What is the hardest shot in golf? You will get votes for the wedge off dirt or the 100-yard explosion or the any-old-thing out of a clover patch. But why overlook the one shot which, unless you are most unusual, rattles you every time you try it, yet you have to try it every time you play? I mean, of course, the drive off the first tee. It is like the opening of a football game. I am nervous until the action starts, and I imagine you have the same feeling. What happens next is that most of us try to hurry because we want to get it over with. We are too keyed up to hit a decent shot, but we swing anyway, just as fast as we can. The result is often a disastrous start for what becomes a bad round.
What I try to do is to pretend that I am relaxed. I take a few deep breaths and swing my driver lazily back and forth to encourage a mood of composure. Next, I try very hard to think of nothing but hitting the ball. I don't think about myself or what is at stake or what the people watching might think about my swing. I just concentrate on meeting the ball as solidly as I can. Finally, I slow down my swing. I take the club back more slowly than usual, and I make the downswing as unforced as possible. The result often is the best drive of the day just when it is wanted the most.