How to Overcome First Tee Nerves!

Why is it so important to have an awareness of how we feel both physically and mentally whilst we are on the golf course?

You may never have heard the saying 'we are what we think about most of the time' but this really explains what happens when you get yourself into a nervous or fearful state.

It is so important to check in with our feelings because once you start to feel nervous and lacking in confidence your sub-conscious will start providing you with the self-talk that will support these negative feelings.

For example: If you are waiting on the first tee for your turn and you are starting to 'feel' anxious, you have butterflies in your stomach and your hands are starting to turn clammy possibly with a pounding in your head then your self talk is going to start telling you things that will support these feelings; such as, 'everyone is watching', 'I am going to make an idiot of myself', 'I know I am going to play an awful shot as I feel terrible!'

What happens is a downward cycle of negativity. You have all the feelings associated with failure and your mind is now supporting these feelings.

TIP ONE – Check In With Your Feelings!

It is important to check in with your feelings because the sooner you stop the physical feelings taking hold then it is also easier to take control of your self-talk.

TIP TWO – Check Your Self Talk

Whatever you tell yourself you will believe – your subconscious mind accepts everything you tell it as fact – good or bad, positive or negative. It is important to make a conscious effort to STOP negative self-talk such as the examples I save above. One great tip is to start your self-talk with …

I am going to …

But be sure to end it with something positive. For instance; 'I am going to make this shot over the water'. What will happen is your sub-conscious will then support you to make this happen, obviously you also need the actual skills to produce such a shot but I guarantee if you tell yourself that you are going in the water regardless of how good you are that is where you will end up. Negativity is 100% effective – positive thinking helps but will need support by the skills as well. Confidence goes a long way to making great shots happen.

You give yourself a great deal of advantage if you believe you can do something as your self-talk and sub-conscious will support you to help make this happen.


It is strange that we still feel this exotic knot in our stomachs when faced with a situation that takes us out of our comfort zone. We still want to get out of any situation which creates that feeling as quickly as possible! Take the first tee for instance, I often get asked; 'How do I overcome my nerves at the first tee?'

The first tee is one of those situations that creates that exotic feeling and we just want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible! The problem is by reacting emotionally it often gives rise to a poor shot.

It's fine if you are running out of a wood to save your life, but you do not need to react so quickly playing golf. You can take your time! This is where so many amateurs and professionals make mistakes. They rush and then the result is inevitably a hurried and poorly executed shot.

This is where learning to understand why we have the way we do will help to CHANGE what we have always done. It is in your best interests to learn how to give yourself time and think about your decisions before taking your shot.


By learning how to compose yourself in an anxious situation it gives your intellect enough time to way up the situation and support you in creating a positive and confident shot.

1. Take your time – learn to take a breath and relax your shoulders .. A relaxed mind and body will result in a more consistent and winning shot.

2. Give your mind JUST ONE word to concentrate on such as FOCUS or COMMIT – whatever feels right for you.

3. Visualize exactly where you want the ball to finish up.

4. Then follow through.

Over centuries of evolution our emotions have helped us so that we can face predicaments and tasks that were too important to leave to intellect alone; for many of us this is never more evident than on the golf course.

But, it is now time to develop a sense of TRUST in yourself and create positive beliefs to help stop emotional reactions in their tracks and allow you the time, and self-confidence, to play the game of golf you want to? Above all else remember to SLOW DOWN!

Source by Gail Smirthwaite