This infamous scoring barrier is next on our list. I know for a fact at my local club, this one is a particular challenge for players with the game to get them to this level. It becomes a ridiculous mind-game that’s very tough to surpass. Below are seven tips that should help get you there, and out of your own way in the process.
Learn To Play Sidehill Lies
Uneven lies are just apart of the game… learning how to the hill from them is up to you. These shots are hot to practice as most ranges are made flat, but do what you can (even head out to the course on a slow days and play two balls from varying lies to practice). The key to sidehill shots is understanding how the lie effects your swing path and changing your body position and spine angle in order to best mitigate it. If setup to sidehill or downhill shots the same way as you do a flat lie, you’re in trouble. PRactice these shots, and expect them on the course.
This likely goes without saying, but at this point in your game, it’s time to use golf balls that are designed to help you control the ball. Distance balls and mid-spin balls likely aren’t the best for your game. Consider switching to high-spin balls in order to better control your shots around the greens and into them. Also, when practicing around the greens, putt and chip with these balls as well. The perform drastically different on short shots than range balls do. Do your short game a favour, and practice with the same balls you use on the course.
Short game, short game, short game
Your short game can always be in use of improving. A good short game can easily shave 5-7 strokes off your score in an instant, which is more than enough to help you break your 80 barrier. Practice getting up and down on the putting green, not just one of the other. And practice a wide variety of short game shots, chips, pitches, flops, bump and runs, sand play and anything and everything in between from any and every lie, with any and every club. Getting fully prepared for nearly every shot the course throws at you, instills confidence, and you’d be surprised how confidence in your short game can take your game to the next level.
Have a go-to distance
Playing smart golf is the easiest way to break down this score barrier. You need to limit your mistakes, and boring golf will get you there. Fairways, greens, and two putt pars is all you need. You don’t need to take risks to get 7 bogeys and 11 pars. When out on the course, choose clubs that will get you to your go-to distance. For me, that’s about 100 yards, where I can put a full swing on my sand wedge. If you play to that distance on par 4’s and 5’s getting pars should be easy, and if you’re lucky you may get a few birdies too.
When you’re looking to break 80, you need to realize that half of all your strokes are on the greens. Say you’re a decent putter – you’re still going to be putting the ball 28-34 times a round. There’s easy spots here to save strokes. Working on putts from 5 feet in will help shave strokes, and working on getting your lag putts within this distance will shave even more.
100 Yards In
Half shots are some of the hardest in golf to perfect. Hitting 30-75 yards shots are all about feel… and they take a ton of practice to perfect. It’s pretty much assured that these types of shots will make an appearance in almost every round you play, and how you play this shot can lead to birdies, but also bogeys on just about every hole. A swing tip here is to think of your hands as the hands of a clock. Make mental note of all the distance your wedges hit the ball for a 9:00 swing, 11:00 swing and even a 7:30 swing. Knowing these distances for various clubs can help improve your game for half pitches, and turn these tricky shots into scoring opportunities.
Focus on par
Pars are your friend at this stage of your game. A par is a good score, there’s no need to get greedy and go for the pins, or go for par 5 in two just because you can. Aim for the middle of greens, and let your putter do the work for you, and you’ll easily break 80.
These 7 tips are an easy roadmap to break 80, and it works for anyone and everyone with the game to get them there.