Golf can be one of the most frustrating and challenging sports to learn. Even great athletes (Charles Barkley), with top-notch coaching (Hank Haney), can struggle to play the game. If you are just getting started or maybe go to the range a few times a year, trying to break 100 is a great goal and accomplishment.
An accomplishment worthy of some celebration in the 19th hole once you post your first 99 (or 98). Just keep in mind, it won’t be easy. There are very few “naturals” at golf – sure, hand-eye coordination and athleticism will help, but it still won’t be a quick journey from picking up the clubs to breaking triple digits.
What is a Good Beginner Golf Score?
First let me say, if you are just getting started with the game, I am not sure your score should be your primary focus. I would start at the driving range. Focus on making consistent contact with the ball and learning your tendencies.
Do you tend to top the ball or pop it up? Does your ball tend to curve left or curve right? Which clubs produce the most consistent contact? Do you feel more comfortable hitting irons or woods?
The next step would be playing a round of golf. Before worrying about your score for 18 holes, can you finish every hole in a reasonable fashion? In other words, complete each hole in 10 or less strokes. The next step would be to try and get better each time you play.
If you are truly new to the game and count every stroke, coming in between 110-120 is a solid round.
Do Most Golfers break 100?
The short answer – No. Only 55% of amateur golfers break 100 and the Golf Channel recently shared that the average amateur golf score is right around 100. Only 26% of players can break 90 and even fewer break 80 (5%). Not only is 100 a nice round number to target, it also signifies you have become an above-average player.
Tips on How to Break 100
Moving from a novice golfer to breaking 100 will not happen overnight but can be done quickly if you invest the correct amount of time on your skills. As you develop an improvement plan, keep these 5 things in mind:
1. Get a Lesson
There is tremendous value in getting some help from a professional. Many courses offer beginner clinics or relatively inexpensive lesson packages. How to break 100 in golf? Learning the fundamentals of the game from a golf instructor will save you time and effort. Simple things like your stance and your grip can make a huge impact on your score.
2. Analyze Your Game
Following each round you play, spend 15-30 minutes thinking about your round. Review your scorecard to determine where you lost strokes. What caused your bad holes? Is there a consistent trend?
Did you hit your driver out of play on a tight hole? Did you try to clear a hazard/lake and failed to make it? How many putts did you have during the round? You might find if helpful to track certain key stats after every round.
How many fairways did you hit off the tee? How many scores above 6? How many times did you 3-putt? How many balls did you lose or how many penalty shots? The data you track will show you exactly what you need to improve to break 100.
Leverage this information to determine how you should spend your practice time. There are apps that will allow you to track this type of information or you can leverage a simple spreadsheet.
3. Stay Patient & Don’t Get Frustrated!
Bobby Jones once said, “Golf is a game that’s played on a five-inch course – the distance between your ears”. Golf is very mental and can be incredibly frustrating – millions of golfers quit the game every year. As you strive to improve, you must remain patient.
You will shoot 101 one day and feel like you have it figured out, only to fire a 118 the next time out. Don’t let it get to you – the bad days are what make the good days so much fun!
4. Play Smart – Change your Concept of a Par
If your goal is to break 100, why do you care about making pars? If you make 12 bogeys and 6 double bogeys, you shoot 96 (+24). Is the hole tight with trouble on both sides? Don’t hit driver – hit the club that you have the most confidence you can hit straight.
If you do hit your drive offline into the woods, chip it back in to the fairway instead of trying a “hero” punch shot to the green.
When you are striving to break 100, the big numbers are your enemy. Avoid the 7s, 8s, and 9s. Play each hole for bogey – choose your shots based on the easiest path to make bogey.
5. Short Game is the Key (Putting & Chipping)
This tip may be listed 5th, but it is the most important. You won’t find an amateur golfer with a strong Short Game that doesn’t break 100.
For players trying to break 100, a majority of their strokes are lost around the green, but they tend to spend their practice time on the range, swinging hard at drivers. Whether you plan to practice for 10 hours a week or 2 hours a week, 50%+ of this time should be on the putting green.
Get comfortable controlling speed with your putter. Practice your short to mid-range putts. Work on chipping with different clubs and learn when to play a bump-and-run vs. a more lofted shot.
Enjoy the Grind!
Make sure you enjoy your practice sessions. Look for small signs of improvement. Even during a bad round, enjoy the time outside with friends and try not to think too much about “how to break 100 in golf” too much.
Find a group to play with on a regular basis. As you continue to improve, sign-up to play in a low-pressure tournament. Captain’s Choice (scramble) events with friends are a great way to test your game. Establish a handicap. Before you know it, you will be trying to break 90 for the first time!