How to hit the perfect 1st tee shot?
Before we get into any of the more technical elements to a good opening drive, let’s focus on your gameplan. When you are nervous it is imperative that you work within your comfort zone. Choose a shot you know you can hit. This sounds painfully obvious I know, but it’s amazing how often players hit the shot they think they should hit off the first tee instead of the one they know they can hit. A gameplan that takes you out of your comfort zone will add to the nerves and make a bad swing more likely. So study the hole think about where the major hazards are and then select a club and a shot you know you can hit. If that’s a fade with a hybrid, so be it. This is how to hit the perfect 1st tee shot and get your round off to a solid start.
If you are serious about playing well you should really be warming up on the range. At the end of your range session hit five or 10 shots with the club you intend to use off the first tee. Picture the hole in front of you and rehearse the swing you’ll be making for real. As you stand over the ball, preparing for your opening tee shot, visualise the best shot you’ve just hit with that club on the range. See the ball flight, trajectory and shape. The confidence gained from having already hit it successfully on the range will be invaluable.
We all suffer with first tee nerves. Any player you think doesn’t is just doing a good job of hiding it! Understand that the nerves themselves are natural and do not mean you’ll play badly. However, it is important not to let them take over so before you hit your opening drive, stay occupied. Talk to your playing partners, look at the course planner, make practice swings and do whatever you need to, to stay occupied. Above all, remember to breathe! A series of slow, deep breaths in and out will relieve some of the butterflies and help you relax. Then, just before you pull the trigger, waggle the club to keep the muscles in your forearms and hands loose. This will help you make a fluid swing.
Two full turns
If you are asking how to hit the perfect 1st tee shot understand that tension is a killer in the golf swing. When you are nervous, the natural reaction is to tighten up, the swing gets shorter and you fail to complete your turn. A shorter swing either side of the ball can cause a number of issues so it is certainly something to be aware of. As you prepare to play your opening drive, have this simple swing thought in mind: make a full turn back and through. By acknowledging the affect the nerves can have and understanding how this might change your swing, you’ll be able to combat the issue. This will help you make a full, committed swing which is much more likely to produce a good shot than a short, nervy one!