Golf "Amateur Style"
B y: Stan "Golfalot" Thomas
So you've got a tournament coming up and it's time
to get your game in shape. Your tournament is probably
not anything like what you watch on television, but
the pressures and problems will be much the same. Maybe
with a little thought and preparation, you can pick
up the edge that you need to beat your archrival or
win the club championship.
First off, let's agree that you're probably
not going to be swinging like Ernie Els when the big
day arrives. Now is NOT the time to start messing with
your swing and make any major changes. You know your
tendencies better than anyone else and chances are you're
going to have to find a way to play with them. Check
your basics and get your posture, grip, alignment, and
ball position in the best shape they can be for YOUR
game. Hitting balls is fine but don't go overboard on
making changes or you'll only end up feeling lost on
game day. The most effective thing you can work on is
probably your swing tempo, find it and keep it, and
you'll probably strike the ball pretty well.
Second, you're probably not going to hit as
many greens as Tiger does, or even as many as you would
like to. Practice your short game till your sick of
it, and then practice it some more. Go out in the evening
when the course is quiet and go from green to green
hitting multiple pitch shots from all the places you
don't want to be, but will probably end up when you
least want to be there. You know what shots are dependable
for you and which ones are not, find a way to work with
what you have. Learn the new stuff later, now is the
time to "dance with who brung ya".
Third, spend most of your time on the practice
green working on short putts. Anyone who can make most
of the 4-6 footers they face is going to end up with
a pretty decent score for the day. The bottom of your
flight and the top of your flight will probably be determined
not by birdies, but by par saves. Good rounds are built
on pars and if you can chip it to 5 feet and make the
putt you going to make some extra pars.
Fourth, look at your equipment. Are your grips
in good shape or do they need replaced? If you don't
replace them, scrub them vigorously with a stiff brush
and a solution of warm water and dishwashing soap. Choose
a detergent that contains a degreaser, it will help
remove the oil and dirt buildup that accumulates from
your hands over a period of time. Rinse them well and
pat dry with a bath towel.
Clean your irons with a brass bristled brush and detergent
in warm water, the brass bristles are softer than the
chrome or cast finish of your irons and won't harm them.
Toothpicks are for cleaning teeth, golf clubs are made
to hit through dirt and sand, forget the sissy stuff
and get a brass bristled brush like you use on your
barbecue grill, it's faster and more efficient. Cleaning
woods is a little different; some of them have polyurethane
finishes, use a stiff nylon brush and a mild solution
of detergent and water.
Clean your shoes, give them a shine, and replace the
cleats. Don't overload your bag if you're walking, but
make sure you have rain gear if there is a chance you'll
need it, a couple of extra gloves, some Band-Aids, tape,
towels, and all the normal stuff you should have anyway.
Throw a fresh Sharpie in your bag to mark your golf
balls and have plenty or your favorite brand ready to
go. Clean the shag balls out and get rid of the nine
wadded up worn out gloves that you'll never use anyway.
Game day, it's time to go through your normal warm
up without any changes, take your time and try to make
sure your tempo is smooth before you leave the range.
Hit a few pitches, and make sure before you leave the
practice green you make about five two footers in a
row. Seeing and hearing the ball go in the hole is a
great way to leave the green.
Take your time over that first tee shot, pick a club
that will get you into the fairway. Breathe deeply and
make that first takeaway slow and deliberate. You're
supposed to be nervous the first few holes, the secret
is to not panic and start making mistakes. Now is not
the time to be a hero, play the odds and work on getting
settled down. If trouble arises, DON'T get in
a hurry, take your time and THINK about what
you are doing. Most people who make big numbers get
in a big hurry after a bad shot and compound it with
several more. Be conservative with your long shots and
aggressive with short ones, fairways and greens yield
Patience is your friend, most people who fall apart
in golf tournaments run out of it early. Be prepared,
play smart, be patient, and it just might be your lucky
Article courtesy of Stan Thomas of