How Playing in for Your First Tournament is Like Running in Your First Marathon

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How Playing in for Your First Tournament is Like Running in Your First Marathon

Amazing things can happen both athletically and personally when we challenge our limits.
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Written By:

Abbey Algiers

Abbey Algiers lives in the Midwest with her husband and spends her time writing, teaching English, traveling the world, and balancing it all with golf, running, and yoga.

I remember the moment when I pressed send on my first marathon registration. I didn’t know it at the time, but with one, swift click, I had effectively changed the course of my life. No longer was I just casually running as part of my workout; I had committed to taking things to the next level.

So, of course, I totally freaked out.

I’d like to think this whole scenario can be applied to golf if you’re considering signing up for your first tournament.  You might be thinking: I’m only a casual golfer, what business do I have signing up for a tournament? You also might be freaking out about your competition. Or maybe you’re worried about the time commitment. Well, I’m here to tell you that while all these concerns are valid and normal, they’re also keeping you exactly right where you are. Now, this is a fine place to be, but consider that trying something new could take your game (and your life) to a whole new level.

With that being said, here are the top concerns you might have before taking your game to the next level, and why they aren’t as big of an obstacle as you might think:

 

Concern #1:  I’m only a casual golfer, what business do I have signing up? 

Well, even though you call yourself a casual golfer, the fact that you’re even considering a tournament shows that you’re serious about your game and about playing your best. What better way to improve than to sign up for something big and use that as fuel to truly work on your trouble spots. Plus, I’d like to suggest that since you’re entertaining the thought of a tournament, that idea is probably not going to go away until you actually do it. So why not rip that band-aid off, and get the first one out of the way? You know you want to!

When I signed up for my first marathon, I wasn’t a “real” runner.  I was, you know, a “regular” runner. I ran a few times a week and did a 5k once a year—maybe! I definitely wasn’t one of those people who ran every day and did long runs on weekends. Seriously, what was I thinking?

To be honest, I’m still not sure. Not only had I signed up to run a marathon six months in advance, but I’d also agreed to raise $3,400 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training. Can you say #crazy? I realized that while, yes, I wasn’t of marathon caliber when I signed up, it was possible to get there through focused training and dedication.

But I can tell you one thing: I’d still be “a casual runner” had I not taken that first, scary plunge.

 

Concern #2: I’m going to fall apart when I’m paired up with all of those “better golfers” with tons of experience.

Yeah, I thought the same thing would happen at my marathon. But then I got to the expo the day before and talked with fellow newbies who made me feel I wasn’t alone. I also talked with veteran marathoners who assured me I’d make it to the finish. When you tee off at that first tournament, you’re either going to be paired with someone as new as you are (and realize you’re not the only one), or you’ll be with someone who has tournament experience. But guess what? That veteran golfer had a first time too. Bottom line, you’ll be surrounded by people who understand you’re new to the rodeo and will support you. And you never know . . . the people you meet could become new friends or business connections.

 

Concern #3:  Prepare for a tournament? Are you kidding? I don’t have the time. 

To this, allow me to share some advice my mom gave me. She told me, “Time will pass anyway, why not spend it working towards something?” This advice was taken to heart regarding my marathon, and the same goes for a tournament. Let’s face it; if you’re considering a tournament, you already spend some time on the course.  Well, after you register, I bet that time will take on new meaning. You’ll feel like someone flicked a switch in your head from “casual golfer” to “I’m preparing for competition.” Be prepared to golf with a new sense of concentration. And the decision will most likely propel you to spend more time on the range or green, take lessons, or perhaps check out some online training videos.  What harm is there in any of these things?

 

The bottom line is, you’ll never know how you could do in a tournament unless you give it a try. For me, that first marathon changed my life in many ways; it led me to my core group of people (one of them is now my husband), it improved my running, and most importantly, it taught me that I can accomplish challenging goals.  I believe that mindset helped me expand my horizons and try other things I had previously feared.

So, virtual golf friends, how about a golf tournament this summer? I’m game if you are!

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