There are no instant “naturals” in golf – no one can master the game overnight. You don’t shoot under par the first time you play.
Instead, the game of golf is a journey of practice, error, and improvement. The more you play, the better the results you achieve. Maybe you break 120 for the first time or you finally get below 100.
Today we are going to focus on learning how to break 90 in golf. This is a difficult and impressive accomplishment and takes time and effort – but it’s more achievable than it may seem.
Only around 25% of golfers can consistently shoot below 90. This means that once you learn how to break 90 in golf you will be in the top quartile of all players.
We can help you get there. Below we share 6 tips on how to break 90 in golf.
Let’s get started!
Breakdown: How To Break 90 In Golf
What does it mean to break 90?
The majority of golf courses are par 71 or par 72. The golf scorecard for the course you are playing will have this information on it.
The math is pretty simple:
To break 90 you need to be 17 over par or better (18 over on a par 71). You have to play “bogey golf”.
If this is your current goal, we are going to assume you have a 20-25 golf handicap. You should also be able to shoot in the mid-90s but are struggling to shoot lower.
At a high level, you can reach your goal by being more consistent and improving your course management. That can be easier said than done.
Time to cover some specific actions you can take to learn how to break 90 in golf.
6 Steps To Learn How To Break 90 In Golf
#1: It Is All About The Short Game!
If player A shoots 95 and player B shoots 85 we guarantee the biggest difference is their short games. Improve your putting & chipping and you will shoot lower scores.
Of course, it helps to hit the ball well and have a beautiful swing, but how to break 90 in golf is directly tied to your short game.
LPGA star Paula Creamer said, “…lots of work on my short game. In golf, that’s really where the strokes come off the scorecard.“
She is spot on. Your short game is the quickest way to shave strokes off your score.
#2: Forget About The Birds
Golfers can become overly focused on making birdies. But you don’t need to make birdies to learn how to break 90 in golf.
Does a birdie help you score? Or course, but if you are being aggressive to try and make more, you are costing yourself strokes.
You can break 90 by simply making more pars than double bogeys.
Let’s say during a round you make 5 pars, 3 double bogeys, and 10 bogeys – do you know what just happened? You just broke 90!
Birdies are important to a scratch golfer. For a “bogey golfer”, your “birdies” are pars.
#3: Reduce Your Penalty Strokes
Penalty strokes are scorecard killers, adding strokes to your score without even advancing the ball.
Learn how to break 90 in golf by keeping your ball on the course. Keep it in play.
If you are uncomfortable with a tee shot, don’t hit your driver. Use a club that you can comfortably get in the fairway (3-wood or long iron).
This also applies when you are in trouble (in the woods or thick rough). Don’t go for the hero shot, instead chip the ball back to the fairway and make it easy for you to save bogey.
Never forget – when trying to break 90, bogeys are good scores!
Out of bounds isn’t the only type of penalty shot. You will also be assessed strokes if your ball goes in a hazard (lake, creek, etc.) or if you have to take a drop from an unplayable lie.
#4: Post Round Assessment Is Your Roadmap to Practice
Nelson Mandela said, “I never lose. I either win or I learn.” This should be your mantra when trying to learn how to break 90 in golf.
Each time you finish a round with a score higher than 90, analyze your scorecard. Why did you fail to meet your goal?
Identify the part of your game that cost you the most strokes:
- Did your driver behave or did you hit wild tee shots?
- How many penalty strokes during your round? Which clubs caused them?
- Did you 3-putt more times than you 1-putted?
The answers to these questions give you a roadmap for your next practice session.
Your scorecard is telling you how to improve. Make sure you are listening!
#5: Play To Your Strengths
We all have strengths and weaknesses on the golf course. Some players are great putters while others can hit straight tee shots.
You should always practice your weaknesses, but it is ok to avoid them during your round when possible.
Use your strengths to learn how to break 90 in golf. Let’s discuss a couple of examples.
Your iron game has been great recently, but you are struggling to hit your driver straight. Might be a good day to hit 3-wood off the tee.
Your wedge and your putter have been solid, but your long irons have been getting you in trouble. Instead of hitting a 4-iron to the green, layup. You can make par by getting up and down.
Play your game. Execute shots you are comfortable hitting. If a certain club doesn’t feel right, choose a different one.
#6: Build An Improvement Plan
Don’t just hope to get better. Make a plan. Use the next rainy day to document how you plan to improve at golf.
Start by listing your goals. Break 90 is a great goal. Reducing your average putts per round is another good goal example.
Once you have your goals, create an action list of specific things you are going to do to reach your goals.
For example, you are going to spend two hours every week practicing. You are going to get a lesson from a certified golf instructor. You are going to play 18 holes twice a month.
Each golfer’s improvement plan will be unique. Re-visit your plan often. Is it working? Are you seeing the results in your scores?
Learning how to break 90 in golf is just one step on your golf journey. Good luck! We know you can accomplish it.