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Match Play Tips


Hey all TT members,

I have my first match play tournament coming up and wanted to ask for advice for strategies, tactics, mental game tips from those that have played this format. During stroke play tournaments I can manage to recompose myself after any mishits or blow-out holes by going through a swing routine but I fear this may be enough for match play. Plus I can see the logic of having a  'nothing to lose' attitude.

Thanks for your time all.

10 Replies

  1. Thomas C

    I like the match play format because when you have a "blow-up" hole it only matters for that hole (similar to Stableford) instead of hurting your entire round.  The part I don't like about Match play is keeping track of what my opponent is doing.  His/her shot can influence my mentality when deciding which shot to play..wether to play conservative or go for it.  I try to stick to my game plan and make them beat me but I still find myself changing shot decisions more often in Match play than in stroke play tournaments.

  2. AJAR


    Great points for both the advantages and disadvantages to match play. I hear what you're saying about rethinking shots so I'll definitely be mindful to commit to the game plan.

    Thanks for your post, appreciated.

  3. ToddL

    One thing to remember - you cannot win or lose an entire match on one bad hole.  If you have a bad hole, forget about it.  If you have an amazing hole, forget about it.  Each hole counts the same.

    Another strategic consideration.  If your opponent is a great putter, do not hesitate to "give them" short putts early on.  When the pressure starts mounting, make them putt them.  A little added pressure and those short putts become more difficult.  If your opponent is a lousy putter, well, that is obvious...

  4. John L

    i love all the diffrent games golf has. Match play. my best advice is play your game. don't take unnecessary risks. Match play can be a grind so embrace it. take everything one shot at a time. if they hit the ball farther than you off the tee don't try to match it. remember play your game. worst thing you can do it try to make a shot you dont normaly hit. if you do and it turns out good for you it can give you a false confidence and you'll try more risker shots. Ian pulter is a match play beast because he embraces the grind and knows that pars win holes. stick to the fundimentals and you'll do fine. good luck

    cheers greens and fairways


  5. SD_Golfer

    Something that helps me when I play any type of golf is a Ben Hogan quote ... I may be paraphrasing but it is something like

    "The most important shot in golf is the next one.” 

  6. Skylar T

    I would say definitely stick to your game plan and don't worry too much about what your opponent does, but if they ever put themselves into trouble, don't be afraid to play smart.  Also, never give up on a hole, because as we know in golf, anything can happen. Good luck to you in your tournament!

  7. Caleb J

    Just play each shot one by one and you will do fine. If you mishit a shot then put it to the back of your mind and your next shot will be great! Good Luck!

  8. AJAR

    Hey all,

    Just a quick thanks for all the responses. Am definitely taking on all the advice as best as possible. 

  9. Quintin H

    It seems you are a bit opposite thinking. In medal play, if you have a blowup hole it matters if the outcome is a double, triple, or worse. In match play it doesn't, if you get a par and your opponent gets a birdie it counts exactly the same if you  get a +5, you lose 1 medal play it is a 5 stroke difference.

    If your in the midst of a blowup hole, take as many strokes as you need to get on or around the green(get in your practice), then concede the hole and move on, don't give him the chance to get free practice.

    When the pros talk about their strategies for giving putts.......remember they are talking about strategies against another pro. I love it when someone gives me a 4ft putt for a halve because they are using the strategy used by pros against other pros.

  10. Hotsauce

    We just had a little best ball match play last weekend, and the putting mind game is definitely a good strategy.  Give them a couple short ones early on in the round- even better, have them line it up and then tell them its good before they hit it.  When they really need the short one, it might cause them to miss a key putt.  I had an opponent keep reminding me of my putt's importance.  "This is for the win right?" "Or I think you have to hole this halve the hole".  I'm not sure if he was trying to mess with me, but it did cause me to slip out of my routine a bit.

    Knowing what your opponent is doing is key.  If they drive one OB you'll know par is most likely good enough to win.  it might be better to take a hybrid off the tee in that instance.

    Most importantly is to have fun.  I know I always play better when I'm out there just having a good time.  If you focus on having fun you can't lose.

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