Improve Your Competitive Golf Game
Be competitive with yourself to practice playing under pressure
One of the aspects about the game of golf I enjoy the most is that so many people are able to play it competitively. Whether it is the PGA or LPGA Tour, mini tour, college or high school golf, club championship, or just a match between friends, there is always an opportunity to experience a competitive round of golf. It is a very different experience than just playing for the sheer enjoyment of it, and both experiences have their benefits. When playing competitively, every shot has added importance.
You will find that you are more nervous than usual, which can affect the amount of tension you have in your body when you make a full swing. As a result, you might find that your swing is a little different when you get nervous. Your feel around the green might also be affected because of that added tension in your body, especially in your hands and arms. All of this is very normal. The more you play competitively, the more comfortable you will get with the added pressure.
You can be competitive with yourself if you are playing alone. I like playing alone late in the afternoons, but I still want to put pressure on myself. I choose a score each day that I feel is achievable but still a challenge. (Be realistic when deciding on that score!) Then I tell myself that if I shoot that score or better, I will allow myself a certain treat, like an ice cream cone or a candy bar. If I shoot higher than that score, however, I have to do something I don't like, like running a mile or do a certain number of pushups. So I am able to practice controlling the tension in my body when there is a little extra pressure, even though I am playing alone.
Whatever competitive form you choose—the more practice you get with playing under pressure, the better you will become.