How to Break Par

How to Break Par

 
By: Nick Bockenfeld, PGA
⌚8 Minute Read

Strategies for Breaking Par Every Time.

Introduction

This isn’t going to be a shock to anyone, but breaking par is really, really hard, so far in fact that only 1% of golfers ever do it in their lifetime. So how do you take something so difficult and do it not only once but regularly? Well, the answer isn’t straightforward either; there is no one way just to go out and break par. At this point, everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their game, and I couldn’t possibly prescribe one way to fix your game other than becoming more consistent. I will add a few other tips and tricks, but you have to become a more consistent golfer in every aspect of your game.

Consistency

Becoming a more consistent player is really difficult, and when you are at this level where you are breaking 80s often, breaking 75 here and there, and now you want to break par consistently, you’re already a pretty good stick. This is the most challenging 3-5 strokes you will ever lose. That being said, don’t lose confidence; yes, it will take work, yes, it will be difficult, but the first thing to focus on is going to be becoming more consistent. Can you honestly tell me that you always hit 70% or more of your fairways? Can you honestly say that you hit 70% or more of your greens? If you can’t say yes to either of those things, you need to work on consistency. What does that mean? To me, becoming more consistent means that the ball goes where you want it to go more often. So if you don’t know where the ball will go every time you play, you are not consistent enough. You can always get better. Breaking par takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. The best way to get better, faster, and more consistent is to use the CTRL Swing Master Training aid. CTRL isn’t a training aid that only helps with one facet of your game. Instead, it focuses on helping you dial in the swing that works best for you so that you know where you hit it every single time. Could you honestly say that you wouldn’t be a better player if you knew where the ball was going every time you took a swing?

Understand your miss

What is your miss? Understanding your miss is a crucial part of breaking par. Especially if you are trying to do it for the first time. You will feel a lot of pressure coming into the final holes; understanding your miss means you can play for it to happen and adjust your game for that pressure. Under pressure, we make mistakes, and we miss; it's something we do, so instead, we play for that miss knowing it could come. We shouldn’t let a miss we know is potentially coming ruin a round, especially when we are hunting a good to a great score.
The other great thing about understanding your miss is you can plan a lot better about how you are going to score when you go out and play. If I know that I tend to miss it left, I hug the right side and play like that. I can also play to miss it closer. If I miss left, I can play to the middle of the green with a pin on the left side, and if I miss, I knock it tight. Playing your miss like that can help you through the pressure spots on the course and the harder holes.

Putting

There's no doubt about it; to break par, you have sink putts. Hands down, there is no other way. If you go out and don’t make any putts, you have to stripe the ball near perfect for shooting under par. Basically, get really good at making 12 and 15-footers. The best putting-scoring drill, in my opinion, to work on is the under-par drill. Set up tees 4 ft above the hole and four ft below the hole. These are your par putts. Then set up tees 12 ft to the left and 12 ft to the right; this will give you a left-to-right breaker and a right-to-left breaker. These are your birdie putts. The goal is to get to 10 under by going around in the circle and making par and birdie putts. If you miss a par putt, that's a bogey; you go 1 over. The last thing, there is no way you can break par if you are missing short putts or three-putting. You have to work on your lag putting and your short putting.

Short Game

This one is pretty simple; if you have a great short game, there is always a chance you can break par. If you get up and down from everywhere, make a couple birdies, and you are off to the races. I think the most important shots for people to work on here are essential, bunker shot, 80-yard pitch shot, high soft pitch, and of course, a bump and run. I know that sounds like all the shots you can have, but it isn't. I don’t think you need a flop shot, I don’t think you need a running pitch, I don’t think you need the low checker, though it is fun to have. Keep it simple around the greens, knock it close, make a 4-foot putt, and walk away with par.

Conclusion

Breaking par shows you have a distinct mastery over the game of golf. Does it mean you have a chance on tour? No, not really. Those guys would shoot way under every time on the local course you tend to play at. They really are at a different level. But having this type of mastery over such a challenging game does put you in elite company, in my opinion. That being said, it is really difficult and not an easy task to go out and shoot under par. There is a lot of work that goes into it. Make sure you don’t take enjoyment of the game out of the equation; that is also really important.

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