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How to get rid of First tee nerves

It is safe to say that at some stage we have all fallen victim to first tee nerves. Nerves can be seen at all skill levels. Memorably and rightly so Hunter Mahan’s duff chip in the 2010                    at Celtic Manor saw USA lose to Europe. Pressure comes in all shapes and sizes and even though we might not all be chipping to win Ryder Cup’s we all will experience some nerves on the golf course – most commonly first tee nerves.


But how do we get past first tee nerves and start hitting bombs down the fairway?

The best way to calm your nerves before you step on the tee is to put in place some coping mechanisms.


The following five methods will help your pursuit to eliminating first tee nerves:


1 – 

Firstly, you should aim to stretch and move your body dynamically to prepare your body to function to its best on the first tee. An example of a few dynamic stretches may include lunges and squats to help activate the areas of the body that you will require to swing the club.

Also make sure that you calibrate your set up - Meaning that you should identify whether you are aiming correctly and also if your grip and posture is also calibrated correctly, sometimes we get into poor tendencies where we may unknowingly alter our set up resulting in poor shots particularly under pressure.  


Your last few warm up shots should re-create the required first tee shot that you are about to hit. This could see the completion of your warm-up you be your last shot as your last shot you hit on the range once you complete your warm-up. Many people warm up backwards.


2 – Be comfortable

Arrive to the tee five minutes before your tee time. This process will enable you to see the group in front play – you will be able to learn from the wind direction and their club selection. Moreover, you can see that people aren’t superheroes from their not so great tee shots, this can be comforting as you know that if you hit a poor shot that you wouldn’t be be the first person to hit a bad shot. This will loosen you up and enable you to swing more freely.  


Wake up early enough so you are fully aware and able to focus when you tee off – no drowsiness. It is easy to sleep in late, putting off that first tee shot but you are more likely to hit a poor shot due to being sleepy and drowsy. However, within reason if you can wake up at least two hours before a tee time and start using your body or mind then you with be more conscious and focused on the task ahead, likely reducing the anxiety of the first tee shot as you will have a plan.


3 – Have a plan

Understand the demands of the first tee and what you are trying to achieve?


  • Is it to just keep the ball in play?

  • Hit the fairway?

  • Avoid a hazard?


Understanding your ambitions for the shot will enable you to build a plan of how you aim to get the ball into its intended area. Where is the miss, where is the wind, how are you hitting it on the day and what shape do you hit the ball? Having answers to these questions and formulating a plan will enable you to take confidence in the outcome of the shot being better reducing your stress.


4  – Have an external focus

If you worry about technique whilst teeing off, then your focus will not be on the ball flight or the outcome of the ball. likewise, if you aim small you are more likely to miss small. Aiming small is an external focus and it will help focus your mind on the task and not the outcome further reducing stress.


5 – Change your physiology

When you take a gulp of your drink you hold your breath. Holding your breath will slow your breathing down and ultimately slow your heart rate. So just once you arrive early to the tee you will be able to lessen the effect of the physical nervousness through slowing your heart rate.


Ultimately exposure is the only thing that will really dampen the onset of first tee nerves. So, the more you put yourself in pressure situations the easier they will get. Play more competitions set realistic expectations and First tee nerves will become a thing of the past.

Stress and nerves are usually a sign of being unprepared. If you are unprepared, then you are likely to feel discomfort. First tee nerves are like playoff nerves, or last hole nerves. Hopefully, the five topics discussed throughout this piece will help you towards better tee shots and calmness on the course.


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