Any PGA Coach will tell you playing in one of these matches is great fun. So definitely participate, and when you find yourself involved in way or another in the future, here’s some tips for getting your team to perform.
When you join the team, you’ll either be a team member or the Captain. For both cases, there’s a couple simple principles you should employ to help generate a positive atmosphere.
Let’s start with the team member.
Practice your short game and putting.
When in doubt, review rule #1.
Every partner will love you and every singles opponent will despise you. Learn from the best, in watching the Walker Cup, players like Ricky Castillo went 4-0 because he was the sharpest around the green.
Match play is very different than stroke play. One bad swing might cost you a hole, not three shots. Yet a solid short game will win you several holes. Manage your preparation accordingly.
In most of the matches you will compete in, the Captain plays with the team. With two roles to contend with, it’s imperative you bring an excellent scoring focus to your game. Even more important, is getting to know your team. Try these positive principles when you lead your group into a match.
Your players will feel extra pressure, take every opportunity to keep them calm. The best
Captains know when to throw in a good joke or point out something funny. Don’t get so focused on the task at hand that you forget golf is truly just a game.
Don’t pair players by their game, pair them by personality. The most important rule. Think back to the greatest Ryder Cup pairings, they played like brothers. Matching up game types is irrelevant.
Prepare your reactions. Your team will look to you before they react. Don’t let a chip-in or big putt surprise you. Take it in stride and your team will as well.
We don’t get to play in team events very often, as a result we put extra pressure on ourselves. Since you can’t prepare for every scenario prior to the big match use these guidelines as a blueprint not only to win, but even more importantly for enjoying the camaraderie and the moment.