Preparation For Competition
by Kevin Smeltz, Director of Golf
How do I get ready for a tournament? This question is asked quite often, especially from students after taking a break for the holidays here at Bishops Gate. This is relevant right now since our players are currently on break from school.
The first thing to do would be to reflect on your tendencies that you have in your blueprint (plan for improvement) that you and your coach have mapped out for you. This would include your goals (say avg. 72), the plan to do that (hit more greens) and how to do that (hit the ball higher with more draw).
Go back and look at your faults that tend to come up and your typical missed shots when you aren’t on top of your game. Let’s say your tendency is to set up with your knees too straight and your spine too vertical at address which encourages a steep shoulder turn, your upper body leans toward the target in the downswing and you have an outside/ in path. The first thing to do is to spend your first few minutes going over your set up and making sure that it is correct to ensure you are able to make the swing that allows you to hit the ball your best.
After you ensure your set up is correct, look at your other tendencies you have in your game. Also look at the drills, exercises and practice programs you have used in the past to get your game back on track. As you can see, the main thing is to have a plan that was set for you by your coach on the things you need to do to reach your goals and how to achieve them. As you are most likely aware, tendencies are hard to overcome and will tend to come back if not kept on top of or you have taken a break.
You can go through this procedure with all parts of your game including the mental side, putting, bunker game, etc.
Go through your plan; evaluate the things that happen when things aren’t going well and then constructively work on them to get back on track. If you have a couple of weeks before your next tournament, spend the first couple of days working on your technique, and then vary your practice between technique and hitting shots as you would on the course. The closer you get to the tournament, spend more time on the course and whenever possible, spend time preparing for that particular course. For example, if the course has deep rough, more than you are used to playing, spend more time practicing out of the same type of rough to prepare for the tournaments.
This type of diligent preparation will often times leave you better prepared than the rest of the field and provide you a leg up on the competition.