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Hugh Jars

Course Management Strategies to Break 90

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Hi All,
 
Thought Id start a thread so people can discuss strategies they have adopted to help break 90 consistently for those of an ability at around this level.
 
  • Accepting that making par on some, if not most, holes is just not realistic given my skill set. So I add a +1 to the par of these holes and aim for that. I also adjust club selection accordingly. Such as hitting shorter clubs off some par 4 and par 6 tees to reduce the chance of going off the course, such as favouring my hybrids over my driver, that I have specifically in my bag for this. I can generally hit them straighter and my 3 hybrid goes only 30m less than my driver.
  • Favouring a putting, chip and run chipping style to reduce the chance of duffing or blading my chips wherever possible. 
  • Putting strategy: dedicating much more time practicing my putting, specifically putts 5 foot to the cup. Ive been hammering the circle drill. With my chips and lag putting I aim to get within 5 feet, then if I keep working on these 5 foot and less putts my chances of two putting will hopefully improve.
  • Putting my ego away when I go off the course. Accepting I need to chip out rather than trying the hail mary out of the bushes.
  • Practicing:
    • Deliberately dedicating more time practicing putting and chipping.
    • Aiming for targets on the range.
 
What strategies do you guys have that help?

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Learn to hit your driver as far as you can and as straight as you can.  Length trumps everything else.

John

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6 minutes ago, 70sSanO said:

Learn to hit your driver as far as you can and as straight as you can.  Length trumps everything else.

John

I strongly disagree with you. Rather be 180m straight down the fairway than 240m in the bushes.

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Best strategy I ever employed on the golf course was to hit away from hazards, and other trouble areas. This usually made for "better next shot. 

Sometimes my longest shot effort, was replaced with something shorter.....safer.

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Use 90, as a benchmark, rather than 72.  That way an 85 is 5 under instead of 13 over.  Leave Old Man Par to the low handicappers and focus on giving Colonel Bogey a run for his money.

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5 hours ago, Hugh Jars said:

I strongly disagree with you. Rather be 180m straight down the fairway than 240m in the bushes.

He wrote "as straight as you can" so unless all of your holes dogleg at that distance I'm not sure how you can disagree with him.

If every one of your drives ends up in trouble, you need to work on your driving. You're giving up a lot of scoring potential by giving up 60m off the tee just to be in play.

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This thread has been done a few times now I believe. 

In short, the strategies to breaking every scoring barrier are pretty much the same. 

1) Technical strategy is always the same...learn to hit the ball better, hit better pitch shots, and be a better putter. This involves time and technical changes. 

2) Course management strategy is the same...advance the ball as far as you can safely. This usually means thinking driver first and adjusting down as necessary. 

3) Understand your shot zones. If your miss with driver is 100 yards wide left to right, then dont  be hitting driver  when you only got 60 yards between water hazard left and OB right (as an example). 

4) Don’t go for pins unless you are really close to the green. Aim for safest and fattest part of green from anything at least 100 yards out. Maybe even shorter if your trying to break 90.

5) Develop a trouble shot. For someone wanting to break 90 maybe it will be a simple 5 iron punch that just helps you advance the ball. 

6) Read LSW

The biggest thing you can do is improve your swing, but these other strategies can assist in your goal. I have broken 90 more times this year than I ever have before and this is what I implemented this year along with lessons. 

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3 hours ago, Patch said:

Best strategy I ever employed on the golf course was to hit away from hazards, and other trouble areas.

Like the "green light-yellow light-red light" thought that I use. Kind of "go or no-go" thinking, and depends on my confidence level in making the shot at that moment. Now to go break 90 more often! Best, -Marv

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When I was trying to break 90 consistently I focused on a few different things:

  1. Improve my chipping and putting - I read some stats on how below 90's scramble and I was not in line with those so I practiced until I was.
  2. Lots of time practicing partial wedge shots - my PW was about 110 yards at that time and I went through several buckets doing nothing but pitches and wedges from 30-100 yards.  Multiple benefits here: gave me confidence to play for bogey when my drive went astray, but also just more confidence in general where I wasn't afraid to mishit because I knew I could get the next shot of the green.
  3. I spent a lot of time practicing my longer clubs, 5i, 4H, 3H, FW; This was my weakness at the time.  The goal wasn't about hitting my greens with these clubs (although it did improve) as much as eliminate the really bad shots that either went OB, into hazards, or just didn't advance the ball.

Some of these were specific to my game but there are things most 90's players can probably benefit from.

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9 hours ago, Hugh Jars said:

What strategies do you guys have that help?

In general, get good instruction and work on your overall swing. It's the most reliable way to lower your score.

7 hours ago, Hugh Jars said:

I strongly disagree with you. Rather be 180m straight down the fairway than 240m in the bushes.

Accuracy and Distance are linked together. Better golfers hit the ball further and straighter. Also, that amount of distance loss has a big impact on your score.

You are not guaranteed not to hit a really bad shot with that 180 club. Also, how many times do you actually hit the ball into the bushes? If it's once or twice a round it's not worth hitting the 180 club.

9 hours ago, Hugh Jars said:

Favouring a putting, chip and run chipping style to reduce the chance of duffing or blading my chips wherever possible. 

Check out some of the pitching threads on this forum. Proper pitching technique gives you a lot more leeway against blading and duffing your chips.

 

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8 hours ago, 70sSanO said:

Learn to hit your driver as far as you can and as straight as you can.  Length trumps everything else.

John

 

38 minutes ago, David in FL said:

You don’t need course management to break 90.  You just need reasonable, full-swing ball-striking.  

@Hugh Jars these 2 kinda go hand in hand.  If your ballstriking improves significantly, you will hit it straighter AND longer.  There seems to be the notion of longer = wild out there.  If you're hitting the center of the clubface more, your drives will be longer and your irons will be more accurate, that's just ballstriking.  Adds up to hitting more fairways and more greens, then suddenly making pars becomes a bit easier.

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37 minutes ago, saevel25 said:

In general, get good instruction and work on your overall swing. It's the most reliable way to lower your score.

Accuracy and Distance are linked together. Better golfers hit the ball further and straighter. Also, that amount of distance loss has a big impact on your score.

You are not guaranteed not to hit a really bad shot with that 180 club. Also, how many times do you actually hit the ball into the bushes? If it's once or twice a round it's not worth hitting the 180 club.

Check out some of the pitching threads on this forum. Proper pitching technique gives you a lot more leeway against blading and duffing your chips.

 

To be honest, I think it’s pretty obvious improving the swing is going to help. And, like most golfers, I’m always working on my swing, including getting instruction. I created this thread to discuss strategies on the course while playing.

1 hour ago, David in FL said:

You don’t need course management to break 90.  You just need reasonable, full-swing ball-striking.  

So putting, chipping, pitching, scrambling, club selection, smart aiming is irrelevant? 

Edited by Hugh Jars

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3 hours ago, billchao said:

He wrote "as straight as you can" so unless all of your holes dogleg at that distance I'm not sure how you can disagree with him.

If every one of your drives ends up in trouble, you need to work on your driving. You're giving up a lot of scoring potential by giving up 60m off the tee just to be in play.

Not necessarily. To break 90 you’re essentially aiming slightly better than a bogey every hole. So on a par 4 hitting a shorter club with a greater chance of it being straighter then swallowing your pride and laying up on the next shot with a club you control well could definitely be a higher percentage play than risking spraying a driver badly into some hazard and attempting a glory shot to the green. I reckon many golfers are guilty of taking the former option because it’s what they see the pros on tv do. For someone trying to break 90 aiming to make a 5 on a par 4 is more reasonable, realistic and can take the pressure off trying to score at a standard you’re simply not capable of.

Theres the factor out there that, to many, golf is a pissing contest - hitting the ball far is probably more important than playing smart and scoring well. 

Check out “golf sidekick” on YouTube. There are dudes on there that rarely get their driver out or can’t walk properly cos their knees are so bad but they’re knocking it around in 80 simply from putting their ego away and playing smart.

Edited by Hugh Jars

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I have a book at home titled something along the lines of "How to break 90".  It essentially says treat every hole as a bogey and play accordingly.  So, you need to get onto a par 3 in 2, a par 4 in 3 and a par 5 in 4.  Once you make that mental adjustment, hitting a driver on every par 4 and 5 isn't a necessity.  Aiming for every par 3 green isn't that important.  Playing smartly, you will probably score better.  Consider this, an average amateur can hit his 7 iron 150 yards.  Even if you only played a 7 iron, you could be on any par 5 in 4 strokes.  Smart golf trumps inaccurate distance if you are going to be in miserable rough, hazards and unplayable lies

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11 minutes ago, Hugh Jars said:

I created this thread to discuss strategies on the course while playing.

Strategy - Advance the ball the furthest taking into account your shot zone and hazards. This would include taking acceptable risk on shots.

Approaches into the green - Anything outside 80 yards, aim at the center of the green with consideration of hazards. Then you may need to shift the target more away from the hazard.

12 minutes ago, Hugh Jars said:

So putting, chipping, pitching, scrambling, club selection is irrelevant? 

No one said that. Don't jump to the extreme.

Putting and scrambling have less overall value impact on scoring compared to the long game. In the end, the long game will provide the biggest bang for your buck so to speak.

If either of the two are glaring weaknesses then you can work on them with more of your time, but they also take less time and overall difficulty to achieve adequate skill level versus the long game.

6 minutes ago, Hugh Jars said:

So on a par 4 hitting a shorter club with a greater chance of it being straighter then swallowing your pride and laying up on the next shot with a club you control well could definitely be a higher percentage play than risking spraying a driver badly into some hazard and attempting a glory shot to the green.

I contend that if you struggle that bad then you are still as likely to flub the iron/hybrid off the tee.

7 minutes ago, Hugh Jars said:

Plus there’s the factor that to many golf is a pissing contest - hitting the ball far is probably more important than playing smart and scoring well. 

I hardly every see that in league play. In just a casual round with friends it may happen more often. But then, you may care more about beating your friends versus shooting your best round.

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2 hours ago, gbogey said:

When I was trying to break 90 consistently I focused on a few different things:

  1. Improve my chipping and putting - I read some stats on how below 90's scramble and I was not in line with those so I practiced until I was.
  2. Lots of time practicing partial wedge shots - my PW was about 110 yards at that time and I went through several buckets doing nothing but pitches and wedges from 30-100 yards.  Multiple benefits here: gave me confidence to play for bogey when my drive went astray, but also just more confidence in general where I wasn't afraid to mishit because I knew I could get the next shot of the green.
  3. I spent a lot of time practicing my longer clubs, 5i, 4H, 3H, FW; This was my weakness at the time.  The goal wasn't about hitting my greens with these clubs (although it did improve) as much as eliminate the really bad shots that either went OB, into hazards, or just didn't advance the ball.

Some of these were specific to my game but there are things most 90's players can probably benefit from.

+1 practicing those partial wedge shots. I used to almost never practice them, but now I really enjoy working on this aspect.

3 minutes ago, pganapathy said:

I have a book at home titled something along the lines of "How to break 90".  It essentially says treat every hole as a bogey and play accordingly.  So, you need to get onto a par 3 in 2, a par 4 in 3 and a par 5 in 4.  Once you make that mental adjustment, hitting a driver on every par 4 and 5 isn't a necessity.  Aiming for every par 3 green isn't that important.  Playing smartly, you will probably score better.  Consider this, an average amateur can hit his 7 iron 150 yards.  Even if you only played a 7 iron, you could be on any par 5 in 4 strokes.  Smart golf trumps inaccurate distance if you are going to be in miserable rough, hazards and unplayable lies

Completely agree.

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The other thing I don't see mentioned here that many advocate is playing from the ladies tees.

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