Mike Berger, PGA Director of Player Development & Coach, Matt DeJohn Golf Academy

With the worst of COVID-19 behind us and more golf courses opening around the country; local, state, national golf associations and tours are resuming tournament operations. The national pandemic altered many associations and tour schedules, including canceling the biggest junior event in the world; the USGA Girls and Boys junior amateur championships. Despite a hiatus in golf and tournaments in general, junior golfers are anxious to get back out and compete. With some players not being able to play or practice at a facility for a couple of months, they might find themselves rusty and not quite ready to compete in tournaments…YET. So how do you get ready and prepare for your 1st tournament in months?

Here are 4 TIPS for getting tournament ready:

DISCIPLINED Practice – It’s tough not to want to bang balls on the range all day. I don’t blame you! But it won’t really help. So, what should you do instead? You must have a game plan. The best thing you can do is write out your practice goals and stick to them. Meet with your coach/instructor to help if needed. The practice plan should cover different drills, amount of time for each, and goals for each practice section.

Practice more with your SCORING clubs – Wedges, wedges, and more wedges. If you want to come out firing in your 1 st tournament, your short game needs to be sharp! Spend the extra time on the putting and chipping green. When on the range, work on your distance control from 30 to 100 yards. This is your typical “scoring” distance.

Practice ON THE course – My favorite type of practice takes place on the golf course! With respect to the course and pace of play (usually helps to do this later in the day) go on the course and hit “shots”. My 2 favorite games to practice on the course are: worst ball and better ball scrambles. If I’m hitting it really well, I play worst ball; if I’m not hitting it great, I play a better ball scramble. Playing a better ball scramble helps build confidence and also you should be able to shoot a good score.

COMPETE – play a match for SOMETHING. You must practice grinding! Play a match against a friend or fellow golfing buddy for lunch, a sleeve of golf balls, or anything that makes you want to win! Bragging rights are good too, but nothing feels better or builds your confidence after your buddy has to give you a new sleeve of PRO-V1s. Tournaments have already begun and NOW is the time to start preparing. Write out your upcoming summer tournament schedule and use these tips to help get ready to play some solid golf!