There’s a unique symmetry in the format of the LPGA and PGA Tour tournaments on television this week. Although they both are your standard 72-hole stroke play events, that’s not the similarity I’d like to focus on. Each of the professional tournaments are Pro- Am events. In a competition where we can be randomly matched with others, sometimes the pairings don’t always turn out to be perfect.
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be a challenge to complete the round with our sanity intact. As we watch this week when the men and women compete for hundreds of thousands of dollars, they must possess the ability to look past the peccadillos of their playing partners and be ready to compete. Not all of us will be competing when we do get paired up to play so understand the following PGA Coaching techniques apply to all types of unique partners.
Staying focused is huge part of being a successful golfer. We face difficult distractions while playing alone, we certainly don’t need to add more when others join us. Here’s a quick breakdown of a couple things you can do to help avoid unnecessary distractions while playing.
Try to communicate with your playing partners from the beginning of the round. Offer them compliments on good decisions and successful shots. If there’s an ongoing conversation happening between you both (or the group) when something does happen, it won’t be the first instance where you speak to them.
Always confront the situation as soon as possible. Don’t harbor annoyances, they will eat away at you and the result will be double bogeys. For you, not them! If one of your playing partners has a distracting habit, just calmy let them know once it happens. The more your response seems like a genuine a reaction, the better they will take it. If your response seems like you have been thinking about it for six or seven holes, then chances are their response will be defensive and a slightly awkward situation will only get worse.
Every tournament is someone’s US Open. Now this can go both ways. If they are too intense, then make sure to give them space. Enjoy your surroundings that day and try to find something unique on every hole. If you’re serious about the round and they aren’t then kindly tell them your reason for being there. “I’m sorry, but I’m trying to qualify today, and I might be a little nervous. Please keep that in mind as I try to do my best.”
Keep in mind, all rounds end. Play positive mental games with yourself. Create three hole challenges, try to par or birdie holes you may never have scored that well on before. Play games against yourself, rather than be distracted by them. There are a thousand different games you can play; learn how to entertain yourself.
There’s a common theme in each of these suggestions, better communication; with your playing partners and yourself. Not all foursomes are perfect, and you may not be the best pairing for someone else. If you can’t choose your partner, you can always choose to be an ambassador for the game.
Meeting others is by far one of the most interesting parts of playing. Golf is an individual sport, but it was meant to played with others. There’s little doubt it was a social game before it was a competitive one. Understand that simple fact and you’ll soon see that some challenges are just opportunities in disguise.