dream came to my imagination during the Spring of 2018, it was 10 days ago that I decided that I would put my free time into making it come true. I gave myself the goal of qualifying to the 2020 US Open at Winged Foot, with Thursday of that tournament being June 18th, 2020. As of when I made the declaration to myself that I was going to pursue this, I had 590 Days until that Thursday. I know have 581 Days. I have been and will continue to keep a written log of both my thoughts and feelings about the preparation for the event and also just my day to day doings as an American 20 year old. Does this sound of interest to anyone as something they would like me to continue to post about and update my status on? Does anyone else have a goal like this that I could bounce struggles and gains off of, ideas for improvement? Does anyone have anything they think could help me improve into becoming a better golfer and better athlete overall? If the answer to any of the previous questions is yes, please let me know. I am also more than willing to expand on more about myself and exactly how I view and play the game of golf if that would interest more of you guys.

Thanks you for reading,

Matthew K. Swabb, a young man with a big dream

November 16th Update

So to the people that did the digging, I am impressed. That average score of an 88 (yikes) was from two years ago, when I played college club golf. Although it is still the same game, they are tournaments in which we were rolling up to the first tee after a night out with the guys, on about 3 hours of sleep. I am have improved drastically from those tournaments, gotten a local Class A PGA Professional Coach, and devote about 2 hours a day to practice and research into what my next step is to be. Obviously I need to get my scoring average down to a 0.0 Handicap if I want to have a sniff of a chance at anything, but that is all a part of the journey in my opinion, the grind to really improve.

My current plan is basically to play nothing but tournament golf and events like that when the season opens back up in Ohio, seeing as currently everything where I live is covered in ice. That is my biggest issue, is getting to a point where the tournament round just feels like another round, being able to let the nerves go and play the game. Once I am able to tackle the mental side of tournament golf, I feel as though I would have a general edge on the field.

I appreciate every single comment that everyone has posted. No one sugar coated, which is the best scenario. Show me what I need to improve, hold me accountable for getting better. That is how I am going to make strides forward, not by people telling me, “Oh you’re going to do great.”

My plan is to give a general update every 10-15 days on here, from the practice drills and sessions I have done to possibly thinking of new equipment in certain areas. And, once the season kicks back up, I will start posting scores from both tournament play and everyday play.

Thanks You,

Matthew K. Swabb

(And yes, I still have the belief in myself and I still will pursue the dream)




current handicap? what’s the plan? Need to get to be about a what, +4 to make it?

Or, you could just download the DECADE mgmt system and dominate the PGA tour next year.


Not sure of your current situation, but for a lot of people the pressure of organized tournament golf makes them play about 5-10 strokes worse than normal. I would enter a bunch of state, city, and other amateur tournaments to get accustomed to playing in uncomfortable situations, along with being able to shoot mid to low 60’s.


What kind of time do you have? What resources are you working with? Can you travel often?

1 Like

Oh boy, currently a 2.4. Your goal is essentially the same as saying “I’d like to qualify for the in 2020”. But I absolutely want status updates.


I always like shit like this so I’m definitely interested. Very curious about your background, tournament experience, current situation, tentative practice plan, etc.

Even if it doesn’t come true, you will walk away from this realizing the depth of talent in golf is unbelievable. You don’t really understand until you experience it and get your ass kicked by a sleepy 16 year old who rolled up to the tee with his shoes untied and shot a breezy 65, while you played your ass off for a 73 and never even sniffed the cut.


Is this you?

I don’t know if you want affirmation or honesty, but you should go read the thread on here titled “how good are you at golf?” Even on this board, of golfers who I don’t think take themselves or their games THAT seriously, there are troves of scratch golfers who still understand how much they suck compared to good amateurs.

@GluteActivator I agree, it’s cool to follow this stuff, but if your baseline tournament scores are in the 80s, I don’t know if it’ll be insightful or downright discouraging.


excellent post

I used to judge my opponents by their shoes. If they roll up in 1) super old shoes with a super shitty looking set of clubs/bag, you’re getting your ass kicked or 2) in black footjoys (I’m old), you’re getting your ass kicked.

Anyone else, I felt like I had a shot.


I did zero digging but he’s got in his profile he’s a 2.4. So basically needs to “shave” 10 shots off his average home score…and then have that translate to the highest level of amateur competition. Someone needs to make this a race, with their goal being to play Augusta, PV and Cypress by the end of 2020. I’ll have money on that person gaining more traction.


I loved, when I was living in Naples, that they’d often have the local US Open Qualifier there at a premium track like K-Town or Twin Eagles. All our assistant pros and guys whose names I’d heard around town were sticks, would show up on that result sheet. It was like the Naples Serious Golfer Pecking Order.

Guys I know can shoot 65 from the tips with a couple beers were on there behind 85, 88, 89. The US Open is no joke - even the local qualifier.


Definitely agree with @anotherballromes that you should get more tournament experience before teeing it up in the local qualifier for the 2020 US Open. If you just practice practice practice and don’t play in tournaments, you will flip your shit and probably black out on the first tee at the local qualifier, thus not perform your best.

The best players in golf set many goals for themselves, some easy and some hard. This sounds like a hard one. I would recommend setting a bunch of other short term, more attainable goals throughout the next year to work up to the big goal. Things like getting your putts per GIR under 1.8, up and down percentage >60%, breaking par three times in a month, etc. Whatever fits your game currently based on your strengths and weaknesses.


I agree with all that has been said. With that said…go for it! You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and life in general, if you can immerse yourself in something like this.

Long story short, I played a sport professionally for a minute. When that life was over I told myself, “I’m going to be a professional golfer now.” I played in a Pub Links qualifier and shot 78, 79. When the 64s and 65s started to roll in, my mindset changed. I still want to maximize my golfing ability, but have different goals now.

Good luck to you!


Good luck. I’m subscribed.

Great insights from the crew here.


Sincerely, best of luck. Everyone needs to have a dream, and goals to work toward. If you’re a 2.4 handicap, you should focus first on getting your index low enough to enter the tournament (< 1.4).

And if you’re serious, you should spend the next 16 months or so playing in every tournament you can enter. Post all the results here so we can follow.

If there aren’t enough tournaments (there probably are), seek out the best local pros in your area and play for a dollar amount you can’t afford to lose. If you’re comfortable, the stakes aren’t high enough. Play for your car. If you don’t have the money, pawn your clubs and play with a shovel, a rake, and a Louisville slugger.

And, if you get there, remember… when a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment defines you. #nolayingup


I agree with a lot of what everyone’s said here. It is essential you play in some other competition before starting this. Tournament golf is a whole different ballgame. You can’t replicate it until you try it.

I’m capable of going under par when I’m playing really well, and most of my scores are in the 70s. Having said that, I was a rules official for the first stage of Web Q-School last month and it was my first time working an event where every player expects to be on Tour, and could also try qualifying for the US Open. When you see what they do to the ball four straight days from up close, you realize, as I did, just how many miles ahead they are. There is a very large gap between being a scratch golfer and being capable of playing in professional events.


Presented without comment, 2018 Local Qualifying Results.

1 Like

Ask yourself how many times a year you shoot 65-69 in tough tournament conditions. Then ask yourself if you are capable of doing that once in local qualifying, and then two more times at sectionals.

If you are a 2.4, you probably know that you won’t make it. But that’s fine, 90% of local qualifiers know that they don’t have a realistic shot at qualifying either. Its still a fun experience and you might get on a course that you wouldn’t ordinarily get to play.

1 Like

This is going to be something that I am going to have to work on in the coming year, playing good golf under high pressure. That is why I plan on playing in a bunch of tournaments, so that when the time comes, it feels a little more like just another round of golf.