1. Build and Follow a Pre-Shot Routine:
Get a routine going. If you watch your friends who break 80 or 90 week in and week out, they do they exact same thing every time they stand on the tee block. A good routine will help develop muscle memory, and will help calm your nerves before important shots or after a particularly painful shot or hole. You have to find something that works for you but a pre-shot routine is critical. An example of a pre-shot routine could look like this:
- Stand behind the ball and review weather conditions and where you want your shot to land and finish
- While still behind the ball visualize your shot from swing through to the ball stopping at its resting place
- Step up to your practice swing location and give yourself two practice swings focus on tempo and contact
- Step to the ball, take a last look at the target, take a deep breath and follow your plan
2. Let the Club do the Work:
While every golfer has heard that saying before, its often forgotten mid way through the round. Many golfers struggling to break 100 consistently have the mentality that they need to make up lost strokes from earlier in the round score much better on later holes. That translates to trying to hit drives further which in turn causes a swing breakdown and more missed shots. Add frustration and the average player ends up trying to force the ball.
If you find yourself swinging hard, take a deep breath and with a few extra practice swings swing at 80% of your normal tempo and shorten your swing. Self identification can be hard, but if you find you are losing your balance after a shot, it’s a good time to take a breath. A short and straight ball on the fairway is always better then a hard hit ball into the woods.
3. Focus on a Dimple:
One of the most common errors many inconsistent golfers face is lifting their head during contact, or taking their eyes off the ball at the moment of impact. That often causes the club to strike the ground well before or after the ball, and/or causes the ball to be hit off center.
A ‘duffed’ shot or a complete miss is common while the golfer is often lucky to stay in play. As you step to the ball for your swing, focus on a dimple or a specific mark on the ball. This much tighter focus will sub-consciously help you keep your eye on the ball through the swing. Make this practice part of your pre-shot routine if this is common for you.
4. Play Safe:
After a double or triple bogey on what you thought would have been an easy one it’s very easy to make a risky shot that you think you can make in order to try to save strokes. This will only make things worse. The safe shot for the golfer trying to break 100 is always the best shot. Double bogeys are going to happen, they are inevitable, but trying to make that stroke back on the next hole won’t make it go away.
A risky shot generally means you are more nervous, need to hit the ball further than normal, and when missed will do more to hurt your mental state than making the shot would help it. Making a good safe shot will build confidence and make your day more enjoyable.
5. Plan your Round:
If you are trying to break 100 on a Par 71 course, you have plenty of strokes to work with. You can bogey every hole, double bogey all the Par 5s, and still have a few other double bogeys to work with. Make Bogey your new Par. Think about what you need to do to make a bogey on the hole as you walk up to the tee block. Knowing you have the extra shot to work with takes a lot of pressure off as you prepare for your first shot and when a hole goes south, you know you have a couple extra Double Bogeys to work with.
The round will become significantly more satisfying for you if you are excited when you drain a Bogey putt (because it’s a Par!) and those rare Par and even more rare Birdies have an extra special significance. Confidence breeds better golf, after a few rounds you will find yourself removing the extra Double Bogey ‘Pars’ that you allotted yourself.