Anyone who has played golf can tell you that this game is endlessly frustrating and intriguing at the same time. One day you may go out and shoot your personal low score just to follow it up the next day with the worst round of your life while feeling like nothing has changed in your swing.
For the average golfer, being able to break 90 consistently is essential because a final score that starts with an eight feels a lot better than one that starts with a nine, even if it’s just a stroke or two difference. Typically a golf course is a par 72, which means you need to be able to score no more than 17 over par or one stroke less than a bogey per hole in order to break 90. Simple, right?
It can be simple if you follow a few basic guidelines and practice with a purpose each and every time. Let’s break down how an average golfer can go about breaking 90 consistently every time you get out on the course.
How To Break 90 In Golf
One of the most important things you can do on the golf course in order to avoid big numbers is to keep your ball in play. Nothing will hurt you more than lost balls and penalty strokes, so it’s incredibly important to keep your ball in play.
You may be thinking, if I could hit it in play every time, I wouldn’t need to worry about breaking 90, but it’s not about hitting the ball perfectly.
Instead, it would help if you thought about where you can hit the shot where you know it will be safe. When you step up to each tee box, find the areas that you need to avoid entirely and do everything you can to actually avoid it. For instance, if there is water running along the right side, you need to find the left fairway or even the rough. Anything but the water is acceptable.
If you consistently slice your driver out to the right, you might want to play a shorter club and sacrifice the distance to guarantee that you won’t end up in the water. Just because it’s a Par 4 or Par 5 doesn’t mean that you need to hit a driver every time.
Find out which club you can control consistently and use that off of any tee box to avoid any trouble slicing or hooking. Whether it’s a 3-wood, 4 iron, or a 7 iron, hit the club that you know you can find a fairway with.
Practice with a Purpose on the Range
This may go without saying, but it’s an important part of being able to break 90 on a regular basis and that is practicing with a specific purpose. By that, I mean going to the driving range and setting up a routine that will lead you to more success and lower scores instead of just hitting your driver 100x.
When you go to the driving range, start with a wedge and work your way up to the driver as you go through the bucket of balls. With each shot, it’s important that you have a target in mind and do your best to hit that target. It will benefit you much more than just hitting shots out onto the range without thought.
Once you’ve worked your way through the bag, start alternating clubs randomly as if you were playing around. Hit the driver once, then the 7 iron, then a wedge, and see how close you can get to your target each time. This simulates how it would actually feel to play a round of golf, considering you don’t typically hit the same club more than once in a row on the course.
Focus on the Short Game
The most important thing to practice in golf is the short game because it will be where you makeup or lose most of your strokes during a round of golf. Duffing wedges, three-putting, and hitting sand wedge shots over the top of the green consistently have a huge impact on your scores and can lead to a frustrating round.
How many times have you hit a couple of great shots to get up near the green just to add three or four unnecessary shots once you’re there? This is important to avoid.
Instead of always going to the driving range, head over to the putting and chipping green and challenge yourself more often. You can play games against yourself by laying five balls in several different locations around the green and attempting to get each one of them up and down or, in other terms, chipped onto the green and putted in. Don’t stop this drill until you get all five in a row.
One colossal mistake that everyday golfers make is using their most lofted wedge (54-60 degree) everytime they’re around the green. The only time that you should be hitting these lofted wedges is when you need to get the ball up and over something or if you have a small amount of green to work with.
Other than that, you should keep the ball on the ground as much as you can because golf is easier when the ball is on the ground around the greens.
Next time you’re chipping and putting, take out a 7-9 iron and hit bump shots from the areas where you would usually hit those lofted wedges. You will find that hitting these bump shots that roll out on the green like a putt is much easier to control, the success rate is much higher, and the margin for error is much larger.
When you try to hit those lofted wedges around the green as an average player, it’s common to dig into the ground and hit it fat, skull it over the green, or come up short because the chip shot doesn’t roll out, try using a chipping mat.
Avoid the Big Numbers
When you look at your scorecard after a bad round, what caused the high scores? In many cases, you probably had a good stretch of golf that was foiled by a seven or eight that seems to come out of nowhere.
These big numbers are absolute must avoid if your goal is to break 90. Once you’re past that bogey mark, things are getting out of hand, so it’s important to do what you can to limit the dame to bogey.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with being happy with a bogey because, like we said, around where you break 90 is typically one less than a bogey on every hole. So if your goal is to go no higher than a bogey and you throw a few pars in during the round, you’ll be successful each round.
On the Par 3s, don’t be afraid not to hit it right at the pin if there is a high amount of risk around the area of the hole. Instead, play it out to the side and chip it up close for a realistic par attempt. On Par 4s, hit a smart club off of the tee and avoid all danger, even if it means playing it from the rough just to avoid a drop or lost ball.
On the Par 5s, you don’t always need to hit your second shot as far as you can. If you don’t hit the 3-wood well from the rough, then don’t hit it. Instead, hit a four iron and make sure that it’s going to be a successful shot.
Putting can be somewhat of an art form itself, and it’s much different than any other part of golf. On the putting surface is where you are going to be able to make the difference between making your goal and going home disappointed.
If drawing a line on the ball helps you hit more accurate putts, then you should draw the line and use it each and every time. Having a routine that you always fall is important in golf and, most important on the green.
Reading the greens is one of the most difficult parts of putting, but if you remember that the majority of putts that average golfers miss are because they under-read the break so if you take more break into consideration than you think, you will find more success.
Go Play! Last but not least, you can’t break 90 unless you’re out playing golf! Get out on the course and think about the tips that we have discussed as you work through your round. If you follow these guidelines, you will find that your scores are lower, and you’re achieving your goal more than ever before.