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What does it take to break 70?


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I have been playing pretty consistent as of late, my last 5 rounds were in the 70's. 75 - 77- 76 - 74 - 73

 

The 77 and 76 had lots of bogies and birdies, the lower rounds were cleaner. But I can go through each one and "clean them up" in my mind to break 70.

 

For you guys that have broke 70, what were thing changes you made to push you over the edge, or was it just that one round where it all came together.

 

I think looking at my stats, I need to have my proximity to hole closer on my approach shots. Im hitting a lot of greens but I have 25+ footers a lot so Im over 30 putts per round

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I trot this out once or twice a year. Have gotten some good feedback on it over the years. Hope it helps... ? **************   I first wrote this article back in 2005(?) when I was play

Well the patience paid off and what's funny is I still left 3 or 4 strokes on the course.....    

Usually once you stop trying break 70 it just happens.  You have to be comfortable going low and staying there. The more you pay attention to where you are relative to par the tighter you will ge

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Might sound like a dumb question, but would a higher par course be harder to break 70? I seem to score better on par 5's so would I be more likely to break 70 on a par 73 since I have more scoring chances?

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When you are that close, it is about course management to get to under par. When you get into the zone of breaking par, it becomes a risk reward for each hole and to play it as straight up to the tee as possible. For me when I broke par, it became position myself on my second shot to about 100 yards in. From there it was a matter of getting it inside a 10 foot radius. And now it becomes so repetitive a putt, that you are essentially staring at birdie putts over and over and over. Other than that, It just happens. Ive had my best rounds where a bogey or two were on the card but I gave myself enough chances to overcome and break par. Dont get ahead of yourself, play the hole in front of you and dont lose strokes on easy holes because you think its a guaranteed par or better. 

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I am in the same boat as you. Last few rounds have been 71-72-74-75-76. 

 

All comes down to making putts and not leaving too many birdies out there. Bogeys will happen, lets be honest, to aim for a bogey free round is probably harder than anything.

 

I have gone under par at my home course on both the front and back nines, just not at the same time. 

 

Manage the course, short game in check, putt lights out. Easy right?

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I've never broken par on 18 but I have done it on 9 holes a couple times. 

 

I think you have to make birdies. For me that means improved putting. As @ZacR88 said above, the bogeys are going to happen, you just need to have a sufficient number of birdies that it's okay. 

 

If/when I'm shooting mid-30s on a good 9-hole stretch it's because (A) my wedges are dialed-in and (B) my putter is hot. 

 

Those two things create up-and-downs that save you as well as birdies that lift you up.

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I'm in the same boat. I've taken myself from the 77-83 range to the 73-77 range pretty consistently. I've been well under par on both nines of my home course (34 on the front, 33 on the back), but struggle to get consistently low. For me, it's making more "makeable" putts (as noted above), and keeping the doubles off the card. Best round recently was an even par 72 that featured 5 birdies, two doubles, and one bogey! Arrgh ....

 

Sadly, the doubles tend to come from just out-of-nowhere bad swings .... so really working on my mental game to dial in target and just put the same swing on the ball.

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Honestly, I think you said it correctly in your OP that it has to "all come together."

 

It's why golf is such a great game. To play well, you really need to be firing on all cylinders. Driving, iron play, chipping/pitching, and putting are all about equal when you are trying to break par.

 

Shooting under par generally means you don't have many glaring flaws. So it's less about fixing errors, and more about polishing each aspect of your game.

 

I think the only exception is the "hot putter" days. If you drain a bunch of putts from 15-25ft, you can always go low. But those days will be few and far between, and isn't a reliable strategy.

 

 

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Thanks guys, just need to keep doing what I am doing and it will come together.

 

I had 5 birdies on that 77 (par was 73), so if I just pair those birdies with a round I shot par I can easily do it

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M’y first time was just tons of birdies, like 7 or maybe 8. I striped it all day and made the putts. That broke the mental barrier for me and it was just a day where I was on. Since then, breaking 70 is all about course management, birdie par 5s and no big numbers. Discipline is key, but understanding that discipline includes making birdies. 

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Going to repeat what many have already stated here, but I'll say that for any threshold in lower-bracket scoring being going into 60s/70s or winning a club or regional tournament, you'll have to do everything ok and .....

 

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Finally at least shot under par today - bogey on the last hole for 71. We started on 10 (it's maintenance day at the club, but my wife and I went out around 2:15 and played ... the actual definition of "private club" ... never saw anyone! ? ). Stiffed a 7 wood to 8 inches for birdie on 10,  and turned from 18 to 1 two under. Was playing well, made a mental mistake and saved bogey with a penalty stroke on 6. Missed the green from 56 yards with a wedge on 8 (just sloppy ... uphill, front pin, tried to stiff it and chunked it just a hair), then had a tough, into the wind approach from 180 on the last hole and left it in the front bunker.

 

Looking back, 68 was there. I missed a 6 footer for birdie on 16, probably made a mental error that led to the penalty stroke, and could have played the last two holes in one less stroke somehow.

 

It truly comes down to a couple of shots being "tighter". Good mental lesson!

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It is a mindset. Being comfortable with your positioning on the course. Also, you can still break par by having your "C+" ballstriking day. I rarely see anybody break par without a very solid short-game. And the short-game applies to getting up n down for birdie from 70 yards and in just as much as it does getting up n down for Par. Look at most of your putts and be comfortably aggressive and just make sure your pitching and chipping is on point. Never mind your position in relation to par. Just keep being free. A few similar comments mirror this

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8 hours ago, Popeye64 said:

Usually once you stop trying break 70 it just happens. 

You have to be comfortable going low and staying there. The more you pay attention to where you are relative to par the tighter you will get. Just stay loose and it will come around. Its more a state of mind than anything else because you obviously have to game to do it. 


Best advice in the thread. I’ve shot under par and in the 60s a variety of ways. Having a “hot putter” or a good ball striking day helps, but it’s not required. The mental aspect is the biggest factor. People squander many good rounds away when they’re through 14 or 15 holes and think “I have a chance to do ‘X’ if I can hold on.” Rarely does this mental thought result in good play the final few holes. 
 

Shooting under par starts when I wake up that morning. “I’m going to shoot under par today” is my overarching thought leading up to the round. When I get to the first tee I’ve already mentally prepared myself to shoot par or better. At that point it’s “time to go make birdies.” It’s not that I’m going to go out and just fire at every pin. It’s assessing each golf hole and putting myself in the best position on that hole and under those conditions to have a chance at birdie. And a birdie chance isn’t leaving yourself a 5 footer...again it depends on the hole. Anything more than a 15 footer for birdie on a 360 yard hole is probably not giving myself the best chance, but leaving myself a 25 footer on a 460 yard par 4 may very well be. 
 

Once you get to 14/15 and you are in that under par range, the best way to close out the round is to distract yourself from the pressure and temptation to “play for par” and shoot for a more lofty goal like “I need to birdie 2 holes coming in.” You may or may not make two birds coming in, but You’ve set a higher standard for yourself than Simply playing for par. 

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I throttled back on my driver accepting 275 down the middle, or hitting less than driver to a favorite number or half/side of the fairway.  Pay attention to pin placements and know where the miss is or uphill putt.  Don’t short side yourself trying to stuff a lob wedge and go from birdie to bogey, just aim 10’ away from the flag on the fat side of the green (so a slight push or pull results in a stuff or 20’er for birdie.  Dial in yardages with your 8,9,& wedges ( especially inside 100yds). Of course the holy grail....PUTT like a boss (no 3 Jacks)!  Putt, putt and more putting practice 
 

standard par 72:  birdie 2/4 par 5s.  Survive the par 3s at even.  Leaves you 10 par 4’s to sneak in another birdie or 3 on the short ones and a bogey Or 2 on the hard ones.
 

Fun deal to get over the mental hump of the sub 70 number - Play from the most forward to your ego will allow until you break 70.  Then move back one tee box the next round until you break 70 again. Rinse and repeat as necessary to build confidence, strategy, and execution.  

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I’ll echo a lot of what’s been said.
 

Dialing everything in from 100 yards and in is key for me breaking 70. Having wedges into the green and getting it close. 
 

For me, getting up and down from a tough lie is just as much of a momentum push as a birdie. Especially in rounds when I’ve been on track to shoot under par. 
 

Then the mental aspect. I have to really keep my focus and stay sharp to finish out a strong round. As cliche as it sounds, taking it one shot at a time when I am a few under with a handful of holes is the difference between treading lower or posting a bogey. 

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My opinion is a little different.  To go low, you have to hit a lot of greens, you have to have a lot of putts for birdie, and make just a few of them.  If you're putting for bogie (or worse) very often, you're absolutely going to miss some of them.  Going after tight pins with anything longer than a wedge is likely to mean you're short-sided and dead at least a few times, figure out when its best to aim a little away from the flag.  

For reference, I'm a 5-handicap, I've only been -2 a handful of times.  I don't think I've ever made more than 4 birdies in those rounds, I've done it mostly by making a lot of pars, a few birdies, and very few bogies.  And I make pars a lot more often when I hit greens than when I'm chipping and putting.  There's no doubt that chipping and putting are important, you need a little bit of that even in the best rounds, but better ballstriking takes a lot of the pressure off the short game.

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As an 8 (with a season at 7 or less and between 5 and 6 for a month, lol) I agree with the above.  I bring up the lower cap part because it's recent and because I know what was happening for the good when I was getting lower scores.  I had a round this year with a bunch of birdies, which frankly is unusual, and it was easy to look at the over par holes and figure how I screwed myself out of breaking 70, and another round, much more consistent where a couple birdies were needed and a couple bogeys cleaned up where 69 "coulda" been in the cards.  So, I'd say you either have a magical day where you are hitting all your targets and putting great, or . . . . your average scores start to drift towards the low 70s for real because you've made improvements in ball striking, putting, short game, whatever it takes.  Crossing that threshold into lower handicap territory increases the probability vs. worlds colliding. Don't stop believin'!

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32 minutes ago, davep043 said:

My opinion is a little different.  To go low, you have to hit a lot of greens, you have to have a lot of putts for birdie, and make just a few of them.  If you're putting for bogie (or worse) very often, you're absolutely going to miss some of them.  Going after tight pins with anything longer than a wedge is likely to mean you're short-sided and dead at least a few times, figure out when its best to aim a little away from the flag.  

For reference, I'm a 5-handicap, I've only been -2 a handful of times.  I don't think I've ever made more than 4 birdies in those rounds, I've done it mostly by making a lot of pars, a few birdies, and very few bogies.  And I make pars a lot more often when I hit greens than when I'm chipping and putting.  There's no doubt that chipping and putting are important, you need a little bit of that even in the best rounds, but better ballstriking takes a lot of the pressure off the short game.


Some of the better advice here. With the exception of super short par 4s and par 5s I don’t try to make birdies. I hit to the fat part of the green. Try to be pin high. And hopefully make a couple putts. Avoiding bogey is equally if not more important than making a bunch of birdies. 

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Know your game - Back in the day when I did break par from time to time, I always do it in a boring way. I made mostly all pars and a few birdies. I was not the type that made doubles, but also made 6 or 7 birdies to make up for it. So key for me was not to make a big number, protect par on every hole and let birdies happen. Birdies typically came when either I had an approach inside 125 or made a longer putt. On days when I chased birdies I tended to score higher.

 

So for me it was manage the course and make putts.

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Be boring.  Hit the ball in the fairway off the tee, hit lots of greens in regulation, when you miss a green, miss in the right place, and putt well.  Whether is a good player who breaks par every now and then, or a better player who does it a lot, the formula is pretty much going to be the same; really good ball striking, combined with solid putting.  And solid putting doesn't mean making a ton of long putts; it means hitting some approach shots close and converting the birdie, really good lag putting when you don't hit it close, and rock solid putting in the 4' range when you missed the green.

 

The best ball striking round by a player I was actually playing with was one of the most "routine" rounds I've ever seen as well.  He hit the side of the fairway that he intended off the tee, he hit the part of the green that he meant to hit on the approach, and his pace putting the ball was perfect all day.  He's a guy that routinely breaks par, fwiw, and has for about 50 years now, but again, the formula is pretty much the same for everybody. 

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