7. GO MENTAL
Comic strip hero Dilbert once explained his inattentiveness at a meeting by telling his boss, "Sorry, I was brain-golfing." There's a reason that virtually every top pro works on the mental game: It pays off. You, too, should be brain-golfing. Peak-performance expert Jim Fannin, who has worked with Luke Donald, suggests that before you fall asleep on the eve of your match, you should spend 30 minutes visualizing your victory. Paint clear, triumphant pictures -- your 12-footer dropping to clinch the match, or your vanquished rival doffing his visor and shaking your hand. Fannin says that the images will continue to play in your mind overnight, sending your subconscious a powerful message: I've already won. "The next day, just play out the inevitable," Fannin says.
8. EAT A BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS
If you want your opponent to hit it fat, get him gorging on fats -- plus sugar and caffeine. A pre-match trip to Waffle House can help you and hurt him, says Austin, Texas–based sports dietitian Sally Bowman. "Sell him on the biscuits and gravy, pork sausage and fried eggs, while refilling his coffee a lot," she says. "He'll have a mid-round sugar crash and will feel sluggish and sleepy the entire day." Meanwhile, you should nibble on fruit, whole-grain toast and a couple of eggs, with decaf coffee and plenty of water for hydration. Oh, and pack a couple of potassium-rich bananas for a mid-round energy boost.
9. DO SOME DETECTIVE WORK
Use Google for something other than "researching" Holly Sonders. If you've never played your opponent, make sure that he's not a sandbagging former third-team all-American masquerading as a 9-handicap. Check his official GHIN handicap (the USGA has an app for that) to see his last 20 scores. And ask his golf buddies what numbers he typically cards; he may post higher scores than he actually shoots. Now's your chance to negotiate strokes.
10. CALL IN LACEY UNDERALL
Slip the sexy cart girl -- yeah, the one who wears Daisy Dukes -- $20 to swing by just before your opponent tees off on the first. Have her say, "Good luck on your big match, guys. The winner gets a big fat kiss." Watch your suddenly unfocused opponent hook it into the pond. You're 1-up!
11. CHANNEL YOUR INNER HOGAN
No, we don't mean perfect ballstriking. When you get to the course, be quieter than normal, bordering on stoic. Say next to nothing to your competition, besides "good morning" and "good luck." And don't politely laugh at his first-tee joke; it's disconcerting when a joke bombs. It's all about telling him that today you mean business, says Ricky Ray Taylor, a New York City-based boxing trainer. "Before a fight there's a lot of waiting around, and I have my guy stay quiet—just a nod of the head," Taylor says. "You get your opponent thinking, 'Whoa, this guy has his game-face on,' which can give you that little edge." An added benefit to the sounds of silence? "It frees you to fully focus on the task and not be distracted by small talk," Taylor says.
12. GET A GRIP
When shaking hands before a money match, Sam Snead would check to see if his pigeon -- sorry, opponent -- had calluses. If your guy's palms are soft and fleshy, a win is all but ensured. Savor your march to glory. But if his mitts are covered in calluses and Band-Aids -- and if you notice a copy of this issue peeking out of his bag -- he's a rascal who's been working you as hard as you've been working him. Feign a sudden case of vertigo and say, "Sorry! Can't play. Doctor's orders." Then go grab a whiskey. You dodged a bullet, friend!