How to Break 80 in Golf

How to Break 80 in Golf

Breaking 80 in golf is a milestone most golfers set their eyes on from day one. It's a major achievement in any golfer's journey, and one that represents a lot of hard work and dedication to the game.

Sure, you'll need to break 90 before you can break 80, but once you're in the 70s that means scratch is at least in sight.

Now, truth is there are a lot of myths about shooting a 79 or lower. Chances are you've even heard a few of them yourself. So let's clear the air. For starters:

  • You don't need to make a ton of birdies (or any at all!)
  • Hitting fairways is important, but you don't need to hit them all. In fact, you can miss more than half of your fairways and still break 80.
  • You don't need to hit a ton of greens in regulation to have a chance (as few as 6 can get you there).

So how do you break 80? Let's break down a few ways a golfer can shoot a 79.

4 Ways to Break 80 in Golf

Here are 4 ways a golfer can break 80. These scenarios assume par 72, scoring nothing worse than a bogey, and no par 5 greens were hit in 2.

Scenario Greens in Regulation Up and Downs Total Putts Score
A 8 30% 33 79
B 7 36% 32 79
C 6 42% 31 79
D 5 46% 30 79

As you can see, breaking 80 isn't exactly easy, but it's also not as out of reach as you might think!

A great way to put this in context is to take a look at your last couple of rounds. Assuming you keep track of greens in regulation and putts (if you don't, you should!) once you tally everything up, chances are you'll find yourself within reach of one of these scenarios; in other words, one of these options will fit your game best.

What comes next is zeroing in on what's going to help you execute on that scenario. Now that you know how to break 80 in golf, it’s time to get your game in a place to do so. Below, we’ve outlined a few areas you can improve to help reach your goal.

5 Areas to Focus on to Break 80

Accuracy vs. Distance Off The Tees

Hitting greens in regulation and getting up-and-down is a lot easier when you're sitting in the middle of the fairway. As we outlined above, you can break 80 with as few as 8 greens in regulation, but a 79 is a lot easier to achieve with more.

If your approach game is strong, trade off distance for accuracy.

Play High Percentage Shots

how-to-break-80-golfBreaking 80 is about making smart decisions and playing with consistency. Choose clubs you’re comfortable with and take the shots you know you can make. Attempting low percentage shots that risk going out-of-bounds is always a score killer, but especially so when you’re trying to break 80. There is little wiggle room for penalty strokes when you want to get to 79.


Short Game

Get comfortable getting up-and-down. Your ability to score from 100 yards and in is going to be crucial in your quest to 79. Spend time practicing and studying the ball's movement for the basic shots you will encounter on and around the green. These shots include:

  • standard bunker shots
  • bump and run
  • 20-40 yard pitch shots
  • lag putts
  • putts going against the grain
  • putts going with the grain
  • uphill putts
  • downhill putts

Find and Understand Your Shot Shape

Two-way misses are a big hurdle to breaking 80. If you're missing shots left and right interchangeably, it becomes very difficult to recover and hit fairways and greens. However, consistently missing in one direction is much more manageable. You can mould your game around that one shape and manage the course accordingly.

Eliminate Basic Errors

An easy way to shave unwanted strokes is to focus on mental errors. Most of these tips will probably seem like common sense, but in the moment, they could easy slip your mind. Add these tips to your routine to make sure you're always setting yourself up to succeed.

  • Take into account the wind and slope before pulling your clubs.
  • Be mindful of the tee box markers - setting up to angled tee box markers could throw you off.
  • Pick a target off the tees. We all want to hit the fairway but it's important to pick a target and make sure you're aligning yourself properly.
  • Be honest about club distances and whether you can get there in two.
  • Make sure you have adequate loft to get out of bunkers.
  • Line up your putts and be mindful of your shoulders and feet.
  • Take the time to read the green. You see the pros - many look at shots from 4 angles.

Now Get Out There and Have Fun!

Trying to break 80 can be frustrating, but remember - golf is a difficult game! So take the time to evaluate which of our 4 ways to break 80 best fits your game and begin chipping away at the areas that will help get your there. Golf is an endless pursuit of excellence. Celebrate your progress and enjoy the ride.



  • Dr Tee

    absolutely the way to sub-80 rounds is by sharpening your game from 100 yards in where about 65% of shots are taken. there is a coaching system available focussing on this called The Scoring System ( which has drills and a “purposeful practice”approach. Highly recommend !


    I’ve built in a few of the tips and valuable information in my practice routine so they become regular and trusted routine steps, processes and thoughts. Thank you especially for providing the information in the form of “plain man’s English”. It helps me visualize on the specifics of what is needed in each of the 5 areas to focus on. I know it’s probably important in having goals, but in my case, I’ve learned in life that when it pertains to participating in any sport, focusing on the process, the mythology and execution is the key in being successful. Thank you for a great and meaningful guide in helping me be successful in golf.

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