Everyone is nervous on tournament day and it’s easy to become flustered when things aren’t going your way. Here are a few tips that might help you keep, or regain, your composure.
- Bad lies. If it’s not possible to hit your ball in the direction of the hole, consider hitting it sideways, or even backwards, into the fairway where you will be in a better position for your next shot.
- Unplayable lies. If you wind up in a place with no reasonable way to hit your ball, or you don’t feel confident about your ability to make good contact with the ball, consider declaring the ball unplayable and proceed under Rule 28. Sure, it will cost you a stroke, but it could save you a lot of strokes in the end. Let your fellow competitors know what you are going to do and if you are in a bunker, remember that you must take your drop in the bunker. And, by the way, you are the only judge of whether your ball is unplayable.
- Carries over water hazards. Hitting shots over water can be intimidating even when they are just short ones. If you are feeling a little uncertain, consider using a longer club than you would normally use for that distance. You’ll be less likely to swing too hard and more likely to easily carry the hazard.
- Play YOUR game. If you are struggling with a particular club, consider putting it aside for a while and use a club you feel comfortable hitting, regardless of the yardage left to the hole. So what if everyone else is hitting driver on the tee. If your 3 or 5 wood (or whatever club) is more reliable for you, use it. Can’t hit a sand wedge to save your life? Fine, use that pitching wedge or 9-iron. It’s always better to feel confident about your shot than to wonder what’s going to happen next with a club that is giving you trouble.
- Do take lots of deep breaths and try to shake off any bad holes or shots. The EWGA Championship history is replete with stories of winners who posted hole scores as high as 13 or more on a hole and thought for sure they were out of the competition. It’s not over until it’s over!