Golf Match Play Tactics

Instant Golf® Report – Match Play Tactics

I watched the WGC Match Play matches off and on over the past week and they were admittedly like “watching paint dry” the first few days! But they really heated up on the weekend with Rory showing why he is #1 in the world.

Match play is an interesting format in that no matter how bad or great you play any hole, it only affects your score on that hole. If you make a 7 on a hole in match play you will lose the hole, if you make a 7 in stroke play you will probably lose the tournament!

So what about match play strategy? Well, whether a golfer is playing for big checks and trophies on Tour, or trying to beat opponents in a work league or Saturday foursome, there are many ways to have the upper hand.

And let me be real clear, this has nothing to so with cheating or poor sportsmanship. There is no place for that in the game; like the thugs who cough during your back swing or rattle change in their pockets to distract you.

Golf gamesmanship is an integral part of the great history of the game. You can read about the various personalities of the game from the past 100 years and how they navigated around the course, “managing” the personalities of their opponents.

So here’s a tactic that you can use to have the upper hand in your match, especially if you are being bullied around the course by some wise guy in your group (I think you know the types).

I call it the No Mulligans or “Winter Rules” tactic.

How many times have you stepped onto a tee with a foursome (new or familiar) and heard a player exclaim “that’s my mulligan!” after his tee shot tumbles off the hitting area, or careens into the woods?

Guys and gals who are used to “warming up” after a round starts will be frazzled when they are forced to play the game as it is intended.

When they are required to make every stroke count and/or play it as it lies, a new level of fear and anxiety will set in.

The privilege of rolling the ball up onto a good lie or taking a second stroke without penalty reduces anxiety and helps level the playing field for the poorer golfer. So remove that crutch.

When that option is removed, your opponent will be forced to hit shots that may be nestled down in divots or untamed rough.

They haven’t practiced these shots!

They will then be devastated as they will feel they have to “do something extra” on each shot to keep it in the fairway or reach the green.

They start to over think and up goes their scores. That leads to further pressing and often to total meltdowns. Not a pretty sight.

So how do you take advantage of this strategy?

As you approach the first tee, a simple “OK guys, let’s keep it real. No Mulligans or preferred lies. You have the honors John…” will do the trick.

Before John has time to think, he will be horrified as he tees up his ball, all eyes on him, without his usual stress relieving “practice shot.” The result?

Advantage to YOU.

In closing, what about if you enjoy taking a mulligan? Well, I look at that this way.

The side benefit of recording your real score will be knowing that your own total is authentic, especially if you just broke 100, 90, 80, or 70 for the first time.

Those are the rounds you remember the fondest, especially when you’ve beaten an old nemesis with your true total.

Enjoy your May golf,

About the Author: Robert Cotter is a US patent award winning golf ball design engineer and fine player. His interaction with the top players in the game led to his discovery of The Key to a pro caliber golf swing. He is the author of “The Key To A Repeating Golf Swing” which has taught over 10,000 golfers in 60+ countries.