Golf Tips Newsletter
Issue 559 - Wed. May 29th, 2019
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USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
WGTF "Top 100" Teacher
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach


If you don't take action, you'll never improve.
Prepare to play your best golf by doing something now!

Tom's Featured Tip: Conquering Nerves
Lesson Comments: What Students Have To Say
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Batavia Country Club
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Tom's Featured Tip: Conquering Nerves

For simplicity, all advice on actual swings or drills is provided from a right handed perspective.

I had a lesson session with a very good high school golfer that was experiencing poor play for the first nine holes of his recent tournament play, then good play for the back nine.

To me it was a pretty good indication of nerves getting the best of him until he found his groove. The problem is that you can't waste nine holes finding it when you are playing tournaments.

We also discovered a setup issue that was of critical importance.

Here are my lesson follow up comments to him, heed the advice if nerves get the best of you at the start of your round.



Hey _ great effort today as always.

Today we discussed what to do to fight off tournament nervousness so that you can find your groove before the back nine.

Specifically we discussed:

Full swing preparation
  • If you can get to a range prior to your tournament, warmup with the thoracic spine stretch we always do, then go through your making only one full swing with each club as follows, in the order listed. Do it for two cycles if you have time:
    • PW
    • 3 wood
    • 9 iron
    • hybrid
    • 8 iron
    • 5 iron
    • 7iron
    • 6 iron

  • Then make three to five driver swings, don't quit until you've hit a good one.

Putting Preparation
  • Go to the putting green and take ten putts, 5 in each direction on a flat neutral part of the green with a 9" backswing. That's the about length stroke that you should use to develop a stock putting stroke. The video is here: Square Strike Putting Drills look at the Stock Stroke Drill.

  • Next, putt around the putting green with one ball, changing the distance of the next putt after you hole out.

  • Before you leave the putting green, make 5 three footers in a row with a firm stroke.

Mental Preparation

The objective of mental preparation is to keep you calm under tournament pressure. The key is to understand that everything wants to speed up after a bad result - your pace of walking, your thinking, your pre-shot routine, and your swing tends to get shorter. That's a formula for trying to get too much out of a recovery shot, and turning a bogey into a double bogey. Stay calm, take your medicine and make good decisions. A bogey is not the end of the world, but double bogeys or worse are momentum killers.

To combat that nervousness first comes awareness. Recognize when it's happening. When you are feeling pressure for any reason, slow down your pace of walking, slow down your thinking, and breathe very deeply for an in and out 5 count, in through the nose, out through the mouth until you feel calm. Then you'll be able to think clearly.

Make sure that you go through your breathing process on the first tee. You should be doing it as a part of your routine anyway, but doing it again before you step into the ball will definitely be helpful.

The next and final key is having a pre-shot routine and going through it deliberately and with precision for every shot, especially when you feel pressure in a tough situation. Here's yours, memorize it and do it with every shot, even your putting!
  • Approach the ball from behind the ball, pause and take a very deep 5 count breath, in through the nose, out through the mouth, then you will feel totally calm.

  • Pick an intermediate target for the purpose of aligning your body for your shot, then move to the side of the ball, into the rehearsal box.

  • Step into the hitting box as follows:
    • place your left foot,
    • place the club behind the ball square to your target line,
    • place right foot
    • adjust your stance as necessary to accommodate the ball position for your shot.

  • MAKE SURE THAT YOUR SHOULDERS ARE SQUARE TO OR CLOSED TO YOUR TARGET LINE, THEY WILL FEEL CLOSED WHEN THEY ARE ACTUALLY SQUARE. You have a tendency to open them as you do your waggles. Be aware, and don't allow that to happen.

  • Relax, gather your thoughts (squish and cover or sweep and cover), glance at the intermediate target

  • Take two waggles, then make a good swing
Practice and memorize your pre-shot routine; practice making 5 count deep breath cycles so that you'll be able to do it when you need to. It's actually a good thing to do once or twice daily anyway, it keeps you calm and on track.

Good job, keep practicing.


Love your practice, own your swing, own your health,


Golf Lessons

I conduct lessons at The Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
there's a link for Plum Creek info here:

Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, please contact
me - Tom Tucker - at (716) 474 3005 or email me at
for more information.

Outdoor Lessons Details and Rates:

Indoor Lessons Details and Rates:



Plum Creek Driving Range and Simulator  Outdoor range and play indoor golf on any of our 40 Simulator Courses. Call 585-993-0930 or email Mark at to reserve time for simulator play or practice!

Batavia Country Club   (585) 343-7600

Ping Club Fitting Day, Thursday May 23rd. 3pm - 6pm, no obligation to buy. Appointments appreciated, open to the public.

Great rates, the best greens in WNY. Golf Digest Four Star rating for public courses to play in New York State.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

FISH FRYS AT BCC and other delicious dinner specials with soup and salad bar - Fridays, 4pm - 9pm Served in the dining area of the lower level snack bar for the summer season.

Chestnut Hill Country Club   (585)-547-3613
Only minutes from Buffalo, open to the public.

Tee times online or by phone in season.

All the best,

Tom Tucker
Teaching Pro, Plum Creek Driving Range & Practice Facility
WGTF ' "Top 100 Golf Teacher"
USGTF Class "A" Teaching Professional
IGPA Certified Golf Psychology Coach
Cell: (716) 474-3005

"There are no substitutes in the quest for perfection!"
~ Ben Hogan