May 10, 2023

One of the most challenging parts of playing golf is learning how to break 80. While it's not easy to consistently break 80, every golfer has the ability to do it. Golfers refer it to as the final hurdle where you need skills, hard work, and determination.

Once you master this skill, you will never forget it. If you have been trying to break 80 for some time or want to try it for the first time, then this post is for you. To help you master this final hurdle, we have a simple guide to help you learn how to break 80 in golf without spending lots of money on courses or trainers.

But first, here are a few things you should know about breaking 80;

  • The type of golf course you're playing on will have an impact on the ability to break 80 in golf. Choosing the best right course will help maximize your chances of breaking 80.
  • Par is also important. It would help if you considered how the specific course has been designed to reach its total par. Most courses are designed to have a par of either 70, 71, or 72.
  • Golf courses are not all equal. If you choose one that is carved out of a mountain, then it's going to be challenging than the local one. If you're trying to learn breaking 80 for the first time, it is recommended to choose the easiest course you can find.

Understanding the Path to Breaking 80

In order to break to your desired score, you have to make no more than seven bogeys with no doubles-or-worse or no birdies. There are a lot of different ways you can use to break 80. Here are some scenarios;

  • 39+40=79 (10 bogeys, 3 birdies, 5 pars)
  • 40+39= 79 (7 bogeys, 12 pars)
  • 44+35=79 (2 doubles, 5 bogeys, 2 birdies, 9 pars)
  • 35+44= 79(1 triple, 6 bogeys, 2 birdies, 9 pars)

There are a lot more ways you can break 80, and these are just a few of them. However, it is important to understand that we have little control over the scores. The results may vary where the worse shots get lucky, and the good shots go unrewarded.

There are many variables that need to be accounted for to control the outcome, with some of them being uncontrollable. One thing you can control is how you go about each shot. It would be best to focus on the things you can control or can do during the round and not the actual score you shoot. Most of the time, it's about eliminating the mistakes and ensuring some parts of the game are strong.

The most important things about breaking 80 include;

  • Avoid three puts
  • Keep your tee shots in play
  • Hit enough greens to make pars

Breaking 80 isn't what most golfers think it is. You are not supposed to be firing at pins or making birdie putts right and left. Here are some common myths;

  • Making many birdies
  • Hitting a bunch of fairways
  • Hitting a ton of greens
  • Draining putts from over 10 feet

How to Break 80 in Golf

Regardless of how close you're to breaking 80, here are some tips you should consider;

1. Hitting a bunch of Your Greens

This is a minimum guideline that can help you focus on the specific game throughout the round. For most golf games, the success depends on the type of breaking strategy you use and not how your golf swing or statistics looks like. Hitting at least half of your greens during the rounds will help take the pressure off your pitching and chipping.

2. Focusing on the Middle Holes

It is common to find that in most golf courses, there will be tough holes, easier holes, and the rest will lie somewhere in the middle. For golf players who are close to breaking 80 they shouldn't have any issue hitting the green on the easy holes. The shots that hit the green on tough holes is mostly just a bonus.

For example, if there are four easy holes, four medium holes, and four tough holes, you will need to hit at least half so that you have a better chance of breaking 80. The simplest way one can do those is to practise the shots on these holes while on the driving range.

To do this, grab a scorecard and have a look at every hole before your next round of golf. You can mark four holes you think you can easily find and the hardest holes. If you've played golf before, you should know the average length of your second shot. This is because you want to find out the narrowest range of the approach shot distance.

Take Away

If you have ten middle holes, it is likely to find five holes require an average approach of about 155 yards; take or give 5 to 10. You'll need to practice with this specific distance, improving your potential to hit at least most of the greens in regulation, if not all. When the target distance is set, you should take 50 range balls and visualize playing each hole.

Find out where the green will be easier to find and the areas to avoid. You need to play one shot at a time until you’ve played every hole. The more you practice, the better you'll become at executing the middle holes. With time and a lot of practice, your percentage of green in regulation will increase.

3. Having a Par Putt for Every Hole

Your ability will determine the potential to break 80 on the greens, which is in turn based on your putting surface. If you easily make putts, then you have a better chance of achieving a sub-80 score.

Note that everyone misses the putts. It can be easy to get caught up in the idea that experts don't miss putts at a specific distance. This is not true. On TV, we are only shown many golfers from short range at the top of the leaderboard, not the players in the middle of the pack. There's a great chance that these players are missing a number of putts.

This is why if you miss a short putt, you shouldn't worry because this happens to all of us. The key to having a Putt par on every hole is you need to get the ball somewhere on the green to have a par putt. This is especially true if you find yourself in trouble or simply just miss a green. If you hit at least half your greens and always keep the ball in play, then this tip is all about minimizing the damages.

Take away

Regardless of how good your game is going, chances are, you’ll have some trouble spots. Some common types of trouble shots.

  • Missing the fairway. It is important to place the ball where you can easily find the green with the next shot. Do not attempt to do a high-risk shot because it might ruin a good round.
  • Missing a green- When you miss the green in a tough spot where you have a very little green between your hole and ball, the best thing to change your target. Focus on getting your ball to land as close to the hole as possible.

Having a par putt on every hole minimizes your chances of making doubles. This helps to take off considerable pressure from the rest of your game.

4. Keeping the Golf Ball in Play Off the Tee

What this means is to avoid the out of bounds areas as well as hazards. Adding penalty shots to your score can affect your ability to break 80. There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a golf ball wayward tee shot or watching it go to someone’s yard and having to take another ball and hit again.

Depending on the course, some may have no out-of-bounds areas, while some might have areas marked with white stakes or fences. The key to avoiding out-of-bounds areas is to come up with a plan that ensures the ball remains in play.

Take away

Having a plan for out-of-bounds will also come in handy where water is in play. Plan accordingly, especially for those shots that can cause you the most trouble. You need to find the holes that you feel will most likely cause trouble by determining the minimum length you want to have and the shot shape you need in order to maximize your chance of breaking 80.

You could decide to set-up some imaginary boundaries then focus on keeping your shots within that range. This will also help you know which side is a no-go zone depending on the hole you’re playing, most of which have a bailout spot on the right or left side.

The aim is to get every tee shot in the right spot for three continuous rotations where if you miss one, you start all over again. However, if three rotations are too tough for you, then reduce it to one rotation.

5. Master the Bunker Shot

You need to get over the fear of bunker shots if you're hoping to break 80. If you can sand shot with your lob or sand wedge, then you will be set to break 80. As long as you can move it from the bunker and get a putt, you can easily break 80.

Breaking 80 For Your Long Game

It is very common to find people who think that you have to hit over 300 yards to break 80, which is untrue. It may help, but it's not necessary because it can hit over 235 yards and have some short games you can easily break 80. You also need to ensure that your shot is pretty standard off the tee.

This could be done with three wood, driver or driving iron. However, a common misconception you will hear is that you have to hit the irons all day in order to break 80. You only need to hit about 50% of the greens because even the best golf players only hit up to 70% of the greens. Instead of hitting 7 irons on the range, you can use the time to engage in a short game because that will be better.

Breaking 80 For Your Short Game

For a short game, if you want to break 80, you need to spend your practice time perfecting on shots 125 yards or closer. This is because if you're hitting greens and fairways, bad shots can ruin it. If you have a strong short game, the game becomes much easier.

A crafty up and down from a 2 putt from 50 feet or a bunker shot can help keep your psyche alive and build your confidence. If you're planning to shoot in the 70s, you need to improve the shots for your short game.

Preparing Yourself to Breaking 80 in Golf

1. Warm-Up

You need to do a warm-up for at least 20 minutes because it might be hard to shoot well if you rush without warming up. Ensure you have at least 30 minutes before the game. It is important to take time to know the greens. This is not the time to try new tricks or change your swing. It's time to get ready for the hole. You can find out the speeds of the greens by practising the different lengths of putting.

2. Approach Shots Strategy

It is crucial to eliminate the mistakes in your approach shot strategy. You don't need to make a lot of birdies and attack; instead, go to the fattest part of the green. In case of a wedge or short iron, go towards the flag; however, you shouldn't force it. Take as many chances as possible.

3. Tee Box Strategy

You need to come up with the best way to play every hole. Eliminate mistakes such as pulling out the driver and swinging it as hard as possible where you don't need to. You need to know where you should avoid as well as the best spot to hit.

Once you have everything in place, you can now go through with your full shot straight to your target. For a golf game, the smaller the target, the better.

4. Mental Game

The biggest component of breaking 80 is your mindset and attitude. This is because mental games can make it easy or impossible to break 80. It can get really tough shooting in the 70s if you're becoming overly emotional about the game.

Stop worrying about the mechanics or the scores. Instead, manage your emotions and shoot. Since it's imperative to find the best way to not focus on the score, you can ask one of your playing partners to keep track of the scores for you, including the total after adding up the nine holes.

5. Balance and tempo

Every golfer should work on the balance and the tempo of the swing. While it is impossible to copy a professional golfer’s swing exactly, you may notice that every single golfer has impeccable balance, and they repeat their swing tempo almost exactly every time. This is because mastering your golf swing will help improve your consistency on the golf course, and it is one of the things that is important for breaking 80.

Things to Remember During your Game

1. One shot at a time

If you're a golf player, you've probably heard this statement so many times. However, this is quite important point when you're trying to break 80. Worrying about your past shot or thinking about the next one won't really help you. It would be best if you focused all your attention on the present shot.

Find something that will help you snap back to the present game. A top sports psychologist suggested the trick of wearing a rubber band on your wrist. So, when you find yourself thinking about the future shot or a missed birdie on the last hole, you need to snap the rubber band to help you get back to the present. This way, you'll train your mind to focus on the current one.

2. Quit Overthinking about Breaking 80

If you walk into a golf game and your main goal is to break 80 or shoot the best score on your first tee, then you'll most likely not manage to do so. This will instead add pressure and tension to the golf game. It would help if you focused on creating the best strategy to play the first tee.

When you put your best foot forward and do the best you can to play your best, then the rest is not up to you- you can't control the scores. Once you’ve hit your shot, you can decide to take a look around, talk to your playing partners or sip your drink. On the next shot, come ready to take the next shot and don't focus on the previous shot.

3. Don't give up

Give every shot your all, and don't give up even if you have not been able to break 80 with your first golf game. Remember that every shot you take is a learning experience to becoming a better golfer. You might learn a lot just by practising golf. There will always be another round where you can apply what you've learnt.

4. Gather Your Emotions

Learn to manage your emotions and give yourself positive self talk to motivate yourself. Throwing tantrums or getting mad won't do any good for your age and might only lead to messing up the next shots. Be optimistic, regardless of what is happening, instead of being negative. Having positive self-talk helps to stay motivated to break 80.


Here are some summary of the best ways to break 80 in golf;

  • Improve your course management
  • Improve the game from 100 yards and in
  • Driving accuracy should be the best
  • Have a positive self-talk
  • Don’t dwell on mistakes, past or future games
  • Start making more three footers
  • Practice makes perfect

Golf, as a whole, is considered a challenging game. With the right methodology, training and resilience, breaking 80 is within your reach. Hopefully, the above guide gives you the right guidance for your game. If you commit to following them each and every time you play golf, then you will learn how to break 80 in golf within no time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Breaking 80 in Golf

1. What percentage of golfers can break 80?

Break 80 is considered as the Holy Grail of scoring where only a few golfers can do it. Currently, only approximately two per cent of golfers all over the world can break 80. However, with the right training and methodology, anyone can do it.

2. How do you break 80 every time?

If you're looking to break 80 every time, then you need to spend most of your practice time working on shots that are 125 yards or closer. It is really matters when breaking 80. This is because even if you are hitting the fairways and greens, a bad short game can reduce your chances of breaking 80. A stronger short game makes it easier to break 80 in golf.

3. How hard is it to break 80?

Breaking 80 is not easy, but it is also not impossible. You need to be a really good ball striker at the minimum and have confidence in yourself. The good thing is that everyone can do it. If you follow the right methodology, it's not that hard.

4. Is 79 a good score in golf?

Anything below 120 strokes is a good score in golf. It means that you're scoring better than an average golfer. However, as you continue to practise your golf game, it will not take a long time to improve the strokes and reach the average score of 90. A score of 79 is a pretty good score, and if you are able to achieve it, that means you're among the two per cent of golfers who are able to do it.

About the author 

Emma Johnson

I have been playing golf for over 20 years and I am crazy about all thing Golf equipment! I'm currently playing TaylorMade M6 Irons and TaylorMade M4 Driver. I just started playing with the Bridgestone RXS Tour golf balls. I currently play on HCP 6 and I'm mostly playing for fun at the moment, after playing some tournaments on the Amateur Tour and in local championships. I have worked part-time with TaylorMade and I really love their products. Send me an e-mail at or leave a comment down below if you want to get in contact with me!

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