It doesn’t matter whether it’s the first hole with your buddies or the first hole of the Ryder Cup, everyone has nerves. What we do with those nerves can have a big impact on not only the first tee but a good chunk of the round. The best way to make sure that you’re ready for the first tee and everything it comes with comes down to preparation. It’s not just hitting balls to get loose or having your first beer, it comes down to being ready for it, and that happens well before you’ve even arrived at the course.
What I do to prepare myself for the first tee is mental rehearsals. Now this may seem silly or a waste of time, but it really does work. Whether I am playing in a tournament or just going out for a quick nine, I always mentally rehearse that first tee shot. I will close my eyes and mentally put myself on that first tee. I see the layout of the hole in my mind. I create the wind and my surrounding environment. I go through my reshot routine and then I see myself making the swing and watching the ball fly exactly how I want it to go.
By doing these mental rehearsals before arriving to the first tee, this will help calm your nerves a bit because you have gone through this situation many times before. As you go through your rehearsals create different environments as well. Add a lot of wind to the equation, or throw in a little rain. Try and create as many different scenarios as you feel like. All this will do is better prepare yourself for anything that may happen.
This practice really should only take a couple of minutes. The more detailed you get the more you will be ready come time to pull the trigger. Your nerves will be a bit calmer because you have already seen yourself hit the shot and all you need to do is go through your motions and get the round started on the right foot!