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How to Handle First-Tee Jitters: A Guide for New Golfers

It is perfectly normal to have a few nerves when you play golf – especially on the first tee. The first shot of the day is a nervous one for most golfers, because you aren’t yet into the rhythm of the round, and there might be extra people standing around watching. If you want to get your round off to a good start and hit that first shot right down the middle, you are going to need to come up with a strategy that helps you fight off the nerves and make a good swing. The next time you head to the course, try using the tips below to better handle the first-tee jitters.

  • Warm-up properly. Many amateur golfers neglect to warm-up properly before a round, and this can actually contribute to the first-tee nerves that they feel. Prior to your round, hit some shots on the practice range (if available) and roll plenty of putts on the practice green. Just by arriving at the course in plenty of time to warm-up before your round, you will be able to shake off many of the nerves you would have otherwise felt on the first shot of the round.
  • Focus on the process. Each shot you hit during a round of golf has its own process – you need to pick a club, pick a target, and set-up for the shot by taking your stance. If you can put all of your attention and focus into this process, it will be easier to forget about the nerves and simply go about your business. With your mind committed to thinking through the shot and picking the best possible target, you won’t even have time to remember to get nervous.
  • Slow down. When you get nervous on the golf course, it is natural to move faster than you normally would in response to the nerves. Fight back against this urge and try to consciously move a little bit slower on the first tee. When you rush, your swing tempo and mechanics are likely to get out of line – and a bad shot could be the result. Take an extra moment to gather your thoughts, take a deep breath, and step into your shot with confidence. Rushing under pressure is a common mistake that many golfers make, but you can avoid it simply by being aware of it and slowing yourself down at key times.