Mastering Golf Strategy: A Guide to Shooting Lower Scores

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Developing a personalized approach to golf strategy is a key component for players looking improve their scores and lower their golf handicap

Introduction:

For us golfers committed to improving our games and shooting lower scores, we’ve grown accustomed to the fits and starts of the sport.  Yet even with all the ups and downs, the game of golf keeps us coming back.  Always.  Rarely do you hear of someone just giving up the game?  More often, we hear tales of great rounds, great shots, or great putts that have our friends chomping at the bit to tee it up again.

In order to shoot consistently lower scores, we must have a golf strategy in place to improve over time.  This article covers several areas of golf course strategy you can target to unlock the best golf version of you, save shots during your rounds and steadily lower your handicap. We’ll cover tips for consistently breaking 100, breaking 90, and ultimately breaking 80 in golf.

Breaking 100 in Golf:

  • Respect Your Swing and All of Its Flaws
    • Golfers that struggle to break 100 in golf are usually fighting their swing and subsequently the curve of their ball flight.  High-handicappers that tend to push or slice the ball to the right (very common amongst right-handed beginner players) can help their cause by respecting the flaws in their ball flight.  Use positioning, your line-up, and your aim target to counteract your ball flight and get the most out of your current golf scoring strategy.
    • A word of caution:  If you’re in the Breaking 100 phase of your golf journey, don’t try to fix your swing or ball flight during your round.  Focus on having fun, staying relaxed, and enjoying your good shots.  The real work and improvement can happen at the range during practice sessions where you can begin to develop your golf course strategy.
  • Chipping Around The Green
    • It’s tempting to want to use a high-lofted club to attempt sexy-looking chip and flop shots around the green.  Newsflash: You aren’t Phil Mickelson.  None of us are.  Most of us get much better, more consistent results by using lower-lofted clubs like a 7-iron and keeping the ball closer to the ground rather than in the air. This approach will produce far more consistent results as we seek to improve our feel around the green.

Chipping Around The Green

  • Putt Early, Putt Often
    • This may come as a shock to some but most of our shots and, as a result, our scoring come on the putting green.  It’s important to put in quality time with our putters and on the practice green.  If you are able to build a consistent, reliable putting stroke early on, you will be on a faster track to breaking 100 in golf.
    • For example, long, lag putts can be a big challenge for high-handicap amateurs.  Developing the visualization and feel needed to hit consistent lag putts is a critical part of golf course strategy and doing so will result in lower scores.  For many amateurs, their first putt on a hole comes from 20, 30 or 40+ feet, if we can hit solid lag putts and leave ourselves shorter 2nd putts, we will see much improved scores. Avoiding the dreaded 3 and 4-putts are critical to breaking 100 in golf.

Breaking 100 in Golf Summary:

High-handicap golfers have plenty to work on but for many the key to consistently breaking 100 in golf lies in their short game. The typical player should dedicate much of their practice time to chipping, pitching, and putting to develop touch and precision around the greens. At this point, their golf course strategy should be focused on getting up and down in fewer strokes and reducing three-putts.

Breaking 90 in Golf:

When you get to a point where breaking 90 in golf is routinely in the conversation that means that you have made real progress in your game and found some level of consistency from tee to green.  Breaking 90 often comes down to simple golf strategy and a willingness to move on from bad holes or bad shots./span

  • Avoid Big Numbers!
    • To shoot lower scores, we have to develop a golf course strategy for the types of holes and situations that notoriously give us trouble and lead to high scores.  Once we arrive at a certain skill level, golf becomes much more of a thinking game.  If we know that holes of a certain shape or shots of a certain distance bring us trouble, we must be able to acknowledge those impediments and have a plan for them.  In the long run, this will help to minimize the dreaded double and triple bogeys that can throw a round into a tailspin.
  • “A double bogey is a bad shot followed by a stupid shot”
    • I’ve heard this quote forever but did not know until recently that it was originally said by hall of fame golfer, Tom Kite.  And it couldn’t be more true.  How often do you find yourself in a situation where you’ve put your ball in a tough spot and think the only solution is to try a “hero” shot to recover only to put yourself in an even worse position?  Consider me guilty.  

In most instances, the smart play is the right play.  Too often amateur golfers attempt shots they’ve seldom (or never practiced) and expect for a good outcome.  Realistically, the chances of success are low and our scores suffer because of it.

  • Win the Par 3s: Depending on the course, par 3s can often feature hazards, forced carries, and other obstacles that enhance the challenges that amateur players face.  On most holes, our golf scoring strategy is well served by conservatively aiming for the middle of the green rather than being suckered into aiming at the flag stick.  They are par 3s for a reason and if we can play them close to par, and avoid double bogeys and blow-ups, we have dramatically increased our chances of breaking 90 in golf.

Win the Par 3s

Breaking 90 in Golf Summary:

 Breaking 90 in golf asks players to spend an extra moment to think through each shot and the associated risk/reward.  Being locked-in mentally will shave strokes off your score and that mental prep should start well before you get to the first tee.  Be sure towarm up properly before your round to loosen up your muscles and get mobile.  Golf is a sport after all.  Lastly, spend time on the practice greens to get a feel for the speed and slope of the greens.

Breaking 80 in Golf

You’ve arrived.  Once your game is at a place where you’re consistently a threat to score in the 70s, you should feel very good about your golf game.  Players that finally kick down 80’s door and shoot in the 70s, they’ve commonly adopted some of the tips below:

  • Arrive With A Strategy: Course management is an integral part of breaking 80 in golf and becoming a single-digit handicap golfer.  Decisions like leaving the driver in the bag on a tight, challenging hole and instead hitting hybrid or iron off the tee to avoid bunkers and hazards can save a player several shots over the course of their round.
  • Putt for Dough: Players that routinely break 80 in golf have put in significant time on the practice green and understand that putting heavily influences our overall golf scoring strategy.  Find ways to make your practice putting drills fun and engaging.  Work to develop a consistent stroke with solid face alignment and contact while also gaining a firmer understanding of reading greens and start lines.

Putt for Dough

  • Develop Your Go-To Shot: If you’re consistently breaking 80 in golf, there’s a decent chance you find yourself in competition with some degree of frequency.  You could be competing with friends, in some type of tournament, or against your own expectations, and with that competition comes pressure.  At some point during your round, you will be asked to execute shots that may dictate the direction of your score.  Having a go-to shot in your golf strategy toolkit is a huge asset.  It could be a specific club or shot shape but identify your most consistent shot and use it when you need it!

Breaking 80 in Golf

Breaking 80 in Golf Conclusion: Consistently breaking 80 requires mental toughness and focus. Staying disciplined, quality play on the greens and finding ways to utilize the strengths of your golf scoring strategy will result in more scores in the 70s.

Mastering Golf Strategy Conclusion:

Consistently improving your golf game and shooting lower scores is a journey littered with highs and lows.  By establishing milestones like breaking 100 and breaking 90 that mark clear improvement, we provide ourselves the motivation to put in the work necessary.  A complete golf strategy plan requires a combination of dedication, effort, and mental fortitude.

Originally Published on our website - Your GolfSpot (Mastering Golf Strategy)

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