What do you think is the most important shot in golf?
Most of us would say the tee shot. Many players, amateurs and PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players alike, spend countless hours working on their driver swing. This makes sense since the tee shot sets the stage and the mood for the hole. It can start you off with an advantage or disadvantage, putting you ahead of your competitors or just giving you the chance to make your first birdie.
When executed correctly the drive can boost your confidence and help you feel more stable and trusting in your golf swing. All these things are huge benefits to how you perform on the remaining shots for the hole and how you perform overall.
For these reasons I am sure many of you guessed the driver tee shot is the most important golf shot. But that is actually incorrect. Not to be too philosophical, but the most important tee shot in golf is, drum roll please....
...the next one!
So what does that mean? That means no matter the outcome of the shot before, your most important task is to have complete focus on your next shot. We put a lot of pressure on the outcome of our tee shots and that outcome will set the mood for the hole. But what if it doesn't have to? How many shots would you make up if instead of fretting about your poor tee shot you focused on making a great swing for your next shot.
This present focus is so important to your success in golf and in life. It will help prevent your mind from wandering, and we all know what happens when we allow that to happen, negativity presents it's ugly little words.
A poor tee shot is at the very least frustrating, but it does not need to determine your score on that hole or enjoyment of the game. What it can do instead is teach you. Teach you to let go, teach you to accept and persevere when faced with an undesired outcome. It teaches you some swing issues you can work on, but it ultimately teaches you that this is a humbling game where your mood and emotions will lead you down a path or failure or success on and off the golf course.
So next time you hit a bad tee shot just smile to yourself. Be excited for the opportunity to learn and the chance to let go of the emotional turmoil and bring yourself back to the present to focus on the next shot!