mid 90’s to mid 70’s

I can remember when I first started golfing, I was just excited to get on the first tee. I had no expectations, one good shot per round kept me coming back for more. The most difficult threshold in golf never crossed my mind. It didn’t matter what clubs I had or shoes, or balls I played, every round was more and more joyful. As I started carding more and more rounds in the 90’s my excitement and joy for the game grew even stronger.

I decided I wanted to take my game to the next level so I got a job at a local golf course. This allowed me earn me some extra cash for better equipment but more importantly, free golf. This helped me bust through the most difficult threshold in golf, breaking 80 consistently. The next couple summers were the best years of my golf game. I went from mid 90’s to low 80’s fast, I mean really fast. Shooting in the 90’s became impossible. I was having the time of my life. Every round was full of new lessons and before I knew it I shot my first round in the 70’s. Golf became my obsession.

Feeling stuck at the most difficult threshold in golf?

Fast forward 20 years, and my game appears to be stuck at the same level when I first started playing. How is this possible? I’ve played multiple rounds per week for 20 years, I have better equipment, I hit it WAY farther, and I understand the game more. So what is the problem? It’s really quite simple, low 80’s to low 70’s is the toughest threshold in golf. Think about it, when your shooting in the 100’s there are so many areas for improvement that just 1 effective tweak can take 10 shots off of your game. By the time you get to the 90’s you hit the ball consistent enough that some simple course management strategies like less 3 putts and penalty shots will improve your game drastically. When your in the 80’s you pretty much make solid contact every time but just need to make your mistakes not cost you as many shots. Once you’re in the 70’s you already make a fairly small amount of mistakes. So how do I get my game from the low 80’s to the low 70’s? The answer might be easier than you think.

Enjoy where you are

Remember at the beginning of this story when I talked about how much fun and joy I started playing the game with. My game improved drastically in very little time. I would imagine that many golfers stuck in the high 70’s have over time done the same thing that I have. They lost the joy that they originally played with. I remember wanting to get to the course an hour early just to practice putting and hit range balls. Now I show up 10 minutes before a round and expect my first tee shot to be piped down the center. Golf just doesn’t work like that. Golf is the most self revealing sport that has ever been invented. When you aren’t invested emotionally, your game will stop improving, its really that simple. The biggest thing that blocked joy for me was expecting that every round was going to be the best round of my life. Anything short of that was a failure. I can assure you that this is the quickest route to staying exactly where you are. I recently noticed this and have made some serious changes to bringing back the joy into my golf game.

How to Break through the most difficult threshold

First, I show up at least 30 minutes before my tee time to work on anything that cost me strokes recently. One of the most important components to this is giving yourself time to stretch before you hit a single ball. Also getting into the moment and being appreciative that you get to play a round of golf is extremely helpful. You aren’t working, or entertaining guests, you are golfing. So stop complaining and show some gratitude. You will not break the most difficult threshold in golf if you don’t enjoy the game.

Second, I have taught myself to not expect great shots all the time. This one can be hard when you are in the 70’s because you know what it takes to get there. Let me remind you this, golf is a game of misses. You got here learning how to manage misses, and guess what, pros are doing the same thing. Their misses are just much better than yours. A bad attitude after a bad shot is certain to bring about some more misses.

Third, spend some time in reflection without judgment after every round. Nothing gives you perspective like revisiting a situation once the moment has passed. By doing this alone I have been able to correct flaws in my swing and well as manage courses much better by understanding my mistakes. These 3 simple changes have brought back the joy in my game as well as the consistency that will help me break the hardest threshold in golf. We hope they help you too.