The first tee shot is probably the most dreaded shot by the social golfer. Every golfer who has watched tournament golf on television has probably marvelled at the ability of the players to tee off in front of hundreds of people and cameras beaming pictures to millions more.

These pros have learnt through experience and practice how to control their concentration and focus on nothing but the shot itself. To understand why it is such a difficult shot and what you can do about it, read on.

The biggest problem with the tee shot is worrying about how we look to everybody standing around us. Not only are we concerned about our playing partners but also other groups waiting behind us, groups who have just finished their round and possibly a few people sitting up in the clubhouse as well.

The first thing we do is to put pressure on ourselves to hit the perfect shot, to look good in front of everybody. We also worry about hitting the ball into the water, bushes, sand etc. This is called focusing on the OUTCOME.

Having outcome thoughts causes us to tighten up and to rush our swing resulting in a bad shot and consequently achieving the outcome we didn't want.


  • A good warm up should have you feeling good about your swing and confident you are hitting the ball well.
  • To be mentally and physically ready a good warm up is essential. See the WARM UP section for some useful tips.

Be Realistic

  • Nick Faldo once said he hit, what he considered, perfect shots only a few times in a round.
  • So if one of the best can only do it that many times what chance do we have?

Play to your Ability

  • For example, if you play off an 18 handicap then expect to bogey the first hole. This can reduce the pressure to expect more of yourself.
  • If you do any better then it is a pleasant bonus.

Go for Accuracy not distance

  • Build confidence by aiming to hit a straight shot rather than a long shot. What is more preferable; a 150m ball in the middle of the fairway or a 200m ball in the bushes? The best way to do this is to focus on a relaxed swing or even a 3/4 swing.

Body Language

  • If you want to feel relaxed then "look" relaxed. Most nervous people walk quickly so SLOW DOWN!!! The best way to do this is to walk slowly. It is hard to walk slowly and feel rushed at the same time. Try it.

Positive Thoughts

  • I am going to ask you not to do something and I want to see how well you can do it. "Don't think of a pink elephant!"
  • What did you think of? Hard not to isn't it. The mind works with images and when you ask yourself not to think of it guess what you get.
  • Same principle applies to your golf. Rather than thinking "don't slice it", you are better off "seeing" the shot you want to hit.

Focus on the Process

  • Rather than focus on the OUTCOME, focus on what you have to do to get the outcome you want. For example if you focus on a smooth takeaway and a relaxed 3/4 swing the outcome should be a controlled shot hit down the fairway. Take care of the PROCESS and the OUTCOME will take care of itself.
  • Remember golf is a game played over 18 holes and the winner is the most consistent player over those 18 holes, NOT who hits the best tee shot. Use the tee shot to get you off to a comfortable start not to blow your confidence.