For most club golfers, The Medal is the pinnacle of the competitive month – A chance to be mentioned in dispatches. Here’s 8 things not to do in a Medal

8 things not to do in a medal…

The Medal is an exciting yet daunting prospect for most club golfers.

It’s a chance to get your handicap down, to win a sleeve of golf balls, to be mentioned in the club newsletter.

But it also offers the prospect of disappointment, frustration and personal defeat… Another poor score, another 0.1, “Oh woe is me, I am undone.”

To get the most from competitive golf, here are 8 things not to do in a Medal.

Try too hard

“This is it Billy…. This is the big one Billy… Don’t let me down Billy…”

Yes, it’s the Arthur Carruthers Shield – One of the 14 most important events on the club calendar… But really, what does it matter?

Don’t go out thinking it’s life or death, with that attitude you’ll tense up and nothing will go right.

Try to enjoy the round and hum “Que sera” to yourself as you stroll the fairways. You’ll perform better as a result.

Have unrealistic expectations

So nearly made it…

If you play off a handicap of 17 then 17-over-par is a commendable score. Going out thinking you’ll shoot 75 is too much to aim for.

Use your shots wisely. If you can’t reach a long par-4 in two then play for position with your second and make sure you get on in three.

Don’t go for the hero shot over the water – Yes, it might come off one time in 10 and that will feel great, but is it worth the nine lost balls, nine spoilt scorecards and nine kicks in the privates?

Get ahead of yourself

“Well, let’s work this out – If I can make a four at the 6th and then three pars to the 9th, I should be out in 38. Then I can afford to drop a couple over the difficult run to the 15th and then steady things again on the last couple…

Wait a minute… What was that shot all about? Man… a triple bogey… Right, so now I need a birdie at the 7th and maybe another at 9…”

Stay in the moment and take it shot by shot – it’s the only way to produce a good score.

See the finishing line too soon

A tough break

You’re on a belter and are heading for a personal best score with three holes to play.

You’re already composing your victory speech, mentally clearing the space on the mantle for the Charles Crabtree Salver and you forget the job isn’t quite done.

A lost ball, three hacks in the bund, a top, a shank and four putts later and it’s another 0.1 and a tale of, “what might have been.”

Related: How to stop the shanks

Get competitive with your playing partners

The medal is about you recording the best score you can and seeing how that matches up against the field.

If you focus too much on trying to beat your playing partners, you will lose sight of that objective.

Yes, you’ve beaten Barry by two and Colin by three, but they shot 106 and 107 respectively and you’ve finished 47th.

Lose the place

Nobody enjoys playing with the angry medallist: The swearing, the snapped clubs, the broken bag stand, the course vandalism – it’s just unpleasant to witness.

Don’t be the person that gets whispered about in the locker room, or that people avoid playing with by suddenly coming down with a cold when the draw is announced.

Take a deep breath, roll with the punches and come out with your dignity intact, even if your scorecard looks like a 10-pin bowling score sheet.

Wear a punchy outfit

Ian Poulter can carry it off… You probably can’t!

If you dress up like Ian Poulter or Rickie Fowler for the Trevor Thomson Memorial Trophy, you’re just putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

It looks pretty cool when an athletic youngster shoots 65 wearing head-to-toe, tight-fitting orange.

It looks pretty sad when an overweight 40-year-old shoots a lacklustre 91 looking more like a Terry’s Chocolate Orange.

Birdie the first

Classic mistake – A brief moment of elation before everything, inevitably goes downhill.

Much better to start slowly with a solid double bogey and work your way up.