10 Tips To Overcome First Tee NervesInto the Rough > Golf Features
Published 27/08/2008 15:15:35
The first tee can be a daunting place, your first shot can set up the mood for a round. Take too many shots and you can destroy your scorecard before you've even holed a ball. Then there's the players behind you, watching, just waiting for you to slice it into those trees. Oh and you're not warmed up, there's a twinge in your back and you never got enough sleep and your shoes don't fit.....
Aaaaaand relax... First tee nerves are common. You're not alone. Follow these 10 tips to play with confidence on every hole, not just the last 17.
1. Be like a learner driver
Everyone started somewhere - the crowd aren't laughing at you or hoping you fail. Everyone hooks, slices, pushes or pulls their ball sometime. So even if there are some players behind you, be assured they don't really care where you hit your ball, they're too busy thinking about their own game
All learner drivers worry other cars are watching them - but once you learn to drive you realise they're not.
2. Warm up properly
Muscles perform better when they're warm but it'll also help you relax and focus your mind.
3. Use a club you're confident with.
Even if the first hole is a 600 yard par five, if you're not confident with your driver then you'll run the risk of a nervous shot. Use your five iron if you have to - better two good iron shots than one lost ball 300 yards away.
4. Take a practice swing.
It will help you warm up but more importantly it will help you visualize the shot you want to play.
5. Lower your expectations.
If you're feeling nervous you run the risk of playing a bad shot. So why increase the risk by playing a tough shot? Aim for the middle of the fairway, or the biggest part of the green.
6. Don't be rushed.
Don't rush your shot simply because your friends are waiting, or club members are behind you. If you feel another party is rushing you, simply let them through.
7. Focus on the process, not the outcome
What does that mean? Well, focus on swinging your club like you always do, not on where the ball will land. You know that if you swing like you did 1000 times at the range, it will go roughly where you want it to. So stop thinking negative and concentrate on the process.
8. One hole at a time
A bad first hole won't ruin your life, your day or probably even your round. Everyone makes a bad hole - you just got it out of the way on the first!
9. Channel nervous energy
Now we're getting a little new age here. But do you think Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson are nervous off the first tee? Of course they are - expectations are all relative. They know what they can do, and expect to do it under pressure. Woods is the best under pressure and therefore the best day four golfer there is. He brings his A-game when it matters - he channels his nervous energy and adrenaline
This only comes with playing again and again.
10. The game is supposed to be FUN.
Yes - it's a recreation, a hobby and a sport. If you're so worried about hitting a ball you should ask yourself why you're playing the game
Just remember - nerves DO get easier to deal with. Everyone has been there, learn to love the game and don't beat yourself up should you succumb to them.