How to Get Off to a Hot Start

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How to Get Off to a Hot Start Whether you hit a warm-up bucket or not, follow these steps to make your first shot a good one By Brian Mogg Top 100 Teacher This story is for you if... • You often have to rush to your tee time. • It usually takes you a few holes to start posting good numbers. Try This! When you can't get to the course early (and even if you do get there early enough to warm up properly), take the time to run through this five-item checklist before you step up to hit your first tee shot. It won't take long, and it can go a long way toward making that first drive a good one. 1. Count Your Clubs You're only allowed 14 sticks in your bag, and while your buddies might not call a penalty on you, an official certainly will if you ever play in a formal event. Plus, you want to make sure you didn't leave your trusty 7-iron in the backyard.
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2. Gear Up Run through the pockets in your bag. Some necessities you'll need for every round are a glove, plenty of tees, a pencil, coins or markers and your scorecard. During the summer, make sure you're armed with sunblock and lip balm.
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3. Take a Break Lag behind your group as you walk to the first tee, close your eyes and think about the day ahead. Devise a game plan not only for your swing, but for how you'll conduct yourself during your round. Without this kind of mental strategy, you won't find your groove until it's much too late.
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4. Check Your Swing Swing to the top of your backswing, stop, and look over your right shoulder to check your position. You may notice that the club is laid off, or that the clubface is wide open. You'll want to know about these things before you tee off so you won't have to search for clues or experiment with dangerous swing changes.
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5. Target Your Focus Picture landing the ball in a bull's-eye and erase any negative thoughts. Your first tee shot is important: The positive emotions that come with getting off to a good start can send your energy and focus to the level you need to play your best.