Breaking 100 in golf is an exciting day.
You have reached a new level. The first step in the journey to becoming a respectable golfer. As golfers get better, they can seek more exciting golf courses and experiences in the game.
On my own journey of breaking 100, 90, 80, and then 70 it was enjoyable just as much at each level! That first time reaching a new level is pure excitement!
The great news for those on a journey to break 100 is that there are some simple strategies you can implement to arrive there sooner rather than later. Many golfers are seeking the answer to how to break 100 in golf.
To help you on your journey, we break down our tips and recommendations into four different categories:
- How to break 100 – Swing Strategies
- How to break 100 – Course Strategies (Includes special formula)
- How to break 100 – Practice Strategies
- How to break 100 – How to enjoy the process
How To Break 100 – Swing Strategies
#1 Control Your Low Point
Low point control impacts everything in golf. Without the proper low point control the golfer will hit too many fat or thin shots leading to loss of distance or poor outcomes on a shot. There is without question a connection between low point control and quality of golf. The weakest golfers (poor low point control) and the best golfers (superior low point control) are often far apart with this skill.
The Drill: The Low Point Control Drill
- Take some yard paint and paint a 1-2 yard long line.
- Setup with 55% of your weight on your front side.
- Try to hit the target side of the line and see how many times out of 10 you can do this successfully!
- Repeat this drill every day for a month, tracking your progress and your ability to do this successfully in trials of ten.
- You may need to start with half swing and progress to full swings.
If you are struggling, put more weight forward and work on keeping your head still to help control the low point in the swing.
Related: Controlling the low point
#2 Train for speed
For many years we all heard “drive for shot, putt for dough” when in reality you have to be able to hit the ball certain distances to reach certain levels in golf. Different data has been collected that show the clear connection between driving distance and handicap level. If you want to break 100, you are going to want to strive to hit your driver at least 200 yards.
Driving Distance by Handicap
|Handicap Range||Median Driver Distance Average|
|PGA Tour Professional||275 Carry|
|Total Average of 0-25||221|
The good news is that there are ways to improve your driving distance with the best option being an increase of swing speed.
Related: How to increase drive swing speed
The Best Option: OverSpeed Training
We would recommend SuperSpeed Golf for your over speed training. The overspeed training uses lighter clubs to get your swinging faster than you do with your driver. After the first training session, you can see a 5-8% increase in your swing speed, which could be an additional 10-30 yards. Over time, you can make this increase permanent through consistent training protocols.
Here is a chart I have created based on golfers I have helped with SuperSpeed Golf:
|Original Swing Speed||After 4-6 Weeks||New Carry Distance||Total Distance|
#3 Have a consistent shot pattern
Do you hit a draw or fade, or maybe a slice or hook? While many high handicap amateurs struggle with the slice, we all need a consistent shot pattern. It doesn’t matter if you hit a fade or a draw and you don’t have to hit both on demand to break 100.
Instead, you want to have some confidence the ball will curve in the same pattern a high percentage of the time. This helps you keep the ball on the course and eliminates the big number that often plagues many amateur golfers.
Use this drill below every time you practice at the driving range. Between the low point control, speed training and stock shot, you are on your way to building a consistent swing that you can count on.
Related: Hitting a stock shot
Stock Shot Drill
- At the driving range, set up an alignment stick about 6-8 yards in front of you, straight down your target line.
- If you have a second alignment stick, set the stick 3-4 feet right of the first stick (for a draw) or left of the first stick (for a fade).
- Complete your initial assessment see how many times out of 10 you can start the ball to the right or left of your target. Pick one side and measure your game at this point.
- The goal is to eventually get 7 out of 10 shots to start to the correct side and draw back towards the target.
#4 Find a swing approach
There are many different teachings out there on how to swing a golf club. At this point in your journey, some basic tips along with the drills above can take you a long way. The great news is that we have a wealth of information at our fingertips when it comes to golf instruction. I would recommend the following online golf instructors for the golfer trying to break 100.
All three have unique approaches, but they are solid and have helped many golfers over the years.
#5 Develop these two driver swings
The goal of any tee shot is to keep in play when trying to break 100, but you still want reasonable distance. I would recommend learning two different driver swings:
- Your stock shot driver swing (normal speed)
- Your “bunt” driver swing (less than normal)
Many golfers swing way too hard with the driver, which leads to some really poor results. When trying to break 100, the first goal is to keep the ball in play. While we did promote speed training and an increase in distance, we believe these can work together and don’t have to be an either or proposition.
When you can develop your “bunt” swing with the driver, you can utilize it on those tight, trouble all around you type of golf holes. If you are training for additional speed, this shot will continue to increase in distance over the months with the same amount of control.
Related: 9 vs 10.5 Degree Driver
How To Break 100 – Course Strategies
#6 Manage your way around the course (special formula)
Special Formula: Set The “New” Par
So you have 18 holes – more than likely the breakdown will be the following:
- 4 Par 3’s
- 4 Par 5’s
- 12 Par 4’s
For a total par of 72. In order to shoot a 99, you have 27 shots over par that you can utilize during the day. The simple breakdown will help you reach your goal of breaking 100.
- 9 Bogeys
- 9 Double Bogeys
This would leave you 27 over par and give you your 99.
Related: Why am I so bad at golf?
The first step is to take your scorecard and look at the 9 most difficult holes and cross out the par and add two. For example, if one of the toughest 9 holes is a par 5, cross out the par and set the par for that hole at 7. Now do that for the 8 other most difficult holes. Take the remaining holes and cross out the par and add one. For example, if one of the other 9 holes is a par 3, set the par for that hole at 4.
Sample Scorecard for Breaking 100 in Golf
|Hole #||Par||New Par||Yardage|
Tip: If you do not know the course well, simply base it off of the handicap system, where the most difficult is rated as a 1 and the easiest is rated as the 18th hole. Or if you struggle on par 5’s or par 3’s do that to all of the par 5’s and par 3’s
This approach will free you from the barriers of the set par and allow you to feel some success throughout the day as you reach your “par” for that hole. Earl Woods, the father of Tiger Woods, used to do this for Tiger when he was a very young kid to help him feel the success and manage the course properly for his current skills level.
With my high school golfers, for those that struggled the most, I would tell them to try to bogey every hole which would leave them with a 45 or 90 for their round of golf. It is amazing how the shift in mindset can have such a positive impact on the final score.
Tip: Avoid the big number! By taking this approach, you are more encouraged and likely to punch out if you are in the trees or layup if there is water in front and you have 175 yards left. Or take something smaller than a driver off of the tee if the hole is narrow to stay out of the woods.
Now that you have your new “par” for each hole, it is time to break down your game plan for each hole. If you do not know the course well, be sure to do this on every tee before playing the hole. If you have played the course many times, I would recommend even writing down what your plan is, so there is less thinking on the course and more trying to follow the plan.
For example, let’s say the first hole is a 360 yard par 4 and you have set your par at 5. You will design and plan for the shots that you will hit. Here we go:
- 1st Shot – 3 Wood – 180 Yards (180 Yards Left)
- 2nd shot – 5 Iron – 150 Yards (30 Yards Left)
- 3rd Shot – Wedge – Onto Green (Putting Next)
- 4th Shot – Putt to within 3 feet
- 5th Shot – Make the putt
We were able to reverse engineer the hole to leave you with a 30 yard “approach shot.” If you get that shot on the green all you have to do is two putt. If you happen to hit it close and one putt – bonus for you! You just made a “birdie.”
This simple mindset approach allows you to pick shots that you can hit and enjoy the successes. We took the driver out of your hand on the tee shot, make a simple second shot down the fairway and hit a 30 yard shot onto the green.
Here is another example. Second hole is a 505 yard par 5 that you have set as a par 7. You will design and play for the shots that you will hit. Here we go:
- 1st Shot – 5 Wood/Hybrid – 160 Yards (345 Yards Left)
- 2nd Shot – 6 Iron – 140 Yards (205 Years Left)
- 3rd Shot – 6 Iron – 140 Yards (65 Yards Left)
- 4th Shot – Wedge – Onto the Green
- 5th Shot – Buffer Shot in case you chunked one or thinned one along the way. Stick to the plan.
- 6th Shot – Putt to within 3 feet
- 7th Shot – Make the putt
I think you get the point on the strategy that you can set. You will be able to feel success and remain positive.
Also, breaking it down like this allows you to feel like it is something that you can accomplish. I understand that you might hit a bad shot or two along the way, but by keeping a club in your hand that is reasonable, you won’t feel the pressure to try to have a hit the ball a mile long and allow you to stay within yourself.
#7 Tee Shot
It is very easy to step up to every tee and automatically pull the driver and swing away. This might be where most people get into the most trouble. Why not hit the 3 wood or even something as simple as a 7 iron to get yourself in play and be ready to play the hole. Remember, you have the new par you have set and the ability to adjust and adapt as needed. Build the hole backwards and leave yourself an approach shot of something less than 100 yard.
The goal here is to get off the tee and into the right position to follow the plan you have set.
If you have developed the “bunt” swing with the driver above, it will help you hit driver more often and maximize some distance while staying playing conservatively.
Related: Old Drivers vs New Driver (Time for New Equipment?)
Tip: Play your curve. If you slice or hook the ball, setup to allow yourself some space for the curve to happen. The more lofted club you hit, the less the ball will curve. Keep this in mind on the more narrow holes and where trouble can be found on the course. Whatever way your shot is moving that day, go with it. You can try to cut down on your slice or hook at the driving range during a practice session. On the course is not the right time to do it.
If you are more advanced in your game and want to hit the driver, on certain holes that might work out fine depending on what trouble is around. If you can make the occasional par or bogey on hole where you had planned for a double bogey, you will build in an allowance to triple bogey a hole and still be on pace.
When I first started playing and was trying to break 100, I would often look at holes in 3 hole segments and try to reach my make “birdie on 1 of the 3 holes during that stretch. That would provide some flexibility in my scoring and allow for a hole or two that might be above my targeted “par”
#8 Approach Shot
With our course management approach, we are setup to have the majority of our approach shots be within 100 yards. The key here is to aim for the middle of the green and ensure we have enough club. Once we can make clean contact even just 75 percent of the time, we will be in position to break 100.
Many people will watch the pros on this and think that they are shooting at pins all week. Keep in mind that when watching in the weekends, you are watching the best of the best for that week. Please aim for the middle or the safest route.
We want to avoid big numbers and can by staying out of bunkers or short siding ourselves around the greens. The conservative approach to this round will help us break 100, but we must stick to the plan. Even as you get better and are ready to break 90 or 80, it won’t be about the quality of your best shots, but instead of the quality of your worse shots and then how you follow those up.
Start working on this at this point of your game. Even the pros are minimizing risk and are looking for where the proper “miss” is. Start this in your game and and watch your scores quickly improve.
Related: Are new irons worth it?
Tip: Aim for the middle of the green or the safest place, this will give our greater confidence and increase your chance of hitting it where you intend to.
#9 Chip and Pitch Shots
You must be able to chip the ball cleanly. Start here with this simple method by Shawn Clement. This is a simply motion that can be quickly learned and utilized. There is no implementation dip. You want to keep the ball at a comfortable and reasonable height to the ground and look to keep it safe.
We set up our plan and course management setup to have two putts on every hole. Get the ball on the green and then putt well. You might occasionally chip one within 3 feet and you just picked up a bonus stroke for your game.
As a young kid growing up, my friends and I often times couldn’t reach a green in regulation, as a result our chipping and short game became really strong because we were chipping frequently and there was a premium in winning the competition by being able to “get up and down”
Related: Chipping from the rough (5 helpful tips)
Many high handicappers simply struggle with putting. However, it is the easiest area to quickly improve in. It doesn’t take a high level of skill and 20 minutes of practicing each day can help. The great thing is you can practice in your office or in a room in your house. There are no excuses for not practicing.
When you have a long distance putt, the key is to try to picture a three foot circle around the hole and then get it in that circle. The task at hand seems much more doable when it is three feet in diameter.
Tip: mark your ball for every putt and line up the line in your ball to where you want the ball to start. This will help with your alignment.
Related: 20 Putting Tips
How To Break 100 – Practice Strategies
#11 Complete an assessment
Track your score for your next 5 rounds. You can create something like this:
|Hole #||Par||New Par||Yardage||Score||Notes|
|1||4||5||370||5 (2)||Good hole|
|2||4||6||410||7 (3)||Fat 2nd shot; missed 5 footer|
|3||4||5||345||6 (2)||Good hole|
|4||3||4||140||4 (2)||Short approach shot|
|5||4||5||380||5 (1)||Fairway bunker|
|6||5||6||490||8 (3)||Chunked wedge; penalty stroke; bad lag putt|
|7||4||6||405||6 (2)||Good hole|
|8||5||6||500||7 (3)||40 foot; 3 putt|
|9||3||5||195||4 (2)||Good hole|
After every round, the golfer is going to review and figure out where they need improvement. For example, in this round several 3 putts took place as well as 2 chunked shots leading to unnecessary shots. The golfer understands that he or she needs to work on the low point control drill and practicing puts from 30-40 feet and inside of 5 feet.
Track each round you play for all 18 holes and set up a practice plan on where you need to spend your time.
#12 Determine where to spend your time
You will want to break your time down into the following categories:
- Skill building (low point control, superspeed training, stock shot drill)
- Game like situations (driving range, call your shot and hit the shot)
- Short game (chipping, lag putts, putts 10 feet and in)
Time should be spent in each area, you can use your previous rounds and identify what you need to work on.
Related: What is my golf handicap?
#13 Seek competition
Even when you are practicing, create a competition with a friend or even against your previous best score. This competition mode can help you prepare for the pressure you will face when you come to the 18th hole and you need a bogey or better to break 100. If you have put yourself in pressure situations before you will increase your chance of handling it better and accomplishing your goal!
Related: Golf Practice Game (Top 22 Recommended)
#14 Practice year round
If you live in a location where the weather is snowy or cold in the winter, you need to find a way to keep working on your game. Here is a brief list of options:
- Heating driving ranges
- Golf simulator setup (commercial or in your house)
- Chipping and putting safely in your house
- Training for speed or working out (personal fitness)
- Golf trips to warmer climates
I have used a golf simulator setup in my garage to take my game from the mid to upper 70s to scratch. The combination of SuperSpeed Training and my golf simulator has made a world of difference. Whatever level the golfer might be trying to reach, playing 365 days a year and having the access is a complete game changer!
Related: How to use Skytrak to Improve
#15 Collect Data
If you are really want some helpful data, I would recommend the arccos system. Whether you choose the grips or the sensors, the data you can collect from these can help your game almost immediately. If a golfer simply worked on low point control and collected data on how far they are hitting their clubs, they can reduce their score by 2-5 shots almost immediately.
How To Break 100 – How to enjoy the process
#16 Define your why
Why do you play golf? Some play for the challenge, while others play for the social aspect or just simply to have fun. Whatever your reason is for playing golf, keep this in mind on your journey. I play for the challenge, social part and to be outdoors doing something healthy.
Related: 3 Best Mental Game Resources
#17 Embrace the journey
If you play for the challenge, make sure you keep it fun. Enjoy the hours trying to get better. I found this possible through my Skytrak Golf Simulator setup I have in my garage. I enjoy the release from the day or the break from the winter. The past 5 years of trying to get to scratch has been highly enjoyable, yet there were times that it felt like I wasn’t going to get there.
Looking to gain more Speed and Distance? Two Options:
#18 Have fun
Life is short, have fun! Make it fun and keep your mindset in the right place. The end result will happen quicker with this approach.
How To Break 100 in Golf: Final Thoughts
The starting point for most would be to collect the data and see where you are losing strokes on the course. If you don’t want to collect the data, start with low point control, stock shot drill, speed training and hit as many balls as possible. Spend 30 minutes a week chipping and putting and soon enough you will be breaking 100.