Playing in Competitions

First Published August 21, 2017

I’ve been playing comps at my local club for a little over 2 years now. Initially I didn’t really buy into the comp vibe and only decided to enter because it was the only way to guarantee a reasonable tee time on a Saturday. In other words, I got fed up following the last comp pairing/3 ball just to get a round in, with the inevitable slow play that followed.

So I signed up to play in comps, and I wan’t phased by it. I’m competitive in other sports and I usually up my game when the pressure’s on. So I had zero trepidation off the first tee when I addressed the ball for my tee shot …

Until I started my swing


a) we were now off the white tees and even though on the first, that’s only 15-20 yards back, it’s different.

b) this was a medal and every shot would be recorded.

c) i’d never done this before, ever

So I hit 111 and put the whoile thing down to experience.

It took maybe a year before the inevitable 0.1 increase was occasionally halted by the buffer zone.

So I’ve played maybe 30 club competitions on a Saturday in the last 30 months, medals, staplefords, bogeys et al.

And my handicap had crept up from 18.0 to 20.0 and therin lies a tale.

When my handicap was first assessed, I had very little golf experience and I was far from a natural golfer. Looking at my cards, I’d have put me on a 23 handicap and that, I believe was where I really was. But the handicap committee gave me 18, so I just accepted that I’d struggle. And I did.

For about 28 competitive rounds.

The thing is I can play golf and I know how to play it well.

It’s a mental process …

First, you see the shot in your mind, say it’s your 2nd to a par 4 after a decent drive – it’s 139 yards to the pin . The light wind is into off the right. There’s a bunker on the left short of the green. To the right are trees/rough. Short of the green is a run off leaving a 25 yard chip. Long is light rough, chipping back with not much green to work with. Your lie is just off the fairway in light rough slightly above your feet and on a slight downhill.

It’s an 8 iron all day long …

But the last 8 iron you hit, an hour ago was a bit of a pull, which here would leave you in the bunker, and the last bunker shot you hit, 2 hours ago cost you a shot.

You’re aiming right and praying …

So you line up and aim right and the ball goes right and you land in the light rough right of the green, take 2 chips to get there, 2 putt and make 6.

That’s what we do, sometimes all day, sometimes once in a round, but it’s always a probablity at least once in a round.

And that’s where I’ve mainly been. Competent ish but ineviatably, one, two, three and sometimes more holes would trip me up.

Until last Saturday 🙂

When I won a competition.

That’s a club competition where 116 people entered,

And I won

I’ll try to explain why I think that happened next time …