I did it!!! How to break 80, I can finally tell you from personal experience

Yes, it is true, I have indeed broken 80.  Read on to find out how it happened and how I dealt with it…Have I been drunk since it happened?  Sadly, or perhaps thankfully, no.  Life carries on as usual even for superstar bloggers who have broken 80.  And is this the end of the blog?  I suspect not (I feel your relief even through the internet…anyone egotistical enough to declare that they will break 80 as publicly as I have will not give up the limelight of being an international superstar blogger).  No, the blog will continue – though the focus may have to change somewhat.  I can’t imagine that anyone will want to read a blog about “breaking 80 again” even if I was an writer of the caliber of Thomas Keneally (Author of Schindler’s Ark which became the movie Schindler’s List; more on this and how important this is to golf later).

Perhaps I will even become less self-obsessed (Yay, I hear you cry!).  Perhaps I will focus more on the golf and less on the score.  Maybe I will even start to write about things other than golf (is there anything else though?).  In any case now that I am finally “a man” (so to speak) and understand completely how to break 80 I am thinking of writing a book detailing my sure fire, money back guaranteed, way to shoot in the 70s.  I won’t be talking about swing planes, or equipment, or practice routines.  These may be useful, that is not for me to say here.  What I will give you is the actual confluence of events that is necessary for breaking 80 for the first time.  Much like the sequence of happenings that result in the infamous Black Swan events of Economics the complex interrelation of tiny instances that must come together in order for someone like me to break 80 is a web of interrelationships more unfathomable than the connection between European Royal families.  This really is the secret that nobody else will tell you..and you don’t even have to send me $5 in a stamped self-addressed envelope.

But before I tell you how to do it let me show you first what sub 80 looks like.  And it is not as pretty as you think.  2 doubles, more bogeys than I thought would be possible on a sub 80 round, and a couple of round saving birdies…

This is what sub 80 looks like...hmmm

And now here is the secret that THEY didn’t want you to know.  Here are the guaranteed and necessary ingredients that have to come together in order to break 80 for the first time:

1) Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  It is true.  I have been searching for the perfect personal golf rhythm.  Have tried Prince, Sting, Thompson Twins, Classical Music, the soundtrack from the Mission, you name it I have tried it.  It turns out that, for me, it is Michael Jackson’s Thriller.  Ba doom boom boom boom boom.  It could have been worse…and this song does have Vincent Price narrating the best line in Pop since, well, his last narration on Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare.  Who wouldn’t want to play great golf to “And whosoever shall be found, Without the soul for…getting down”?

2) A new club that you never use, not even once.  Bought a new club.  A 5 Hybrid.  I can’t miss with it.  Laser locked and guaranteed to take to the sky no matter how bad the lie.  It is the perfect 200 yard club.  CANNOT MISS.  I bought it to take the place of my 3 iron which I hated and the distance was one I was ALWAYS needing.  And in this round I never was 200 yards from anything…

3) Play on a day that you cannot tell anyone about for any reason.  I played on a Wednesday morning.  It was early enough to START before work and it was in some way work related but it was still (eventually) DURING work hours.  And, in my heart, I knew that I probably shouldn’t have been there.  I felt like the Priest in that old joke who blew off his own parish, crying sick, on a SUNDAY to play golf and God punishes him with the best round of golf of his life…why?  Because he can never tell anyone about it…that was the punishment.

4) Thomas Keneally.  I met Thomas Keneally on the same day.  He has written over 30 books including the great Aussie novel “The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith” which was on my reading list every year at school.  And he wrote Schindler’s Ark…and that became Schindler’s List.

It's Thomas Keneally for crying out loud!

I studied literature AND Film at University.  How important is this guy to me.  If I had had to choose between meeting him or playing golf…I would have chosen meeting him.  But luckily I could do both..and on the same day!  And I knew ALL DAY that…

And I look happy to meet him. He just congratulated me for breaking 80 (not really); but he did say I asked a great question!

I was going to be having lunch with Thomas Keneally.  And he didn’t disappoint.  A great author, a great Australian, and a fantastic – and sufficiently irreverent – speaker.  And all day I was playing golf I was thinking about how I was going to be meeting Thomas Keneally after golf.  Not just that but I was thinking how soon I had to get back to town to make it down town in time for the lunch with Mr Keneally.

Guess it took the edge off a little.

5) Wear boring clothes.  All year I have worn various combinations of truly funky clothes.  Outfits designed to exude the kind of confidence that elicits the classic response “he has the confidence to dress as he likes”.

Me looking like Gary Player with Skin cancer; all in black

Diamonds, plaids, and stripes.  Pinks, reds, and Blues.  Miss-matched sleeves, bright coloured gloves,and greek fisherman’s caps.  And on this day I wore black pants, a black top with long black sleeves, a black hat and shades.  I looked like Gary Player with Skin Cancer.  Or Lee Van Cleef from early Clint Eastwood movies if he had played golf.  If I had put together the perfect outfit for breaking 80 this would not have been it.  So of course it was on this day that it happened.

6) Play with my Friend Edward.  On this day I played with a very good friend of mine, Nic, who, like a lot of my regular set of friends and golf buddies has been completely invested in my breaking 80.  And I am glad that one of my regular close friends and golf buddies was there to witness the happening.  Lord knows I have come close with many of them before.  (I even had one friend, Rakesh, pull out a camera on the final hole in preparation to record the event after I landed on the green in two on a par five; needing only a two putt from 15 feet it seemed a sure thing until I stabbed a sloppy putt to ten feet and then missed the birdie putt by one inch to record ANOTHER 80).

That's Edward - My Taiwanese brother - in the red. Nic in the pants that I wish I had worn. Frank had a bad day...

But for some reason whenever I play with Edward – my Taiwanese “brother” – I always play well above myself.  I even referenced him in my April 3rd post “Steve; the story of a 40-something golaholic” with the line “And I have noticed that I have one friend that I always shoot very low 80s with and have broken 40 over nine holes every time I have played with him…”

He is a great mate and even though I have only played with him three times each time I have played out of my socks.  When I was a 20 handicapper I shot my first 39 over nine holes playing with him.  When I was an 18 handicapper I shot my second ever sub 40 nine – again with him.  He is my secret weapon and I kept him in reserve until this day!  I am sure he would play with you too; for a fee!

So what is my next goal?  Shoot 75? Shoot even par over one nine?  Shoot a par round?  I had thought that my next goal after breaking 80 would be to get to a single figure handicap but I have played consistently and for so long (it feels) around 80 that I am already, as of this week, a 9 handicapper.  Wow.  I honestly never thought it would be possible.  I imagined breaking 80 would have been done in a vacuum of sorts; leaving me with my teen handicap safely in place.  I hadn’t imagined that the effort of breaking 80 in and of itself would have left me under 10.

So what to do next?  Hmm, let me at least enjoy the achievement of this goal for a little while before I let you know.  But I can tell you, all my friends and anyone who knows me is very relieved that I have finally broken 80.  Mainly relieved that I might finally stop talking about it…I will not be silenced, but at least now I might have a different topic…

…and, yes, I kept the ball.  I had three shots left on the final hole and just missed a 3-foot putt for 77…but I didn’t care.  That ball has earned a place in my personal history…


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.
This entry was posted in Game reports, Mental Game, Shoot under 80. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to I did it!!! How to break 80, I can finally tell you from personal experience

  1. Adrian Boniface says:

    Fantastic job – well done!

    So is it now an ordinary golfers quest to shoot sub 75???

    Well done again


    • THE Steve says:

      At the moment I am sitting back and reflecting…not sure what to do. Didn’t really think I was going to do it…but I do know that I definitely want to do it again. As always felt like a left a LOT of shots out there…I would definitely like to play an even par 9 to start with. Had a double on that round otherwise the front nine would have been…but isn’t it always like that?

  2. RT says:

    She’ll be right, mate!

    Congrats – I believe the real secret to your success was having parred all 4 of the par 3s. Not many guys can do that. You were 2 over on the par 5s and 6 over on the 4s, just for the record, with nothing bigger than a 6 on the card. Pair of birds always helps ease the pain of those black double bogeys.

    I see a book coming, something like “Dave Barry turns 50”. Next thing we know, you’ll be shooting your age (well, at least by the 12th hole).


    • THE Steve says:

      Thanks Art. It wad a great round and, like all rounds of golf, I still feel like I left a few shots out there…:)

  3. Nic McKay says:

    Well done mate! You didn’t mention your ‘Zen’ like focus and completely relaxed demeanour through the whole round, nor the sudden release of steam after the round that saw you running through sprinklers and the like! 🙂

  4. Steve Pratt says:

    Well done! Soon you will depart on a new quest to shoot par! You will need to increase clubhead speed, smash factor, and optimize your driver with a Trackman Pro!

  5. David Ross says:

    Im 14. Not bragging, but I have broken 80 before. I did, and I only hit 4 fairways. The key to breaking 80 is short game. If you can scramble well, then you should be set.

  6. Lawrence says:

    Wow, congrats man. I’m still trying to break 90 consistently :S

  7. Congratulations on breaking 80! This was a really entertaining read. I have a work golf tournament coming up and was looking for some tips. Unfortunately I don’t think I can recreate most of your experience, but I’ll try out the Michael Jackson soundtrack to get me in the groove!

  8. brock2912 says:

    Congrats man, thanks for the tips

  9. Pingback: The steves golf blog | Golf 101

  10. mstair says:

    “In his book, Ben Hogan said that within six months of intelligently applying oneself to his concepts, a student of his five lessons should be coming close to breaking 80 or actually breaking 80. I have found this to be mostly true. After reading his book some 31 years ago, coupled with a habitual routine of golf at least once (at times twice a week) I have shot 80, frequently shot close to 80 and often broken 80. (The embarrassing part of the truth is the excess 360 some months it has taken me to do it!)
    Ben explains it. He developed his fundamental ideas through trial and error — experimenting and keeping that which worked and discarding those that did not. For us, it is similar. Be they Ben’s concepts or anyone else’s — since they are not innately ours, we must develop an assimilation of them so they may work within our own abilities and talents. Although Ben believed that the average golfer is capable of building a repeating swing and breaking 80, according to the National Golf Foundation, (an industry research-and-consulting service) the median 18-hole score for the average golfer remains about 100. ”

    Excerpt From: Mike Stair. “Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons.” iBooks. https://itun.es/us/KfNyD.l

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