No more first-tee jitters. No more “getting off to a slow start.” This is a simple way to start strong with your “A-Game” right from your first drive of the day.
This is a Step-by-Step process for preparing to play from the time you pull into the parking lot until the moment you tee it up on the first hole. You’ll know exactly how to warm up and what to focus on, starting with Putting and taking you all the way to your last few warm-up balls on the range rehearsing your first drive of the day. You’ll walk to the first tee with confidence, knowing you’re set to bring your best.
Start bringing your A-Game. Every round. Enroll today.
Years ago a young, aspiring Tour Pro came to me for help. He was a talented player and a great ball-striker, with all the physical tools to make a career playing professional golf.
But he had a problem: His first couple of holes were a disaster!
He had a hard time getting his first drive in the fairway. His approach shots were either too long or too short. He didn’t know if his long irons were going left or right. Either he’d find trouble, or trouble would find him. Inevitably he’d start off a couple of strokes over par.
Once he got past those first few holes he played extremely well. Well enough to win. But he couldn’t find his groove until the third or fourth hole.
And by then it was too late.
He needed a simple, fool-proof way to get off to a fast start. Something that would work every time, day-in and day-out, at every tournament.
We started by analyzing his swing.
After watching him hit a variety of shots with a number of different clubs, one thing was clear: his swing was not the issue. He had a wonderful swing. Not perfect, but darned close and – more importantly – very consistent.
It had to be something else.
So we tried recreating that first-hole situation.
I had him imagine he was teeing off on the first hole of an important tournament with a driver. Then I had him hit approach shots, long fairway shots, and woods and hybrid shots – each time trying to recreate the situation as if he were on the first hole of a tournament.
His swing remained solid. Nothing stood out as the obvious issue.
It was a head-scratcher. To be honest he was hitting all of his simulated tournament scenario shots as well as he hit shots during the middle of his round – which is to say he was hitting them very well.
It wasn’t even a case of first-tee jitters. In the scenario-shots he was able to recreate the emotional tension he normally experienced in tournaments. He could handle pressure. In fact he often excelled at the end of the round when the pressure was even more intense and he absolutely had to perform.
We had to dig deeper.
I asked him to describe an entire tournament day, from the moment he woke up until the time he hit his first tee shot. We mapped it all out on a large white board so we could see the big picture.
At first nothing was obvious. Then we took the next step and assigned times to each activity and step along the way.
That’s when the answer jumped out.
He wasn’t giving himself enough time to prepare correctly, and what time he was using to prepare he wasn’t using efficiently or effectively.
He wasn’t organized in the morning so he was constantly rushing around and rushing to the course. That’s how he arrived at the golf course: rushed. Then he’d grab a bucket of balls and try to hit as many of them as he could to get warmed up. If he wasn’t hitting good shots on the range he’d try fixing a few things in his swing. He’d hit some putts, maybe hit a few chips (but often as not skip chipping entirely), then head up to the first tee, where disaster lurked.
In hindsight it may seem obvious. But it took a lot of probing to find the answer.
He needed a fail-safe pre-round routine.
I dug into my toolbox of Sport Psychology techniques to make a list of ways to relax, get centered, and get focused. I read back through all my notes from working with other Tour players as well as from working with elite athletes. I borrowed tips from Olympic coaches and from working with high-performance teams. I pulled pieces from my own pre-tournament preparation routine that had helped me win a world long drive championship.
The secret was not a single answer.
The secret was discovering the right combination of steps and techniques.
It was about slowing down to golf-time, establishing rhythm & tempo, warming up correctly, figuring out what shot he was playing, hitting key strategic shots, and ending with the first tee shot.
Doing the right things. Doing them in the right order. Doing them for the right reasons. Doing them the right way.
Not a single one of the steps involved making a swing change. In fact, we purposely added a step to help him AVOID making swing changes or tinkering (Step #4: What Shot Do You Have That Day?).
The end result was a series of specific steps, each designed to accomplish specific objectives, with one single goal in mind: to have him step on the first tee with his A-Game locked and loaded.
We wrote the steps down and immediately tested them under tournament conditions. We refined the steps after the first tournament. Then we refined them again after the second tournament. By the third tournament he had it down. In the fourth tournament he was 2-under after three holes – his best start in years by far!
The system worked. We began calling it the “A-Game System” because he finally felt like he was starting off right away on the first hole with his “A” game, instead of waiting two or three holes to find it. The single page of hand-written notes that listed all of the steps was the “cheat sheet” he would refer to before each tournament.
I started sharing the A-Game System with my regular students. Then I started sharing it in clinics and seminars. It worked for golfers of all ages and abilities. It worked so well I eventually formalized the system into a single document (the cheat sheet) plus an audio (the guided breathing exercise) plus a video. Now it is what I share with all my high-performance coaching students. I started calling it the “A-Game Cheat Sheet.”
Now I’m making it available for you.
Tour tested. Weekend-warrior proven.
I hope you will take advantage of it, because I know it will work for you. It WILL help you play better golf. And you won’t have to change a single thing about your golf swing. Just get yourself into your “A-Game” state of mind.
See you down the fairway!
Eric Jones is a multiple award-winning PGA Class “A” teaching professional, including PGA Teacher of the Year (2014) and Horton Smith Award for Education (2016) in Northern California.
He is a former Coach at Stanford University, where he also played college golf. He holds a Masters Degree in Sport Psychology and is the author of multiple best-selling golf instruction books on Amazon.
Eric is a two-time World Long Drive Champion, LDA Tour Rookie of the Year and creator of The 5 Keys To Distance, the longest-running and most popular distance training program in golf.
Eric is a frequent Keynote Speaker, sits on the Advisory Board of multiple golf industry companies, and is a member of the Board of Directors of the JGANC (Junior Golf Association of Northern California), the oldest junior tournament organization in Northern California.
He is the founder of the Eric Jones Golf Academy as well as iGolfU, where he is a leader in the evolution of online golf instruction, training and coaching.