Golf is a game that requires constant improvement — at least to achieve your goals or reach the next level. The only issue is that so many golfers place unrealistic and unachievable goals ahead of themselves — like shooting par for the course even though they’ve never broken 100.
But in order to achieve milestones and gradually improve your game, you need a cascading, step-by-step approach to a larger goal. For most linksman, learning how to break 90 in golf should be at the top of the list.
Breaking 90 on the golf course represents the transition from an average or below-average golfer into an above-average player. If you’re consistently shooting in the 90s or low 100s, breaking 90 is more achievable than you think, and you may not need any major adjustments to your game. Just follow these tips to get yourself one step closer to what only 26% of golfers ever achieve — a score below 90.
Figuring out how to break 90 in golf never elicits a one-size-fits-all approach. Every golfer is different. Some have more time to practice, others have a greater natural ability, and some have a sounder, calmer mental approach to the game. To that effect, you should realistically expect breaking 90 to take you somewhere between two and five years.
Like anything else, the more time and effort you put in, the more you’ll get out of your approach. However, you can streamline the process by applying a few simple tips and strategies.
One of the more exciting ideas of learning how to break 90 in golf is that it doesn’t require you to make a single birdie, which can ultimately take a bit of pressure on your shoulders. You only need to focus on pars and bogeys throughout your round.
With that idea in mind, breaking 90 becomes less about hitting spectacular shots and sinking 80-foot putts and more about course management. Playing intelligently and conservatively will often leave you with a better score than trying to hit a low-percentage shot. Remember — on a par-72 course, you can bogey each hole and still hit your goal of 90.
If you’re in the rough after a tee shot, accept the idea of bogey golf (and avoid double bogey or triple bogey) by a conservative lay up onto the fairway. If the green is surrounded by bunkers, take that into account in your approach shots.
The idea is to minimize damage and never try to play the “perfect shot.” But this isn’t just how to break 90 in golf — it’s something to embrace now and in the future, whether you’re playing a solo round, a foursome, or a golf scramble.
Water, boundaries, and bunkers pose a serious threat when you’re trying to break 90. Regardless of whether you’re lining up a chip shot, a drive, or a long- or short-iron play, make sure to select the right golf club, don’t overswing, and again, always play the conservative route. You should see a lower score based solely on avoiding hazards.
To play your best golf, you need to put in the practice time. Working on your golf swing at the driving range, practicing your short game on the fringe, and putting the golf ball in the hole from the green are all crucial elements of your success.
However, you need to go beyond merely practicing and put together a practice plan. Decide how much time you have to devote to practice and then develop a plan to address your weaknesses.
Have you been hitting two putts or three putts on each hole? Time to choose either a mallet or blade putter and hit the practice green. Slicing or hooking your tee shots or long irons? Head to the driving range. Always address your bad shots and less-than-adequate parts of your game if you want to discover how to break 90 in golf.
Not every move you make toward a sub-90 scorecard comes when you’re playing golf. Sometimes, it’s what you do away from the course that takes you one step closer to better golf — reading one of the best golf books.
From specific books about how to improve your pitch shot to your swing thought to your pre-shot routine, you can find plenty of literature that provides you with a fresh mindset and approach to the game. If you can take these ideas and apply them to your game, you have the game plan necessary to crack 90 on your next round of golf.
If you’re not tracking your shots via a shot tracer app or keeping a detailed account of how you shoot on a particular hole, you’re missing out on stellar opportunities to trim strokes on your game.
Plenty of apps and even your phone camera can help you see how you hit out of the tee box and where your shots are going as a result. Even PGA Tour pros use these apps and tech features to improve their game, so it only makes sense to follow suit. So whether you’re planning a round of 18 or you’re in a practice session, use tech to your advantage.
Three-putting on any hole spells doom on any attempt to shoot below 90, so give yourself a little bit of a challenge. On any given hole, always try to make the second shot after you’re on the green. By two-putting on a hole, you put yourself in a great position to crack 90, regardless of your skill level or your yardage off the tee.
Becoming a handicap golfer is certainly a milestone, but don’t let it creep into the back of your mind while you’re playing. Good things come with time.
Instead, focus on getting one step closer to 90 with each shot, whether you’re hitting a drive, fairway wood, Texas wedge, or putting. The game of golf is a war of attrition between your ability and your mind. Adding anything else into the equation won’t take you to the next level; it’s a distraction that can diminish your ability to focus on how to break 90 in golf.
Ask a PGA pro what the hardest part of golf is, and you’re likely to hear more about chipping than any other part of your golf game. Rather than focus on your next shot on the green, make sure you hit a solid chip onto the green first.
Mastering the pitching wedge and sand wedge takes time. Don’t expect perfection the first time around. But with each shot, analyze your power, where you’re meeting the ball, and make swing changes as necessary. Don’t be afraid to miss a shot, but don’t let it put a stranglehold on your psyche.
Every sport requires a warm-up. It allows you to get warm, your muscles to stretch, and your mind to get ready for the first tee. Without a proper warm-up, you’re more than likely going to give away a few strokes on the first three to five holes — something you can afford when you’re putting together a plan on how to break 90 in golf.
Roll a few putts, hit a few drives, and stretch your arms, shoulders, core, and legs every time you plan to practice or get on the course.
Sometimes, it’s not how you hit the shot — it’s your approach to doing so. You need to read the wind, read the green, and choose the right club for the job. At any given point, you’re your own caddie. When you go to pull a club out, make sure you’re making a concerted effort to play the wind and know how far you can hit a shot. It can make or break your attempt at a good score — or even one below 90.
It may seem counterintuitive to ignore hitting 90 — y’know — when you’re trying to break it. But golf is a mental game. When you’re on pace to break 90, the mental aspect can sneak into every shot, chip, lob, and putt. Don’t let it. Play your game, remember what you learned in practice and in books, and you should find yourself closer to discovering the secret of how to break 90 in golf.
Although 90 represents a move into the upper echelon of golfers, don’t make that your goal if it isn’t currently within your reach. Estimates show that breaking 90 can take between two and five years of consistent practice. But it’s all relative.
If you’re shooting 120, strive for 110. If you’re shooting 110, go for 100. The idea is that an incremental approach to your golf score is far more fruitful than an arbitrary goal that’s out of reach. It improves your mental approach, reduces burnout, and keeps you on track.
If figuring out how to break 90 in golf is your ultimate goal, work your way up to it. With the right mix of practice and expectation, you should shave strokes off your game en route to your sub-90 round. Regardless of what that means to you, you’re taking a step in the right direction.