How To Finally Break 80 The Next Time You Golf
Written by August Noble

August Noble was first introduced to golf at 7 years old. In 2013 he started seriously working on his game and was able to reduce his handicap from 19 to 3.4 in less than two years. He's been helping other golfers do the same ever since. Current Handicap: 4

Updated on December 12, 2023

Learning how to break 80 in golf can be a painful process.

For some it takes a year, others a lifetime.

Whether you want to learn how to break 80 more consistently, or for the first time, there are a few things that will give you a better chance to every time you step on the golf course.

These tips can be used whether you’re trying to break 100, 90, 80 or even 70.

Will they guarantee that you shoot the greatest round of your life tomorrow?


But they will give you your best chance to.

Let’s dive into them.


1. Warm-up (Answer the 3-Warm-up Questions)


It should be obvious but if you want to play your best golf you need to warm up.  I don’t care about “that one time”, that you played without warming up and shot the best round of your life.  I promise you that wasn’t the reason.

A good warm up not only gets your body ready for the course but also your mind.

The #1 reason you need to warm up is to figure out what your golf game is doing that day.

Are you hitting a fade or a draw?  Hook or a slice?  How’s your distance control? How far are you hitting your wedges?

These are all questions that can change from day-to-day.  While you may know that you play a fade or draw, getting a feel for how much it is moving that day will give you the confidence to hit your best shots on the course.  Save working on developing a proper golf grip for after the round.

3 things to note during your warm up before the round:

  1. What shape is your ball flight? When you don’t think about anything and make a natural, smooth swing, what is your ball flight?
  2. How far are you hitting your wedges? What are your 120 and-in swings in 10 yard intervals? Golf is a game played from 150 yards and in. Use these chipping drills to dial in your short game distances.
  3. From 30 and in what’s going to be your go to shot? What club? Low runner? High-pitch? etc.

The simple fact is that most of us can only hit a certain amount of shots (if any) with absolutely confidence and minimal errors.  While I understand having multiple “high-skill” shots can save you when you end up in that bad situation.  For the typical golfer who is trying to break 80, they are not necessary.

Having your go-to, high percentage shots will keep you out of trouble, and making a lot of pars.  Which in turn, leads to a lot of rounds in the 70’s.

Think the about the classic saying KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).


2. Practice Your Lag Putting

One of the quickest way to improving your golf game and learning how to break 80… phenomenal lag putting.

It sounds funny but it’s true.  You know what fun golf is? Hitting the green regulation, rolling your 30-foot putt to within 2-feet and tapping in for par.

Can you say “Stress free golf”?

Get to the practice green and starting practicing your lag putting.  It’ll take pressure off your irons, and make the game a whole lot easier.

These putting drills & hacks below are a great place to start.


3. Manage Your Round


“Golf is a game of misses.”

You may have heard this before and it’s true.  You’ll never go through a round and hit all perfect shots.  The pros don’t, Arnold didn’t, you definitely will not.

Being able to manage your game and avoid the big mistakes will make sure you have a chance to break 80.

What am I referring to when I say big mistakes?  Maybe a story will help.  Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You’re on a Par 4 and you hit a bad drive into the trees on the right.  You punch out to the middle of the fairway and are left with 130 yards into the green that is surrounded by water on the left side.  The greenskeeper (knowing the sucker that you are) placed the pin just 8 yards from the water.  You take aim at the pin, and hit what you think is a good shot.  It feels great coming off the club, you just pulled it “a little”.  This “a little” that would normally still end up on the green and be a decent shot, splashes in the water and you take a double.

Avoid the big mistakes.  See the sucker pin, aim for the middle of the green and try to make the long putt.  If you miss it, take your bogey and make it up on the next hole.


4. Trust Your Game


Who plays better?  The hack who is thinking about his swing the entire round, or the hack who plays his 30 yard fade with confidence?

No matter your skill level, trusting yourself the entire round is guaranteed to lead to a better result.  Keep this in mind when you go out to play your round.

If you’re hitting big fade with your driver during warm-ups, don’t try to fix it.

You won’t be able to figure out how to fix a slice in 10 minutes and it won’t do anything but lead to worse results on the course.

Instead, shoot the best score you can with the golf game you brought to the course that day.

If you have a 20-yard fade with your driver during warmups, great, play your drives up the left side the whole round with confidence.  Take your shorter drives for the day then head to the range after the round to fix it.

Key takeaways to trusting your golf game:

  1. Never try to fix your swing during warm-ups or your round.  Practice is meant for the practice range.
  2. If you need to fix something do it after your round or on an off day.
  3. Warm-up and know what shots you’re hitting that day. If you’re hitting a fade, play your fade all round.
  4. Keep it simple.

Have only 1 swing thought maximum.  I like to use “smooth”.

Stop complicating things.  Trust your game and put smooth, natural swings on the ball.

Practice at the range, play on the course.

Recommended read: 

The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance


5. Practice Distance Control (with Measurement)


“I would rather hit my 7-iron 130 yards EVERY TIME, than 200 yards every once in a while.”

One of the most important aspects of playing good golf is distance control.

I don’t care what club you hit, what shape your ball flight is, how ugly your swing is…


It took me a while to realize this.

That was until I started to get my ass kicked by the 60-year olds who drove the ball 220 down the middle, every single time.

How to improve your distance control:

“If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” – Lord Kelvin

  1. Start practicing with a trackman (or any distance tracking device).  Getting instant feedback on every swing will start teaching you which swings produce what distances.
  2. Stop swinging so hard.  Finding a consistent, smooth, tempo will result in more consistent distances with every club in your bag.
  3. Focus on distances from 130 and in.  They are the most important scoring shots in golf.

Improve your distance control and you’ll be sticking it close in no time.

Use these tips and learn how to break 80 (or any score) the next time you step on the course.

Playing good golf consistently isn’t easy.  If it was, everybody would be a scratch golfer.

If you’re serious about breaking 80, you need to put the work in.

Good things don’t come easy.

Prepare for the golf that you want to play, then go play it with confidence.

And remember…

you play better golf when you’re having fun.


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August Noble

August Noble was first introduced to golf at 7 years old. In 2013 he started seriously working on his game and was able to reduce his handicap from 19 to 3.4 in less than two years. He's been helping other golfers do the same ever since. Current Handicap: 4