Trying to break 100- The 3 Goals Method

Golf is a tough game and it is made tougher by poor technique and poor course management.  While everyone practices the technique, few indulge in any course management.  One reason being that, course management is more of an art than a science.  A member of the Golf Monthly forum (ironically) called ScienceBoy recently posted his views on how to break 100 via course management.  It is equally applicable for breaking 90..

The originally posting can be found here

All credit to the original poster


So recently I have been playing with a guy who wants to break 100. He is really struggling and goes round in between 100 and 120.

His putting and short game a good enough but the frustration of the rest of his game makes him three putt a lot and get in a mess.

While playing with him last time I made an observation that he was always taking on the most high tariff shots, nearly every time he got himself into trouble, behind a tree, in a bunker etc

I took one of my personal philosophies and explained it to him in a way I had not ever done before:

The Three Goals

We stood on a tee, any tee and I said from here there are three goals to achieve before most players play the shots that make or break their score. Find the fairway, get inside 150, get on the green.

Goal 1- Find the fairway

Pretty simple, play a tee shot which finds the fairway, if you fail to do that play the next shot to achieve this goal and nothing else.

Notes Remember to give yourself nice wide margins for error from the tee or if you miss it and are playing your second, the fairway is a nice big target so don’t make it smaller!

Goal 2- Get inside the 150

Once you have done goal 1 move on to this, play your next shot to get inside the 150. It doesn’t matter if you get inside by 1 inch or 50 yards, once done the goal is made.


  1. You can achieve goals 1 and 2 in one shot if you are good enough or on a short par 4 but you don’t have too.
  2. On some par 5s you cannot do goal 2 with your second, instead look to get into a place to ensure you can get inside it with your next shot.
  3. If you come up just short or are inside but cannot reach the green then look to lay up in a place to make goal 3 REALLY easy. (we saw this as a nice luxury when it happened rather than a bad thing)
  4. KEY POINT If you hit a bad tee shot but achieve goal 2 with your second shot then the bad tee shot DOES NOT MATTER!
  5. KEY POINT If there is trouble around the green you cannot fly look to lay up in a place that makes goal 3 really easy.
  6. On par 3s you can achieve goals 2 and two in 1 shot, try and leave yourself in a good place to achieve goal 3.

Goal 3- Get on the green

Once inside 150 look how to get safely on the green.

Notes If you have missed the fairway doing goal 2, cant make the green or there are lots of hazards then play to get into a place to make goal 3 easier and nothing more.


We started this after holes one and two where he scored two 9s. From then his worst score was one 7 and the rest were 6 or better. He lost most of his shots to putting or duffed chips and we barely looked in a bush or tree for his ball again bar one hole.

Previously he was trying to bash 3 woods and hybrids off the fairway, now he was hitting 6 and 5 irons to achieve each goal one by one. It did mean taking irons or hybrids off some difficult tees to achieve goal 1 rather than goal 1 and 2 together. He also only used the driver twice when normally it would have come out on every hole bar two par 3s.

I play to this same game plan and I shot 87 with two lost balls and no driver in the bag. Like him from hole 2 my lost shots were do to bad swings and not bad game plans. I also managed to make two pars after duffed tee shots!

I do know this game plan probably only works down to about a 12 handicap as you need to be a little more aggressive to score better unless you can confidently get up and down from 60 yards and in on a regular basis.

I thought this was really key, the biggest difference was not in his scores but in his attitude, he celebrated reaching each goal, if he hit a bad shot but could still make goal 2 with his second then the first shot DID NOT MATTER. He used to beat himself up about the bad shots but now he doesn’t if he still makes the goals in the lowest possible number of shots.

He will now be using this every round and hopefully he can make his goal soon!


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