newsletter: The Saturday Golfer
How to Break 80 - Play BORING golf.

Last updated Nov 07, 2023

How to Break 80 - Play BORING golf.

"Just punch out to the fairway" is a difficult instruction to follow in golf, but if you want to break 80, it is decisions like this that make the difference.

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Written By: Zach Gollwitzer

Posted in: Course Strategy

Tags: Breaking 80

Have you ever walked off the golf course, KICKING YOURSELF for that stupid shot you played on hole 16 that ruined a great round?

Yeah, same.

I've done this HUNDREDS of times.

Over the years, I inflicted this pain on myself so many times, I finally decided one day to change something.

Lower scores are a CHOICE

I didn't change anything in my swing. I didn't hit 300 range balls. And to my bank account's benefit, I didn't buy a new putter either.

What I changed was my course decision-making.

Let me give you a few scenarios, and I want you to think about how you would handle them.

Scenario 1 - short sided

You missed the green, have about 5 feet of green to work with, and the green slopes away from you.

Do you...

  1. Hit a flop shot? Or...
  2. Put the ball back in your stance and try to land a normal chip in the rough to slow it down?

For years, I would try the flop shot because, "if I don't get this up and down, I'll make bogey and then I'll have ZERO chance of breaking 80 today!".

Now, I'll ALWAYS choose option #2. Why? Because in this position, bogey is a GOOD score. The goal is to prevent another chip shot. I want a 20-30 foot 2-putt and move on to the next hole.

The problem here is that I missed my approach shot in the WRONG place. A mistake was made, now let's not compound it!

Scenario 1 - go for it?

Par 5, you've got 230 yards to the green, from light rough. Left of the green is a group of trees.

Do you...

  1. Go for it?
  2. Lay it up to 50 yards?
  3. Lay it up to 100 yards?

While I might go for this shot, I'd generally say option #3 is the BEST option.

If I go for it and miss left, I'm now chipping from the trees, at risk of making BOGEY on a par 5. Bad news.

If I lay it up to 50 yards, now I have an awkward wedge shot. MOST golfers stink from this distance. Unless you're a pro who practices these partial wedge shots daily, you probably want a full swing.

The Saturday Quick Tip

Next time you play golf, try adding these 2 simple rules to your game:

  1. The 7/10 rule - ask yourself before each shot, "can I pull this off 7/10 times?". If the answer is no, change to a shot you can.
  2. Chip EVERYTHING. - there are very few situations where a basic chip shot (back in stance, keep it low) is a poor shot choice. It's one of the highest percentage shots around the greens and in 9/10 cases, will put you inside 10 feet for a par putt. Unless you're in a bunker, put that ball back in your stance and chip it! Not only will this reduce disasters around the greens, it will teach you where to miss your approach shots.

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