Improving your short game in golf is the key to breaking 80. Without a good short game, you’ll have to hit every green in regulation to eliminate extra strokes. And hitting every green in regulation is near impossible—no matter how good you are. One situation where you can cut golf strokes is a shot that's 20 or 30 feet from the green. You can't afford to miss this shot. If you do, you’re looking at a bogey or even a double bogey, making it tough to break 80 for the round.
There are numerous reasons why players work the ball. They can hold it up into the wind. Work it away from trouble. Or fade or draw the ball to better get at different pin locations. A straight ball flight would be subject to the wind direction, so for example, if there is a left pin location, the wind is left to right, you would have to start the ball way left of the green and hope the wind brings it back on target. Or you could draw the ball (right handed) into the wind and have your miss (if the wind overpowers the draw) be in the middle of the green. It also can improve the angle of attack depending on pin location and shape of the green. Also think about fairways that bend left or right. Shaping the ball allows them to utilize the most out of the course's shape.
If you're serious about breaking 80, you need to find ways of getting back on track when your game starts to go south. Unless you can stop that from happening—and do it quickly—you'll pack additional strokes on your score, which will keep you from breaking 80. Righting the ship is one things the pros do well. But you shouldn't do when your game goes sour is try to revamp your swing while playing a round. That's not the best time to do it. The best time to make a major swing change is after the round is over at the practice range. What you need when playing is to make some simple adjustments to get you over the hump and your game back on track.
Buying a new driver isn’t a panacea. It won’t eliminate all your golf swings flaws or cut your golf handicap. Only hard work will do that. But a new driver can help you hit the ball longer and straighter, setting you up for shorter approach shots. Hitting shorter approach shots means you'll hit more greens regulation and shoot lower golf scores. So, if you're looking to buy yourself a present this year, a new driver isn't a bad choice. But buying a new driver can be a challenge—especially if you’re new to the game.
Slow play on the golf course is golf’s biggest threat. So how long should it take your foursome to play a round of golf? The Hammond Creek Golf Club tracked average playing time of golfers by month for over two years. The average time for a foursome at that course was four hours and eleven seconds. That's about the average time at most courses. But many rounds still take as long as six hours to play. That's way too long. Slow play sucks the joy out of the game. It also hurts scores. In fact, no research shows that slow play improves scores. It probably does the opposite. Playing faster, on the other hand, speeds up the round, allows you to enjoy the game more, and helps you achieve and maintain a nice rhythm, which improves golf scores—and to some degree golf handicaps.