Breaking 80 - As Easy As Playing Like A Little Old Man

Published 27/07/2012 07:53:45

There are many different ways to breaking 80, some easier than others. But, neither buying new clubs or hitting the ball over the fence at the range will be one of them.

Take the little old man that seems to beat you every week. Think about what he does, he hits the ball 180 yards straight down the middle, and for the most part with clubs that are older and cheaper than yours

So how does he do it? Well, for the most part, he doesn't have any expectations and he plays like it. We on the other hand expect to play well and then we don't. We think ourselves into failure, it's easier for us to think negatively then positively.

The maxim, "Golf is all in your head", is oft used and applies in this case, but what exactly does it mean?

When most golfer hear "mental", they think of being positive or controlling their attitude, yes, all of that helps, but I have seen many golfers break 80 and be despondent throughout the day. But playing smart and not making mistakes that if thought out, may have not been made, now that is the real secret.

Shooting 79

The biggest difference between a 70's golfer and a 80's golfer is not what they do with the club, but what they do with their head when they are in trouble. Most players who shoot in the 80's hit the ball well, no one will argue that, but when they miss the ball left or right, what do they do next?

Think about all the times you found yourself behind a tree or in some kind of trouble and instead of chipping out, which you know is the right move, you go for it. It's not easy, but if you can control the urge and not try to hit the low percentage shot, you will find yourself making a lot less 7 and 8's, heck you may even save a par.

Stop Shooting at The Flag

Shooting at the flag is something I believe golfers at all levels struggle with, but how often do you stick a pin from a 100 yards away? I bet not much, if you did, shooting 75 would be a breeze. So if that is the case from 100 yards, why go for a flag that is tucked behind a bunker from 160 yards away?

We don't realize it, but whenever we are in striking distance the green, our eyes seem to focus directly at the flag, even the pros don't aim for it every time. Play it safe, look to the fat part of the green, 2 putt and get your par. Try it, you will become a much better player when you can hit more greens. Take some pressure off your short game, it can do wonders.

Water, What Water?

Every week my friends and I play for a few quid and at least once during the round I find myself having to hit over water. And of course I get the "watch out for the water" line. As you know, this is not something you want to be reminded of right before you swing, but little do they know it doesn't bother me in the least.

Let me explain: most of the guys I play with shoot well into the 90's. So, naturally the mental side of their game is very weak and they assume mine is too, but most good golfers (sub 80) rarely even notice the water. It's a trust thing. I know I hit my 8 iron 155 - 160 yards, so why would a pond 2 feet in front of me get in my head? It doesn't!

Trust me, this is not something you will be able to do over night, but if you can train yourself to trust your clubs, you will be amazed at your results. How many 8 irons do you hit that roll the first 20 yards? Probably never so forget about the water, it will not jump up and grab your ball, just take a nice swing and you will lose a lot less balls.

Manage Your Shots

Managing your shots is something that most players fail to do.

Your in the middle of the fairway, water behind the green, you get your yardage to the flag, pick a club and swing. The ball flies over the green, into the water and you lose a stroke. What you should have done was get the yardage to the back of the green, pick a club that no matter what you do will not reach the water, and then swing. These little mental errors that high handicap golfers often make are the difference between shooting 79 and 83.

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1.  I can shoot 75 EASY (over 9 holes, right?)

comment by Robert Bishop - 28/07/2012 18:41

2.  I've lost count of the number of times I've dunked it in the lake short of the green due to a 'weak mental state'.
Usually because I've failed to leave myself a full shot in or been so tense, hitting it fat is inevitable.

The mental game tips by Dr Karl Morris in the features section on this site is going to help me here I think, committing to the right club.

The key to getting there I think is knowing club distances accurately. A session at the practice ground going through the bag with a good GPS. Repeat every 3 months to take account of swing changes & seasons.

That's the plan anyway

comment by Pete - 12/09/2012 11:54

3.  Learning to hit the ball consistently and then trusting your swing to do just that takes a lot of hazards out of play. Shoot for the middle of the green, knowing that the club you select will do the job and ignore, water, sand and slopes. Play smart and realize that eleven pars and seven bogeys will net you a 79. Pars on the 8 par 3's and 5's are reality if you hit solid shots and do not give strokes away. This leaves 3 of the par 4's that you need to par for a 79; however, you must avoid double bogeys (killers for a round). Smart golf as described above will help you take your medicine (bogey) instead of trying to be a hero and getting that big number. Play one hole at a time and play each hole smart and watch your scores drop.

comment by Denny - 30/10/2012 15:03

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