Optimum Intensity Levels
Very typically a golfer will say it would probably take him the first three or four holes of the tournament to settle down.
This led to a discussion on optimum intensity levels and how to stay within the upper and lower ranges. Intensity levels can be measured by your heart rate, which fluctuates according to your level of excitement. Depending on your situation, you don't want your heart beating too fast or too slow.
When you are teeing off, you want to be in the upper range to get the maximum distance. When you putt, you want to be in the lower range to get a better feel for the green. However, to play at your best you don't want your intensity to be too high or too low and fall outside of your range of optimum intensity levels.
His comment about having to settle down immediately told me he was anticipating being above his optimum intensity level. This is understandable because of his excitement of trying to qualify for the U.S. Open. However, his excitement could cost him a couple of strokes and qualifying before he even settles into his game.
The suggestion was that he spend some time every night before the qualifier visualizing being relaxed and already settled down when he steps up to the first tee. Since the mind does not differentiate between what is real and what is imagined, he can change his present anxiety into mental stability before he tees off.
If he is still overly excited at the first tee, I recommended that he step away from the tee and take a couple of deep breaths to calm him. Between the visualizing and breathing techniques, he should save himself a couple of strokes.
If you ever find your heart beating hard before an important shot, step away from the ball, take a couple of deep breaths and relax. When you step back up to the ball, you will be closer to your optimum intensity level and it will reflect in your score.
P.S.: Did you know that there are different types of eye sight and eye coordination capabilities? When playing a round of golf over 5 or more kilometres, and having to aim every shot or stroke, seeing properly is a key element for better golf. Here is a book I have personally read and can recommend: Improve your eye coordination capabilities