Whatever that is in your world, local Club Championship, Monthly Medal, the British Open. How do you apply the very best in mental skills to prepare?
Bad news first, ideally any preparation for this would need to already be in place i.e. to not do anything different that you would apply to any game, except where you are adding additional interference by thinking more about it.
Good news, I’m determined to live in the real world and give you something really useful to recognise most of you don’t have sound mental routines and habits in place and this match is one that you might start thinking about preparing.
1. First notice how you are thinking about this and wherever possible ‘stop it!’ that’s ‘less’ except for the list below is always better, just notice the thought, clench your fist to represent it and while releasing hand say ‘let it go’ and make a commitment to give it your full attention when you arrive at the course (called timelock).
2. Definitely have a plan for this round and strategy for the opening shot(s). Write out a shot plan for the first two shots of each hole, pars 4 & 5 (par 3s you need to know the pin position and for some of us even see that as a lay up in some conditions).
Sit down quietly and only put down shots you can feel confident about (honestly)
Stick to it, only change would be if conditions or how you feel dictate you go safer.
3. Obviously remove unwanted distractions (clear your mind) from the day. Get ‘everything!’ ready well in advance right down to spare battery for your range finder.
4. Have one specific purpose e.g. commit to every shot, commit to plan, whatever happens, commit to shot ritual. Focus on the process, not the score.
5. And lastly, generally have normal routines (e.g. practice, warm up, arrival time, sleep previous evening etc.) again in an ideal world you would have built ‘habits’ around how you (as a unique individual) prepare to perform in your version of the zone.
So in summary, think less, stick to your plan and if in doubt always focus on your breathing.