How To Break 90 in Golf: 10 Tips To Lower Your Score

As a PGA Professional and Coach, I understand that breaking a certain score barrier is one of the most common goals students seek to achieve.

Depending on a golfer’s experience level and current abilities, that score barrier can vary greatly. Some may look to break 100, and others that are a little more advanced may look to break 80.

Today, I will share with you my 10 tips to learn how to break 90 in golf.

Of course, the tips that will help you the most might not help someone else. So read the whole article to find the tips that can help you break through to the next level.

What Does It Mean To Break 90 in Golf?

Before we start, let’s define a few things. First, breaking 90 means achieving a score of 89 or better for 18 holes. It is simple enough in definition, but as you will see, harder to achieve.

A typical 18-hole golf course has a par of 72. So a 90 is 18 over par or means you’re shooting +1 on each hole.

For some golfers, this would be a great score. For a professional, not so much.

What Percentage Of Golfers Break 90?

According to the National Golf Foundation, only about one-third of golfers consistently break 90.

But in my own experience of almost three decades of working in golf, I will go on record and say that the average golfer shoots around 100 to 105.

When all is said and done, it is my estimation that about 25% of golfers break 90 for 18 holes.

With the above taken into context, it is fair to say that a golfer that can break 90 is, statistically, a pretty solid golfer. If you can achieve this feat and break 90 for 18 holes, you will be among a small minority of all golfers that can do this.

So how would a golfer actually break this feat for the first time?

If you’re in this majority and want to do this more consistently, here are some golf tips to break 90 that I’ve learned after working with clients for decades.

Read More: What Percentage of Golfers Break 100?

10 Steps To Learn How To Break 90 Consistently

Joy of great game. Excited young man picking up his son while standing on the golf course

1. Attitude is Everything

Having a positive outlook when you play the game is one of the key ingredients to being able to play to your ability as well as achieve goals. It seems too simple, right? Maybe, but I promise you, having a great outlook and the ability to shake off bad shots or holes is one thing that will help you break 90 or any other goal you may have in golf.

One image or thought I give my students to think of after a bad shot or hole is to “Flush it.” I actually have them make the motion with their hand of flushing the toilet and getting rid of what was.

2. Proper on Course Planning

Another area to consider in achieving the goal of breaking 90 is how you plan and prepare before a round. I encourage golfers to have a plan before teeing it up. Play the course in your mind by using the hole-by-hole description on a course’s website. Be realistic in your planning based on your current abilities.

Also, be adaptable while you are actually playing your round, meaning, if you had planned on playing a hole a particular way, but something goes off the rails a bit, be able to adapt in a smart way.

3. Play One Hole At A Time

When I was growing up, my dad taught me that in order to shoot 90, all you need to do is average a 5 on all 18 holes. As I got older and better, we expanded that thought to breaking a round up into six, 3-hole segments with their own target score.

For example, if you want to break 85, you will need to make a cumulative score of 14 for every 3-hole segment. It is a very effective exercise in trying to score a certain number while playing. This technique keeps you present while playing and helps in not thinking about past events or looking too far ahead.

4. Work With A Pro

Taking instruction, or better yet, finding a PGA or LPGA coach to work with regularly will, without question, help you in your pursuit of breaking 90. Then later 80, or even one day, 70.

A coach can not only help with the technical aspects of the game but also with the all-important planning and preparation aspects, as mentioned above.

5. Create a Regular Practice Plan and Routine

One of the most important aspects to getting better at golf, and achieving goals like breaking 90, is to practice more. With the busy schedules, most of us keep, this tip is something much easier said than done.

No matter how limited your time is, you can surely find time to build and execute a regular practice schedule and routine. It doesn’t really have to be much about the time of each session. As long as it’s regular and reoccurring, it will eventually pay dividends.

6. Become a Student of the Game

Beyond practicing more, I try to encourage my students to become “Students of the Game.” What this means is to start studying the basics of the game on your own.

We live in an information age, and finding what you are looking for, regardless of the topic, can be found with ease. Just make sure that you look towards the most respected sources of the information you choose.

I always suggest starting with the very basics of the game, such as the pre-swing fundamentals of Posture, Grip and Alignment, as well as the Ball Flight Laws.

Having a good grasp on these areas will greatly increase your odds of breaking 90 and beyond.

7. Short Game, Short Game, Short Game

It is often said that 60 – 65% of all shots are struck within 100 yards of the hole. With this in mind, avoid spending most of that precious practice time hitting on the range and working on your full swing. Look to create a good mix with the time you spend practicing each part of your game. Make sure, as you plan, to keep that idea of 60 to 65 percent of all shots struck during the course of a round happening within 100 yards of the hole, at the top of your mind. This is a vital component to being able to break 90.

8. Keep a Putting Goal of 32 Total Putts per Round

The best putter on the major Tours averages somewhere between 27 – 29 putts per round. On the flip side, a 25+ handicap golfer averages somewhere between 38 and 40 putts per round. If there was ever an area of the game where the average golfer could achieve a Tour-like statistic, it would be with the putter. It just takes some dedication and time.

9. Get A Professional Fitting

If you are a golfer on the verge of breaking 90, then you are a good enough player to consider making the investment into getting a proper fitting. This is even more the case if you are a golfer that is working with a PGA coach and practicing regularly.

Many golfers play the game with equipment in their hands that could be hurting their potential. Having a proper fitting, getting suggestions on equipment that could help you, and ultimately purchasing that suggested equipment could pay massive dividends and help get you that much closer to breaking 90 and beyond.

10. Stretch

Finally, I wanted to touch on the very important aspect of being able to physically perform to your highest level while playing golf. While many may consider golfing a far less physical sport than others, it is, without question, a distinct advantage to be in as good of shape as possible to perform to your best while playing. Starting with simple stretching exercises will pay immediate dividends and get you that much closer to breaking 90 and beyond.

For more tips, check out the article: How To Break 80 in Golf

Final Thoughts

It is possible to achieve the goal of breaking 90 in golf if you consider the tips above.

Remember, breaking 90 for 18 holes means you are moving into a very small percentage of golfers who can achieve this feat. Once you break through this milestone, be proud of the achievement and start planning for that next milestone!


What Percentage of Golfers Can Break 90?

The NGF has found that one-third of golfers consistently break 90 for 18 holes. That’s similar to my decades of experience teaching golf, only about 25% of all golfers can break 90 for 18 holes.

Is It Hard To Break 90 in Golf?

Breaking 90 for 18 holes is not the easiest feat. Most beginners would need to practice for years to achieve this. However, if you prepare the proper routine, play the course in your mind, get a professional fitting and work with a coach, you can increase your chances of achieving this milestone..

How Long Should It Take To Break 90 in Golf?

It is hard to say how long it will take to break 90 for 18 holes. There are many variables that go into reaching a milestone like this. If you are committed to following the tips above, however, you will dramatically decrease the time it will take you to break 90.

Is 90 a Good Golf Score?

Yes, shooting a 90 or better is a good score in golf. Golfers that can break 90 are among a small minority of golfers who can do so.

Brendon is Class A PGA Professional and founded Little Linksters, LLC, and its nonprofit arm, the Little Linksters Association for Junior Golf Development. He won 25+ prestigious industry honors, including the 2017 PGA National Youth Player Development Award. He graduated from the PGA of America Management Program and has a handicap index of 7.8.

He has played golf for over 40 years and currently plays twice a month at the Eagle Dunes Golf Club near Sorrento, Florida. He loves Srixon clubs and plays a ZX5 driver with Z 585 irons. He's written over 60 articles on GolfSpan and specializes in sharing tips to improve your golf game. You can connect with Brendon at LinkedIn, X, IG, FB, his website, or

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