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breaking80By: Brian Neufeld, Contributor

On the road to being a par golfer, breaking 80 consistently is one of the most difficult barriers to overcome. Most amateurs are thrilled with the rare score in the 70s but staying there consistently, and establishing a handicap in that range, isn’t accomplished by many players. Shifting your focus on the course from overall scoring to specific areas of play can lower your scores every single round. Today, we will look at these areas of focus to help get that handicap into single digits.

Greens in Regulation

Hitting greens is perhaps the quickest way to lower your scores. Obviously, it takes a little more work than simply announcing you’re going to hit more greens. Instead of flag-hunting, try aiming for the middle of the green every single approach shot. This will make it easier to avoid misses when shooting for a corner of the green and at minimum puts the flat stick in your hands for the next strokes.

Up and Downs

If accurate approach shots aren’t your thing, focus on the short game is essential. Getting up and down from a missed approach counts all the same as two putts, and can really limit the amount of damage an errant second shot can inflict. Check out our chipping drills blog for ways to improve your scrambling skills.

Two Putts

Now that we’re hitting more greens by aiming in the center, the second step of the process is limiting your putts on every green to two. Lag putting drills are an underrated tool for reducing scores. Being able to leave yourself a couple of feet to finish from anywhere on the green is an invaluable skill that will keep scores down and can save you from trouble.

Avoiding Trouble

Damage control, or avoiding scores worse than bogey, is one of the greatest separators between professional and amateur golfers. Avoiding those dreaded doubles or snowmen will keep your score down more than picking up a birdie every once in a while. A common misconception is that professionals score so much better than amateurs because birdies are more in range. The truth is professionals rarely score worse than a bogey on their worst holes.

With all of these tips used in concert, achieving scores in the 70s can become reality. Avoiding trouble might be the most important, as the other skills listed will help you do just that. Instead of flag hunting and birdie chasing, try shifting your focus to hitting greens and never scoring worse than a bogey. Pars might be boring but they’re the secret to consistent success.


About the Author: Brian Neufeld

Brian Neufeld’s background includes more than 15 years of experience in golf course management, specializing in agronomy. Brian uses his knowledge of the game and best practices in turf sustention to create informative pieces for’s readers.

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