Learning the Game

Peter Walsh: Match Play

So with club golf back, here in Rhode Island, I'm sure some of you have signed up for your Club or State championships, perhaps even the RI Amateur. A lot of these individual events are played with a bracket format, with match play as the competition.

So with club golf back, here in Rhode Island, I’m sure some of you have signed up for your Club or State championships, perhaps even the RI Amateur. A lot of these individual events are played with a bracket format, with match play as the competition. 

Peter Walsh

For most of us, we play Stroke Play events, but Match Play is the truest form of competition. It is you against your opponent.

The great thing about it, is that each hole is its own individual competition. Once the hole has been played that score and result for the hole are done, now onto the next hole.

Most match play games are played over 18 holes, but there are a few, mainly the final matches, which are played over 36 holes.

Here is my advice on playing Match Play:

Always try and play your game. Since I mostly play stroke play I always try and pick a score I would be happy with at the end of my round and shoot for that number. If I hit my target score, its more likely that the match will have been competitive, and if I have lost, then my opponent has played better than me.

Never try and force shots that you wouldn’t normally play, unless your getting toward the end of the match and you are behind, and have to make something happen to get some holes back, but inevitably those risks you take might not work out. Play the safe shot, trust me you will be better off.

Play smart, if your opponent is having trouble, stand back and let them do their thing. Get yourself ready for your shot and try not to let their actions effect you.

Always figure your opponent is going to make all their putts, this way you can mentally prepare yourself when it is your turn.

Don’t be too generous in the putts that you give, personally I only give putts that are “inside the leather’ which is about 12 inches. Its amazing how players, who don’t normally have to make short putts, can become nervous when those putts are needed.

Be gracious, in victory or defeat. Don’t be a bad loser. You can tell a lot about a person in how they handle winning or losing.

Play well

Peter Walsh currently serves as the Head Golf Professional at Kings Crossing Country Club.  Prior to Kings Crossing Walsh was an assistant Golf Professional at Cape May National Golf Club in southern New Jersey under Pro Emeritus Skee Riegal, 1947 US Amateur Champion, 1951 second at Masters to Ben Hogan and Head Golf Professional, Russell O. Davis Philadelphia PGA teacher of the year.

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