Golf can be a very challenging sport to play. Everyone who plays, watches the professionals on TV or in person. What most people don’t know is that these players are perfecting their swings each and every day. Most pros aren’t the weekend golfers like you and I.
Everyone who plays thinks that breaking 100 in golf is simple and easy to do. Then, when they get to the course, reality sets in and the angry meter starts to increase. Usually I can tell what kind of round i’m looking at based on my first tee shot.
A Little Bit About Myself
I started playing golf when I was in high school. Freshman year all of my buddies had joined the golf team because a lot of them had a real passion for the sport. When I would hang out with them, all they would talk about is the golf team and how much fun they were having.
I remember telling myself that sophomore year I was going to try out for the team and join them for the rest of our high school careers.
Sophomore year came and I tried out for the team. Now I could hit the ball and eventually get it where it needed to be. Most of the time it wasn’t pretty but I made it.
After tryouts, the coach came up to me and said he could see a lot of potential in my game and he was willing to give me a shot if I was dedicated enough to improve and learn everything I could.
Joining the golf team was the best decision for my overall game and I can’t wait to share with you some tips that helped me to break 100 and finally begin to enjoy the game as a whole.
If you want to check out my full about me profile you can here!
So What Does Breaking 100 Mean In Golf?
There are a lot of terms floating around the clubhouse as well as on the actual course. A couple terms that are always being thrown around are breaking 100, breaking 90, breaking 80, and sometimes breaking 70!
When I was just starting out I had no clue what any of these terms meant. As my golf career progressed I started to learn that the numbers were scores.
So if your goal is to break 100 for the round then that means you are looking to score 99 or better. That is considering “breaking 100”.
Breaking 90 means you shot an 89 or better and breaking 80 means you shot 79 or better. Whatever that number is means you shot 1 less or better.
I wanted to created this awesome guide to really help you on your journey of breaking 100 and starting to get serious about the game. I will show you things that I learned that really helped me to get my score in the double digits.
Most Important – Practice Practice Practice!
Have you ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect”? If you haven’t then you must be living under a rock!
Do you think that professional athletes got to where they are today because they sat around and didn’t try to work on their game? No!
They were out there everyday grinding it out and trying to absorb everything that they could. Tiger Woods isn’t going to the golf course once a week and playing a round of golf and calling it a day. He is out there everyday working with his trainer and trying to get the best possible swing.
Now I know that most of us don’t have the kind of cash to throw at private lessons or an exclusive trainer and that is ok! With the tips and skills I will highlight in this article you will be able to break 100 on the golf course in no time.
The improvements wont come overnight but the more you work on them the easier it will be to lower that score.
Tip #1 – Fix Your Stance
Everyone is not going to hit the same shots as Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson. One thing that we can all be the same at is lining up correctly before taking the shot.
Ideally, everyone should have the same setup. Sure everyone will have a slightly different swing but if you can keep the same stance it will eliminate a lot of your problems.
Here is an awesome video by Neal Granville that shows you the most comfortable way to line up with the golf ball.
Feet Shoulder Width Apart
One thing that I notice beginner golfers doing is not standing correctly before taking a swing. Some beginners keep their feet too close while other beginners stand with their feet too far apart.
Your stance should feel comfortable and not stressful on your body. I always like to tell newer golfers that they should be standing shoulder width apart before they even begin to take a swing.
This will keep the body in line and ensure you have a smooth consistent swing throughout.
Failing to do so will result in missed shots and terrible aiming.
Left Shoe Turned Out & Right Shoe Square
Everyone thinks that you need to keep both of your feet square to the golf ball. I’m not going to lie. When I first started out I thought the same exact thing.
After a couple lessons with my coach he told me to keep my right foot square but to turn my left shoe out slightly.
After making this slight adjustment my shots were traveling straighter and longer. Having that left foot turned out slightly gives your body more movement and flexibility. You will feel more comfortable swinging the golf club around your whole body.
If you are a lefty then this would be reversed. Your left foot will remain square and you will be responsible for turning your right foot out. Give this a try at the driving range and see how much straighter the ball travels.
Left Arm Should Hang Comfortably
Whether you are a righty or a lefty, the arm closest to your target should hang comfortably before taking a swing.
New players like to get so tense when lining up to the golf ball. If you’re comfortable and relaxed your swing will be the same. A relaxed swing is a better performing swing. Everyone likes to get up to the ball and swing as hard as they can.
Doing so will result in horrible shots that go absolutely no where.
So make sure to keep the arm closest to your target comfortable because your whole swing will follow the same thing.
Arms Should Be Together And Elbows Pointing Towards Hips
Beginner golfers love to have their arms going all over the place when they’re just starting out. My first couple of round on the course I didn’t know what I was doing.
My arms were flailing everywhere and nothing was kept in line. Besides all my footing corrections, another tip given to me was to keep your arms together and your elbows point towards your hips.
This will keep your golf club in that complete circle and when you make contact you will be in the same place that you started.
Position The Ball Depending On Your Club Choice
Almost everyone new to the game of golf will fail miserably when it comes to lining up the club with the ball.
Newer players think that for every shot the golf ball needs to be in the center of your body and that’s just how it is.
I’m here to tell you that this theory is completely wrong!
Depending on what club you have in your hand is where the golf ball should be in relation to your body.
I won’t go into every single club but starting with your driver, the golf ball should be as close to your lead foot as possible. I’m a righty so I usually line up the golf ball with my left heel. Then as you go further down the line of clubs, the ball should get closer to the center of your body.
If I am going to hit a wedge I like to be standing over the ball and having it line up in the center of my body. This will give me the height and distance I need to land it on the green successfully.
Tip #2 – Make Sure To Check Your Distance To The Ball
If I told you that there was a correct distance and incorrect distance to stand away from the ball would you believe me?
If you answered no, then I hate to say it but you’re completely wrong!
Everytime you’re too close or too far away from the golf ball it is doing more harm than good to your game. That is how common golf injuries happen like golfer’s elbow and back problems.
The awesome team over at Golf Sidekick has this really simple drill to make sure you are standing the correct distance away every time. Check out the video and let me know what you think in the comments below. It is a great way to check when you’re out with your buddies.
Tip #3 – Avoid All The Penalty Areas On The Course
Most newer golfers I have played with love to smack the golf ball all around the course and they have no clue where the penalty areas are.
Now when I say “penalty areas” I mean things like water hazards and out of bound markers. If you’re hitting it into these areas consistently, then you will definitely see your scores increasing.
In order to break 100 on the golf course you need to avoid these areas at all costs because they are wasted strokes.
One tip to avoid these hazards is to use a club you’re comfortable with each and every time. I’m definitely going to touch on this later in the article but I wanted to highlight this now. You don’t always have to hit driver off the tee.
Just because the pros do it doesn’t mean that you need to.
Here are some basic strategies to follow for each type of hole you will encounter.
The Intimidating Par 3 Holes
Par 3 holes should be your best friend. You don’t have to worry about rolling fairways or doglegs to compete with.
Depending on where you tee off from, you should definitely be able to hit these greens in one shot. If not then try to lay up maybe 30 yards away from the green and chip it close to the hole.
Don’t try to overthink these kinds of holes. You should hopefully be able to reach the green in one and then you are left with two putts for a par!
Use the irons, wedge, or woods that feel most comfortable to you. Also make sure to check the yardage before hitting the shot. Your vision of the hole might be slightly different than what the yardage markers say.
Par 4s That Are In Between A Par 3 And Long Par 4s
These holes are going to be the easiest to make a boogey, or even better, a par!
Short par 4 holes need to be broken down into sections. Don’t try to take out your driver and smash it 300+ yards because more likely than not you’re going to shank it.
What I like to tell newer players is to hit a club off the tee that will leave you with 150 yards to the green.
My go to club from 150 yards out is a 7 iron. I feel that I can control this club the easiest and it doesn’t give me anxiety to hit. So if I can hit my tee shot and get it to that 150 marker I am confident that I can make it to the green in 2 shots.
Sure you will be playing with people who HAVE to use driver off the tee because they think they’re a macho man. Those are the players who shoot really really high. They aren’t playing smart golf.
Don’t let the word bogey get you down. If you shot a bogey on every hole you would definitely be able to break 100. Bogey is a word that definitely sounds way worse than what it needs to be. Play to your skills and don’t be discouraged if you make a bogey.
Those Long Par 4 Holes
These holes tend to be more intimidating for beginner players. You see the green maybe 400 yards out in the distance and you think that you need to kill yourself to get the golf ball out into the fairway.
If you can get your golf ball around the green in three shots you’re going to be in fantastic shape. Like I said earlier for the shorter par 4s. Don’t look at the hole as a 400 yard shot. Try to break it up in a way where you’re hitting shots with a club that you know will go straight every time.
The club I love to hit all the time is a 7 iron. I can control it easier and I know that where I am aiming the golf ball will go. I try to reach that 150 yards out mark and then it is smooth sailing from there.
The Super Intimidating Par 5 Holes
You just shot par on the previous hole and you’re running on a high. You look at the scorecard and you see a very intimidating 500 yard par 5 hole. Your hands start to get sweaty and it is almost time to pack up and head to the car.
You need to turn that thinking around and take this hole on full force. A score of bogey or double bogey is truly acceptable if you’re just looking to break 100.
Most normal golf courses won’t have a lot of par 5 holes because they take up a lot of yardage. So shooting higher on these holes is the best strategy for breaking into those double digits.
Just make sure to break up the hole into sections and avoid those hazards at all costs. Designers LOVE to put hazards and penalties on par 5s because they know everyone will be swinging out of their shoes.
Take the hole at your own pace and don’t let other people in your group intimidate you. They may be asking you for tips after the round is over.
Tip #4 – Stick To Hitting One Club Off The Tee
Everyone, including myself, is always overthinking that first club to hit off the tee. Save yourself the hassle and headaches and just stick with one club consistently.
Pick a club that you know will go straight and long. It doesn’t matter if it only goes 150 yards. As long as you hit it straight and pretty consistent you will be good to go.
There is nothing worse than stepping up to the tee and not feeling confident about your club choice. There is a simple solution and it is to not always pick the club that makes you uncomfortable. If you shank your driver all the time but can hit your 3 wood consistently then why not hit your 3 wood all the time!
Then when you go to the range, practice your driver. It is better to practice on the range when the scores don’t count then to do it on the golf course where your score can suffer. Breaking a 100 is about playing smart and not overpowering every shot.
You Need To Split The Hole Into “Shots”
When you step up to the tee, whether it is a par 3 or a par 5, you should break the shot up into chunks. If you’re trying to break 100 then you shouldn’t be trying to hit the green on every shot. This is going to lead to shanks and horrible scores.
Instead you should look at the hole as sections. You want to get your golf ball into these “sections” on each shot. Breaking the course up will make it seem less intimidating for the beginner golfer.
I know when I was first starting out, I would approach a par 5 hole and I would always try to CRUSH the ball to get it as close to the flag as possible. I was trying too hard and it was throwing off my swing completely.
My coach came up to me and mentioned breaking up the course into sections. I decided to give it a shot and my triple bogeys turned into pars and bogeys. I couldn’t believe it actually worked.
The longer holes are the #1 killer of scores for beginners. Beginners, including myself, get so nervous at the longer holes because they aren’t confident with their swings yet and super long holes look worse than they actually are.
Break it into chunks and you will be much better off.
Awesome Video Showing Off All The Concepts So Far
Here is a fantastic video from Golf SideKick that outlines most of the concepts I talked about so far. A very average golfer was used as a case study and the results are amazing. If you take the time to analyze your shots and pick sections on the course to hit to you will see your score drop dramatically.
Here Are Some Things To Take Note Of
While you are on the course I want you to make note of a couple things. Making a mental note of these things during your round will benefit you greatly.
Play From The Tees That You Feel Most Comfortable From
Don’t feel like you need to keep up with your buddies who are hacking it up from the tips (the far back tees). If you’re struggling to make break 100 then why not make it easier on yourself and play from a closer set of tees.
Now i’m not saying to play from the ladies tees…unless you’re a lady of course. But there should be easier tees to hit from on every golf course. Each course is a little different and setup their tees a specific way. Make sure to check with the pro shop to see which tees would be best to play from if you’re a beginner.
I’m sure someone in the pro shop will be willing to help you out. They always like to see beginner players having fun on their course.
Calculate Your Score At The End
The worst thing that any beginner golfer can do is count their score up too early. If you’re playing with your buddies, tell them you want to wait until the end of the round to tally up the score.
If you find out your score at the turn and it’s good, all you’re going to be thinking about is shooting better on the back nine. Once you start to over analyze your score it will take a toll on your game.
Do yourself a huge favor and just add up the holes at the end of the round. Keeping a running tally during the round can actually put a lot of pressure on your swing and overall playing ability. Have someone else hold on to the scorecard and let them do all the tallying.
Figure Out How Far You Can Hit Each Club
There is nothing worse than figuring out the distance to the green and then taking out a club and either coming up short or blasting it over the green. If only you knew how far you could hit each club in your bag. It would make the game of golf so much easier.
Here is what you need to do when you are sitting around doing nothing. Take your golf bag to the driving range. Get the biggest bucket of balls they have and also bring some kind of notepad or take notes in your phone.
Write down each club you are planning on hitting on the piece of paper or in the phone. Then hit maybe 15-20 shots with each club. Write down the distance of each shot and then after your 20 shots are up take an average. This is how far you can hit this specific club!
Now this isn’t really hard to do and can save you a lot of headaches on the golf course. Make sure you are doing this on a consistent basis because as you get better with your swing the golf balls will hopefully be traveling a lot farther.
Knowing each clubs distance can bring your score and handicap down a considerable amount. I am shocked when I ask golfers how far they can hit a specific club and they have no clue. They are just hitting what they “feel” is right or simply using what the other guys in their group are hitting. Not everyone’s playing ability is the same so simply hitting what Jimmy is hitting isn’t going to cut it.
Take some time to figure out your personal distance with each club in your golf bag.
Just Try To Relax And Have Some Fun
Golf should be a sport that relaxes you. I know so many people who get so angry when they are on the course. It is almost the opposite desired outcome.
If you’re looking to break the scary 100 in golf then you just need to go out there and have some fun. The more you think about every shot and what to do here or there, the worse you’re going to play. If you’re out with your friends just have a good time and enjoy each other’s company. Take in the beautiful scenery and just try to relax. It is never good to play a sport that gets you so anxious and angry all the time.
If you hit a bad shot then just say “oh well” and move on to the next one. No reason to throw your golf bag halfway down the fairway…yes I have seen this happen before. You look like an idiot and then you’re going to be embarrassed when you have to go and pick your bag back up.
Also I know most people reading this are going to be beginners. Beginner golfers take a little bit longer in between shots. Don’t let the more “experienced” players in your group boss you around. Play the game at your own pace and just let them do their own thing.
Just Remember You’re Not A Pro…Yet
I just wanted to say that you’re not going to be going pro on your first or second round of golf. You won’t be hitting huge drives and sticking greens unless you’re a prodigy.
Don’t play your round of golf like you’re meant to be on the PGA tour. No one is going to want to play with you and it just looks bad. I enjoy playing with people who always have fun and don’t stress the small stuff.
Leave your questionable clubs in the car and only take the clubs you are confident hitting out on the course. Your group will thank you and so will your handicap. It sounds goofy but it honestly works. Leave the bad clubs at home. Then when you go the range, practice the clubs you can’t hit.
Tip #5 – Don’t Try To Stick The Green
Breaking 100 in golf can be easy if you don’t try to do what the professionals are doing. You can watch Tiger on tv and he sticks it within a foot of the hole from 150 yards out. It truly is impressive but almost impossible for the beginner golfer just starting out.
What I tell everyone just starting out. Just imagine that there is no hole on the green. Simply just try to get your golf ball onto the green. Putting is a lot easier than trying to stick it close from way out. Putting is easier to control in my opinion.
When people try to stick it close to the flag it usually results in missed green opportunities and extra strokes added to your scorecard. If you’re just starting out try to aim for the center of the green every time. Then as your skills improve you can try to stick it closer to the pin.
Breaking into the double digits in golf is definitely achievable if you simply concentrate and practice you will get there. There are some simple “hacks” to make the game of golf a little bit more enjoyable.
If you have any questions or more tips I would love to hear about them in the comments below!