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Breaking 80: A Practical Guide & Tips to Consistently Break 80 in Golf

Breaking 80 consistently is hard work.

There are some key skills that need to be developed in order to learn how to break 80 in golf and then do it on a daily or weekly basis.

Shooting 78 one time is too much of a tease. If you have done it once, you can do it again.

We will show you the key skills you are missing, some great drills to work on, and how you can start breaking 80 in golf consistently.

How to Break 80 in Golf – Too Long, Didn’t Read

To break 80 in golf, you have to develop a course management plan, be in good physical condition, understand the role of the wrists in the golf swing, and work on hitting fairways and greens in regulation, but most importantly, you have to change your mindset on the golf course.

Here are the six most important things you can do to break 80 in golf:

  • Develop a practice plan.
  • Set a goal that you can achieve (you can do this in pieces).
  • Learn to control the clubface using the proper wrist positioning.
  • Strengthen your mental game.
  • Know how to react when the plans change.
  • Dedicate the time.
Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

How to Break 80 in Golf Consistently

Every golfer and golf professional goes about this process of breaking 80 in a different way.

However, these important steps in learning how to break 80 will all happen at some point in the process.

Know Your Game

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you know how far you hit each of your clubs? Not how far you want to hit them or how far you should hit them, but how far they all go.
  • Do you know what your miss is?
  • How about your strengths and your weaknesses?

To break 80 consistently, you have to dive deeply into who you are as a player, what makes your game great, and what makes it not so great.

Start to make notes after a practice session and keep a journal of your data.

You’ll need the basic skills of hitting high-lofted shots and controlling the ball, making some 15-foot putts, but the key is to identify what parts of your game need the most work.

two happy golfers on the course

Check the Equipment

Your golf clubs are your tools. You get 14 of them in your bag and have to choose them wisely.

What’s more important than the technology of the golf club is the way the club fits your game.

For shorter or taller players, the lie angle needs to be corrected. The shaft may need to be tweaked or changed for slower or faster swinging players.

The key is finding something that matches your game. Golf club fitting has become more accessible and more accurate.

If you have yet to use a launch monitor or some form of golf technology to determine if you are playing with the proper equipment, now is the time.

Make the tweaks that you can to the clubs that you have so you feel you can confidently shoot in the 70s each time you are on the course.

HackMotion golf training aid wrist sensor
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Control the Clubface

When you first started playing golf, you probably felt like you were swinging a club. You held on to the handle of the club and swung it with speed to see what you could do.

Many golfers think of this almost like baseball or hockey, as it can feel a little similar in the beginning. However, as you improve, the game of golf becomes more about swinging the clubhead.

Of course, you still hold the grip and swing the entire club, but now the only thing that matters to you is what the clubface is doing at impact. This is a good thing; golfers who break 80 in golf think about and need to know how to control the clubface.

Wrists control the clubface.

The clubface angle at impact is either square, open, or closed, and that is controlled by the angle of the wrists.

Use HackMotion to learn exactly what it takes to get to a wrist position that creates a square clubface at impact.

Developing a Practice Plan

With golf, you can’t break 80 unless you put the time in and develop a plan. At some point, your game may be good enough to walk up to the first tee and shoot 79, even when you don’t play well.

However, this takes time.

One of the best things you can do is create a structured driving range practice plan for improvement.

The practice plan should include a certain amount of time that will go into your game each week, as well as various areas of the game to work on.

Go back to your golf game analysis and the reasons you came up with for why you don’t break 80. Whatever this is, be it chipping, putting, or the driver, make this about 40% of your practice time.

The rest of the time should be split up into different areas of the golf game.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

Improve Physical Fitness

When you look at PGA Tour players today, compared to PGA Tour players years ago, the level of physical fitness in the modern player is really quite impressive.

Why is this? What do the players stand to gain from being physically fit?

The answer is that it’s easier to play golf well when your body is working the way it should. If you are not tired coming down the 18th green, or your back doesn’t hurt when you make the turn, golf gets easier.

To take this a level further, we know that hitting a long drive helps improve overall scoring (because your approach shots are closer to the hole). Golfers who are physically fit have the best chance of increasing the distances they can hit their shots.

More power and more speed do help you to break 80 in golf, especially if you know how to channel it!

Better physical fitness also lessens the chance of injury which is a tremendous benefit for any golfer on a mission to break 80.

Here are a few great golf exercises to try.

Mental Game Improvement on the Course

The better you get at golf, the more influential the mental game becomes.

PGA Tour golfers can all hit the ball far and straight, but the ones with the better mental game can win week in and week out.

To consistently break 80, you must focus your mental game around being positive and only allowing positive those on the golf course.

These are my best tips for how to improve your mental game to perform better on the course.

  • Always stay positive regardless of the shot you hit, you will always make a few poor swings. Move on from them and make the next shot better.
  • Overcome your fears. Head out to the golf course late in the afternoon, go to all of the spots that you find to be the most difficult, and overcome your fears.
  • Control your emotions, no club throwing, no lashing out. Take a deep breath and move on.
  • Visualize each shot and tell yourself that you can pull it off. Positive self talk and visualization combined are quite powerful.

Start Placing Your Tee Shots

To break 80 consistently, it’s not enough to just put a ball in the center of the fairway. You have to place the ball specifically to make your approach shot easier.

If it’s a dog-leg left make sure you have enough room to clear the corner. If there is water all up the left side, avoid giving yourself a shot that must carry water the entire way.

Learn to hit a little draw or fade with your tee shot so you can put it in the correct position.

Make the Same Putting Stroke Every Time

Do you know if your putting stroke is consistent?

Take a look at how you putt from one hole to the next and from one round to the next. Chances are you have some inconsistency in your stroke related to wrist action.

The wrists have some movement in the putting stroke, even the professionals have slight movements.

However, after analyzing more than 1,000,000 putting strokes we have found that the nest golfers are able to keep whatever wrist action they have consistent from one putt to the next.

The HackMotion will pinpoint the exact issues in your putting stroke and help you produce something much more consistent.

Leave Yourself Uphill Putts

The easiest putts to make in golf are uphill putts. As a golfer trying to break 80 consistently it’s essential to leave yourself an uphill putt as often as possible.

When approaching a golf green. Make sure you are giving yourself the correct yardage to have a makeable putt. Use a golf GPS or a rangefinder to scope out a landing area on the green (not necessarily the pin).

In addition, as you are getting close to the green and you have shorter chips and pitches be sure to calculate your distance accordingly.

One of the best ways to do this is to walk up to the hole, check for the perfect landing spot, and then walk back to your ball. Anything within that 15-20 yard range, it can make sense to do that.

Be Aggressive When It Makes Sense

Aggressive golf can get you in trouble. However, making a birdie or two in a round is a really great way to keep your score under 80. There are times when getting aggressive makes sense.

Here are a few things to walk through in your mind before you play the aggressive shot.

  • Do you trust the yardage?
  • Is there trouble?
  • What is the lie?

If you trust the yardage, the trouble is nowhere near where you normally hit it and you have a clean lie, go ahead and get aggressive. Fire at a pin and see if you can hit it close.

As long as your aggressiveness doesn’t cost you that double bogey, pull it out when the time is right.

Vary the Shots You Hit Around the Greens

Most golfers have a variety of shots in their bag with their wedges. Chances are you have at least three and probably four wedges in the bag.

Learn to hit a high and low shot with each of your wedges. You can also learn how to hit half and full swing shots with each of these wedges.

Calculate the distances that you hit each of these so that you’ll have 8 or more shots to hit at any given time on the course.

The best players in the game have a variety of shots to choose from at any given time.

Use Technology

When learning how to break 80 consistently, you will want some kind of distance-measuring device.

Whether a GPS unit or a laser rangefinder, it is essential to have a very good idea of how far you have to the hole.

In addition, when you are working on your game, incorporating tools like HackMotion into your practice routine can give you more awareness.

HackMotion wrist sensor and swing analyzer

HackMotion is a device that measures your wrist angle at setup, the top of the backswing, and at impact. Even the best players in the game realize that their wrist position is often responsible for the improper clubface angle at impact.

If you struggle to make a consistent impact, your wrist angle could be causing the problem.

One of the great things about using technology like HackMotion as part of your practice routine is that it lets you practice without the help of a professional.

Smart Decisions Lead to Lower Scores

Smart golfers shoot lower scores.

It’s as simple as that.

If your golf ball is buried in the rough behind two trees and you think the 3 wood is the best decision, you are not ready to break 80 consistently.

Golfers that shoot in the 70s make plenty of mistakes, but they recover quickly and get a bogey on a bad hole.

Bad decisions lead to the 7’s and 8’s on the scorecard.


Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about how to break 80 in golf.

How long does it take to break 80 in golf?

For golfers who commit to a practice plan and are serious about shooting lower scores, breaking 80 can happen in one to two years.

However, some people play their entire lives and can never break 80.

What is your handicap if you shoot 80?

Golfers who shoot 80 have a handicap of around 8, and golfers who consistently break 80 have single-digit handicaps.

Is it easy to break 80 in golf?

Breaking 80 in golf is not easy if you have any inconsistency in your game.

Once you develop a consistent swing that hits the center of the clubface often, breaking 80 becomes much easier.


Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to break 80 and how your game can change from becoming a little more intentional and focused.

There is no reason not to start on this project today; start working on your mental strategy, or go hit a few balls with your least favorite club in the bag.

Great golfers put the work in, and now that you have all the details you need to break 80, you can do it too.

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Brittany Olizarowicz
written by Britt Olizarowicz

Britt Olizarowicz is a golf professional who has played the game for more than 30 years. In addition to loving the game of golf, Britt has a degree in math education and loves analyzing data and using it to improve her game and the games of those around her. If you want actionable tips on how to improve your golf swing and become a better player, read her guides.