Arnold Palmer, one of the most renowned players in the sport, once put it like this, “Success in this game depends less on the strength of body than strength of mind and character.”
Now, this article’s honest numbers and facts aren’t to discourage you from your goal of breaking 80.
Rather, it’s more about how to approach the sport in such a way for you to achieve your goal.
With that said, let’s talk about the percentage of golfers that can break 80 and what you can do to break one of the most challenging barriers in the game!
The Numbers: How Many Golfers Break 80?
According to the United States Golf Association, many golfers have a general handicap of 33 (or more).
Since a handicap score in golf is used to gauge a golfer’s game and overall playing ability based on their previous golf game(s), this means that a relatively large percentage of golfers can break 100.
Which is the usual number of strokes that amateurs and beginners make in golf.
But for those who have been in the game for a bit longer, only around 2 to 5% of golfers break 80. More specifically, 20% of male golfers can achieve said goal, while only 3.24% of women golfers break 80.
Is it Good to Break 80 in Golf?
For beginners, a good golf score does not matter as much. The focus is on hitting the golf ball when they’re still figuring out how to shoot.
Once they’ve gotten through the first few weeks (or months) of figuring out their swing and getting used to the game itself, many golfers will naturally begin to set goals for themselves.
In golf, particularly, a lower score is indicative of a better play. So, for beginners, this means starting to aim for a good golf score (or remaining under par) which requires less than 120 strokes in one golf game.
‘Breaking 80’, otherwise known as the holy grail in the game of golf, means executing a play that requires less than 80 strokes to finish an entire golf game.
It’s safe to assume that you’re reading this because have been playing the game for a bit, and you want to lower your score even more.
Why Do Golfers Find It Challenging To Break 80?
When playing golf, many factors affect the overall game of a golfer.
A first-time golfer might think that it’s all about the strength that one puts into their golf swing.
But a lot more goes into scoring a par and, accordingly, breaking 80.
Physically, there has been more focus on the physique of golfers.
These factors contribute to a golfer’s stamina in their respective golf courses:
- Muscle memory
- Body to fat ratio of a golfer
These can affect the speed and distance that a golfer can easily cover.
A 2006 study on the Effects of Physical Conditioning on Intercollegiate Golfer Performance has revealed that approximately eleven (11) weeks of physical conditioning can positively affect the clubhead speed and putting distance control of golfers.
The standard number of holes in a golf course would be eighteen (18) holes, consisting of:
- Four short holes
- Four long holes
- Ten average holes.
The way a golfer’s physique can affect their game would be very evident in how the fewer shots made by a golfer for each hole would mean less muscle fatigue. By having a better physique, golfers will have more muscle control and overall accuracy in their shots for each round.
This would work inversely too.
The more swings made by a golfer due to less muscle control and accuracy will result in spending more time trying to finish one round and, thus, more strokes.
So, when trying to work your way into the percentage of golfers who can consistently break 80, try gauging your physique:
- Do your muscles get adequate practice?
- Do you frequent the driving range enough to practice your swing?
- Have you built concrete muscle memory for your short game?
For casual and first-time golfers to be lax about their handicap data. Shooting the golf ball within or at least close to the green, and overall game.
And we get it – golf can be a way for one to destress.
But for golfers trying to break 80, things can understandably get stressful when they go over the par for a particular round. Because even if your physique is at its prime, your game will still very much be affected by how you think while on the golf course.
What we mean by this is that, for your practice to be effective, you’re going to have to train yourself to think with HONESTY and CLARITY.
Were you able to optimize your approach shot for each round, or are you just telling yourself that it was a relatively good shot?
Achievements on the golf course are not what matters, decency and honesty are what matter. – Tiger Woods
Of course, to break 80 or even excel at any sport, you have to practice honesty to change bad habits while playing and improve on the things that you yet have to improve on.
What’s more, a clear mind is also essential for you to break 80.
For instance, you would not want to hit a water hazard that’s been given to you. You also wouldn’t want to mess up your short game because you somehow forgot to aim for the golf ball to hit the green.
What’s the Best Way To Break 80?
Here are some stats you’ll need to achieve when you want to break 80:
- Hit less than eight over pars or less than seven bogeys
- Aim for as many birdies as you can for each round
- Have a strong short game (to make up for misses)
With all that said, let’s talk about some of the things you can focus on executing to break 80.
Avoid Committing Penalties
Be it as simple as accidentally bringing more clubs than what’s allowed, inputting the wrong score in your scorecard, or even unintentionally putting an unattended flagstick; you should acquaint yourself with the rules of the game.
Not only is it a sure way for you to acclimate to the more professional side of the sport, but it will also help you avoid getting additional strokes in your game and ultimately make it easier for you to break 80.
Practice Makes Permanent
As we’ve discussed earlier, having an established muscle memory and shot accuracy will greatly benefit you. Of course, playing better requires you to invest more time, effort, and energy into the sport.
You might have been overlooking your putting which may have been detrimental to your overall score.
Practicing your putting may improve your:
- Distance perception (how close or far is the green)
These are all essential if you want to make fewer shorts and maybe even a better stroke-to-par ratio.
Hit A Sure Tee
After going through your short holes, you’ll be approaching the longer holes on the course.
The longer the distance, the more important it is for you to have a sure tee (the first stroke you make for a hole).
In line with the previous tip regarding practicing your shots, you’ll find it beneficial to figure out the distance you can shoot with your clubs.
You may want to consider using either your driver or long iron to avoid hitting a double bogey (or even a triple-bogey) for your long holes.
Pay Attention To Your Handicap
Having a handicap means that you have played the sport before and have recorded your previous score. It may drop or rise after each completed play since it depends on your overall score.
Paying close attention to it shows you if you played better or worse and if you’re lacking more practice.
What’s more, if you notice that your score has consistently hit a plateau, then you might want to work on improving your short game or your hit/putt skills.
Know Your Clubs
The distance varies for each hole. This means that for you to hit some of the longer holes, you’ll need to use the clubs made for longer distances.
As mentioned earlier, honesty is crucial whenever you engage in this sport. Always be honest with yourself whenever you gauge the distance between you and the green.
Remember, golfers break 80 through practice and excellent execution. With this in mind, think of the right club as your instrument to achieve this.
‘Fore You Go
After all that we’ve shared in this article, we’re confident that you are now aware of the things that you’ll need to achieve for you to break 80.
But remember that reading words on paper (in this case, the words on an online article) will only make up for your theoretical knowledge.
You’re going to have to push yourself to achieve more par accuracy, a better handicap, and ultimately break 80.