No Mulligans: How to Beat First Tee Jitters


Have you always been scared to take the first tee shot on the golf course? Your first tee shot gives you the jim-jams whenever you stand on the tee. It is all-natural, that is the almighty and universal golf truth. The very best of the best players in the world do experience the first tee jitters. If Tiger Woods in his heyday can get nervous, then having the jitters at the tee isn’t all bad.

First tee jitters are commonly associated with a lot of reasons. Imagine this scenario whereby in a competitive game of golf, the player before you has just squeeze the ball down the fairway. Your name was called, and it was your time to play. You teed the ball up, due to your anxiety and nervousness, the ball kept on falling because your hands were shaking and your head was throbbing like a jackhammer. You just want to get done with it, so you make an awry shot at the end. This is the jitters at work. However, you don’t have to worry about it again because you are in the right place to beat it. Read through this guide to learn how to beat your first tee jitters!

How to beat first tee jitters

You can easily beat your first tee jitters just by following the steps outlined below. Here is all you need to do so!

1.     Practice the Shot on the Range

“Even before you step up to the ball, have a full battle plan for the hole worked out”Arnold Palmer

The first thing you should do before standing on the tee is to practice the shot on the range. This involves creating a tee box strategy. Plan for the shot you will make when standing on the tee on the golf course. If you have never played the course before, look on the GPS to determine where the first hole is located. As stated earlier, create a tee box strategy, think about where you might have problems when taking the shot. Once you are done with strategizing, please pick up a club, it could be a driver, iron, 3-wood. Pick something that gives you the best game. Then go to the range and rehearse the shot you will make on the golf course. When you rehearse, you are only training your mind, body, and muscle memory to work in coordination. This will ensure your success when making your real tee shot. Keep on rehearsing until you have a shot that you desire. Having a shot, you desire from the range gives you a positive mindset to tackle your first tee shots without any anxiety and nervousness.

When you have your first tee jitters, you tend to be too nervous. You might find it difficult to breathe, or you are just breathing extremely fast. You are all filled up with adrenaline.  But do you know that you can use your breathing to calm your nerves? If you can master your breathing, then you will not have a problem with your first tee shots. To control your breathing, always make sure you are breathing throughout your warmup and keep on breathing when you get to the tee. You can do this by inhaling through the nose up to a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4 preferably through your mouth, then hold your breath again and repeat the steps. When doing this drill, try to visualize your shots and where you want it to land.

3.     Get Rid of the Swing Thoughts

“The swing is never learned. It’s remembered” – Bagger Vance

Imagine you are standing on the golf course to make your tee shots, you have rehearsed and controlled your breathing at this point, and all that is left is to make is a swing. You began to have swing thoughts. What do you think will happen to your shot? Perhaps you are thinking of a mulligan. Whatever the case may be, you should get rid of all swing thoughts when standing on the tee to make your first tee shots. Use the words of Baggar Vance to your advantage, remember your swings. Focus on squeezing the ball into the air and not playing your swing. Reverse every instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing.

4.     Focus on the Target

The next thing to do is to focus on the target. This point cannot be overemphasized. This step goes a long way to help you achieve the shots you want. This is what you should be thinking of when standing on the tee on the golf course. Most golfers think about the bunkers, the water hazards, and a lot more when they make their shots. This doesn’t seem right. Instead, choose your target and focus on it, visualize the ball to the finish line of your chosen target and you will be sure that the ball will lie in green pastures and not in still waters.

5.     Pre-Shot Routine

When you are standing on the tee, you cannot control the condition of things. All you can control is yourself. The ability for you to put yourself in the best position to make a good shot depends on your pre-shot routine. A good pre-shot routine gives you the mental capacity to eliminate all your nerves, which will, therefore, give you an excellent shot. Your pre-shot routine should be the same throughout the round; any changes can land you in dark times. Get all you need to make your pre-shot routine an epic one. Remember to follow all the steps mentioned above when making your pre-shot routine.

6.     Play more golf

Another way to get rid of jitters when making your first tee shots is to play a more serious and competitive game of golf. As you play more games, you become acquainted with it. You become more comfortable with it and see any challenges that may arise when you are making your shots on the golf course—playing more golf with consistency breeds competency. Therefore, take your game seriously.


In the words of Bruce Crampton, he said: “Golf is a compromise between what your ego wants you to do, what experience tells you to do, and what your nerves let you do”. Your nerves are a good thing because they can help improve your focus, rhythm, and your senses. Embrace and control your nerves by following the steps discussed in this guide to beat your first tee shots jitters, and you will be sure to make pretty shots. Don’t forget to practice also to build your confidence when you finally stand on the tee in Pine Valley. Happy golfing!