Tom Fielding Golf School Japan
How practical guide to breaking the 100 and 90 scoring barriers
Course Management Strategies
The fastest way to lower your scores
The average golfer wastes 5-7 shots per round simply due to poor course management. There are simple rules to course management that all players can implement instantly to lower their scores.
The biggest hurdle is being disciplined enough to stick to your strategy when on the golf course. PGA Tour professionals hit less than 5 perfect shots per round. Why does the average golfer get so frustrated and stray away from their game plan when they hit one bad shot? Be disciplined!
Everyone wants to strike solid shots and have fun playing the game. There is a good chance that someone trying to break 100 is either fairly new to the game of golf, hasn’t had much of an opportunity to golf on a regular basis, or just simply really struggles with the game.
We all want to play respectable golf and be able to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and the time with our friends.
So here you are seeking tips, strategies or anything that will help you break 100 and start your journey to becoming a better golfer and approach the typical average score of somewhere around 90.
For many golfers, breaking 100, 90, 80, or 70 for the first time is very memorable and starts with setting it as a goal. The hard work that it takes to get to each milestone should be fun and rewarding once you do arrive at that score. Keep in mind that golf is supposed to be fun and that by maintaining a positive mindset, your chances of reaching the goal greatly increase.
In my practical guide to breaking 100, i take you through a series of tips and ways to reach your goal of breaking 100 in golf.
I spend a great deal of time talking about the mindset for the day of your round. My philosophy and approach focus on natural movements and a mindset that helps you keep it simple and remain positive.
Be confident that you have come to the right place to help you reach your goal. I provide some great information to help get you into the right mindset and to create a plan to help you reach your goal. There are 8 key tips found throughout the guide.
As someone that has reached each of the milestones and has broken 70, I hope that my advice can help.
Golf is a game played in the beautiful outdoors. See some rapid improvement and you will quickly fall in love!
I will take you through the topics below and provide tips in each of the categories.
The Score Breakdown and Mindset
Thinking of breaking 100 might seem overwhelming, but you truly must take it one shot at a time and have a plan for each hole that you will play throughout the day. Maintaining a positive mindset and not beating yourself up will be a key.
Remember your round will more than likely last 4-5 hours and negativity will zap your energy and keep you from executing your plan. Being negative and having negative self talk will only destroy your mission and you will end up shooting 100 or higher. Keep in mind that you will hit some bad shots, but if you can keep your composure and recover, you increase your chances of breaking 100. You can only control your process and response to each difficult situation, you cannot directly control the outcome of each swing. In fact, the more you try, the more you will likely struggle.
Set The “New” Par
So you have 18 holes – more than likely the breakdown will be the following:
The first step is to take your scorecard and look at the 9 most difficult holes and cross out the par and add two. For example, if one of the toughest 9 holes is a par 5, cross out the par and set the par for that hole at 7. Now do that for the 8 other most difficult holes. Take the remaining holes and cross out the par and add one. For example, if one of the other 9 holes is a par 3, set the par for that hole at 4.
Tip: If you do not know the course well, simply base it off of the handicap system, where the most difficult is rated as a 1 and the easiest is rated as the 18th hole. Or if you struggle on par 5’s or par 3’s do that to all of the par 5’s and par 3’s
This approach will free you from the barriers of the set par and allow you to feel some success throughout the day as you reach your “par” for that hole. Earl Woods, the father of Tiger Woods, used to do this for Tiger when he was a very young kid to help him feel the success and manage the course properly for his current skills level.
Set your new par! At the end of the day, you will feel better about the overall round.
With those golfers that struggled the most, I would tell them to try to bogey every hole which would leave them with a 45 or 90 for their round of golf. It is amazing how the shift in mindset can have such a positive impact on the final score.
Tip: Avoid the big number! By taking this approach, you are more encouraged and likely to punch out if you are in the trees or layup if there is water in front and you have 175 yards left. Or take something smaller than a driver off of the tee if the hole is narrow to stay out of the woods.
Awesome book by Dr. Rotella, “Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect” – (Check Current Price on Amazon).
Now that you have your new “par” for each hole, it is time to breakdown your game plan for each hole. If you do not know the course well, be sure to do this on every tee before playing the hole. If you have played the course many times, I would recommend even writing down what your plan is, so there is less thinking on the course and more trying to follow the plan.
For example, let’s say the first hole is a 360 yard par 4 and you have set your par at 5. You will design and plan for the shots that you will hit. Here we go:
We were able to reverse engineer the hole to leave you with a 30 to 50 yard “approach shot.” If you get that shot on the green all you have to do is two putt. If you happen to hit it close and one putt – bonus for you! You just made a “birdie.” This simple mindset approach allows you to pick shots that you can hit and enjoy the successes.
We took the driver out of your hand on the tee shot, make a simple second shot down the fairway and hit a 50-30 yard shot onto the green.
Here is another example. Second hole is a 505 yard par 5 that you have set as a par 7. You will design and play for the shots that you will hit. Here we go:
I think you get the point on the strategy that you can set. You will be able to feel success and remain positive. Also, breaking it down like this allows you to feel like it is something that you can accomplish. I understand that you might hit a bad shot or two along the way, but by keeping a club in your hand that is reasonable, you won’t feel the pressure to try to have a hit the ball a mile long and allow you to stay within yourself.
Tee Shot and Mindset
It is very easy to step up to every tee and automatically pull the driver and swing away. This might be where most people get into the most trouble. Why not hit the 3 wood or even something as simple as a 7 iron to get yourself in play and be ready to play the hole. Remember, you have the “new par” you have set and the ability to adjust and adapt as needed.
Build the hole backwards and leave yourself an approach shot of something less than 80 yard.
The goal here is to get off the tee and into the right position to follow the plan you have set.
Tip: Play your curve. If you slice or hook the ball, setup to allow yourself some space for the curve to happen. The more lofted club you hit, the less the ball will curve. Keep this in mind on the more narrow holes and where trouble can be found on the course. Whatever way your shot is moving that day, go with it. You can try to cut down on your slice or hook at the driving range during a practice session. On the course is not the right time to do it.
If you are more advanced in your game and want to hit the driver, on certain holes that might work out fine depending on what trouble is around. If you can make the occasional par or bogey on hole where you had planned for a double bogey, you will build in an allowance to triple bogey a hole and still be on pace.
When I first started playing and was trying to break 100, I would often look at holes in 3 hole segments and try to reach my make “birdie on 1 of the 3 holes during that stretch. That would provide some flexibility in my scoring and allow for a hole or two that might be above my targeted “par”
I love the approach to utilizing the entire fairway and allowing for the curve of your ball on a tee shot.
With our course management approach, we are setup to have the majority of our approach shots be within 80 yards. The key here is to aim for the middle of the green and ensure we have enough club. Once we can make clean contact even just 75 percent of the time, we will be in position to break 100.
Many people will watch the pros on this and think that they are shooting at pins all week. Keep in mind that when watching in the weekends, you are watching the best of the best for that week. Please aim for the middle or the safest route.
We want to avoid big numbers and can by staying out of bunkers or short siding ourselves around the greens. The conservative approach to this round will help us break 100, but we must stick to the plan. Even as you get better and are ready to break 90 or 80, it won’t be about the quality of your best shots, but instead of the quality of your worse shots and then how you follow those up. Start working on this at this point of your game. Even the pros are minimizing risk and are looking for where the proper “miss” is. Start this in your game and and watch your scores quickly improve.
Tip: Aim for the middle of the green or the safest place, this will give our greater confidence and increase your chance of hitting it where you intend to.
Small strokes around the green
It’s simple: smaller strokes means less the chance for error. By extension, smaller strokes equal smaller mistakes.
While I never like to change things in my students’ games that work, sticking to this rule can help to shave strokes.
1. Putt when ever possible to do so
2. Chip when you cannot putt
3. Pitch or lob only when you have to
If you are chipping with the right club and you do not quite brush the grass, the ball should still find on the green in most cases.
We set up our plan and course management setup to average two putts on every hole. Get the ball on the green and then putt well. You might occasionally chip one within 3 feet and you just picked up a bonus stroke for your game. As a young kid growing up, my friends and I often times couldn’t reach a green in regulation, as a result our chipping and short game became really strong because we were chipping frequently and there was a premium in winning the competition by being able to “get up and down”
Many high handicappers simply struggle with putting. However, it is the easiest area to quickly improve in. It doesn’t take a high level of skill and 20 minutes of practicing each day can help. The great thing is you can practice in your office or in a room in your house. There are no excuses for not practicing. When you have a long distance putt, the key is to try to picture a three foot circle around the hole and then get it in that circle. The task at hand seems much more doable when it is three feet in diameter.
Tip: mark your ball for every putt and line up the line in your ball to where you want the ball to start. This will help with your alignment
Golf is one of the easiest games to quickly get frustrated and lose focus on your plan for the day. When you get angry or anxious during a round of golf, positive shots do not happen. You can quickly derail a round after just one bad shot. There are several keys from a mental game perspective.
Awesome book by Dr. Rotella, “Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect” – (Check Current Price on Amazon).
Self talk is so very powerful. You know that little voice in your head telling you a story? That person, aka you, can be your best ally or your greatest enemy. The story you tell yourself during the between shots in golf can make or destroy your round.
So you are on the first tee and your tee shot slices over into the other fairway and only travels 175 yards. You have two choices at this point from a self talk perspective.
Scenario 1 – You can tell yourself the following, “No big deal at all, it was only my first swing of the day and I have room to make a 7 on this par 5, I will just get it back into the fairway and make a smooth comfortable swing with my next opportunity.
Scenario 2 – Or you can tell yourself the following, “Man, I just suck at this game, it doesn’t matter what I do, I am never going to be good. This round is over, I am never going to break 100”
Obviously, the first scenario can actually help you reach your goal of breaking 100. The second scenario will simply make your round miserable and create a long 4-5 hours of not enjoying such a great game.
Everything will seem a bit more miserable and you produce extra stress in your body that will keep you from performing.
Tip: keep in mind there are other people in your group and they want to enjoy your round. Do NOT complain about your golf game to your foursome, regardless of how bad you are playing. Plus complaining never saved anyone a shot on the golf course.
In the book “Zen Golf” Dr. Parent recommends the PAR approach. Preparation, Action and Response to results. You go through the preparation before each shot, take action, and then response to the results. How you respond to your results both from a physical and mental viewpoint will drastically impact the quality of your round.
One of the keys in your journey to break 100 will be to make sure you have a decent understanding of what you are trying to accomplish with your swing. If you are a more natural athlete and are good at many different activities, but struggle with golf, I suggest that you take your Iphone and a golf selfie stick with you to the range and record your golf swing to get an idea of the motion that you are making in your golf swing. You can even send it to me for feedback.
Check your basics– grip, posture, body turn and those elements that we work on during our lesson times.
Maybe the most important key here is practice. Below, I will lay out a weekly plan to help you improve your game. Remember, we aren’t trying to shoot par, but simply trying to break 100. A little bit of practice time will go a long way in reducing the number of really large numbers and even increasing your chances of making the occasional par. Here is the breakdown of the percentage of time you will spend on the different parts of your golf game.
This practical guide to breaking 100 in golf should get you going in the right direction. Golf becomes a lot more fun once you can break 100 and start worrying your way to breaking 90. You will see that once you break 100, the 90 isn’t as difficult. Keep working on hitting clean shots, making good decisions on the course, and having a plan for each hole. Look to learn more about the golf swing and practice as much as you can. What makes golf so rewarding is that you will see the benefits of your practice time – especially in the short game area.
One of the Best Putting Drills For Increasing Feel-A great way to work on your feel is to take the visual element away and putt with your eyes closed.
Dave Pelz’s studies show that distance control in the short game and putting is 3 times more important than direction. In other words, putting distance control needs to be practiced.
Putting distance control is also known as “feel”. A great way to work on your feel is to take the visual element away and putt with your eyes closed. Suzanne Pettersen actually did this for a while in tournaments, putting everything within 20 ft with her eyes closed. This gives you an idea of how important feel is for putting. This meant her focus was totally absorbed by the sense of feel, which would have enabled her to quiet her mind and access a fluid stroke. I don’t suggest you do this in competition, but doing this as part of your putting distance control practice, will increase your feel and you’ll see improvement in your distance control on the course. You’ll notice that you really “dial in” to the feel of the putting during your rehearsal strokes, and connect with that feeling when you’re over the putt and during the stroke.
A Putting Distance Control Practice Drill
This exercise isn’t really about how many putts you hole, it’s about becoming aware of the feeling associated with the length and direction of each putt. Once you have the line in your mind’s eye and you are correctly aligned, it is all about feel and making a good positive stroke. This drill will help you achieve this.
1. Take 3 balls and a drop them down approximately 10 ft from a hole. I say “drop them” so you don’t have exactly the same putt each time.
2. Go through your putting routine of reading the putt, visualizing the line (and seeing the ball go in), feeling the stroke and addressing the ball.
3. When you are about to start your back-swing, close your eyes. Really try to connect with the feel of the putt before you hit it. Then hit your putt.
4. Before opening your eyes, make a call on where the putt finished. E.g. short-right, long-left or holed it!
5.When you open your eyes and see where the ball has come to rest, grade yourself on how close you were to the putt you felt. E.g. If you missed long-left and you called it:
Long-left = 2 points
Short-left, Long-right = 1
Short right = 0 points
If you holed it and you called it, give yourself 3 points.
If you holed it and you called a miss, give yourself 2 points.
6.Next pick a hole 15ft away and then repeat for a 20ft putt so you have a total of nine holes. Total up your score and make it a target to beat before you can leave the putting green after your next putting distance control practice session.
The reason I have developed a scoring system for this exercise is that I strongly believe you should always include some pressurized practice. The more you can do this, instead of practicing “consequence-free”, the more you can get “comfortable feeling uncomfortable” when you feel pressure on the golf course. Over time, this exercise will heighten your feel for putts of all distances, build a more confident putting stroke, and ultimately lower your scores.
Other Recommended Putting Drills:
Tiger Wood’s Double Gate Putting Drill
One of the most famous golf putting drills has become famous because it’s practiced timelessly by golf’s most famous golfer, Tiger Woods. Today’s putting drill has been named the Tiger Wood’s Double Gate Putting Drill after years of seeing Tiger practice it during warm ups before heading out to play in competitive PGA Tour events.
Tiger’s been considered one of the best putters of all time and his Scotty Cameron putter has helped him win 15 majors, with his most recent being the 2019 Masters.
Whether you’re a fan of Tiger Woods or not, this golf putting drill is worth completing during your practice days. It will work on your putter head control, teaching you to keep it straight during the putting stroke so it flows seamlessly between the gate of tees.
The double gate in the putting drill refers to a second gate of tees that the golf ball must pass between. This truly tests your ability to start putts on line which starts with a straight putting stroke and ends with seeing the ball stay straight, passing between gate of tees.
How to Do Tiger’s Putting Drill:
Jordan Spieth Putting Drill – Look at the Hole
In this golf putting drill you get to forget about watching the ball when putting and instead you’ll be looking at the cup as you make the putting stroke.
It’s a great drill we like to do on long putts to get a feel for distance control. But it’s even more important on short putts, which is where you’ll be starting off the drill first.
Why look at the hole when putting? Well think about most sports. In basketball you look at the hoop when shooting and in football you look at the receiver when throwing.
Golf is the one sport where you look down at the ball instead of at your target.
But like other sports, you can actually still make putts looking at the hole. This gives your brain distance and target information to help you sink the putt.
And by not looking down at the ball, you don’t have to spend your mental energy focusing on mechanics.
Instead, you develop trust that your mechanics will hold up and perform a successful putt just like a basketball player trusts his shooting mechanics will hold up while he focuses on the rim.
Putting Practice Routine: Die The Golf Ball in the Hole
In today’s putting practice routine, you’re going to develop distance control over your golf ball on the putting greens. This putting drill you’ll be setting up is challenging and will take at least 1 hour to complete so make sure you’re ready for the challenge before starting so you can see it through to the finish.
But first, what does it mean when golfers say “die the golf ball into the hole”?
When putting, there are two ways to make the putt. You can die it into the hole by hitting with enough speed that its final few revolutions drop it in the hole. This requires playing maximum break since the ball will be rolling very slow at the end allowing break to take effect on it.
You can also hit the putt with more speed, sort of “ramming it” into the hole. This requires playing less break since the speed will overpower the putt.
We can talk more about ramming putts into the hole in another golf putting drill since new rules allow you to leave the flag in when putting and Bryson Dechambeau has shown the reasoning behind this for ramming close putts.
Today however, let’s show you a putting drill to develop your distance control and feel so you can sink hard putts that require perfect speed and break.
Drill #1: Flat Putts
If struck with perfect speed for the amount of break you have to play, the ball should enter the hole from the side (high side) and fall in. This is called making a side door putt.
Practice like a Pro – 5 Putting Drills for Instant Improvement
Practice makes perfect, and when we talk about putting in golf this statement can’t be more true.
Unfortunately when it comes to putting, a shortcut to success doesn’t exist.
Amateur golfers normally don’t have the luxury of time, thus it is important to spend your time wisely when you do get a chance to practice your short game, and in particular your putting.
You might think that you are practicing your putting when you go to the practice green and putt at random holes without any purpose, but without doing focused putting drills on a regular basis it will take a long time before you notice improvement on the greens.
Below are 5 putting drills that will get you to practice like a pro, and with quality of practice improvement will soon follow.
Drill #1: Train Tracks
In order to get consistent putting results on the golf course it is very important to have a putting stroke with good fundamentals.
The first, and in my opinion most important fundamental is to have a putting stroke that goes straight back and through.
When the stroke gets longer on distance putts the arch of the putting stroke will be slightly towards the inside, which is what is suppose to happen.
The first 3 – 4 inches on the backstroke and follow through has to be as straight as possible.
Having a putter head that moves through the hitting area with a square clubface will lead to consistency in strike and direction, thus more putts holed with good speed.
The train track drill is a great putting drill to practice this fundamental with.
Take two alignment sticks, or golf clubs, and align them in the shape of train tracks at a hole, set up the train tracks about 6 feet away from the hole.
The width of the tracks has to be slightly wider than your putters width.
It is important that your putter can move freely between the tracks, but don’t allow yourself too much space.
This drill will improve the path of your putting stroke, and the great thing about it is that it can be done anywhere at home or even in your office during your lunch break.
Drill #2: Rhythm – Prayer Grip Drill
Another key fundamental of a consistent putting stroke is good rhythm.
Having good rhythm will lead to consistency in strike and distance control, both factors that will lead to improved putting results.
In order to get good rhythm it is important to use your shoulder turn to rock the putter back and through.
Gripping the putter with 2 fingers only is a great putting drill that will force you to use your shoulders in order to stroke the putt.
Open your hands up, place your hands on either side of your grip, the hands will resemble hands that are in the prayer position, line the grip up so that your middle fingers are the only 2 fingers that are touching the putter grip.
At first it will feel nearly impossible to putt the ball, but your body will figure out that you need to use your shoulders in order to generate enough speed to make a putting stroke.
This is a great putting drill that will train a good shoulder turn in your putting stroke, and as a by product of a good shoulder turn you will have improved rhythm.
Drill #3: 2 Putt Speed Drill
Speed is arguably the most important factor in putting.
Many amateur golfers blame missing short putts when they have a couple of 3 putts per round, but most of the time distance control on longer putts is the problem.
It is important to take a close look at your putting game as a whole in order to blame the correct area for your putting woes.
The 2 putt speed drill is a great putting drill that will help you eliminate those dreaded 3 putts.
Chose 2 holes on the putting green that are about 30 – 40 feet away from each other, take two balls and putt between the two holes, putt out every putt and continue going until you have 10 consecutive 2 putts.
This drill help with more than just your speed, it will also challenge your mental game.
When you have made about 8 two putts you will start to feel some pressure in order to continue the streak to 10.
Drill #4: Putting 3 and 6 footers Around the World
Most weekend golfers are very quick to give a 3 or 4 foot putt to their buddies, deep down they are doing it with the hopes that the favor will be returned because secretly they are petrified of those short putts.
This is one way to deal with the problem, but in reality the plan has zero longevity.
When you play in your annual club tournament then you will have to putt out those short putts.
The 3 and 6 footers around the world putting drill is a great drill that will help you get confidence on those short putts.
Take 6 tees and place them in a circle around the hole, start with 3 footers before you move on to 6 feet.
The goal is to make 6 putts in a row, use only one ball and move on to the following tee after every putt, move on even if you missed.
Continuously moving on to a new tee is important because this way you don’t get use to hitting the same putt over and over.
Once you have mastered this try and get 12 in a row, and once that doesn’t challenge you anymore move on to 6 feet.
Drill #5: Draw Back
Draw back is a great putting drill that will work on both speed and short putts.
It is an easy 2 putt when you roll your first attempt to a couple of feet from the hole, but draw it back to 4 or 5 feet and all of a sudden that little putt will get your attention.
Take one ball and go around the putting green, choose 18 different putts, all par 2’s, but draw the second putt back a grip length every time, the goal is to get a score of even par 36.
Once you have accomplished that draw it back a putter length, this will make it considerably more difficult.
If at first even par is too difficult, try and improve on your personal best every time you do the drill.
IN DEFENSE OF TRACKMAN:
Where to Point the Club face during the Take-away.
In addition to where you position the shaft of the club when it is parallel to the ground you will also need to carefully position the face of the club itself.
Indeed, there are basically three avenues to pursue, with only one being correct.
Open Club face on the Take away
An open clubface is one where the face of the club will be pointing at the sky when the shaft is parallel to the ground. It occurs whenever wrists are too active early in the swing and lead to a clockwise rotation of the club in the golfer’s hands. It is best avoided as it leads to cutting the ball at impact. Indeed, mistiming the rolling back of the hands can lead to an open clubface at impact, which will send the ball to the right of the target.
Closed Club face on the Take away
A closed clubface is one where the face of the club will be pointing towards the ground when the shaft is parallel to the ground. In a similar way to the open clubface it also occurs whenever wrists are too active early in the swing but in this instance manifests itself through a counter-clockwise rotation of the club in the golfer’s hands. It should also be avoided as it leads to a closed clubface position at impact as the club is released and the wrists rotate naturally. A closed clubface at impact will lead to a ball that will shoot left of the target, at least initially.
クローズドクラブフェースとは、シャフトが地面と平行になったときにクラブのフェースが地面を向くような面です。 オープンクラブフェースと同様に、スウィングの早い段階で手首の動きが活発すぎる場合にも発生しますが、この場合は、ゴルファーの手の中でクラブが反時計回りに回転することによって現れます。また、クラブが解放されて手首が自然に回転するため、インパクト時にクラブフェースが閉じた位置になるため、これも避ける必要があります。 インパクトのあるクローズドクラブフェースは、少なくとも最初はターゲットの左側を撃つボールとなるでしょう。
Square Club face on the Take away
Ideally you should pursue a square clubface during the takeaway. Situated in between an open and a closed position, the square clubface will be one where the leading edge of the club will be perpendicular to the ground, again when the shaft is parallel to the ground. And more precisely, if you had set up for the shot with some shaft lean at address the leading edge should point towards the ground a little so in effect it should tend towards a closed position rather than an open one. In essence, the hands and wrists should be mostly quiet during this early stage of the backswing. Whatever position they were set in at address should be kept throughout the takeaway until the backswing proper begins and the wrists begin to hinge.
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A professional golf instructor qualified as the coach of the highest Australian professional golfer association of Triple AAA which is regarded as the highest level at the Australian · Pro · Golf Association (PGA).
As with the Australian Coach Council (ACC) level 5 license certificate, I have been told that I am among the top 50 in Australia.
He is active in international coaches such as Japan, Malaysia and Singapore as well as in Australia. It has a reputation for the latest golf theory and analysis such as using a computer.Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.