Get­ting off the first tee doesn’t have to be stress­ful

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - News - – with nick seitz

A game plan ev­ery golfer can use for the first tee.

Your open­ing drive can be the most im­por­tant shot of the day. It sets the tone for the rest of the round. Here’s how I han­dle the nerves that come with it.

I like to end my warm-up on the prac­tice range by hit­ting the same drive that I’ll hit on No 1.That way I can carry a feel from the range to the first tee.

There are a cou­ple of other things you can do to over­come your jit­ters. The first is to take a deep breath, then let it out and pause. That helps re­lieve the ten­sion we all feel.The sec­ond, as my friend Jack Nick­laus has said, is to make sure you com­plete your back­swing and then start down at the same speed you took the club back. If you don’t fin­ish the back­swing or if you rush down, your swing will be out of sync. I feel like I’m us­ing no more force from the top than just let­ting my arms drop (above).

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