Chances are if you are reading this, the game has just become serious for you. Most golfers start out looking for a little fun, recreation and spend time with someone who already plays the game and then….BOOM! Score becomes important and the goal is to break 100.
For some this may seem a long way away and for others they are looking to get rid of that one or two extra shots which keeps them from their goal. This guide is not designed to show you how to hit the ball but more of a game plan to help you break 100 consistently.
Par is the number of strokes a SCRATCH golfer is supposed to score on a hole, this player is looking to shoot 72 or better so for you looking to break 100 its best to view the course set up a little different.
The basic math of breaking 100 is as follows:
9 Bogeys & 9 Double Bogeys = 27 over par
(That would be 99 shots on standard par 72 course)
As you can see its easy….well not quite but I am sure that if you are looking at breaking the 100 goal you have scored better on each hole in separate rounds.
Avoid wasting shots (No Penalties and No 3 Putts)
I know I know, easier said than done and very much stating the obvious however, in all the analysis I do of higher scored rounds the number of 3 putts and penalties incurred can easily add up to 10-15 shots wasted.
Have a look at your last round, how many times did you 3 putt? How many penalty shots did you have (including air shots)? Take those off your scorecard and it would look a lot better I guess.
How to avoid these….keep reading!
Golf is hard, so keep it simple.
Unlike many other sports (Especially team sports) in golf you have to be proficient in lots of different areas to be really good at this game, this does not mean you have to master them all at once, break down the skill list and focus on key areas at one time to get the most out of your development.
The game does get easier but then your expectations grow. Even the best the world expect more from their game, so don’t give up.
Breaking 100 skills required
So of all the golf shots needed the key areas I would look at if you are set on breaking 100 are the following:
Mid Iron Shots: This is vital for getting the ball around the course and keeping the ball in play when required. Ideally we are looking to be fairly consistent from 6 iron – Pitching Wedge. We are looking at Distance and Accuracy.
50 Yard Pitch Shot and Chip: We are not going to hit every green in regulation, in fact statistically at the level of trying to break 100 you will hit 1 or 2 greens in regulation per round so being proficient at getting the ball on the green from this distance is paramount to success (Notice I said on the green, not near the flag)
Putting: Absolute no brainer, you cannot play good golf if you are wasting shots on the greens, a consistent stroke and understanding pace are unavoidable skills required to play better golf.
Developing your skills
So as I mentioned before this is not a swing guide, it is a blue print designed to show you how breaking 100 is possible. The below drills and ideas will help you to improve your current skills and also give you feedback for future improvement.
1: Mid Iron Shots
Know how to aim: This is the area of the game that most people fall down and probably the biggest reason why people cannot transfer their range game to the course…because they have no idea of where they are aligned so hitting the target is a lottery.
On the range use alignment sticks or golf club to help you get a consistent aim and ball position for when you are training, creating confidence in knowing that you are aligned properly will help you to understand better your swing mechanics and how to get the ball to the target.
Know your Distances: How far you hit the ball is irrelevant yet we do need to know how far you do hit each club, having these numbers will help you to select the correct club more often and give you confidence to execute the shot properly. To get these numbers hit 10 balls at a specific target take away the best 2 and the worst 2 and what you are left with is an average. Remember it is not a competition to see who can hit the ball the furthest, accuracy and consistency are key.
2: The 50 yard pitch shot and chip
One Club, One Swing: We have all watched the top pros talk about how to hit the ball higher and lower depending on where the flag is yet this is not in our remit yet (more to follow) at this stage we are looking for one shot with one club. The club is entirely up to you, whichever feels comfortable. When I was at this level the shot for me was a 7 iron bump and run, this doesn’t work for everyone or every course so be aware of this when selecting a club and try the below drill.
Place 18 Balls 50 yards from the centre of a standard green (Again forget the flag) and pick your chosen club, the goal of this drill would be to get every single shot to land and stop on the green. If you are struggling to do this, change the club and experiment till you can consistently get all the balls onto the green.
Round The World: This is my favourite putting drill and something I do before I play tournament rounds. Place 10 balls around a hole at roughly 3ft away from the cup. The goal is to hole all the putts without missing. This will give you confidence that you can hole any putt inside 3ft which is very important to scoring.
Play a round: Very simple but effective drill to help you with your lag putting, place a ball randomly 25-50ft away from the hole and try to 2 putt it. Do this 18 times and get a score of 36 or less.
The break 100 Game Plan
If you have read this far you are serious about breaking 100 and hopefully having a lot more fun on the course. As you will have seen I have not mentioned the driver or woods at all. The reason, I don’t believe they are necessary for the majority of you to break 100. Yet unlike many other guides to breaking the 100 barrier I am not going to put you off using them I am merely going to say if you can’t keep the ball in play with them there are better options to improving your score.
Game Plan Objective 1:
Keep the ball in Play: We all have holes on a golf course that draw our attention to the disasters awaiting ahead, it could be water or out of bounds, a nasty hill or a well-placed tree. On holes like this break down the distance of the hole.
Let us say its 425yards to the middle of the green and you hit your 7 iron comfortably 140, well three nicely struck 7 irons will have you on the green, if you miss hit one you will be around the green with a pitch on. Remember forget the Par of the course and play to your score
Game Plan Objective 2:
Avoid risk: Even the best plan will end up becoming a little frayed yet don’t let it completely unravel if you hit a bad shot. Look for the easiest way to get the ball back in play and forget about the bad shot, do not compound one error with another.
Game Plan Objective 3:
Forget the flag: I have mentioned on a few occasions to forget about the flag and I truly believe it is the way to improve your scores and get you under that 100 target. If you were to stand in the centre of every green you would not have a very long putt to the hole and you are at the furthest point from all the trouble.
One Final Point
Keep at it, don’t give up. If you implement the above skills and objectives into your game and preparation you will be scoring in the 90’s in no time at all. In the meantime stay positive and don’t panic when you hit a poor shot. Its only one shot there are 98 more in the bag!