1st Tee Jitters

Started by : Tim C |

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Tim C

Hi Team Titleist! I am on my high school golf team, and we have tryouts in a few weeks. I know my game is good enough to be one of the best on the team, but if I hit a bad tee shot on the first hole at tryouts, it might be a bad day. Does anyone have any tips for having confidence for that first tee shot when the nerves kick in? Thanks. 

Connor I.

Hey Tim, I am 15 years old and I play school golf too. I believe the best way to get rid of the nerves on the first tee is to make sure you stretch and warm up on the range before you tee off. Hope this helps!





Just remember that EVERYONE is nervous on the first tee.  It's ok to hit a hybrid or 3-wood for the first shot.  Pick your target and slow down your backswing...  good luck!

Josh G

Mentally picture a good shot. Only focus on the shot you want to hit. If you know what course it's at go out there and hit a few off the 1st an 10th tee. Knowing you can hit the shot and getting a good picture in your mind will help. After you make contact that shot is over. Focus on the next shot. If for some reason you hit a bad ball just remember it's only 1 shot. A great recovery or a nice putt can give you a clean slate. Good luck. 


Over the long winter here in the north-east I spent a lot of time on the range playing my home course in my head from start to finish (minus putting of course). As part of that, I committed to a Pre-shot routine for every swing and I find that as soon as I cue my Pre-shot routine on the course, I zone everything (and everyone) else out. This has helped me a lot with nerves. 

Joseph C

Just dont over think it. Pretend its you alone playing. Focus on nothing but splitting the fairway. 

mike k

I have the same thing in a few weeks. But what I try to do is just relax and talk to some of my friends before the round. When i get on the tee I just try focus on 1 thing and that would be making my normal golf swing, Cause if I do this i know the ball will usually  find the fairway. Also Practice your tee shots a lot and find a good tempo you can repeat.  Hope this helps!

Todd T

A bad tee shot will only affect your round if you let it... Study that first hole and how you wanna play it and you'll be fine!   Free your mind and the rest will follow. Post results!


A couple of things I do help me when I'm feeling those jitters.

1) To help to overcome these feelings, I always "practice with a purpose". Now I know you've heard of this, but what I'm talking 

about is when you are hitting your driver on the range, create an atmosphere of pressure in your mind. This will help you deal 

with those jitters.

2) Slow down. Don't try to hit the ball as far as you can. You always should have a shot you can go to in a pressure situation. It

doesn't necessarily have to be with the driver.

Masters Champion, Larry Nelson once said he uses a 3/4 swing on the 1st tee to help with the tension.

EE used to practice swing as hard as he could swing, 10 times on the 1st tee, before putting one of those classic, 

free flowing, silky smooth swings like only "The Big Easy" can do.

Now, you said you have the game to be one of the best on the team. The first tee is ONE stroke, use your game

to get the ball back in play and draw from the small successes.

Good Golfing!

Brice B

Well, I'd advise the following:

- come early

- practice for 30 mn

- go to the putting area and putt with one (Titleist) ball for 15 mn

- drink some fresh water

- breathe calmly

- hit it hard, with confidence !

Hope it helps. Good luck with the tryouts !

Mike C

A lot of good advice from the members here.  In competitive situations, I go through my normal warmup routine and stretching prior to teeing off.  The last shots I hit on the range will be what I plan to execute on the first hole.  Just focus on the shot, take your normal swing and routine and you will be fine.  If you have a bad shot off the #1 tee, no big deal, the shot is over.  Forget about it and move on to your second shot and know you can still make a par.

I had a big tournament earlier this month where I had the first hole jitters.  In the four tournament rounds, I only hit the fairway one time.  The remaining three rounds I pulled the ball way left (one of which was in a trap).  It was a mental block that I had but I just accepted it, laughed at myself and said "here we go again" once I hit the poor shot and was walking off the first tee box.  Even though I was way left off the tee, I played the hole smart, got back into position and was able to make par each time that started with a bad first shot. 

Always remember that once you make a shot it is over and it is time to move to the next shot.  Also, one bad shot does not make a bad round or be the precursor for a bad round, it is just a bad shot.  We are not professionals and are expected to have bad shots.  If you have one, erase it in your mind and think how you can still make the par with your remaining shots on the hole.

Good luck and have fun!

Bryan L

Also remember if you hit a bad 1st tee shot that you gotta chip sometime.  so consider that your chip shot and let it go.  You can only control the shot you are about to make, none of the ones in the past.

matt k

Coming from playing high school golf and coaching it, I know how nervous you can be on the first tee.  I think the most important thing is to let it go if you you hit a bad shot.  You can not let that effect your entire round.  You will have plenty of other opportunities throughout the round to impress the coaches and other players, trust me.  And there are more ways than just hitting a good shot in front of coaches to get their attention, i.e. your demeanor, confidence, etc.. In the event you do hit a bad shot, make sure you react calmly (no throwing clubs, swearing, etc) this can actually help your case.  But no worries, I'm sure you'll do fine. Tee it high and let it fly!

Jacob B

My advice is that you find a shot that you know you can hit and always make contact with so that you can take one error out of play (mishitting the shot). For example, I know that by hitting a knockdown or a "stinger" 3 iron I can virtually eliminate any mishit and take the entire right side out of play. It takes a lot of the nerves off of you because you don't have to worry about whether or not you are going to strike the ball well, and you can focus on the smaller details of the shot, which will calm you down. 

Hope this helps, and good luck!

Dr. Kovatchian

First Tee jitters.....if you didn't have them you wouldn't be human.

I always try to end my warmup routine by playing the first hole on the range....go thru your whole process from marking your ball...teeing it up...visualizing your shot...playing your shot...walk away for a bit and play your next shot...its all about positive visualization....focus on the shot in front of you and not the past or the results....play the game not the mechanics.....ENJOY!

Dr. K

Tim C

Thank you all for the tips. I had a great tryout!

Cody V

Hey bud golf is a game of confidence. When you step on that first tee you have to believe your the best golfer on the course. This game is all in the head. Take a deep breathe and visualize where you want the shot to go and just swing.

Ethan L

Hey man, I know exactly what you mean, when I played high school golf (from 05-09), there was a house at the end of the driving range (VERY nice house on a private course in MA), because of this I could never hit my driver or 3 wood at the range, which would be the club i would use off the 1st tee. Even in tournaments today I use the my go to routine, as i walk up to the tee, and find my aim, from the practice swings, stance set up, to my swing, I would count to 10 in my head and make sure everything was done in that time, unless something along the way felt way off. I still find this successful today, I believe it preoccupies my mind so I don't over think my shot. Any other stressful or shot where I feel antsy I stick to this which is my bread and butter for a anxious time

Olivia S

Coming from another 15 year old high school golfer [and currently #1 seat on her varsity squad!:) ] the best way I ever got over my first tee jitters was just simply having that first tee shot multiple times. After you are more used to competition, it is easier to calm down for that first drive. If you are afraid missing the fairway on your first tee shot will throw off the rest of your round, start the afternoon off with a 3W teed up ( or a club you have high confidence in)

Steve R

Tim -


Embrace the first tee jitters!  That's just a signal that your round means something.


When I have the jitters, I know I'm going to play well.  It helps me focus.  If I don't have a butterfly or two, I get worried that maybe I'm a little too comfortable.  Remember, there's a huge difference between jitters, and major-flop incapacitated nervousness.  Teenagers only have jitters. :)


Focus on a tiny target - conservative target, aggressive swing.

Brent P


I played on my high school golf as well as advancing on and playing for a NCAA Division 1 school. The first tee jitters are common and everyone has them. I have been fortunate enough to play against some of the guys that you see on television every week and believe me they get them too! The last 6-10 shots on the driving range should be the same exact shot that you are going to hit on the first tee. You should always leave the range on a shot that you would like to see yourself hit on the first tee. Missing fairways are not what you want but they are part of the game. PM is not stellar off of the tee especially with the driver but he is confident that he can still make par from almost anywhere. Walk up to the first tee pick your spot and let your body do the rest. There are 5 C's that legendary golfer Don January told me that you should have: Confidence, Courage, Commitment, Class and he said the most important was to be Cocky. I asked him why cocky and he stated that if you think nobody can beat you then you feel that you should win most of the time if you stick to your plan. Good Luck and play hard!

Rick A


It is important to have a pre shot routine. Take a few easy swings to loosen up, visualize your shot, address your ball, waggle and do not hesitate. Hovering over the ball causes you to stiffen up.



My comments come from a different perspective than yours.  I'm a high handicap golfer and so my errant tee shots are, in many respects, justified.  However,  I would feel very intimidated on the first tee when it's my turn to hit.  Of course, I would assume that others were going to have great shots;  only mine would be questionable.  So, to overcome this,  in my mind, instead of worrying what they will think of my swing and result, I mentally thank them for giving me the opportunity to show them what I can do.  Then I relax and usually hit a quality shot.  It's all about  tempo and tension.

Chris R



Just remember that EVERYONE is nervous on the first tee.  It's ok to hit a hybrid or 3-wood for the first shot.  Pick your target and slow down your backswing...  good luck!

There is a lot of good advice in the answers here...the above is most likely the best.  Unless you have to carry a hazard, there is nothing wrong with striping a 200-230 (or better) yard shot with a hybrid or 3 Wood down the middle than possible hitting into a disaster with the driver.  If your coach is watching it will come off as a mature decision.  Best of luck and hit 'em straight. 

tyler s

Hey Tim I am also a high school golfer I am 16 years old and play number 1 on my golf team and have had some pretty solid finishes at state and have won a couple jr tour tournaments my tip is practice on the range like that you are about to tee off and keep doin this till you feel comfortable with the shot   it really helps me.