The Amateur’s Guide to Breaking 80 on a Consistent Basis

Dan Gold
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Breaking 100 vs. Breaking 90 vs. Breaking 80

Most golfers I know would love to take a five minute penalty to shoot a 76 or a six minute penalty to shoot a 77.

They would prefer to take a ten minute penalty to shoot a 79 or an eleven minute penalty to shoot an 80.

They would love to take an hour penalty, or a half-day penalty, or a whole-day penalty to shoot a 76, or a one-day penalty to shoot a 77, or a two-day penalty to shoot an 80.

You get the picture. A few numbers in golf can make all the world of difference. Think of the guy who shoots a 75 and gets to tell his friends that he shot his first round under 80. He hasn’t told anyone he shot a 76 and, really, who’s going to care.

While 76 is a great round in the world of golf, and 79 and 80 are decent rounds, they don’t quite sound as impressive as 70. Or even as impressive as 75.

Going from shooting 80 to shooting 80 means that you’re going .8 strokes under par. That’s really good. In fact, that’s really good. That’s really really good.

Going from shooting 90 to shooting 80 means that you’re going .

Myths about Breaking 80

Most amateurs and beginning golfers think golf is about the stuff in pro golf. The majority of golfers I see driving up to the first tee yawn their way through a three-foot putt because they hate to stroke the ball.

They never even think about how hard the professional swings the golf club. I’ve talked to a lot of golfers who said they've gone around to night courses and wacked driver on every hole in the bag, chased the ball down the fairway and pitched it back to the pin, all in 90 minutes, but are disappointed when they shoot 18-over-par.

That kind of effort would win you a tournament in the long game. But you’re not playing in a tournament, and the effort net result is that it wears you out and gets you beat up.

A few years ago, everyone wanted to be like Tiger Woods. Then it was Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els.

Now it’s Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler. These players are all great players, and it’s fun to watch them work, but I’ll bet you right now that 90 percent of their swings don’t look like your swing.

All the Ways You Can Break 80

Breaking 80 is a very difficult task. It is especially so for amateurs as they face many different obstacles and challenges that professionals don’t.

In fact, professionals by nature do not have to break 80 consistently. In their field, breaking 80 is a rare opportunity that happens occasionally either due to a particularly good day or a particularly bad day.

It’s the rookie or amateur golfer who must learn the most about the mental or psychological approaches to game play in golf. This is because amateur players are required to break 80 in order to even attempt a tournament. They are out to achieve something that doesn’t come naturally to a professional. In order to do this, amateurs must learn to perceive and understand a variety of things about their thinking, their environment and their behavior that may have gone unnoticed before.

Breaking 80 is a very individual task. No two players have the same obstacles. No two players face the same challenges. What may be true for one player may be completely irrelevant for another.

Take for example assessing your golf game from a purely physical standpoint.

If you’re a golfer under the age of 50, then the chances are that you don’t have a lot of factors that are working against you physically.

How to Break 80 in Golf Regularly

Breaking 80 in golf is a very popular benchmark for a player’s game to say the least. It shows that you are on top of the game as far as your skill level is concerned. You have all the knowledge and skills required to be a consistently good golfer.

So if you think you’re ready to take the leap from a struggling weekend warrior to a first-class, professional-caliber golfer, it’s time to get serious about your golf game and break the elusive 80.

Here is what you can do to break 80 in golf regularly.

Get an Appropriate Set of Clubs

Most amateur golfers are not happy with their current level of play. One of the reasons for this is the set of clubs they use. It is important that you get the right type of clubs for your game. A bad group can be very temperamental and throw off your game. The right set is very important.

Shoot Low Scores on the Practice Range

Practice is essential. If you seek to break 80 then you need to do at least an hour of practice every day. The secret to shooting low scores on the practice range is making sure that you make the most of your time and get the most out of the session.

Here are some tips to help you put in a productive practice hour.

Get a target range timer.

Breaking 80 – Basic Shots for Your Long Game

I remember the first time I broke 80, thinking, “Where have you been all my life?” Why didn’t I get this from the pro?” Many amateur golfers think their game is so close to the next level, only a tweak or two away. The truth is that to break 80 on a consistent basis, you need more than just a tweak. You need to entirely change your approach to the fundamentals of the game.

I’m often asked, “How can I break 80?” I feel that asking this question isn’t going to change the way you play the game. If my answer is helpful, it may help you for a round, but not for a lifetime. Understanding how to be consistent is a skill that will serve you for life.

If you can break 80, you’ll find that the world is on your golf course. Every tee is a new adventure and each hole will play out differently. Golf will no longer feel like a struggle. Golf will make you feel relaxed, confident, and a great sense of accomplishment.

Breaking 80 – Basic Shots for Your Short Game

People have long said that golf was all about putting, but that is no longer true. Over the past 50 years, the game has evolved. And now the short game is a bigger part of the game than ever before.

If you spend some time on the USGA website, you will see that there are 11 official parameters related to putting. That tells you just how significant putting is.

On the other hand, if you look at the PGA website, you will see that chipping and pitching are on equal footing with putting. In fact, there are no less than six statistical parameters related to chipping and pitching.

That tells you just how important chipping and pitching are now.

The good news is that this means that you can minimize the failure to hole-out percentage and maximize your birdie opportunities by playing a good short game.

Now to help you do so, here are two fundamental shots that you should be looking to hit in the bunker. The ideal starting position for every bunker shot is to play the golf ball slightly back of center to the front wall.

Course Strategy to Break 80

Many amateur golfers, especially beginners, think that breaking 80 is something unattainable. And yet, they can easily break 90 with a proper strategy.

It’s all about adjusting your mindset and changing the way you play. Many golfers go into each hole thinking they need to par the hole when they don’t. The result is that they are trying to hit the perfect shot when they miss.

You should go into each hole thinking that you only need to play a safe shot and get a 3. That way, you’ll worry less about your stroke, concentrate on playing safe, and you’ll get lower scores.

Also, refrain from trying to put too much on every shot. Enemy number one of amateur golfers is trying to hit a perfect shot. They don’t swing enough to play well because they hesitate and over think.

If you’re trying to hit a perfect shot, you’re swinging too hard. Instead, try to go into each hole with a sense of calmness. Be confident that the next shot will be solid.

Mental Hacks to Break 80

Final Thoughts on Breaking 80 in Golf

The quest to break 80 is not without pain. It requires a lot of time, practice and commitment. It would likely take you years to not just consistently hit under 80, but to do it on a regular basis, year in and year out.

But with the right belief, the right mindset and the right preparation, you can break 80 in golf. For many golfers, this is the holy grail and it will not be easy, but it’s absolutely possible.

And when you do break 80 in golf, you will be rewarded with a feeling of satisfaction and immortality.

I personally don’t think one should break 80 in golf. I think we should focus on becoming a better golfer, a golfer that enjoys the game while enhancing our knowledge and skills.

But I understand the meaning and significance of this benchmark in the lives of many golfers out there. And I know that when this goal is reached, it can be very exciting and personally fulfilling.