It’s often said that in golf the longest walk is from the practice tee to the first tee. We have all experienced hitting the ball very well on the practice tee only to hit the ball poorly on the golf course. Everyone has been there. On the practice tee we are hitting the ball from a level spot, we normally are hitting off mat or good grass, we are hitting a series of shots with the same club and we are relaxed. We know if we hit a poor shot we can just hit another ball. The golf course is quite different, the ball is seldom in a level spot, the ball may be nestled down in the grass, we are switching clubs from one shot to another and, worst of all, there is the pressure of the game.
Relaxation is the key to successfully getting from the practice tee to the first tee. Following are a few hints that will help you stay relaxed and make a good smooth swing. 1. Plan your shot before you take your address position. So many golfers don’t make a plan before they address the ball. If you try to plan your shot when you stand over the ball it will increase the amount of time you spend standing over the ball. 2. Make sure your grip pressure is fairly soft, maybe 3 or 4 on the 1 to 10 scale. Tight grip pressure will create tension in arms and shoulders and be the opposite of a good relaxed swing.3. Develop a good routine before each swing. A good routine would be something like this: Grip the club softly, a step or two away from the ball, set the club head down square to the target, set your front foot, then you back foot, take a look at the target and make a smooth swing.
You can use my pre-shot routine or create your own. The goal is to create continuous motion. So many golfers spend way too much time standing over the ball trying to get their checklist correct. Checklist time is for the practice range. Learn the fundamentals, relax and let it rip!!