Years ago, I used to compete in our women's club tournaments and play reasonably well. Then as my handicap index declined and the number of strokes I had to give to the other players increased, my ability to keep my head when I had to give up 17 strokes per round made it very difficult to win. Now mind you, winning is not everything; but it sure feels like you are so far behind the eight ball in match play when on almost every hole, you are giving away a stroke and in some cases, maybe 2.
I played an incredible round of golf this past week - probably one of my best in the last few years. I went into Sunday's match with this experience in my head. Fully prepared to play well and knowing I could. My first two shots were extraordinary; then when I was chipping onto the green for the third shot, I skulled my chip, landing in the bunker. It unnerved me enough that I lost my head. I lost the hole, too.
My match partner and I went back and forth and back and forth up and down for many holes until I got ahead of her by a couple of strokes from which she couldn't recover and my game finally saved me. I won three and two; but it wasn't pretty. My actual strokes on the day were among the worst rounds I have played all year so far.
If you are like me, you tend to play up to your playing partner or if you are playing with a lesser player, well...you know. I like to play my own game in competition, not chit-chat; and generally walk alone to my ball, not focus on driving hither and there to the other person's shots, especially when the longest shot is 120-130 yards. I firmly believe that's what really affected my concentration and score. Even though it is more tiring, it's better to walk and be focused just on what I'm doing.