How to Break 100, 90, 80...
Every golfer has their number. It's the one that they just can't seem to shoot lower under. It feels like an invisible barrier that keeps holding you back.
We've all been there...you're out on the golf course playing one of the best rounds of your life. You add up your current score while standing on the 15th tee box and find that you're 5 over par. That means you just need to finish +2 over the final 4 holes to finally break 80. Then, the worst-case scenario happens, you finished bogey, bogey, double to shoot 81.
When it happens, it's incredibly discouraging and almost makes you want to throw your clubs into the lake on 18, giving the game up forever. The only thing that stops us from doing that, though, is the hope that next time will be better.
The problem is, we look back on a round like the one described above and think, "If I only would've hit the fairway on the 18th hole, I wouldn't have made double." That may be true, but one shot at the end of a round counts the same as one shot at the beginning of your round. The 3-putt from 20 feet on the 2nd hole may be the culprit as well, but you've had a couple hours to forget about it.
The point is, your tee shot may not be the issue. Maybe you hit 10 fairways that day, you just happened to miss the final one. That's an extreme example, but you get what I mean. In order to improve your game, you need to know the actual part of your game that is keeping you from breaking through.
As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So, stop doing the same things you've always done if you want to shoot different scores.
Take it from me, the barrier is 100% mental. If you've shot 81 then you can absolutely shoot 79. You've just got to be smarter than the barrier and stop shooting yourself in the foot.
The game of golf breaks down into three primary stats; fairways hit, greens in regulation, and putts per round. You might say, "What about scrambling?" I consider that a secondary stat, only necessary if a primary stat breaks down. It'll also be indirectly reflected in the three primary stats.
These three primary stats can be easily recorded to see what part of your game needs improvement. Though not a direct correlation, we can know an approximate number that a player requires of each stat to shoot a certain score.
The chart below show you the approximate number of fairways, greens, and putts you need in a round to break a score. If your number is 90, then you need to have your numbers around the ones in the column below.
Start recording these three stats (fairways, greens, putts) for every round you play. After a couple rounds, you'll start to notice that your numbers are fairly consistent from round to round.
My guess is that one stat is going to stand out. It'll probably look closer to the column to the left of where you want to be. That's a red flag. That's the area of your game that needs improvement if you want to finally shoot the elusive number you've sought. Any of the stats that fit the column of the barrier you want to break, are capable of getting you to the promised land.
In the end, it's about belief. If you've gotten close, but never (or rarely) done it, then you gotta believe it's possible to accomplish. Stay relaxed and don't count your score until the end of the round. Playing timidly, or not to mess up, tends to lead to errors. If you've got trouble on your mind, then your golf game will tend to follow. If you've played well through the first 15 holes, don't change your strategy. Keep playing the same game with the same approach.