Dan McGuire III / Executive Director/ Illinois Junior Golf Association
So youve just hit balls at the driving range and feel pretty good about your swing. Its time to go and you begin your walk or ride to the first tee andthen it happens. Everything changes! I doesnt matter what the event. It could be a big event like the Ryder Cup or a less publicized event at your local club or just a social round of golf. Either way, it means something to you. So what changes? The fact that all your strokes count kicks in. All of a sudden, everything you do has more meaning because the stakes just got higher. Will you hit the ball as well as you did on the range? Will you get off the first tee in good shape? With all your expectations and everyone watching will you start your round the way you really hope to? Your body tenses, your mind clutters and your emotions churn as the ball rests on the tee and you havent even hit it yet!
Okay. Maybe a bit dramatic but whether they make it obvious or not, the first tee negatively affects a lot of golfers. The first tee can really be a nerve wracking place and just looking at it can cause stress and anxiety. After all; its the first shot of the day and its the first one that really sets the tone for your round, right?
Its interesting to observe golfers with good to very good swing mechanics at the driving range arrive at the first tee only to look like a completely different person! Where did the golf swing go, Id wonder. Its the same person with the same equipment and yet its NOT the same golf swing!
Why does the first tee elicit so much doubt, fear and anxiety for some golfers?
If youve read any of my previous articles you know that your external outcomes will be influenced greatly by your internal state. In other words; it all begins within. Below are some focus points that can get you into trouble on the first tee with a brief insight to help you move forward more positively. If you approach the first tee with any the focus points below you will probably experience pressure, stress and muscle tension over the ball. The result: you may not be swinging the golf club in a way that honestly represents you talent level.
INEFFECTIVE Focus Points:
This is huge. It will set the tone for my entire round!
PROBLEM: You trigger pressure because you believe your ENTIRE ROUND will be based on this one shot. This is simply not true.
SOLUTION: Focus only on this shot and this shot only as having no more meaning than thata golf shot.
I worry about what others are thinking
PROBLEM: Your focus is on them rather than on preparing for your tee shot
SOLUTION: Bring your attention to you, your game and what you can control
Now it really counts'
PROBLEM: This creates tension, fear and doubt over the golf ball because this counts focus point can take the joy and excitement away from playing golf
SOLUTION: Bring your attention back to what you can control and think, Im excited and look forward to a great start.
Knock out the first tee jitters by taking charge of your own focus points!
To Your Best Golf.
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