Stroke play competition vs. Match play thoughts as the Ryder Cup starts on Friday. When I think of each in a tournament situation, I find that I do have a different mindset for each.
I tend to play more aggressively in match play, knowing that if I do happen to make a poor swing or decision, it can potentially cost me only one hole in the match, not knock me down 3 shots on the leaderboard. Not to say that I throw course management out the window, but I am prone to take more chances 🙂
Stroke play gets me more focused on the round as a “whole”, where I plot out each shot in a different manner. For example, this past Sunday I had a Singles match against a very solid player (match play). I found that while my pre-shot routine didn’t change, my thinking before that point did….I was looking for a way to make birdie from everywhere. I won the match, closing my opponent out on the 15th hole. Three birdies on #8, #10 & #12 allowed me to pull away. Stroke play does create more of a conservative side.
I really need to create a mental pathway between the two. As I think this through, I realize that in stroke play, I may be playing shots to “not make mistakes”. I need to feel stronger in my shot commitment and more confident in my ability to execute and not worry about outcomes.
This is a simplified version of my approach, but often for me, simple is much better.
Go play fun golf.