Build an Effective Tournament Mentality

Mon, Mar 2nd, 2020
Build an Effective Tournament Mentality Build an Effective Tournament Mentality

We’ve all seen the players on the range who stripe it and launch bullet like shots, but then come tournament time they post scores in the mid-70s. Conversely, we’ve all seen players not so impressive on the range but continually shooting under par and at the top of tournament leaderboards. People are quick to assign is to short game prowess, but I’ve seen plenty of the players who produce laser shows on the range and are equally impressive displaying exquisite short game skills on the practice green. However, it is very clear that some players have the ability to perform their best tournament day, and others invariably do the opposite and never quite display the same level of ability come tournament day.

Golf is a game, where at the end of the round, and at the end of a tournament, every player just has a number next to their name. The ability to score is perhaps the most important skill of all, but in many cases players leave it to happen automatically through perfecting their swing technique, short game technique or putting technique. Unfortunately, many players discover – often after many years (or decades) – that the ability to score does is not absolutely correlated to the quality of their techniques.

Singapore OpenI remember being at The Open in 2016, and one evening prior to the tournament I was at a player house whereby the players sponsors had been invited to a BBQ. One businessman, had asked Chris Wood what his strength was in his game, and he replied iron play was his forte. Then they asked David Howell. David who has been a member of 2 winning Ryder Cups, tournament victories in prestigious tournaments such as HSBC Champions and PGA Championship as well as 90 x top 10 finishes on Tour, just replied that he did not have any strengths, except for the ability to score well and get the ball in the hole regardless of the challenges or course he faced. The businessman gave a rather perplexed look!

I call the ability to score the ‘glue’ in a players game. Often this skill is not tangible and is invisible – i.e. you can’t video and analyse it – but we all know that this is a deal-breaker to success in the elite game. Fortunately, the ability to perform our best in competition is a skill, and it’s a skill that can be learnt.

So what’s the starting point to becoming a ‘performer’ and a ‘scorer’?

For me there are 5 critical elements - ALL of which must be present in order to optimise performance any given day. Miss one out and it will mean you are leaving shots out there. One of the 5 critical elements is a mindset borne from ‘Playing to Play Great’ as opposed to ‘Playing to Avoid Mistakes’. The difference may seem subtle but so is the line between success and failure tournament day.

So in a nutshell:

  • See a difficult shot as a challenge
  • See ‘nerves’ as excitement
  • Execute each shot with an aggressive mindset
  • See the picture of where he wants the ball to finish
  • Loves the competition environment
  • After a poor shot or poor hole, shrugs it off and refocuses on trying to play the next shot great
  • Confidence is not impacted by one poor shot or poor hole
  • Is disappointed after a bad round but come a few hours later has forgotten about it and moved on, looking forward to the next time to compete

Conversely a player who is ‘Playing to Avoid Mistakes’ often experiences the following symptoms:

  • Focused on avoiding trouble
  • Processes nervousness as ‘fear’
  • Executes each shot with a defensive mindset
  • See’s the picture of where he does not want the ball to finish 
  • Doesn’t want to be embarrassed or to ‘look bad’ in front of others
  • Internalises a poor shot, poor hole or poor round and lets it immediately impact on their confidence
  • Constantly calculating final score
  • Very sensitive on course (e.g. external noise, other players around them etc)

Crans Sur SierreFor players interested to build the skill to score and to perform their best tournament day we offer Player Performance Camps at our wonderful base GC Crans-sur-Sierre, host to the European Tour event Omega European Masters. Alternatively, if you are located in a different part of the globe our products ‘Become a Tour Player’ and ‘Tour Player Tournament System’ will assist you learn to become a ‘Performer’ and a ‘Scorer.

Click HERE to learn more about 2020 PERFORMANCE CAMPS at GC Crans-sur-Sierre

Click HERE to learn more about ONLINE MENTORING program

Click HERE to learn more about our PERFORMANCE WOKRBOOK Series