J is for Jitters. First tee jitters are common golfing in Thailand, but exactly what are they and how do you overcome first tee jitters?
That feeling, on your first day of your Thailand golf vacation where you can hardly put the tee in straight, you’re mind and heart are so excited and all you do is hope to god that you make contact (any contact) with the ball and send it past the Thai ladies tees. After all, besides spending the last 3 months or more indoors, your golf round in Thailand is the first time you hit your driver all winter, or if it is new, maybe the first time ever!
Overcoming the jitters is difficult, and actually everybody gets the first tee jitters, including that man whose name begins with “T”, as not in Thailand for Mr. Woods. How we cope with the jitters is more important. Firstly, if you have time to warm up, hit some practice range balls starting with your wedge and ending with the club you will hit off the first tee, making darn sure your last practice shot is a good one!
I usually keep the last 10 balls for my driver (the club likely to be hit off the first tee), and I finish on a good shot. If my first shot is a good one, I’ll hit only one shot. For me, there is nothing worse than teeing off knowing you’ve just hit it sideways on the range.
If you don’t have time to warm up on the range, try pretending you have hit your first 3 drives already, one in the water, 1 OB and one duffer onto the Thai ladies tee. Usually after golfers have hit any one or all of the above, they swing without fear, not caring about the result. This takes some practice admittedly, but almost every golfer I know hits a good shot after a bad one when they are not trying so much.
One other tip I do myself for overcoming first tee jitters is to hit your favorite club. In my case it’s my driver, but think about it, if you are staring your Thailand golf tour in Bangkok by teeing off at say one of the short par 4’s at either the East or West courses at Lam Luk Ka Country Club, do you really need to use your driver? For most players their favorite club is usually a 7 iron, or one of the new hybrid clubs. You can hit two 7 irons to easily reach either of these starting holes at Lam Luk Ka, and many other Thailand Par 4 holes, and you’ll rarely hit it out of play. Make par, or bogey at worst, and set yourself up for a good round and a memorable Asia hgolf vacation.
There is nothing worse, as I’m sure you know, then hitting one OB off the first tee and making a triple bogey to start your first round of golf in Thailand. Your holiday will have gotten off to a poor start almost before it begun and it doesn’t have to be that way. If you do not fancy hitting a safer club off the tee, at least start by hitting your driver just two thirds of your normal distance, by swinging easy or choking down on the club. Every time I play golf in Thailand I see more and more golf travelers so wound up that they either swing so fast to get their first tee shot over with or practice and stand for so long on the tee box so everything is just perfect, and the result is…not pretty.
Arrive in plenty of time, hit some practice shots, or at least pretend to, and just play your first Thailand golf tee shot as any other shot during your normal golf rounds– long and straight, and you will have conquered the first tee jitters!