The chances are that if you’re desperate to break that 90 score, then you’ve probably been golfing long enough to get yourself to a mid-handicapper level.
Congratulations! It takes a lot of sweat, patience and dedication to get to that point and you should be pleased that you’ve gotten this far.
However, that often isn’t enough. You want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the low handicap players who break 90 and even 80.
When it gets to this stage, every shot will matter and you’ll certainly find yourself racking your brains and doing everything in your power to lower that score.
Breaking 90 is a big step for some golfers, although it might seem like an arbitrary number, it is a sign that the strength of your game is noticeably improving. The statistics state that only 26 percent of golfers regularly break 90, which is a testament to how difficult it is.
But if you are playing in the 90s, how is it possible to get below that? What techniques, golf equipment alterations and mental preparations do you need to make to get your golf score alongside the best in the world? Is it all about power and accuracy, or are there some easier cheats?
Well, to break 90, you don’t need to break a sweat. We have some useful tips, cheats and words of wisdom to help get you in the zone and narrow down those few shots that will get you under 90 consistently and improve your overall handicap.
So take a deep breath, tighten your golf gloves and get ready to absorb the sacred wisdom of the holy under-90 club.
How To Break That Big 90
If you are scoring 90 consistently already, the chances are there is nothing wrong with your swing. Half of the challenge is overcoming the mentality of missing a few greens and allowing that to affect your game to such an extent that your misses get more and more frequent.
Golf is more like chess than basketball, it’s all about thinking a few moves ahead.
If you are struggling to wield your driver, for example, you can minimize the errors you make on the fairway by chipping yourself out of a sand trap rather than trying to save par.
You can really kill a round by trying to get over to the green in one shot. Sacrificing distance for accuracy is a great way to reduce these blow up holes.
Coins And Golf Balls - Drawing A Line Between Winning And Losing
Drawing a stripe down the center of a coin and then lining it up with a line drawn on your ball is a great way of improving accuracy on the tee. Imagine these lines like the sight on a crossbow - they are simply there to make sure the ball gets to its target.
All you have to do is align the ridge on your putter with the line you’ve drawn on your ball for a more accurate shot. When you have taken the pressure off yourself regarding precision, then you can more accurately focus on your power, getting that golf ball to the line in one shot.
But is this legal? In short, yes it is.
A lot of professional golfers use this technique, and it is certainly in line with a lot of the rules of golf. However, make sure you don’t take too long lining up your tee or putting shots as it will certainly slow down the pace of your round.
Focus On The Fairway
When it comes to getting those 90 or even 80 scores, you can be certain that it is more than achievable just by driving the ball straight down the fairway. A lot of mid-handicappers could get themselves near to the green in two shots.
If you find it difficult to keep an accurate shot off the tee, then you might need to use a different club to the one you’ve been using. 5-woods and hybrid clubs are great for improving the accuracy of your shot, giving you a lighter, more controlled swing.
Hybrids are a controversial little club, but they are there for a reason.
Instead of reaching for a driver on a par 4 or a par 5, select a hybrid. There will be great for getting through densely wooded areas or a fairway littered with sand traps and water. You might lose a little bit of distance, but taking the more conservative option will ensure you reach the green in fewer shots overall.
We know you might want to nail that par, but sometimes pride comes before the fall. Simply swallow it and focus, you might end up with fewer shots than more in the long run.
How To Get To The Green In 5 Shots
From the tee to the green, there are five stages to get you to your destination with as little fuss as possible.
By having the right equipment for each of these stages, as well as the right stance and mental focus, you can complete them with precision and power, getting you to the green in as few shots as possible.
Pick a Club That Goes as Straight as Possible Off the Tee
Basically, for your initial shot, you’ll want the longest club that will allow you to hit the ball straight at whatever angle you aim it. You will ideally want to hit the ball about 160 yards or more. Obviously if you can hit this further, then all the better, as it will mean that you can get to the green in less time.
You can use a fairway wood, a hybrid or a 5-iron for a consistent and straight shot off the tee. You’ll be wanting a solid bogey shot, so you won’t have to worry about whacking the ball as far as possible down the fairway.
As long as you clear the rough that comes before the fairway, then you won’t have to worry. You will aim to make a few bogeys, although if you make par, then that’s certainly preferable.
Try and use a club that you are comfortable with using and can be assured will hit the ball quickly and efficiently.
Maintain Your Pitching Within 70 Yards
Even though most golfers will be trying to avoid a 30-70 yard pitch shot, inevitably this will happen to even the most focused player. You have to learn to play the most tricky shots, as they will ultimately save you one or two shots during your round.
Take any one of your wedges - either lob, gap, sand or pitching wedge, whichever you feel the most relaxed with.
Now align your feet to the left of the target stopping point for your ball, keeping the weight on this foot so you can scoop the ball.
Put your sternum directly over the ball and make sure it is more or less in the middle of your stance.
Don’t use your arms to scoop the ball, just turn your entire body into the shot and have your arms follow the natural movement of it.
Make sure your arms are tight to your body for a nice and controlled pitching shot. Seal your armpits tightly.
The distance control is achieved through this unique stance and movement, determined by the length of your backswing and what style of wedge you use.
Select Two of Your Favorite Clubs for Inside 150 Yards
When it comes to that final approach shot on the green, you’re going to need your two favorite clubs, the ones you feel most comfortable with, to get it up onto that plateau.
However, if you have 240 yards before you get to the green, make a judgment call - can you really make that length in one single shot? Or can you break it down into two manageable shots using your favorite iron and pitching wedge?
The chances of hitting the green in two shots rather than one long shot are far more manageable. You might flub the big shot and end up taking 3 strokes instead of 2.
We recommend using a solid 5-iron for the first 120 yards, following it up with your pitching wedge for the closer 120 yards. It’s preferable to a 3 wood in the deep grass and having to make up the 50-yard pitch shot in tricky terrain!
Develop Your Two-Putt and Short Putt
Three putts are a good way of improving your score and hitting that all-important 90 score. Again, you aren’t trying to overreach yourself, simply staying within your limits and going for modest, solid shots that hit their stopping point every time.
Working on your two-putt is essential, it’s something you can do after work. Hit the practice green with your loyal putter, putting in 30-60 minutes every week. You’ll soon notice a drastic improvement in your short game!
The aim is to get a putt for par, despite the distance from the hole. If you can make that hole in 1 or 2 par, then you’re well on your way to getting that lower score.
When you get within 10 feet of the hole, keep looking down at the ball and pay no attention to the hole itself, as it doesn’t matter whether you’re looking at the hole or not. In fact, keeping the hole in your sights will distract you from developing the correct swing.
Listen for that distinctive rattle of the ball as it hits the hole, this is all the confirmation you’ll need to ensure that you’re game is developing. The more you practice this, the more you’ll hear that knee-melting final sound.
Have a Club for the Bump and Run
Secure a club that you can keep your ball low to the ground. If you try and attempt a lobbing shot, the chances are you’ll squander it, which might lead to a further 1 or 2 shots and getting under 90 might seem like a distant dream.
We would recommend using a pitching wedge to chip your ball with. However, you’ll need to practice consistently with this favorite pitcher to get used to the hold and heft of the clubhead. Once you and the club are one, you’ll make the shot every time!
Remember: on these approach shots, the important thing is to get the ball on the green rather than close to the hole. You want to reduce those number of chip shots and switch to the putters as soon as possible.
Be Modest On The Green
One of the best ways to avoid catastrophe and those high 90 or 80 scores is by keeping it realistic when you get on the green. It’s easy to get excited when that hole is in sight and try to overreach yourself, but that is where you will make the most mistakes.
Most golfers who are on the cusp of breaking 90 usually aren’t hitting many Greens In Regulation. Most people who hit GIR have a significantly lower handicap.
Try and hit more bump and runs rather than lob shots. Chip with an 8-iron and have your putter at the ready for when you’re just outside the green. If you end up doing a bad putt, it’s much easier to recover than if you have a chunked or bladed wedge shot, which might result in you trying to get out of the rough.
You should just try and achieve a decent par putt and hopefully walk away with a bogey.
Long And Short Games Warm-Ups
Golf is like any other high-intensity sport, just because you aren’t running up and down a court all day, you have to make sure your muscles are primed, especially if you’ve been sitting in a cramped office chair all day.
If you can practice on the driving range beforehand, do these warm-up shots before getting into your game:
- 4 shots with your wedge
- 4 shots with your iron
- 4 shots with your hybrid
- 4 shots with your fairway wood
- 1 shot with whatever club you tee off with
Take 5 balls onto the putting green and scatter them around 20 feet from the hole.
Keep practicing until you can get them within 2 feet of the hole.