Dealing with first-tee jitters? Try these 4 tips to conquer them

brooks koepka tees off

Everyone gets first-tee jitters, but what separates pros from amateurs is how they handle them.

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There are plenty of reasons to feel first-tee jitters, whether you’re playing a Sunday-afternoon round with your buddies, paired with a group of strangers in a pro-am or you’re an LPGA professional at the Hugel-Air Premia L.A. Open (April 22 to 25), when the best women in the world go Hollywood at Wilshire Country Club (below). How will they harness that nervous energy and stripe one — and how can you do the same?

wilshire country club
Wilshire’s opening hole is no joke. It’s not overly long — the LPGA will play it from 380 yards — but it’s plenty demanding. Patrick Koenig

Check out the four steps below.

 1. Do a dress rehearsal 

Don’t just finish your pre-round range session by mindlessly cranking away at a few drivers. Be intentional about it. Visualize the first fairway, go through your pre-shot routine and pretend you’re hitting the first drive of your round. You’ll feel more comfortable when you get to the real thing.

2. Stick to the script 

This isn’t the time to improvise. If you normally hit a cut, hit a cut. If you’re not a long hitter, don’t suddenly try to bomb one. Embrace the best version of your golfing self. 

3. Don’t be a hero 

Pick a conservative target. If there’s water on the right side — or, in this case, Beverly Boulevard — play to the left. This doesn’t mean playing scared. It means playing smart. Taking an aggressive swing at the safest possible target is the best way to guarantee you’ll feel comfortable over the ball.

4. Embrace the spotlight

It’s easy to feel rushed and self-conscious when you’re on the first tee. Take your time! Breathe… focus… smile. See your target. And make the best swing you can.

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Dylan Dethier

Dylan Dethier Editor

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/ The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.