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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Different Approach to Breaking 90

I know a lot of you are trying to break 90. That's a huge mental barrier for most people. I mean, 90 is bogey golf. Once you get into the 80s, you're on your way to par.

So that makes 90 a big deal.

But some barriers are harder to cross than others. The 90 barrier is definitely one of them. And it seems even harder because most of us know that we're good enough to do it. I remember very early in my golf career, back when I was struggling to break 110 -- that's a long way from 90, isn't it? But when I sat down and totaled my best score for each hole on my regular course, do you know how many strokes I came up with?

Only 88. That's right, only eighty-eight strokes. The problem wasn't that my game was so bad, but rather that I was inconsistent. And that's a matter of strategy -- how I thought my way around the course. I often made poor choices because I was convinced I had to make a certain score on each hole in order to improve, and that meant I played shots that I shouldn't have tried to play.

If you're having trouble breaking 90, your problem may be that you're making it too hard mentally on your game. And if that's the case, I have an interesting approach you might want to try.

But first, let's look at a couple of approaches that often don't work very well.

As I said earlier, 90 is bogey golf. All you have to do is make bogey on each hole and you'll score 90. But once you make a double -- which often happens very early in the round -- you start trying to make a par to get the stroke back. You end up trying too hard and making bad strategy choices and... well, bye-bye, 90.

I'm sure you've also heard the concept of personal par, where you decide what is a realistic score for you on each hole, regardless of what the scorecard says par should be. You've probably tried that and been frustrated. Most of us don't know what a "realistic score" would be!

Here's the new approach: I was digging through some of my old golf books, looking for some gems of advice that you might not have heard but that would be helpful. And then I found this old book -- over 15 years old, in fact -- called How to Break 90 by T.J. Tomasi, Mike Adams and Mike Corcoran. (The first two are PGA teachers, the last is a golf writer.) And the first chapter had this cool idea...

It's called LEVEL FIVES. While it's true that 18 bogeys equals 90 strokes, it's also true that making 18 fives equals 90 strokes. On your typical golf course with 10 par-4s, 4 par-3s and 4 par-5s, that translates to 4 pars, 10 bogeys and 4 double-bogeys.

Now obviously you don't have to play exactly that way. The idea is that you AVERAGE a score of five on each hole. But the benefit here is how it changes your mental game. Now, when you make that first double-bogey, your game isn't screwed up. You've planned for at least 4 double-bogeys!

And when you get to those par-5s that you've been trying to reach in two so you can make up for that double, now you know a par is good enough. Instead of swinging out of your shoes and losing a ball on the par-5, you can probably reach it with three 7-woods easy. You might have a wedge for your third shot, hit it close and even make a birdie! And then you're ahead of the game, because that gave you a par-4.

Suppose you make a bogey on a par-3. Now you've ahead of the game there as well. Since making a five is a success, you've just made a "birdie"!

The mental game is usually the hardest part of the game for us. This LEVEL FIVES concept takes a lot of that pressure off your game and lets you play good shots instead of pressing.

And eventually, you'll be getting into the 80s regularly. That presents you with a whole 'nother problem... but that will be a wonderful problem to have!

1 comment:

  1. Never heard of the LEVEL FIVES concept before but it does make sense, let's see if it can get me under 90! Thanks