It’s May, and we’re smack dab in the middle of major championship season on the professional tours. For amateur golfers, the club championship is their major competition of the year. They circle that special date on their calendars and hope that all their hard work from the summer season culminates with a few magical days on their home course.
Many club members seek the expertise of their PGA Professionals for lessons and player development programming throughout the year, while others save the learning experience for the weeks leading up to their club championship. The latter is often ill-advised, as opposed to working with your pro on a long-term regimen that assesses your needs, puts a plan together, includes remedies for your deficiencies and is put to the test on the golf course.
Any last-minute coaching sessions should focus on one’s mental game and course management process. Comprehensive swing changes take time to become a consistent part of your game - save that time for the off-season and months outside of tournament time.
Here are the top ten tips for preparing for your club championship:
Don’t try to do too much - golf is a never-ending pursuit for perfection, when better than yesterday always suffices.
Work on your short game and putting - literally spend 75 percent of your practice time on and around the practice green.
Use your practice time on the range wisely - random practice tests you in the moment - block practice provides the reps to build confidence.
Hit the course - manage your time between the practice green, short game area, driving range and golf course.
Develop routines - practice, preshot, pre-round and post.
Know the Rules of Golf - or at least know where to find them in the Rules book. You don’t want to squander strokes on careless Rules violations.
Get good at course management - know when to take your medicine and when to grip it and rip it.
Sink every putt - there are no gimme’s in your club championship. Sink the one- and two-footers in your regular games as if it’s the winning putt.
Focus on fitness - eat right, stay hydrated, exercise, sleep and breathe.
Plan ahead - none of these components happens on its own. Plan your practice. Plan your food and drink intake leading up to the big event. Plan ahead to take some pressure off once your name is announced on the first tee.
Don’t get duped into thinking your weekly Sunday game is sufficient practice for your club championship. Recreational golf and tournament golf are most certainly two different things.
Real tournament preparedness comes from putting yourself in pressure situations. This is where time on the course comes in. When on-course practice is not an option, you can create pressure situations on the range and practice area. Nothing beats the real thing, but attention to these details will be vital when you’re faced with that pressure shot down the stretch on tournament day.