Breaking Bad

While I have been on the road caddying on the LPGA for the last couple weeks, I wanted to be able to continue to produce content for you all. With limited access to getting out on the course myself and filming, the next best thing for me to do is write. This week Jacqui and I put together our best tips for someone that can’t seem to break 90 or 100. Both of which can utilize these tips to break their personal goals. So here we go:

It’s estimated that nearly 80% of all golfers can’t break 90. For some, it comes easy, for others, it’s a monumental task. Playing golf on a regular basis, we come across all skill levels of golfers, and below are some of the biggest glaring mistakes we see. 

In this article, we offer tips to break 90 that doesn’t include golf lessons. We believe you can manage your way around the course and practice key areas that will shave strokes off your game no matter what your skill level is. After all, breaking 90 is just 17 bogeys and 1 par.

Tee Box: Easiest one here for starters. Plain and simple, golfers are playing from the wrong tee box. We see it all the time, they get to the course with their buddies, and feel the need to play the back tees. Unless you’re gearing up for a US Open qualifier or hung like a horse, there’s no reason to do this. Play it forward, move up a tee or two. You’ll score better, and the game will be more enjoyable. Once you can turn in solid rounds from the most forward men’s tee, move back. As a scratch golfer, there are times I’ll move up a tee for a round just to get my confidence back up. Don’t be a hero, move up.

Practice: Now for the juicy stuff. The average golfer doesn’t practice often, but when they do, 100% of their time is spent on the practice range bashing drivers. For someone that can’t break 90, nearly 70% of all their shots will occur inside 125 yards (between wedge shots, pitches, chips, and putts). So why not spend the time practicing in these vital areas? If you can’t break 90, you need to change up your practice routine.

Spend 25% of the time hitting balls, and 75% of the time pitching, chipping and putting. Practice 3-5-7 footers until your hands bleed. Challenge yourself in the short game area, start out making 3 putts in a row from 3 feet, then move back a foot and make 3 more in a row, when you miss one, start over. In many cases, these are going to be the putts that save you pars or even keep a bogey from being a double. 5 footers are huge for someone that struggles to break 90/100.

Practice your lag putting from over 30′. Someone that can’t break 90 is going to three putt on average 3+ times per round, by eliminating three putts, you’re shaving 3 strokes off your game right there. Get yourself 30-40 feet from the hole (because let’s be honest, that’s about as close as you can get it) and practice two putting from these distances. If you don’t make the putt, be sure to leave yourself inside 3 feet. Which you know you can make, because you’ve practiced those..

One of the best short game videos you will ever watch is Phil Mickelson’s Secrets to the Short Game. This has sort of become my bible and I refer back to it as often as possible, I recommend giving this a watch as it covers fundamentals, drills, and practice tips. (Warning, this will change your life, so wait til the wife goes to bed and get the lotion out). There’s also a part 2 if you want to dive into that.

And now a few pics of Natalee to keep you engaged:

Next, Club Selection: So many golfers struggle when it comes to proper club selection. Whether it’s from 150 yards out in the fairway, or just off the green, the wrong club is selected more times than not. 

When a player misses the green, they immediately grab their SW or LW. This shouldn’t always be the case. Learn to use different clubs around the green. If you have plenty of green between your ball and the hole when chipping, learn to utilize other clubs (like an 8 or 9 iron). It will be a much shorter stroke (less margin of error) and the ball will roll like a putt once it hits the green, which is exactly what you want when chipping. Grabbing that wedge and trying to hit the sexy high shot just isn’t necessary unless you absolutely have to… or if the cart girl is watching.

On full shots in the fairway, players will select a club that they can get to the flag, but only if they hit it 100% (which odds are, they wont). Never swing 100% unless absolutely necessary. Most of your trouble around a green is short of the green. The best tip I can give is to take more club and take a smoother swing. Less is more.

Targeting: The flag isn’t always your target. If the flag is tucked left or right, hit the middle of the green. If you play to the middle of the green, you won’t have more than a 25-30 footer on nearly every public course, not the end of the world. When you attack a flag and miss it in the rough. You leave yourself short sided which will in all likelihood, lead to a bogey.

Club selection off the tee: Every par 4 you play doesn’t always require driver. We saw this during the pro am and this is a tip we’ve offered members of the group in the past. If driver puts you at the narrowest part of the fairway/hole. Dial it back to where the hole is designed to be played from. The risk of having a little less club into the green isn’t worth the penalty of perhaps getting in trouble or hitting into a penalty area resulting in unnecessary strokes. In the example I shared below, the entire left rough slopes to a penalty area. Banging it way down there isn’t worth the risk. Hit a 3 wood to the fat part of the fairway.

These aren’t the only things that will make you break 90 or even 100, but it will get you well on your way to breaking your personal records. Read them, learn them, and practice them. I urge you to try these things out and give us feedback on your results. Hope this helps!