The best 80s collection ever

One of the last CDs I ever bought – before I went totally download and digital (you can use that phrase, but please do reference it to me!) – was a collection of all the best songs of the 80s. The best, yes, and a lot that were obviously just available because, really, Kajoogoo?

But anyway, now I have another complete collection of 80s…

But before I tell you about that let me share with you about my golf today. I am on holiday this week and I shot a great round of 80 today on a difficult course. I was 4 over par with three holes to go and I had a little stumble on a par three near the end where I shot a disappointing triple meaning that “Break 80” is still something for the future…but it was a glorious round of golf; 11 pars, a birdie, and only two holes with double or more. I was in the zone for 17 holes which is 4 more holes than I have ever played in the zone before…as I learn in golf I learn in life. Or something like that…

Here is my sexy scorecard from today: equal best score ever! BTW I started on the back nine…and hole 7 was the offending “triple” hole

Equal best round ever, but this one felt like I knew what I was doing!

So what has this to do with my 80s “best of” collection…and Kajagoogoo? Glad you asked. Well…today’s 80 completed my 80s collection for golf year 2011. Since I started this break 80 plan in January this year – and then the blog – I have played a lot of golf. And as of today I have had at least one round for every number in the 80s; 89, 88, 87, 86, 85, 84, 83, 82, 81, and now…an 80!!!! I have completed my 80s collection. Hurray for me. It was almost worth missing the 79 by a quarter of a whisker today. Almost…

But missing the target by a fraction today made me wonder…have I improved at all? Has spending this time and energy on golf done anything for my game this year. And so I felt it was time to reflect. I thus present stats from my most recent 5 games and from my first 5 games of the year.

Here are the stats form my first five games of the year:

This is how I played at the BEGINNING of the year

This is how I played at the BEGINNING of the year...

And here are the stats from my most recent five games:

Here is how I play NOW

Here is how I play NOW

THEN, and NOW:

THEN: Average putts 1.9 NOW…Average putts 1.9 (but my last game was 1.7!)

THEN: Greens in Regulation 23.3% NOW…Greens in Regulation 45.6%

THEN: Average Score +24.6 NOW…Average Score +10.4

THEN: Fairways Hit 48.6% NOW…Fairways Hit 61.4%

THEN: Up and Downs 10% NOW…Up and Downs 32.7%

THEN: Sand Saves 0% NOW…Sand Saves 37.5%

THEN: Double Bogeys or more 40% NOW…Double Bogeys or more 17%

Wow. Looking at it this improvement really makes it all worthwhile. You know, apart from completing the full set of 80s (which is a great achievement in itself hehe), the improvements above have truly made this whole thing worthwhile. And that is honestly worth more than just breaking 80. Honestly. I do mean it. No, really I do…

And if I do break 80 then I am just having to go and collect the whole of the 70s…and I don’t even like the music of that era THAT much…


About THE Steve

I work, I play golf, I write, I have opinions, I try to be nice to animals and small children. That's me.
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7 Responses to The best 80s collection ever

  1. Adrian Boniface says:

    Great score!!!

    Before I comment on the card, any details on what happened on hole 7?

    Cheers A

    • THE Steve says:

      Hi Adrian
      Thanks for the interest. Hole 7 was, very simply, the nerves getting to me. That tee shot was the first shot of the day were I thought about my ball position, my swing plane, etc etc etc. I had three holes to go and I was four over the card for the round. I had just fought back to par from a loose shot on the previous (par 5) and needed only bogeys coming home to break 80. I had really enjoyed my golf but that tee shot was the first shot of the day where I thought to myself “please just let it be somewhere NEAR the green, a Bogey will do just fine”. And of course this made me very tight…and I topped it into the water in front of me. Second (now third) shot to the green was a little better but still tight after getting a little upset with myself (golf!) and not even on the green yet. I was playing reverse golf…I was playing for things not to go wrong and it tightened up my whole swing. Next two holes I just let it rip and I very very nearly parred them both to break 80 (missed a longish putt by one inch on the easier 8th hole and made a clutch putt on the final 9th). I am very proud of 17 holes and am just gonna forgive myself for the glitch on three…interested to hear your comments on the card.

  2. Adrian Boniface says:

    The main things is congratulations on the 80 – a great score (and also a moral 79 given the difficulty of the course…)

    The strategy and supporting stats system I work with is more aligned to breaking 100 and/or 90 – so one of the things I find interesting is what is transferable to breaking 80. (By the way, if you have any friends want to break 90 but are struggling, feel free to send them my way – I’m looking for a couple of new volunteers to test some improvements – all entirely free of charge!)

    Things that do look transferable:
    i) THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is to remember your goal. Your goal is to break 80, and that should be the only thing you are concerned about. Most people don’t break 90 because they don’t want to adjust the way they play to maximise their chance of breaking 90, they want to play like Tiger!
    ii) don’t worry about the overall score til the 19th – the score will take care of itself; the important thing is the score you are trying to get on any particular hole, your strategy for achieving it, and how you execute against it.
    iii) therefore – make sure you have a strategy on each hole which will give you your target score for that hole!

    I think probably the 5th rather than the 7th that may have caused the problem.

    I’m guessing your intended strategy for the 5th was similar to how a professional might play it – big drive, approach shot. and two putt to walk away with a par. But remember this is the hardest hole on the course to par, and that you get a stroke here – so your strategy should be “how do I get my allowed five”?

    Looking at the course map, an approach might be long iron / hybrid to 180 yards, 7 iron to 30 yards off the front of the green – pitch to the green and two putt. If the pitch is good, you might get the par anyway, but you have taken the water out of play, and all the bunkers around the green.

    Now – this is not the same as “playing it safe”, and therefore doesn’t give you the same nervous feeling. You have a positive strategy for the hole to execute against and can play positively. It also means you can be a bit more relaxed on yourself if you mishit a shot. If you don’t hit the fairway with your first, who cares? Just make sure the second has the best chance of hitting the fairway near your favourite pitching distance.

    Finally, the par threes are causing you an issue! My guess is its not a mental block on the par threes, but there may be an issue with your long irons accuracy – if you look at greens in regulation following hitting the fairway, you only hit four from eleven greens. On the par 5s, you didn’t hit any GIR after hitting the fairway on all four drives (which at least means you hit the green four from seven!)

    Any particular pattern to missing the green?



    • THE Steve says:

      Hi Adrian, thanks for the kind words and really appreciate the interest. It seems you are a great student of the game, far better than me. Actually the GIR low score is because i am a stickler for honesty, what the stats don’t tell you is that many of those missed greens were inches off the green and i was chipping to get close, and the par threes were likely the result of improvements, in the sense that i was shooting 10 yards further than before, that, coupled with faster greens than i am used to, saw a lot of “good” shots roll off the back. Agree with you about the par four though on the day it was just a slightly wayward 8 iron and a short fast chip that put me three putts away from the hole…it is always good to understand why things happen snd your discussion helps a lot, thanks again!

  3. Adrian Boniface says:

    Hey there

    Two quick things that might be useful:
    i) calculating your scrambling stat – it doesn’t look like your software does it automatically but should be easy for you to do – check out an old article by Dave Pelz on the topic:,28136,1655500-1,00.html

    ii) PING have released a putting app for the iphone – not tried it but it looks cool:

    Look forward to the next round update



    ps – do you practice? and if so what? (driving range / chipping / putting? and what % of time spent on each?) – would be interesting to know

  4. THE Steve says:

    Hi Adrian
    Do you have a golf blog? Or do you teach? You seem to be very schooled in the game. Actually it does calculate scrambling; I put that down as “Up and Downs”. and this is one of the things that I have been working on…the mental game, no matter where you are or what has happened keep trying to get it into the hole. This (new) tenacity has saved a lot of pars (and bogeys) for me where before I would have thought it hopeless. In my last game (unreported as yet – another close call 80) I needed 4 pars and a birdie to break 80 coming home…got the four pars and I only missed the birdie by one inch on the final par 5 hole (two on and three putt…left one short just when I shouldn’t have).
    And yes I practice. Not much, maybe once a week, but when I do I mainly practice the short clubs; 8 through Lob Wedge with maybe a little long shooting at the end after I am warmed up and have slowed down enough not to put them out to the side. Never get to practice putting…Taiwan generally doesn’t have practice greens at ranges so you have to be on a course to be putting; and that is a long trip every time for a working stiff like me.

  5. Adrian Boniface says:

    Hey Steve, sorry taken a bit of time to respond.

    Not a golf pro – and don;t currently have a golf blog but aim to have one soon. Just an average golfer who plays pretty infrequently. However, myself and a colleague have spent the last couple of years doing some research into golf stats, whats makes a difference etc with the idea of coming up with a “how to use stats to break 100”, “how to use stats to break 90” guide (it appeals to the golf geek inside of me!).

    Basically it turns out that breaking 100 and/or 90 is pretty straightforwards for the very average golfer (if you can hit the ball 150 yards in a relative straight line, you can break 100, and you don’t need to hit it much further to break 90 – in fact the short game approach is exactly the same for 90 and 100, you just need to hit it a little further with the tee shot – still don’t need a driver though!!!).

    To break 80 the principle is the same, but you have to be a better player. You are obviously in that category, but we focused on the majority of people that struggle to break 90. But thats why your blog peaked my interest initially – I’m interested in your process as its a number further up the process.

    I realise I sound like a “send me $50 and I’ll send you the magic move to crush the driver 400 yards” so hence no blog!

    Basically – what we found is that to break 100 / 90 – a player has to play in a different way to the way traditionally taught – not in swing type, but in approach. Bizarrely people who say their ultimate goal is to break 90, when they start playing in away that allows them to do so, say that it becomes boring to shoot five each hole in a low risk way, and go back to shooting higher numbers but try to play like TW (well how TW would play if he had a 22 handicap!)

    Hope the quest for sub 80 is going well.


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