February 13

Can Math Help You Break 100?

Golf Lessons


Let’s use simple math to help you break 100.

Are you a decent putter?  If so, you’re probably two-putting most of the holes you play.  Sometimes three-putting, but not that often.  For simplicity, let’s use an average of two putts per hole.

That means that over the course of one round, you’re hitting 36 putts.

For the someone trying to break 100, that means there are 64 shots left that you’re making that isn’t while standing on the green.

Now, let’s incorporate tee shots into the math.

That one’s easy: 18.  You tee off 18 times when you golf, right?  Not just the par 4’s and 5’s, but the 3’s, as well.

So, if we subtract that from the remaining 64 shots, there are 46 that are left.

Let’s stop here to go back over our math:

You wanna break 100.

On average, you make 36 putts per round.

100 – 36 = 64

You take 18 tee shots.

64 – 18 = 46

As it stands, you have 46 shots left to get to 100.

Factoring in Approach Shots With the Math to Break 100

We also need to factor in second shots.  It could be anything from 130 to 200+ yards; basically, anything that’s either your attempt at a GIR or your second attempt on a par five.

For most courses, that’s 14 shots.  There are 18 holes; since four are par 3’s, we don’t count those as “approach shots”.

So, 46-14=32.

Thirty-two shots left over.  Those include:

  • Third shots on par fives
  • Recovery shots because of missed greens
  • Recovery shots because of mental mistakes

Well, if we take the average of four par fives on a given course, we come up with 28 total recovery shots (32-4=28).  That’s 28 shots that are keeping you from being able to break 100!

These are the pitch, chip, sand, and “other” shots that you need to tighten up.  The reason is, in the event you do miss a green, you need to get yourself back into a position that allows for an easier-to-make putt to save par.  Bogey at worst.

What’s a golfer to do?  Well, signing up for my Complete introduction to Golf series might help!

break 100

How to Recover From Missing the Green

It’s critical you have a wedge set that allows for predictable outcomes.  Loft spacing, length spacing… just like your longer clubs, your wedges have to facilitate consistency.

From there, you need to figure out if you need to putt, chip, or pitch.

There’s a mantra I use:

If you can putt, putt.  When you can’t putt, chip.  If you can’t chip, pitch.

Take the easiest shot you can manage.  The scorecard doesn’t care if you pulled off some Phil Mickelson Flop.  Or, at least, attempted to…  You’re trying to break 100- not get on Sportscenter.

How to Recover From Mental Mistakes

Mental errors happen to all of us.  They include:

  • Push-slices OB
  • Duffed shots
  • Miss-clubbing

Among others.  How do you avoid them?

For the shots that find themselves out of bounds or lost in the foliage, you need to pay more attention to the PGA: 

  • Posture
  • Grip
  • Alignment

Many of your missed shots can be attributed to miscues in one or more of these three areas.  Read more about it here.

In all honesty, the golf swing is not a difficult thing to do well.  It’s even easier if you have a background in ball-and-stick sports, like baseball and cricket.  The majority of what happens correctly happens in the three key areas listed above.

Nail these, and the swing will unfold itself naturally.

Feel like you suck at golf?  Do something about it!

Duffed shots can be attributed to mistaking where your intended impact location is.

You may start with one, but through the swing find yourself focusing on another.  It can also be caused by focusing too much on the ball.  To get more in-depth, I highly advise you to read the book The Impact Zone, by Bobby Clampett.

Too many golfers think they hit their clubs further than they really do.

Some will try to play it smart, like saying their 150-yard club is the universal 7 iron… but is it?  Be honest with yourself…

This is also why the vast majority of courses build their traps in the front of the green.  Bunkers, “false fronts”, you name it- they know you ain’t gonna overclub and shoot it past the green.

I know this isn’t “sexy”, but hear me out.  There’s a reason why many teachers suggest only using 80% of your speed potential.

Why is that?

  • You have a more controlled swing tempo
  • You’ll swing will be more balanced
  • You’ll have a greater chance of hitting the “sweet spot” (better output!)

Instead of trying to muscle a seven iron, do yourself a big favor and swing a six at 80% of your potential.  Hitting your irons is NOT about how far you can hit them.  I don’t give a shit what company is trying (too hard) to sell you that fact.

Your irons and wedges are CONTROL clubs.  Not how far you hit it that one time, but how far you hit them ON AVERAGE.

About the author 

Justin Blair

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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