Swing Thoughts is created to help
players seeking greater levels of success and
satisfaction (S²) in their games by offering
fresh and entertaining perspectives into the
mental side of golf.
I work with talented amateur and
professional golfers on a daily basis, helping
each to think and play more effectively. They
come to me for a variety of reasons: to improve
their confidence, to better their tournament
mindset, to learn to “get in the present”, to
move from a great practice player to a skilled
competitor, or to learn to recover and stay
mentally focused after a poor hole. But, there
is one theme that comes my way on a very
regular basis -- how to overcome the first tee
You may find my solution quite surprising.
The cause of the first tee jitters is quite
simple – the player is excited to play.
Playing the game of golf means that mistakes
will be made. More than that, the player may
believe that a poor first tee shot will result
in a landslide of terrible events. Often, the
player’s mind game sounds a lot like this
BEFORE he actually steps onto the first tee
If I hit a
poor first tee shot it will cause such severe
embarrassment I will feel like crawling in the
nearest rabbit hole. The spectators will
wonder why a hack of my caliber is actually
trying to play a round of competitive golf.
Plus, my competitors will be certain to laugh
at me while they figure that I won’t be much
competition today. If that isn’t bad enough,
my poor tee shot will most certainly lead to a
high score on the first hole, which will lead
to a terrible front nine and a definite high
score for the round. This impending poor first
tee shot is just glimpse into a sure-fire
series of lousy shots and a crummy round. I am
in big trouble!
If you want the first tee jitters to go
away, you are wasting your time. And, you are
probably not ready for competitive golf.
Jitters are the mind’s way of telling the body
that the next shot is significant. That’s a
good thing. That’s a necessary thing. Let’s
face it, the first tee shot is of great
importance and it needs to be taken seriously.
No more seriously, though, than the fourteenth,
twenty-third, or fifty-seventh shot. Jitters
need to be seen as a form of readiness. First
tee jitters are a sign that you are ready to
hit a great shot and play well. With this in
mind, why would you want these signs to go
Instead, I recommend you embrace the first
tee jitters and interpret them as a positive
sign that you are excited to play and are ready
to have a great round. Realize that you may
not hit your first tee shot perfectly. No one
does. Plus, it’s only one shot – not a sign
off doom, cause to crawl into a hole, or be
embarrassed. It’s just one shot of many that
you’ll take that day.
TipChange the way you think
about your first shot of the day and put it in
proper perspective. After all, it’s only the
first of many shots you’ll hit.
In Another's Word
...Golf is a game that
creates emotions that sometimes cannot be
sustained with a club in the hand.
– Bobby Jones
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