Winning a golf match means getting more distance on the golf course with a fewer strokes. But how do you beat a better golfer? While the game of golf is usually a match between the golfer and the course, in the case of match play, golfers find themselves in a configuration more comparable to a boxing match, which implies that the strategy can play a more important role.
A new situation may appear for each opponent and on each hole. Therefore, too general advice cannot be relevant. However, over the years, major tactical trends have proven their worth. The key to beating a better golfer is to play the course, not your opponent!
In addition to managing your game and the course, you must always care about the other and play accordingly. Many great golfers in the past admitted that their secret to winning in match play was to play against par, keeping their calm, and swing, which never varied whatever the situation!
Their tactic was to always play in the middle of the fairway and let their opponent make a mistake. Of course, this tactic has its limits! It is a challenge to leave exceptional shots against a golfer who returns a birdie in pro golfers’ fashion.
Thus, there’s not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to beating a better golfer; however, some tips can help you play against par and win over your opponent. Let’s discuss them!
How do you Beat a Better Golfer?
Although professionals play tournaments in strokeplay most of the time, the match play formula is the most spectacular and the most practiced by amateurs in leisure or club competitions. My tips for winning your match play for sure!
Most golfers feel a little anxious about match play; the rules are different, the approach and the strategy too. Unlike the strokeplay in force for the usual classification or club competitions, where we count all the strokes played on each hole, it is hole by hole that the match is played. We win or lose the hole, or we draw and share the hole.
Each hole becomes a competition, the one with the fewest strokes wins the hole, and the player with the most holes wins the match. It sounds simple enough, yet there are very specific rules that one must follow.
The principle of match play in golf is to win the greatest number of holes possible compared to your rival in a game of 18 holes that you play alone or in a team of two.
For each hole to be played and depending on each opponent, a different situation arises, calling for a unique response, so it isn’t easy to summarize in a few tactics that allow you to win. However, as you go, experiences, certain principles emerge at all levels.
While most international golf or club competitions are played in stroke play, in games with friends, match play is very successful. Match play is a head-to-head confrontation, and its strategy is more complex than that of stroke play. In addition to managing your game and the course, you must constantly stay in tune with the game.
On each hole, you need to know and understand your opponent’s situation as clearly as you do and then adapt your strategy accordingly.
Now, let’s discuss some of the tips on how to win a match against a better golfer!
Tips on How to Beat a Better Golfer
Play Hole by Hole
Staying in the present is important in golf, but in match play, it is mandatory. You don’t have to care about the overall result or all the holes but focus on each hole.
Your Only Concern Should be Your Rival
If you hit a bad start, had a bad hole, let it go! Now it doesn’t matter, don’t be distracted. Remember that you cannot change the past or intervene in the future, so be sure to give your best in the present blow.
The same if it happens the other way around, even if you’ve had a good run or hit a blow on the last hole, that’s it! It no longer works in your next blow.
Attack from the Start
Some golfers start their rounds conservatively, playing safe shots and not attacking too much (especially flags). Most players do not attack flags in the first few holes, which is a big mistake in match play.
Keep an aggressive strategy at every hole and from the start. It is a good way to gain confidence in your game. In addition, you can apply some pressure on your competitor.
Play Your Game, Do not Influence Yourself!
The match play is against another person, but it is very important not to stop playing your game, far from being influenced by the opponent’s game. If your competitor takes 40 meters of drive, what will you do? Don’t try to play like them or make up for this lack of distance. On the contrary, play your game. Stay true to your style.
If it takes a lot of distance from the tee (for example), it can be a great opportunity to be the first to hit the green and put pressure on your opponent with a ball close to the pin. Just create a plan for each hole and stick with it.
Matchplay is a pure strategy. Do not try to be the hero when your opponent misses the green or gets in trouble with their shot. Do not go for the flag even if you are playing very well. That will be the time to play smart and be conservative.
Take your time to choose the club and the type of shot correctly. Remember that this is not about results; this is about winning holes, so, as strange as a bogey may seem (sometimes), it can make you win a hole.
Always Expect the Unexpected
Remember that the most unlikely things experienced on a golf course have always been in medal play mode. Take the epic Ryder Cup matches, for example.
It is necessary always to maintain a correct attitude and be prepared for anything in a match play. Always think that your opponent will hole the shot, the putt or whatever. It can happen, and you must be ready!
Match play is an exciting modality that highlights strategy and the more mental part of the game. You must always remember that to beat a better golfer, you must play hole by hole, shot by shot, and that your only objective is to exceed your opponent. It doesn’t matter how many shots you make; it doesn’t matter how you play. Don’t try to get your best score or hit your best shots. Just finish the hole with less than your opponent.