Showing up for a tournament can be nerve-racking, whether it’s your first or the state championship Senior year. There are many ways to prepare the days leading up to a tournament, but here are a few tips to keep in mind to help you stay focused and shoot the best round possible.
Take it easy the day before a tournament. I recommend hitting balls for 30 minutes and spending an hour on the chipping and putting green. If you are heading out to the course, I recommend playing 9 holes and not keeping score. Hit some extra shots, especially around the greens. Don’t forget to hit some shots that make you uncomfortable so when they come up the next day, you’re ready.
Eat a healthy but light breakfast. In my experience, some fruit, yogurt, and granola are some of the best items you can have. Nothing too filling that’s going to make you drag during your round. Having a First Tee bar or another small snack in your bag for later is never a bad idea either.
Chat with your teammates and coach about strategy. Maybe there’s a member of your team who has played the course before and has some local knowledge. Maybe your coach has some ideas to help avoid those chunky chips you’ve been hitting. It’s important to strategize at least a bit to help you feel more comfortable on the first tee.
Set two realistic goals for yourself. One can be your score, but the other should be something else entirely. Maybe you’ve been hitting too many drives Out of Bouds and it’s costing you strokes. Your goal for the day could be to keep your drives in play. Maybe that means iron or hybrid off the tee instead of driver or wood. These goals can actually help you strategize better and play a cleaner round of golf.
Stay calm. If you’re nervous on the way to the tournament, try keeping your mind off of it by thinking of other things. Listen to your favorite music. I’ve had the issue before where I imagine what the first tee shot would be like all the way to the golf course and proceeded to hit my drive OB. That shot was all I thought about all morning and I put way too much pressure on myself to follow through.