How to Break 80 in Golf (2024 Edition)

how to break 80 in golf

Author: WhyGolf WhysGuy

We want to preface this guide with the acknowledgment that neither WhysGuy nor anyone from the WhyGolf team claims to know everything about the golf swing. We don’t want anyone to treat what we say here as gospel. While much of what we’ll say is a reflection of decades of dialogue with PGA instructors and players, we’re always learning and we understand that knowledge about the sport of golf will continue to evolve over time. 

In this post, WhysGuy will discuss:

  • How to break 80 in golf and shoot in the 70s more often.
  • Practical tips to improving your putting and driving.
  • How to upgrade your mindset to make better decisions on the golf course.

How to Break 80 in Golf

Breaking 80 for the first time in golf is an accomplishment most golfers don't ever get to experience. It's a milestone that separates the weekend warriors from the serious golfers. Breaking 80 in golf for the first time sends an implicit signal to others that you're no longer someone who plays casually. You don't have to be shy about it - you're obsessed with this game (just like us!).

If you're tired of shooting in the high 80s and 90s, this guide to breaking 80 in golf is for you.

Keep reading to learn our best tips to start breaking 80 consistently.

Practice With Purpose

To play better every single round, start by improving your practice sessions. Don’t just buy a large bucket of balls and “hope” to get better.

While you don’t need a “perfect swing” (if that even exists), you'll need a reasonably reliable golf swing to break 80 regularly. Specifically, you'll want to try to eliminate the big misses that lead to big numbers.

For example, a lot of players struggle with coming over the top - a swing fault that can lead to chronic slicing and depression.

Fixing an over the top move is not easy unless you use our Alignment Discs Lite to fix it with one swing.

Start by identifying the biggest flaw in your swing - like takeaway or weight shift - and make a plan to fix it over time. Spend 20-30% of your practice time working on the biggest issue to start developing a more fundamental swing.


You're a Better Putter Than You Think

Many golfers harbor the belief that those who putt consistently well are simply more "talented" than they are. While this can be true in certain cases, putting is something that can absolutely be improved upon. At its core, putting involves three elements:

  1. Reading the green correctly.
  2. Hitting your intended start line.
  3. Getting the speed right.

In our view, the fastest way to improve your putting is to improve your green reading. So many golfers will opt for a new putter with hopes of improving their putting, but really it 's a green-reading issue that plagues them.

Luckily, our Putting System will help you perfect every aspect of your putting. It consists of three elements: Putting Thing (perfect your stroke), Slope Plate (learn to feel the break), and Green Cards (know the break).

Learn to Love Your Driver

If your goal is to break 80 regularly, you'll be best off trying to find a way to get comfortable with hitting driver.

But why? Strokes-gained statistics have indicated that when golfers give themselves shorter approach shots, they (on average) end up hitting the ball closer to the hole. Who would have thought?

To improve your driving make sure to:

  • Drill your fundamentals like ball position and stance.
  • Play one shot shape off the tee to avoid a two-way miss.
  • Always get clear about your target in your pre-shot routine.

Lastly, make sure to practice with your driver on the range more often to make it one of your favorite clubs in the bag. To start hitting it longer and having shorter approach shots check out our guide to increase clubhead speed.


Don't Make Huge Mistakes Around the Green

To break 80 in golf, your short game does not need to be anything fancy. However, you do need to avoid making an absolute fool of yourself.

Master the basic chip shot and don't be afraid to use your putter around the greens.

Additionally, learn proper bunker technique. Before trying to master high spinners and low runners, develop one stock shot with a sand wedge or lob wedge.

 Focus on the basics to gain confidence in the sand:

  • Ball position front center.
  • Hinge your wrists quickly.
  • Keep your hands back at the address.
  • Open the clubface to expose the bounce.
  • Always accelerate through the shot with speed.

If you don’t have a great practice bunker at your course or practice indoors, consider trying out our Bunker Mate. This portable bunker is designed to give you feedback and improve your bunker game without stepping foot in the sand.  

Make Better Decisions

Another critical, yet often overlooked, way to drop your scores without changing your technique is to simply make better decisions out on the course.

While going for the green in two with 3-wood to a water-protected green is certainly always a blast, it's important to remember that you're compromising your chances of shooting good scores.

The same principle applies to the short-sided chip shot. While you could throw the ball straight up in the air and try to get it close, you're likely to (on average) make a better score by simply playing the shot safely and taking your medicine.

Don’t forget, on most courses you can have seven bogeys and still break 80. It’s the blow up holes that kill your scores and momentum in the round.

If you're looking for a tour-proven course management system, we'd recommend checking out Decade Golf.


Work on Your Mindset

Breaking 80 in golf is more than just developing a consistent swing - it’s about having the right mindset too. As Jack Nicklaus said, “You attack a golf course mentally, not with your swing.”

The first mindset tip is to make sure you have a pre-shot routine. A good routine will help you pick the right club, choose the right target, and minimize negative thoughts. Plus, it will help you play better under pressure too.

Second, understand that bad shots are inevitable. Golf is extremely hard - even for the best players in the world. You probably don't play enough golf to justify getting angry. Consider doing yourself a favor and lower your expectations.

Finally, do everything you can to stay present for each shot. Don’t dwell after a lousy three putt or look too far ahead to the final stretch of holes. To get the most out of your game, try to stay present over every shot and not let your mind wander.

BONUS! Additional Tips to Break 80 in Golf

  • Make sure your clubs are suited for your swing speed.
  • Play your game - don’t try to play like anyone else in your group.
  • Record your swing regularly to learn more about your swing tendencies.
  • Play up a tee box to break 80 fast and get comfortable shooting lower scores.
  • Stop adding up your score after nine or 17 holes. Wait until the round is over so you can stay present and focus on each shot.
  • Tee it up with better golfers. It's so much easier to visualize yourself hitting great shots when your playing partners are peppering flagsticks.

How to Break 80 in Golf - Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to read greens consistently and find a way to get comfortable hitting driver more frequently.
  • To shoot lower and more consistently, use training aids to make your practice more productive.
  • Understand that scoring in golf is as much about avoiding big numbers as it is about making birdies. Quality decision making on the golf course will take you far!

Ready to start breaking 80 consistently? Shop our golf training aids and take your game to the next level.

How do you break 80 consistently in golf?

Breaking 80 in golf requires a semi-consistent swing, good course management skills, and a solid short game. Paired with the right attitude and mindset you can shoot in the 70s more than you might think.


How many golfers will ever break 80?

A very small percentage of players ever end up breaking 80 in their lives.

According to the USGA the average male handicap is 14.2, while only 1.33% is a 0 to 4.9 handicap range and 2.44% is between 5-9.9. Based on those statistics roughly four percent of golfers will ever break 80.

What's the best thing to work on to break 80 in golf?

It differs for every player - there is no template to break 80. Instead, it’s about identifying the weaker parts of your game and working on them in practice.

 Then spend at least 50% of your practice time improving that area - through training aids, drills, etc. - to make it a stronger part of your game.

What’s my handicap if I shoot 85?

If you shoot around 85 regularly your handicap is likely in the 9-11 range.

 Don’t forget, a handicap is not your average score but instead your scoring potential. A 9-11 handicap range means you’ll likely shoot in the 80s most of the time.

Check Out Our YouTube Channel For Drills and Tips

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