Tournament preparation – visualize playing the course

by Jordan on June 27, 2011

Better your chances of playing well in a tournament by using these tips on preparation

There’s nothing like a tournament to test your game.

Your confidence level will be on display.

After all you’re working hard at the range and shooting good scores in regular rounds.

But that doesn’t mean anything.

Tournament golf is the only test that matters. 

I know to you want to learn how to player better in golf tournaments.

So read on and I’ll explain how to confidently prepare the night before your big event.

Define Your Purpose

I’ve got an event coming up and I’m super pumped!

Having not played much the last 10 months, I’m appreciating the game and the challenge of competition again. Growing up it was all about competitions. I played in every event I could just to get use to handling pressure.

For this tournament my playing purpose is to treat this round like a regular round. Sounds weird right? But when it comes to any round, having a playing purpose is important. It helps to focus your mind on a simple goal for each round.

Yes you want to play well but have something more specific for your playing purpose. It could be something along the lines of not getting upset after a shot or not hitting a shot you aren’t comfortable over.

Whatever it is, come up with a playing purpose for your upcoming tournament. Something that doesn’t deal with score and that you can gauge after the round.

Develop A Strategy

Part of preparation is creating a course strategy and visually executing it in a positive way. Know what club your going to hit on each tee and how you plan to play each hole.

Creating a game plan means a practice round. If you haven’t played a practice round before a big tournament, you need to get more serious about improving if you truly want to get better at this game.

During that practice round is where you want to jot notes down into a book. What clubs you should hit of certain tees, any areas to stay away from and mapping the greens.

Before you read on, do me a favour and tweet this out to your followers. I want to help all of your golfing friends play their best golf in a tournament.

Play your best golf in tournaments with these tips on preparation- Click to Tweet

Visualize Positive Execution

Your next step is visualize executing your strategy positively. This can be done on the range before a round or during a practice session. This is what I call practice like you play.

Another way to visualize your round is in bed the night before.

As a junior growing up I would close my eyes and visualize each shot I was going to hit the next day. This keeps your mind on your tournament and makes sure you’re focused. Do the same thing when you get up in the morning and have a shower.

Go into great detail too. What the weather was like, the wind, the club, the ball flight and how it landed were all things I would visualize.

Don’t be afraid to go beyond visual to incorporate more senses. I use would try and stimulate my touch and hearing a lot. Listen to the sound the ball makes and also what that it feels like after you’ve hit each shot.

What this does is put your mind in a positive state. In essence you are taking control of your mind’s thoughts which is so important in this game.

Learn how to visualize in golf or listen to Nick Faldo below..

Too many times our minds wander and worry endlessly about outcomes. All this does is create fear and stress which makes it VERY DIFFICULT to perform at your highest level. Creating these positive images reaffirms what you want to achieve on the course and in life.

So here we go! Tonight before bed and after I have stretched, I’m visually going to walk myself through tomorrow’s game plan.

My Playing Purpose

Tomorrow’s goal is about sticking to the game plan, being focused, having fun, while playing confidently and fearlessly. I know it sounds odd to not have a goal based around score but if all of these goals are achieved, than the score will great!

Before you leave be sure to read up on how to prepare for a tournament of the day of.

Until then, prepare by having a game plan and visualize executing it!

What Do You Think?

What upcoming tournament do you have that led you to read this post?


Jordan J. Caron is a former Canadian PGA Class A member who still wants to help golfers shoot better scores. He is also the President of Meaningful Marketing. In his downtime he likes to read, play squash and drink wine.

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