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Match Play Mentality


jportz

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Any pointers?
I've played match play plenty of times at my local club but since we all know each other gamesmanship is expected and accepted well.

I'm playing in a State Match Play Championship in June and wonder what you all do differently in match play than stroke play?

Do you ignore the other guy and just play your game? Do you try to get in his head if you have the opportunity?

It's a huge week long tournament and I want to be competitive but I don't want to be an a-hole either.

Thanks.
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I've played match play plenty of times at my local club but since we all know each other gamesmanship is expected and accepted well.

 

I'm playing in a State Match Play Championship in June and wonder what you all do differently in match play than stroke play?

 

Do you ignore the other guy and just play your game? Do you try to get in his head if you have the opportunity?

 

It's a huge week long tournament and I want to be competitive but I don't want to be an a-hole either.

 

Thanks.

 

There is a VERY fine line between being an A-Hole and getting in someones head, but in my experience you cannot have one without the other. I say play your game and be a gentleman. If he starts to jaw it up a little, return the favor with "Wow, you have only made one bogey today. You have a nice round going."

 

The mentality to match play is the same as stroke play take it one shot at a time, but in match play you MUST pay attention to what your competitor is doing where as in stroke play you try and zone them out and play your own game.

 

Example: Take a tight par 4 with a pin right next to the water with no trouble left. In stroke play, you dont even think about the pin on this hole,you aim 15 feet left and try and make your putt or keep it left of the green and get up and down. In match play, if your opponent knocks it stiff on this same tight hole, you must come out of your stroke play mentality and shoot at the pin with still some caution. But this is an example of how match play can make you play shots you normally wouldnt. Makes you feel like doing this :)

 

I say stick to your game plan like normal, but you cannot be totally oblivious to what your opponent is doing.

 

BTW, i have never won my state match play, but this year it might be.

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For myself, I've always found that when you're both on or close to the green, always assume that the opposition is going to make the putt or chip it in or close.

 

This keeps you on an even keel and I've found keeps you more in the present, which is always good in Matchplay.

 

In addtion, early on in the match, conceed a putt that is a borderline gimme. Later on when the pressure is on just let them try to hole out. I've seen this work at the amatuer level very well.

 

Hope this helps. :)

PING LST 8.5' / Stretch 13.5' / G400 17'
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Do you ignore the other guy and just play your game?

 

Any effective match play game plan must allow flexibility based on how your opponent is playing. If he hits it to six inches on a par three, you have to be aggressive with your birdie putt. Likewise, if he knocks it out of bounds on a par 5, you're foolish to go for the green.

 

Remember that you only have to beat one person to advance, and that you won't turn in a score.

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Can't add much to what's already been stated......ALL excellent posts.......

 

I had quite a bit of succes @ match play in my younger days and I basically played the course/my game while also keeping to myself.....(NO BS'n around).....I also expected my opponent to make EVERY single shot they had around or on the greens......and I also watched what they were doing with what I would describe as "peripheral vision".......(wasn't all that obvious about it)......that way IF they screwed up I MIGHT alter my strategy a bit on a certain hole/shot......MIGHT alter it......sometimes when you try and play too conservative because your opponent is in trouble it backfires on you......"West Coast turnaround" is what they call it around here.......:)

 

Basically I don't talk much, if any at all (NO need for "gamesmanship" if you keep to yourself).......take care of MY business......and "moniter" what my opponents doing.......

 

Prior to your tournament I'd practice 3' - 6' footers constantly.......you'll have to make em' so you might as well be ready........:tongue:

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I won my Club Match Play Championship last year and caught a glimpse of how things can turn around in a hurry. Lucky for me, it worked out in my favor. In my semi-final match, I went to the 18th hole 1 Down and it's a short par 4, dogleg left, with a lake gaurding the dogleg. I decided to play "safe" off the tee and ended up hitting a big hook with my 3 wood right into the lake. Then the other guy bombs a driver right down the middle. As I was walking down the fairway I was recalling a time that I still made par after hitting my tee shot into that lake....so I dropped and then stuck my 3rd shot to about 8 ft. He hit the center of the green and left himself a tricky little 4 foot slider for par after missing his first putt. I made my putt for par and then he missed his.

 

We then went on to the first hole for our playoff and he sliced one OB (first slice he hit all day) and basically gave me the hole for the win. Later on he admitted that after I made that Par putt on 18 his thought was "oh crap, now I have to make this little 4 footer" and that he couldn't shake it off when we went to the first playoff hole.

 

Then in my finals match I was giving everything to my opponent inside of 3 ft....all day it just worked out that he either left himself a tap-in no-brainer gimme or I would give him the 3 footer. He never had to stroke a putt that was less than 5 feet. Then we were All Square going into the 17th hole and I had a horrible lie in a greenside bunker and he was about 20' away on the green. I hit a miraculous shot that ended up about 3 ft below the hole..he gave it to me and then his first putt ended up almost exactly where my ball was....I could tell he was waiting for me to say "it's good" but I just walked over to the flag and picked it up, almost ignoring him. He marked his ball and just looked at me, it was actually a little uncomforatble but that's when I knew I had him. Of course he missed the putt and we tied the last for my 1up victory.

 

I actually really enjoy match play. When you hit a bad shot during stroke play you tend to think about minimizing the damage but in match play it's like...."oh yeah, now it's time for a miraculous up and down to really kick him in the stomach".

 

Thanks for all the tips. We're playing Bayonet, Black Horse, Del Monte, and Laguna Seca (Monterey, CA) in the double elimination tourney. I've played everything but Del Monte so let me know if any of you have any strategies for these courses.

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Wow Flo...that's pretty abrupt...I like more of the oposite approach. Hit a great shot and then slam your club in the ground and gripe about how you caught it a groove too high or you chunked it. Talk about how bad you're playing and how you'll be lucky to find the clubface today.....all the while you're striping them down the middle saying..."oh wow, another lucky shot"

 

The guy will think your nuts...but he'll be thinking about your game instead of his own.

 

I think the best way to get into a guys head is to make miraculous recovery shot after you hit one into the trees or something. Most amateurs will think they've already won the hole and then when you come back and make the miraculous save....they can't shake it for the rest of the round. They'll keep thinking, I can't believe he won that hole or I can't believe how lucky this guy is.

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Jportz what you have to do is just always remember that no matter how bad or good your playing the other person is never out of it. Remember one hole won't win you or lose you a match...if you get a double on one hole don't let that effect you on the next tee.

 

Shrugg those things off and just be nice to the guy...if your good enough and have enough talent your going to do well anyways.

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Dude...please do not take his advice...I'm in the golf industry working towards becoming a teaching pro and you should NEVER act like this.

 

If you play your game you will always have a chance to win. Do your best obviously your not going to win every match, but isn't it better to win/lose with dignity rather than winning/losing and your opponent think..."Wow that guys a piece of S#!*"?

 

Up to you man, but I've played many events and class always wins out over cockiness...

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I'm picking up what you're putting down.

 

The bottom line is to be yourself and my style is always mellow and easy-going. There was a post about throwing clubs and this guy said "if you've never EVER thrown a club you either just started playing or are full of $hit". Well I've never thrown a club or even had the urge to throw one. I'm not sure what that would do for somebody but I go into every round with an open mind and although I get a bit frustrated when I'm not playing well...I know that it happens sometimes and I just grind it out.

 

Here's a great line I'm going to steal from (IMOP) a great teacher, Roger Gunn:

 

"Watch, study and remember your good shots and quickly forget your bad ones."

 

I totally believe in that....I know that bad shots will happen, heck, they even happen to the #1 golfer in the world. If you go out expecting to hit 100% perfect shots every round you're always going to be let down.

 

I carry this mentality over into match play. I'm easy going and just play a very steady game...I can make a lot of birdies if I'm really on and playing aggressively but in match play, at the amateur level...18 pars will win every match. I just bore my opponent to death....I hit every fairway and every green and just try to 2 putt everything. They'll get to a point where they'll start trying to force birdies and that's when they'll make mistakes and I'll bury them.

 

It should be a good time.

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I could NOT agree more......tryin' to "psyche out" your opponent with your MOUTH isn't very effective IF you playing a really good player......in fact, you want to psyche out your opponent, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT and tend to your OWN "business".......get in your own lil' "zone"/"world" and STAY IN IT......:idhitit:

 

I had a few try bullxxxx like that on me in my day.......we call it "the needle"......Runnin' their mouth, rattlin' change, coughing/snifflin'/velcro the glove, etc.......rarely works with a truly good player and makes the person doing it look like a TOTAL HORSE'S a**........I totally ignored it and pretty soon it backfired as they were more worried about how to get in my head rather than their own GAME.......

 

Besides the players that are effective at "gamesmanship" (Danny Green comes immediately to mind) NEVER go out with a "gamesmanship plan" in my mind........they'll TAKE the opportunity IF you give it to them, but, they don't waste much time lookin' for it.......they play THEIR game.......and let you take care of yours.......

 

BTW, I don't count givin' putts as gamesmanship per se......that's a STRATEGY that can be effective, but, ALL you have to do to get around it is practice your 3' s when you have the opportunity.....which you can do in match play.....

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One of the scratch players at my club told me that he never watches his opponents shots so that it doesn't affect his play. I think I'd rather know if the other guy is in trouble....but that's probably like the leaderboard, some would rather not look at it and some want to know where they stand.

 

I think I'm more of a "know where I stand" kind of guy. Or better yet, keep the honor so you can set the tone on every hole.

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I've always believed in "lettin' my clubs talk for me"......rather than actin' like a "jackass" in an attempt to influence the outcome of a match with my mouth......IMOP IF ya' gotta' "run your mouth" in an attempt to beat somebody on a golf course than there are 2 things that are for sure......

 

1. Your playing a guy who you KNOW you can't beat WITHOUT "gamesmanship".......

2. You NEED to spend more time on the practice ground........

 

"SUBTLE gamesmanship"......guy is "rubber neckin' " your club selection on the tee of a par 3.......take a lil' more club and "ease er' in there".......thats fine.......guy's got the sniffles and you offer him a Kleenex.....ok.....rattlin' change......pull a dollar bill and ask for change.......super......but this trash talkin' BS has NO business in our game.......N O N E.....Z E R O.....IMOP.....:idhitit:

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