Dear Golfers ⛳,

1. The world of information is flooded with golfing instructions which are primarily written with a stroke play in mind. I have rarely come across some specific writtings which are written keeping ‘ MATCH PLAY’ in mind . I am certain that my readers will tends to aggree with me on this count and that’s why I choose to write on ‘ Match Play’ .

2. Let me explain to you, what is the match ?. Match play is one of the competitive format in which a player, or team, earns a point for each hole in which they have bested their opponents during a stipulated round of golf.

3. In simple words, it’s a competition between two players. For example if score between them is 3 & 2 , it means that one player is 3 hole up and 2 holes are left to play. At this stage match will end in the favour of the player who is 3 hole up over his competitor. Infact there are certain variations in Rules of Golf for match play format.


4. In my personal opinion, match play is the game of wits and mental strength then the pure skills. Just to make give you an another example, Suppose you make a Par on hole no – 1( Par 4) and your opponent make quadruple (8) , so you went 1 hole up. But on the next hole you make a Par and your opponent make a Birdy . The net result is all square going into the 3ed hole. What make Match Play more interesting is the dynamic shift of momentum and pressure in shortest time between the players.

5. To have a winning Edge is to appear unpredictable, robust and mentally composed in your efforts . This simple observation will make your opponent to do a little extra by forcing certain unforceble fundamentals & Boom boom. You have made an early entry in your opponent’s mind. As I said earlier, match play require mental strength and certainly a notch higher than stroke play.

6. You must be wondering, why I am saying so repeatedly ??, Because in match play you are witnessing your defeat & win directly hole by hole. To my understanding, these are unique situations which are bound to generate tons of emotional reactions. These are the precise moments where win Or loss lies. This is the moment to encash the advantage and channelize your energy for winning the matches. Adopt the following strategy to increase your winning chances next time you tee-up for a match play :-

(a). Remember a golden rule – Duration of match play is not a time for making Social talks. Focus on each shot as if it’s a last shot. Channelize your entire energy inwardly.

(b). Time permitting, try to know the strength & weakness of your opponent. Develop a strategy and understand his pattern. You can also do this while playing the match on the golf course, provided you are bit attentive & observant.

(c) Stay true to your business in hand. Block the external noises and give your complete focus to it.

(d). Whenever you pull out a miraculous shots and sink an unsinkable putt. Do not give away your emotions to these shots. This will give an impression to your opponent as if these are your regular shots. Your opponent will become more & more uncertain of his own capabilities against yours.

(e) Do concede few 2 to 3 footer uphill straight putts to your opponent. This will not give him an opportunity to make smaller putts and will not let him to develop rhythmic smaller strokes in a tournament condition.

(f). when your competitor is expecting you to concede a 2 to 3 footer which is either down-hill or side-hill putt, all of sudden, ask him to make it . Your response will catch him off-guard and will put an additional pressure on his already unsettled short strokes of putting. Soon , you will start witnessing him miss more putts.

(g). It is possible that , sometimes you come across guys who resort to unethical practices to divert your focus and attempt to break-down your momentum or intentionally irritate. Under such situations politely ask him to address his concerns to the Referee of the match play. This way you save yourself from involuntary reactions to his ill intended thoughts.

(h). Always be courteous to your opponent during the play but certainly not kind & benevolent. Remember neither you are a monk nor you are standing in a monestry. Be a invincible warrior in your mind, thoughts & actions.

(i). Be quiet & unresponsive to your opponent’s talks. This quietness & reserve mood is bound to trigger your opponent mind and further complicate his thought process.

(j) Always be gracious in your winning moments and even more if you losse a match despite your efforts. In both cases, make your opponent feel special and worthy of his brave efforts.

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2 thoughts on “DECODING:-MATCH PLAY

  1. J Philipose

    Yet again very well written article…the insistence on composure and mentally outplaying the opponent are gud tips towards improving one chances of winning match play…rgds


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