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Break 100: 10 Simple Tips to Shoot in the 90s

You've no doubt arrived at this blog piece because you're determined to finally break 100, and we're just as committed to helping you - and many other Hole19ers just like you - reach that milestone.

Last week we compiled a list of 10 tips for beginner golfers and high-handicappers which focused on the best ways to get started in golf. Here we go a step further and bring you a collection of tips to help you break through the 100 barrier for the first time.

1) Ignore 'par'

On a par-72 course, in order to break 100, you need to shoot 9 bogeys and 9 double bogeys. A neat trick that could work for you is to take your scorecard and scribble out the par, adding two to the nine most difficult holes and one to the nine easiest holes.

This will have the added benefit of allowing you to feel an element of success on many more holes as you reach your 'par' on a more regular basis, and it lets you gain some perspective if you do post a high number.

2)  Ignore the pin

If you're looking to break 100 for the first time, you'll likely agree that you're not quite good enough yet to be aiming for the flag. Rarely will you find a pin located in the safest spot on a green. Instead, there will be varying degrees of risk/reward attached to going for the flag, and when trying to learn to plot your way around a golf course in under 100, risk avoidance is paramount.

More often than not you'll be aiming for the centre of the green, however, if there's trouble left or right, take this into account and adjust your target line accordingly. Similarly, if there's trouble short, take an extra club.

3) Avoid water hazards & OB

The more you can intelligently keep the ball in play, the better you'll score. We're not suggesting that you've been aiming for out of bounds this whole time, simply that you need to make allowances for your possible miss. If there's water in play on approach to a par-4 green, the safer bet might be to lay up to a comfortable yardage and get on in three. By taking the water out of the equation, you could avoid a damaging number.

Rick Shiels has an excellent idea for how you can eliminate OB from your view when you're setting up on the tee.

4) Have a 'go-to' club off the tee

When breaking 100 is your target, there's no need to be hitting driver off the tee... unless you're in the minority of high-handicappers that feel it's their most reliable club. If you do reach a hole with a wide fairway and limited trouble to take note of, then perhaps the 'big dog' can make a fleeting appearance.

Even if you manage to nail one down the centre of the fairway, demonstrating restraint by returning to your reliable club on the next hole is the intelligent play and the best way to keep your round ticking over.

5) 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.

A better approach is to use a lower-lofted club, such as a short iron, and pick a zone closer to you. Go ahead and make your stroke, and you'll find that the result is more predictable - even with a dodgy strike.

6) When putting is an option, putt

Following on from the point above, when you're within range to lag a putt to the hole - and if the ground conditions allow for it - putting is the more consistent option than chipping. Aim to get the ball somewhere close to the hole, and if it goes in, it's a bonus.

It's vital for you also to judge when putting isn't an option. Is the ball just off the fringe with an amount of grass between it and the putter head? How smooth does the fringe ahead look? How much distance is there between your ball and the green? Check out the video below for more on this.

7) Don't count your score

When you're on the golf course with a number in mind, this tip is probably going to be the hardest to stick to. We're not referring to totting up the numbers on your scorecard exclusively; it's just as potentially destructive if you let your mind wander and start counting scores in your mind as you walk to the next tee.

If you count your score during a round of golf, the pressure will build, and it's very likely to have an impact somewhere in the back nine.

8) Play your own game

Your ego can destroy your golf game very quickly. If you're playing with golfers who are a bit more accomplished than you are, it can be tempting to try and keep up with them in terms of strategy and distance. Learn to play to your strengths and don't let outside influences shape your approach to the round.

A patient, smart game is a far better way to break 100, rather than feeling the need to keep up with playing partners.

9) Nail those 3-footers

Golfers of every skill level can struggle at times to hole those pesky little knee-knockers, but, if you can learn to hole them with greater regularity, you'll be well on your way to breaking 100. Keep your head still, accelerate through the stroke and hold your finish.  

In the video below, the great Butch Harmon also suggests that you should learn to putt with your left ear. In effect, he's telling us golfers to hear the ball drop in the hole instead of looking up in a damaging jerking motion to see where it's gone.

10) Relax and have fun

It may sound like a weak closing tip, but, honestly, golf is a sport that should be enjoyed - and that still applies when you're chasing a score.

You can almost guarantee that if you struggle to keep your head in the game, you can forget about hitting your next golfing milestone; that applies irrespective of your handicap. Laugh off the bad shots, don't forget to remember the good ones and, if you're with friends, make sure you have a great time and enjoy their company.

We hope these tips will help you break 100 sometime soon. Once this hurdle is cleared, you can set your sights on lower scores and even greater accomplishments.


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