You can break 100!
By mjaber on 1/10/13
The 2013 Guest Columnist of the Year race just got interesting. Less than 24 hours after his first guest column was posted, Mike Jaber submitted his second guest column for our reading pleasure. Enjoy!

I believe that anyone can break 100, on a par 72 course, following all of the Rules of Golf, as long as they follow a few simple steps.
  1. Play from the correct tees. There are many ways of determining what tees you should play from. The USGA suggests using the course rating, or bogey rating, for a course. Another method that has been suggested in the oobgolf forums is to take your 5-iron distance and multiply is by 36, or your driver distance and multiply by 28. My preferred method is to look at the par 3s. Find a set of tees that you can reach all of the par 3s with a mid or long iron, and play them.

  2. Forget about GIR. It is not relevant to getting into double digits. The math is pretty simple. In order to get 99, you need to average 5.5 strokes per hole over 18 holes. That means you can play every hole at +1, and still have room for the "blow-up" hole. If you're not real good with doing averages in your head, just play every hole as a 5. 18 fives on your scorecard is a 90.

  3. Play a course you've played before. Knowledge is key. If you've played the course a few times, you'll know which holes give you the most trouble. Have an idea of how to protect yourself from those holes.

  4. Play the course, don't let it play you. Everybody who has a played a course more than once knows there are certain holes that will give them fits. Have an idea going in on how you want to turn those holes around, even if it means hitting 9-iron 4 times.

  5. Play safe. Everybody says that the easiest place to play from on the golf course is the fairway, so play from the fairway. Layup short of the hazard, even if you're going to need to take an extra shot to get to the green because of it. Avoid "trying something." Usually, if you are going to "try something" it's going to be a Mickelson-esque escape that even Phil would have difficulty with. If you hear yourself saying "I'm going to trying something", "maybe if I can just get it through..." or "If I can just get it to turn...", don't. Find a safe spot to hit to, and take your medicine.

  6. Play smart. Have a plan going in. It doesn't need to be detailed, but have a general idea of how you are going to play the course. Pay attention to which side of the tee box you are teeing up on. Give yourself as much space as possible to miss the hazard, by teeing up on the same side as the hazard. This gives you more space to aim at.

  7. Relax. If it doesn't happen with this round, there is always going to be another one. It takes patience, and a little bit of pride-swallowing and ego-checking, but the payoff after the round when you show your buddies your 98 compared to their 106, it will be worth it.
The biggest key in all of this is to make sure that you are always in position to make a 5, or at worst a 6. You can make up a double bogey on a par 4 by making a bogey on a par 3. A couple 6s mixed in with your string of fives isn't going to hurt, anyway. If you break down a round by the numbers, it's pretty easy to see that that magical double-digit number is easy to find, if you know where to look.

This was written by Mike Jaber, a reader/follower/fellow oober and the opinions are 100% his and do not reflect those of oobgolf in anyway. Enjoy! I'm sure he's ready for your feedback.

Have an idea for a guest column? Send it here!

Image via Flickr, 401(K) 2013

[ comments ]
bkuehn1952 says:
Well done. Apparently you couldn't find anything else to assemble.

Every point is on the mark and can be further applied to "Breaking 90" and "Breaking 80" as one's skills improve.
mjaber says:
@bkuehn1952- If I ever break 90 consistently, I'll be sure to figure out what I did and write about it.
legitimatebeef says:
I dig what you are selling mjaber. You realize though that the idea of hitting a 9i four times to reach the green is way far out for most people. There is a long par 4 at one of my locals that is so long and narrow that I sometimes play it as a three-shotter. Still I have a hard time clubbing down--I'll usually reach for a 5w even though I can still get into trouble with it. Next time I lay up here I'll try a super-safe play like 5i.

I think it's a very good point though, that for certain people in certain situations, chipping your way to the green just might be the best hope of a decent score on a given hole. I hope the message gets through though, because I only ever seem to see people playing golf in a rote cookie-cutter fashion. They don't think independently and that's too bad. To me strategy is one of the funnest aspects of this whole thing.
Werepuppie says:
All are lessons I could apply.I usually try to reach greens in regulation,even if it means trying a shot that is too hard.
The best advise I ever got was a guy that told me to never hit a fairway wood from the fairway unless I could reach the green with it on a good shot.That piece of advise has saved me many penalty strokes.Now I use a hybrid if I just need to hit it as far as possible from the fairway.
Torleif Sorenson says:
Beef makes a good point; I've read about pros who face a U.S. Open hole that the USGA converted from a par-5 into a par-4; their attitude was to play it like it actually *is* - a par-5 to be reached in three, and then just try to get up-and-down.

And that's the way I intend to attack all par-5s. Following two broken ribs in 2004, there's no way in the world I will ever again have the length or clubhead speed to reach a par-5 in two.
Matt F says:

I taking this to the course this year and seeing if I can improve my scores at all. Thanks for breaking it down!
GBogey says:
Mjaber - nice article reminding of the importance of course management, even for breaking 100. 2 pieces of advice for breaking 90: 1) Think of bogey as par, par as birdie, birdie as eagle, double as bogey. I think it allows you to keep your strategy and head level and emotions clear as you work your way around the course; 2) My perspective from a game improvement point of view is that 100% of the improvement from mid-90's to 80's is through the short game.
mjaber says:
@GBogey- Thanks. I've got into the 80's a couple times, but not since my play & practice time was cut back due to life getting in the way.
joe jones says:
Wonderful. Because I lack distance I hit driver on all par fours and fives. If I don't hit the drive well I play both to get on the green in one stroke less than regulation and try to one butt. I try to eliminate double bogey,s wherever possible.
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