How To Break 90


Dean Reinmuth
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For as long as I have played the game, there have always been these predetermined benchmarks of improvement: 100, 90, 80, 70. However, the reality is anytime you shoot a score lower than your previous best, even by one shot, it should be considered a success.
Of all these incremental steps of 10, breaking 80 is probably the most notable one. It finally puts you in the category being a truly good golfer.
There are three key steps to focus on in improving your skills to break 90.

Manage Your Tee Shots and Recovery Shots ' The secret here is to consistently hit your best shots more often. Dont try to play a shot where you have a low success rate. Its much easier to score well from the fairway. So, manage your tee shots into the fairway - use a 3-wood or an iron.


Also, make sure you stand on the proper side of the tee box. Its like bowling. If you want to hit the pin, start from the opposite side of the lane and bowl across instead of down the gutter. By doing this, you improve your odds of not only performing your shot correctly, but you reduce the risk of a mishit going into big trouble. So always tee off on the side of the tee nearest the trouble and angle your shot away from the trouble area.
When you miss the fairway or are faced with a recovery shot use what I call option thinking vs. result thinking. Using this type of thought process, youll be able to determine what shot you should play instead of what shot you would like to play.
This means use shots that you can perform with a high degree of consistency and will accomplish what you need. When you can manage your emotions, you may not hit shots any better, but you wont give shots away, either.
For example, instead of the 3-wood out of the fairway bunker over the water, play an easier shot into the fairway and utilize your next shot - and your putts - to recover from the errant tee shot. Remember, playing from the fairway always makes achieving a lower score easier than from the rough, trees or hazards.
A good way to visualize the recovery shot process is to imagine hitting to a spot that leaves you with a distance similar to the length of a par-3 hole. If you are in the woods 250 yards from the green, first punch out to a spot 150-180 yards from the pin that leaves you with an easy approach. Hopefully you can hit your approach close enough to have the chance to make a putt and save the shot.

Short Game Play ' The key to short shots is practice, practice and more practice. For your short wedges, there are three areas of concentration where you should focus - set-up, swing length, and pace.
  1. Set-Up: For your short wedges and chips, set your weight to your left side and use three possible positions with your hands in front of the ball:
    1. Solid contact/lowest trajectory: Hands in line with left hip bone
    2. Semi solid/high trajectory: Hands half-way between left hip bone and belt buckle
    3. Soft contact/highest trajectory: Hands in line with belt buckle

  2. Swing Length: It is important to make the length of your backswing equal to the length of your forward swing. Concentrate on creating three even-length swings: 1/4 length (five oclock to seven oclock), 1/2 length (waist to waist) and 3/4 length (shoulder to shoulder).
  3. Pace: The pace (or speed) of your club should be consistent throughout your swing. Do not make your forward swing faster than your backswing.
Once you get good at these standard options, you can mix and match these elements to create any shot you desire.
One last thought on the short game: practice your bunker play ' learn to get the ball out of the bunker and onto the green.

Putting - Again, the key to becoming a good putter is practice, practice, practice. Two areas are of particular importance;
  1. Lag putting ' Practice your speed so that you leave your longer putts inside a three- or four-foot circle around the hole.
  2. Practice your two-foot putts ' Make 20 in a row, then move back 2 1/2 feet and make another 20 in a row ' keep moving back at six-inch increments until you can make 20 putts putts in a row from four feet.
Focus yourself in these key areas and not only will you break 90, but breaking 80 will be well in your sight.