Want to lower your scores? Here are 5 tips to help you break 80.
For many golfers, breaking 80 is a huge milestone. Obviously, technique comes into lowering your scores, but some simple strategies can also help you take shots off your scorecard.
How to break 80 in golf
I met up with PGA Professional Jack Backhouse to take a look at five tips to break 80 in golf…
Have a strategy for playing the course
Before you tee off you should have developed a solid strategy for how you are going to get yourself around the golf course.
A big one is taking advantage of the Par 5s. Statistically, these are the holes players that score the best on and they are your biggest chance of making a birdie. Wherever possible you should be hitting driver off the tee to give yourself the best chance of getting on the greens in regulation.
Are there certain tee shots you always struggle with? Why not drop down to an iron here rather than a 3-wood? You have 25% more chance of hitting the fairway with a 5-iron than you do with a 3-wood.
When it comes to your approach shots, course management is still important. You shouldn’t be trying to fire at pins as they are often near the edges of the green and will lure you towards the green side hazards. Playing to the middle of the green or to the fat side of the pin is the best strategy to help you keep bogeys and double bogeys off the scorecard.
You need to take your medicine to break 80
Breaking 80 in golf is about minimising your errors rather than making more birdies. We want to try and completely avoid making double bogeys and minimise bogeys where possible.
A big part of this is minimising your mistakes. If you drive in the trees, and have missed a 60-yard wide fairway, what makes you think you can hit your next shot through a 5-yard gap in the trees?
Don’t compound errors by trying to hit a miracle recovery shot. Simply get your ball back in play and take the big numbers off the scorecard.
Pick the right type of chip shot
We all miss greens, but if we want to break 80 we need to be getting some of these misses up and down and making sure that, in the worst case, we walk away with a bogey.
Players often think about the execution of short game shots but don’t consider if they are making the right shot selection. What club should you use? Do you want to hit the ball high or low?
This can be increasingly more confusing given many of us have three, four, or five different wedge options in play.
To boost your performance you need to have two very different chip shots options that you have practised. A high shot that flies the majority of the distance and stops fairly quickly and then a low shot that runs the majority of the distance. Using a lob wedge and an 8-iron for these gives you two distinct options to choose from and makes you commit to one shot or the other.
Don’t expect to hole everything
How often do you get angry when you miss a 20-foot putt? Our expectations seriously affect our mentality and our reaction to different outcomes.
We know getting angry isn’t going to help the rest of our game and it is especially fruitless when the anger is pointless because we probably shouldn’t have holed the putt anyway.
PGA Tour pros only hole 15% of putts from 20ft, so you are going to miss from this distance the vast majority of the time.
Having realistic expectations is going to stop you from getting agitated on the golf course and keep you concentrated on best executing your shots.
Hit driver more and stick to your stock shot
Off the tee, the best strategy is to hit driver and get as far down the hole as possible. Statistically, this is going to give you the best chance of hitting the green in two and making more valuable pars.
Really we should only be hitting a shorter club off the tee if there are cross bunkers, water, or other hazards from which we have to lay up short.
Did you know we only hit 1% more fairways with 3-wood than driver? Considering you lose 30 yards by dropping down to a wood you aren’t gaining anything by hitting 1% more fairways but being further from the hole.
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