Competing in Golf Tournaments: How to Determine If You’re Ready for Tournament Play

So you’ve been spending a lot of time at the golf course working on your swing, your short game, and putting. While at the course, you see start to take notice of the signs in the pro-shops advertising weekend tournaments and it now has you wondering whether you’re ready to begin competing in those tournaments. 

 

Well, there is no true way of knowing if your game is “tournament ready” without first going out and giving it a try. But there is a checklist (below) that you can go through and help analyze if you’re ready to win some glory (and possibly some tournament prizes!)

 

You’re Able to Limit Your Three Putts

 

One of the biggest differences in tournament golf, compared to just friendly practice rounds, is that you must make every putt. In other words, there are no “gimmies” in tournament play. Putting in general is one of the most important aspects of tournament play and is what separates the best players from the rest of the pack. Those that can limit their three-putts in a round can usually find themselves posting good rounds. If you’re struggling with your putter, you might want to dial it in before taking your game to the competitive level.

 

Do You Get Nervous On the First Tee?

 

The first tee shot is one of the most commonly nerve-wracking shots for amateur golfers. Not only is it the official start to your round, but the first tee is usually in place near the clubhouse where other golfers will be watching you. If the thought of that makes your hand sweat or you commonly find yourself taking a mulligan off the first tee, you might want to think twice about entering a tournament, for now. While there will always be nerves on the first tee of tournaments, you can help address this by finding ways to create high-stress practice situations on the range.

 

Do You Have an Official Handicap?

 

Most tournaments will require an official/certified handicap in order to compete and/or correctly rank you into a flight. A handicap is essentially your “average” over par for each round. The minimum requirement to create a handicap is logging your score for five consecutive rounds. So definitely figure out your handicap before entering a tournament.

 

Are Your Scores (Fairly) Consistent?

 

Speaking of handicaps, do you score roughly the same range when you play (i.e., 80-85; 90-93, etc...). Everybody has blow-up rounds from time to time, but if you’re able to stay pretty consistent with your scoring, that’s usually a good sign that you can compete well in most tournaments. In the least, it provides you with a good gauge to see how tournament play affects your style of golf and overall scores.

 

Are You Ready to Go Outside of Your Comfort Zone?

 

If you’re ready to try something new and want to take your golf game to the next level, then it’s time to go ahead and give it a shot (as long as you feel comfortable with the other four items on this list). Hopefully you book tee times as often as possible, and practice, but tournaments are obviously, another level. It will be different, but I’m confident that you will love playing in tournaments. It brings out a great competitive streak that often keeps you focused for an entire round, which can be a really fun feeling. So go out and compete and enjoy yourselves. Best of luck!

 

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