Playing Practice Rounds for Tournaments
In lieu of the BC Junior Amateur and the BC Amateur just being played as well as the upcoming Canadian Junior Amateur and Canadian Amateur, I thought a good topic of conversation was how to play a practice round for a tournament.
In my seven years of coaching, I have spent a lot of time thinking (probably too much time) about the proper way to play practice rounds. My conclusion is there are many ways, however, here are few aspects that you must be prepared for:
How far do you need to hit it and what line should you be taking off the tee?
- Most juniors I work with will write down a club they will hit. What if the wind changes? What if it drops 10 degrees? What if it rains? What if the tees are moved? There are too many factors to write down a club. Choose a yardage and a line off of every tee.
How far are my clubs carrying?
- I learned this from my former teammate at Oregon State, who was an All-American and went on to play the now Korn Ferry Tour for two years, Diego Velasquez. It was reinforced to me when caddying on the LPGA Tour for Becky Morgan from Wales. It is imperative to know how far your shots are traveling. To do so, when I caddie and when I still play tournaments, I’ll write down how far every shot carried throughout the practice round and tournament rounds. For example: Solid full 9I, little wind into from right, fairway, 142 carry
How is the ball reacting on my chips and bunker shots?
- As we know, the greens at every course we play are different and sometimes the rough is different depending on where we play around the world. Hit a variety of chips from different lies to different slopes.
- The greens are always different but so are the bunkers. Hit at least a few bunker shots throughout the round to different pin locations to see how the ball is reacting on the greens from the sand.
How fast or slow are the greens?
- Maybe the most underrated part of a practice round and golf in general is speed control on the greens. Practicing your speed on the practice green as well as hitting lots of lag putts on the course is vital. I believe the best way to practice lag putting is to play games. Play games against yourself and others to put a premium on speed control.
A great practice round will give you a leg up on the course and the competition. I cannot guarantee you will play well but I can guarantee you will be given a better chance to score well. Good luck in your tournaments the rest of the summer!