As I was getting more serious about golf, I remember wondering what percentage of golfers break 80.
Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing how achievable a goal can be in any sport. Breaking 80 is no easy feat, so I did a little research, and it turns out that only 8.42% of golfers ever break 80.
Let’s dig a little deeper to figure out why it seems so rare to break 80 in golf and how you can do it yourself.
Breaking 80 In Golf - What Does The Data Say?
According to the data from the United States Golf Association, there are 1.8 million male golfers in the US, and 9.77% of them are breaking 80.
Among the 378 000 female golfers, only 1.98% of them break 80.
According to this data, the global number of golfers who break 80 comes at 8.42%, which is less than one in ten people.
What Golf Handicap Is A 80?
It depends on the golf course and, more precisely, its rating and slope. That being said, generally speaking, when you hit 80, it corresponds to a golf handicap between 3 and 8.
What Does It Take To Break 80 In Golf?
If we consider the overwhelming majority of golf courses to be par 72, you need to shoot eight over par or less to break 80. Over 18 holes, that equates to 10 pars and 8 bogeys.
Consistency is the most common denominator among players who regularly break 80. Consistency in their drive, short game, and ability to stay calm and deal with anything that can go wrong on the green.
Is 80 Considered A Good Golf Score?
Whether it’s a goal of yours or a score you regularly reach, if you’re wondering if breaking 80 is an achievement, consider the following:
Only less than one in ten golfers will ever break 80. Of course, breaking 80 on the golf course is widely considered a great score. Golfers who can regularly break 80 have invested a lot of time practicing and were committed to becoming better players. It’s something you should be proud of reaching. And if you’re not quite there yet, props for having ambitious targets.
How Can I Become A Golfer That Regularly Breaks 80?
There is no real secret sauce here, and you simply need to become a better golfer to break 80. Of course, there are aspects of your game to prioritize to reach that goal more efficiently, and here is what they are.
Work On Your Short Game
Everybody knows that over the course of 18 holes, you’re bound to miss a few fairways or greens. Even for players with extremely strong long games that are used to having excellent approaches all the time, they can never be sure that the weather conditions will be in their favor.
What about steering clear of a water hazard or the bunker (also known as a “sand trap”)?
That’s why you need to rely on your short game, which should be the most consistent aspect of your game as it is also the one that is the least subject to variance.
If you tend to have a weak short game, make sure to specifically design your practice sessions to improve that aspect of your golf skills. I often recommend buying a putting mat that you can set up in your office or at home to get those reps in.
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Be More Mentally Focused
Admittedly, this has always been the part of the game that I’ve most struggled with. Staying in the zone and not letting your emotions get the best of you are hard to do when you just had a bad hole or are on a bogey streak.
The method I’ve used is to pay attention to the execution and not the outcome. Try to focus on the strategy and the fundamentals and disregard the result.
Think about it; if you’re making the right decision, with the correct iron, and are applying all the good practices to take your shot, the results will, on average, inevitably improve.
Allow yourself to fail, learn to embrace those mistakes, and welcome them for what they are: learning opportunities.
This is the best way to turn something negative and frustrating into something nurturing and positive.
One last thing: try to enter each new hole with a clear head. Don’t chase the score or dwell on your mistake three holes ago. Once again, focus on the execution, not the outcome.
Get Better Equipment
If your goal is to break 80, you need to be serious about golf, and time can not be the only investment you make.
Having high-quality gear is necessary because it gives you peace of mind and confidence that you are appropriately equipped to reach your goals.
Think about it this way: you need every bit of edge you can get to be in the top 8.42%, and getting the right equipment is the easiest thing to fix in your golf game.
Surround Yourself With Better Players
You should try to apply this concept to every aspect of your life. Generally speaking, if you’re the smartest person in a room, you’re in the wrong room. The same principle applies to golf.
How can you expect to improve if you’re only playing with golfers who have nothing to teach you?
I’m not telling you to get rid of your golf buddies, but you should definitely look to expand your golf entourage and occasionally try to hit the greens with stronger players you can observe and get a few tips from.
Take Golf Lessons
Whether you’re a beginner or have been playing golf for thirty years, I guarantee that golf lessons will help you tremendously in your quest to break 80.
Developed a bad habit over the years? A coach can fix that.
Clueless about golf fundamentals? A coach can fix that.
The point is that golf lessons are essential to stepping up your game. One small caveat: you need to find someone competent in all aspects of golf, not just the mechanics.
You need a professional that can tie everything together nicely and give pointers on your posture, swing, mentality, strategic thinking, aim, pre-shot routine, and pretty much anything else that can positively impact your overall game.
Don’t be afraid to take lessons with different coaches before sticking with the right one. There’s no one-size-fits-all here, but I would advise keeping with the one you feel is the ablest to recognize and fix your specific flaws.
Practice, practice, and practice some more
Now, this may seem obvious, but it’s always good to reiterate it. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Hit the golf course and practice!
Ideally, focus on the weak aspects of your game more heavily, but still ensure that you’re hitting all the stops, from putting to chipping to bunker play. You don’t want to leave anything to chance.
Finish your training sessions by going to the range to perfect your drive. Primarily focus on the trajectory of your shots more than the distance, allowing you to be more consistently in a good spot on the fairway for your second shots.
The 18th Hole
I hope that you now have a better understanding of how rare it is for golfers to break 80 and what it would take for you to get there. Remember that it will mainly require practice and patience, but with the knowledge you now possess, there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from becoming part of that elite 8%.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out the one we wrote about breaking 100, as it also covers some interesting points about golfing at that level.