By Nick Duffy, BGGA Senior Coach
There are several factors junior golfers should research and consider prior to playing a tournament – the course architect, playing yardage, weather conditions and past tournament scores.
- Why is course architect important? Different designers will have different characteristics throughout their courses (Donald Ross- inverted saucer greens and Nicklaus- dog leg rights with a lot of bunkers). This will help you tailor your training leading up to the tournament. On a tight golf course preparation, you will be playing your home course more effectively by playing the rough as a chip out.
- Playing Yardage- It is important to be familiar with the length of shots you will have into the greens, as short courses have more wedge work and long courses will need hybrid and wood practice. Will all the tee shots be drivers off the tee or will there be a mix of clubs? You also need to use google maps to have a plan before the practice round to know what clubs to hit off the tee. Mapping out the widest area on each hole makes it more efficient in the practice round and training leading up to the tournament.
- Weather Conditions- You need a good idea ahead of time if it will be cold or hot, rainy or windy. All these conditions will affect your packing and training leading up to the tournament. In cold or hot environments, you need to pack the correct clothes for the day, thermals and layers for cold days and breathable clothes for the heat and extra gloves. If you know there will be rain, be sure to pack extra gloves (especially rain gloves), an umbrella, zip lock bags to keep stuff dry, and your rain gear. The wind preparation has more to do with the training leading up to the tournament. A great deal of time spent working on trajectories, shot shape and start lines will help your preparation.
- Past Tournament Scores- This is not of ultimate importance, but mentally getting ready for the scores to be high or low can help. If the scores are low, practice more from the forward tees of your home club so you’re comfortable being able to score under par. If the scores were high, spend my time playing two ball worse ball matches to learn how to recover.
Tournament golf is an important part of junior golf and the college recruiting process. It is critical to be prepared when entering a tournament. Don’t show up blind.