Breaking 100 for the first time is one of the most exciting experiences you can have in the game of golf. Sure, this is a milestone that many golfers pass pretty early on, but it takes a while for others to clear this bar.
Whether you’ve been trying for weeks or years to break the century mark, the first time you record a two-digit score is an event you are sure to remember.
One of the issues that seems to hold some golfers back from breaking 100 is the belief that they need to completely change their swing technique in order to get the job done. That simply isn’t true.
Don’t think that you need a ‘new’ swing to break 100 simply because you haven’t managed to do it yet. There is a good chance that your current swing is capable of a sub-100 score, and it may be your mental game that is holding you back.
With the five tips listed below, we are going to focus on the strategic and emotional parts of the game. Improve your play in this area and a record score could be waiting just around the corner.
#1 – Put Down the Driver
For golfers struggle to crack 100, the driver is often a club which does more harm than good. We aren’t saying that you need to take it out of your bag, but you should likely use it less frequently than you are at the moment.
To break 100, one of your main jobs is to keep the ball in play all day long. That means avoid hazards, lost balls, etc.
You can’t afford to add those penalty strokes to your score if you want to set a personal best for an 18-hole round.
Take a look at the scorecard before you tee off and look for holes which play short enough to allow for a three-wood or hybrid tee shot. Playing those shorter clubs off the tee should make it easier to hit fairways, which will take pressure off the rest of your game.
#2 – The Low Side is Your Friend
Picture an approach shot that you are about to play toward the green on a par four.
How are you going to pick your target? Are you just going to aim directly at the hole and hope for the best?
Many amateur golfers lack strategy in this area, and that shortcoming costs them strokes in the end.
A good strategy when playing approach shots is to always favor the low side of the green. If you place the ball on the low side as compared to the hole, you will be putting uphill, making it far easier to control your distance successfully.
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In fact, even if you miss the green, having an uphill chip is a much more desirable situation than a downhill chip or pitch. Staying below the hole will often mean the difference between needing two shots in the short game to get into the hole as opposed to three.
It is no exaggeration to say that staying below the hole could wind up saving you several strokes in a single round.
#3 – Don’t Do the Math
It’s a common mistake to start adding up the scorecard before all of the holes have been played. You may think that you have a chance to break 100 with only a few holes left, so you stop to do some quick math.
After adding things up, you realize that you can play the last four holes in four over par to wind up with a 99. That’s great – but all you’ve done is add pressure to the situation!
That information doesn’t really help you, since the only thing you can do is play each shot to the best of your ability. It takes discipline but do your best to save the math for after the round has been completed.
#4 – Play Your Own Game
If you play with golfers who are a bit more accomplished or experienced than yourself, you may be tempted to try and keep up with them in terms of distance and strategy. For instance, you might try to pound a drive off the tee in order to keep up with the group, or you might go for the green over water even when you know it’s unlikely that you’ll make it.
In order to prioritize the goal of breaking 100 for the first time, you need to put your ego to the side and play a patient, smart game. Rather than getting caught up in the moment, keep your eye on the big picture and have a plan for each individual shot that you play.
If you can successfully stay focused on a game plan from the first hole through to the last, you will be giving yourself a great chance to succeed.
#5 – You Must Adapt
One of the great challenges in the game of golf is adapting to the course conditions as they change during the day. Most rounds of golf take over four hours, meaning things are going to change quite a bit between the time you start and the time you finish. The ground may dry out, or get wetter. The air temperature might go up or down, and the wind may increase or decrease. Ignoring the changes that are going on all around you is a recipe for disaster.
21st July 2017, Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England; The 146th Open Golf Championship, second round; Steve Stricker plays from the wet sand onto the 18th green Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images
A good golfer is an observant golfer, and one who is willing to make adjustments on the fly in order to better meet the demands of the course on that given day. No matter what kind of score you are trying to shoot, adapting to what the course presents is downright essential.
We hope these five tips will help you break through the 100 barrier sometime soon. One of the best parts of breaking 100 is what it means for the future of your game – once this hurdle is cleared, you can set your sights on even bigger and better things.
Good luck in your quest and have fun out there!