How To Break 90

By Dean ReinmuthJanuary 21, 2002, 5:00 pm

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.
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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.