The first tee! Prepare to have a good start and play well!
How to prepare for the first tee jitters
The opening drive off the first tee in a round is an interesting experience that only golfers can understand. It can be the most humbling, or the most satisfying event in a day, a week or a career, depending on the situation, the event, or the audience.
I share one of the goals of everyone who plays the game. That goal is to confidently pure the tee shot on the opening hole, and enjoy that proud moment and a wonderful walk down the middle of the first fairway!
We should not leave the outcome of this shot for chance, biorhythms, star alignment, or your higher power, (She or He has more important issues to deal with!)) Let’s get busy preparing to be more relaxed, more focused, comfortable and confident when facing this defining moment. There are no guarantees, but you can help yourself to consistently have a better experience by preparing for it.
There are a couple of different approaches to “loosening up” and preparing for the round. Some players head to the driving range and others go upstairs and head to the bar!
We recommend the first option. If you do, then the bar can be the place to go for a post-round celebration and sharing stories of “shots of the day” with friends.
I have played with, observed and polled a lot of great players over the years, and they all agree that simply preparing well, taking a good deep breath, and having a good routine is the best way to turn first tee jitters into positive expectations, confidence, and better performance.
Let’s start with the fact that the great Jack Nicklaus once said that he always gets a little nervous stepping up to the first tee, regardless of the circumstances or magnitude of the event. He said “preparation is the key!”
“When you prepare well and execute a solid tee shot, the reward and satisfaction are well worth the time and effort to prepare properly.”
In general, good preparation involves :
1: Arriving at the course with enough time to warm up comfortably, without rushing!
2: Have a set warm-up routine that includes starting with short shots and working your way up to longer and more challenging clubs.
3: Promote confidence by finding good lies to hit off of, or hit a few off a tee. Nothing promotes confidence and calm better than feeling some solid strikes.
4: Try to simulate how you are going to step up and drive off the tee. The more times you are in that situation, and the more you commit and stick to your routine, the more relaxed and comfortable you will become. Finish your warm-up with a good drive! (even if you have some range balls left, leave them, and have a nice leisurely walk to the tee with the feeling of that last shot. This is a good image and feeling to focus on repeating!
5: Be aware and try to time your approach to the tee area so you are comfortable and timely. Neither rushed or there too early, with too much time to dwell or see others fail. Be in charge of your situation!
6: Enjoy the challenge! It’s part of the game. Learn from each experience and what it takes for YOU to perform your best.
Be aware that everyone who has played the game has had a misstep or two off the first tee. We all understand the mistakes and appreciate the good shots. The poor shots give the good ones greater value!
Lastly, trial, error, and experience are your best teachers. If you have an inner desire to play well, you will figure out what it takes for you to do your best, as long as you are having fun and continue trying!!!!!