Many golfers get nervous on the first tee. Their minds, well at least mind does, fills with potential danger and concern about hitting a missed shot. This continual challenge is one that I believe I have conquered. This does not mean I always hit the ball well, but at least I do not dread the first tee as I wait for my turn. It took me some time to overcome my apprehension by developing a process of coping that suits my game; additionally, I came across a video by Tom Watson that will hopefully help if you are struggling with your first tee shot.
First, lets see what Tom Watson has to say:
I do like Watson’s suggestion to use the last club on the range that are planning to use on the first tee. His thoughts of transitioning on shot to another makes sense and I have used this technique in the past. It does work as long as we do not try to over think the shot. Brian Penn from All About Golf suggests playing and entire round when practicing on the range; this mental (and physical) exercise is a great way to gain confidence in our game. Therefore, I would suggest that it is not a long stretch to hit my last shot on the range and first shot of your round.
One technique I rely on is visualize the shot I want to take before I even walk to the first tee. I take the time to mentally hit the shot a few times before walking to the tee box. Then as I wait my turn, I do it again. Lastly, I visualize the shot I want to make as part of my preshot routine. This mental exercise serves me well, especially when playing in tournaments when I need that extra edge.
Another technique is to control my breathing. During tournaments, when I put extra pressure on myself, a series of deep breaths helps to keep me calm. This technique is best completed before I start my preshot routine in order to help me focus on my routine. The last thing I need to is to be distracted by my heavy uncontrollable breathing. Pressure that is not managed used to create many wayward shots, but alas this is a part of my past golf game.
The first tee shot is always the most challenging (except for the last tee shot when you have an outstanding round going) and being able to manage this pressure shot is important to our golf game. There is nothing worse than hitting a wayward shot out the gate; it sets the stage for a possible long challenging round.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “The First Tee Jitters By Tom Watson”
I must admit that most of the time I don’t really have too many jitters on the first tee, if anything I am amped up a bit too much. Playing almost every day during the golf season, I find it important to focus on slowing things down as I have a tendency to swing too hard when getting started.
My warm up is focused on concentrating on a smooth swing tempo, especially when I am playing with historical clubs which is a lot of the time. Taking five deep breaths before I address the ball helps a lot and tends to calm me down. It usually works.
I don’t get too excited or influenced by what any playing partners do. I have had warning track power for several years now and keeping up to the big hitters is not going to happen. Focusing on my tempo and relaxing is key to a good start.
Sounds like you have your game prep well in hand. It is important to have a process to maintain calm and you have that for sure. Thanks for sharing.
Jim, great points. It can cause you to lose your mind. Last Sunday, I got paired with a fellow and after first tee introductions, he belts one about 310 down the right side of the fairway. I should have known better because he had his name on his bag. 🙂 Anyway, I try to put a little extra into mine and end up hitting a week toe hook about 90 yards behind him. I was a little out of sorts because usually I’m left with a 5 or 6 iron in and this time had 220 yards over a crest of a hill. I jumped up and saw the top of the flagstick and proceeded to nail a great 3wd. Problem was, I forgot to wait for the green to clear and rolled one through the group putting out. Like I said, it can cause you to lose your mind. . .
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I feel your pain. I have tried to keep up with long hitters and it never works for more than a shot or two. Throws us off for sure. I hope you recovered after your opening hole.
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