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3 Keys to Open Your Round with a Successful First Tee Shot

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Justin Thomas of team United States interacts with fans around the first tee prior to Friday Morning Foursome Matches of the 43rd Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits on September 24, 2021 in Kohler, Wisconsin. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Walking to the first tee every golfer feels an awakening of sorts. Whether you are a scratch handicap or a beginner you are aware of the moment. As we watched the world’s best players prepare and strike the opening tee shots this morning at the 43rd Ryder Cup, we can learn from the world’s best on how to handle that moment. 
All pressure is self-induced. We can prepare ourselves for the first tee experience with three small keys. Believe it or not, it will not be a swing key that gets that ball off its perch. 
1. Start your preparation by visualizing the setting and your feelings. 
  • Prepare your mind for what to expect. Does the shot require a carry over water, do you have a talkative playing partner or is it an important match? Picture it all in your mind positively and you’ll be better suited for the challenge. 
2. All successful players take advantage of a set pre-shot routine. 
  • An important reason why is to help them handle anxious moments— Doing is much better than thinking. Stick to a comfortable routine and you’ll have less time to let the negative thoughts creep in.
3. Control your heart rate. 
  • It sounds simple, yet we all forget to breathe in the moment. Concentrate on being calm. Each player this morning took an exhale prior to hitting the ball. Copy that. 
Walk slowly, focus on that routine and see your success. Follow those three keys and you’ll be more than ready to embrace the moment at the start of your round.

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