After being bitten by the golfing bug, one of the first targets you'll set yourself is breaking 100.
It's an achievable target for any beginner or high handicapper, but it's easy to let opportunities to break that magic number pass you by and get a little frustrated in the process.
If you're struggling to break 100, there's help at hand. Follow the tips below, and you'll be posting scores in the 90s before you know it.
Once you have devoured the below and you head to the course, make sure you equip yourself with an accurate GPS yardage and scoring app. Hole19 is used by over 2.8M golfers worldwide and all the features you need as a beginner are completely free. Download here.
On with the tips...
Plan your round
If you take the time to review the golf course the night before your round - particularly if you're teeing up at a new track - you could avoid card-wrecking disasters.
Use your Hole19 App to take a look at the layout, and you could use the Notes feature on particularly tricky holes to remind yourself of the ideal club selection and your general strategy.
For more information on ways to manage your 18 holes intelligently, check out our article on good course management.
Understand YOUR par
It's essential to change your whole mindset when it comes to the quest to break 100 in golf. What you're trying to do is shoot 99 or less, so remember that you have 27 shots to play with on a par 72 layout.
No longer should you be playing any golf hole with its standard par in mind.
Consult the Digital Scorecard on your Hole19 App and check out the holes with stroke index 1-9. Add two shots to their regulation par, and that's the new par you want to play the hole to.
Add one shot to holes with a stroke index of 10-18.
Shooting for this new par will help stop you from making poor club choices and compounding one mistake with another.
Arrive relaxed at the first tee.
You can almost guarantee that if you're riddled with tension as you step up to your first tee shot, you're in for a tricky day ahead.
Arrive at the golf course in good time to hit a few balls at the range, maybe visit the short play area and defintely leave yourself some time to roll some putts on the practice green.
Now step on to the first tee-box and get ready to revel in the good shots and laugh off the bad ones.
Whatever happens, ensure you enjoy 18 holes surrounded by nature and in the great company of your buddies.
The driver: friend or foe?
OK, so we have a bit of a quandary with this one.
If you read around the subject of breaking 100, what you may find is plenty of resources suggesting that you leave the big stick in the bag.
While that will work for some golfers, the key is to be honest with yourself regarding the driver.
If you've been snap hooking or slicing every tee shot for weeks - and haven't spent any time at the range trying to find the remedy - guess what... you're probably going to land yourself in a whole heap of trouble off the tee.
If that sounds like you, then, to break 100, you'll need to find a more reliable club to hit on par-4s and par-5s. Your hybrid could be a more forgiving option, or possibly even dropping down to a 5-iron could benefit you.
With that said, some higher handicappers enjoy hitting driver and tend to lose shots in other areas of their game.
If that's you, ignore everything we just said. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.
Avoid the hero shot
The more you can intelligently keep the ball in play, the better you'll score. There's absolute value in playing your own game and avoiding a battle of egos with your lower-handicapped playing partners.
Classic example: You've left yourself right on the limit of your 4-iron, and there's trouble everywhere on approach to a par-4 green. The safe bet might be to lay up to a comfortable yardage and pitch it close, giving yourself a look at par.
By taking the low tariff approach, you could avoid a damaging number.
Chip low to go low
Quite often, when we find ourselves close to the green, it can be tempting to lift a lofted club and aim for a landing zone somewhere close to the flag. That's a high skill level, high-tariff golf shot, and it's challenging to execute on-demand.
If you keep the ball low with a simple little 'bump and run' technique, you'll remove the chance of chunking or thinning a higher-lofted wedge shot.
Check out Chris Ryan's video below to master the low chip shot.
A poor putt beats a poor chip
Similar to the point above, when we're trying to take the risk of a chunked or bladed chip shot out of the mix, it's time to switch to the lower tariff option.
When you're within range to lag a putt to the hole - and if the ground conditions allow for it - putting is a far more consistent option than chipping. Simply aim to get the ball somewhere close to the hole.
If it goes in, it's a bonus.
Listen for the ball dropping
While being told to keep your head down in the full swing is often highlighted as one of the worst pieces of golf advice, the benefit when you're putting is undeniable.
If you look up to early you're going to miss putts left and right, so it's important to keep your head still and try to listen for the ball dropping into the hole.
Stick to the plan
If you hit a few stinkers early on in your round, it's very easy to lose trust in the golf swing you brought to the first tee.
When you're looking to test out the latest golf tip you saw on YouTube or that piece of advice a playing partner gave you last time out, the driving range and practice area at your club is the place to be.
Stay true to your current golf swing for a full 18 holes and see how things stand after you hole your final putt.
Do NOT count your score
We know it's hard not to tot up your score in your head, or have a sneaky peek as you round the turn. One simple message for this: DON'T.
To keep your focus on your swing and away from anything that can build tension in your game, save calculating your score until you're walking towards the clubhouse.
If you follow all these tips, breaking 100 is just around the corner.