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Golf Practice Plan to Break 90

Breaking 90 is one of those momentous barriers for many golfers on their journey towards epic golf. Here we’ll cover a practice plan to help you break 90, before we jump into the weekly practice tasks, we’ll cover a simple explanation of the choices made in creating this practice plan.

Breaking 90 explained

There are multiple ways to break 90, but simply speaking 17 bogeys and one single par will do it. With this approach, pars are your friend, double bogies, or worse, your enemies. Therefore your mindset should be – how can I give myself a par putt on every hole?

To achieve this there are a few basic skills that will help you build this type of golf game:

  • Get the ball in play off the tee
  • Make solid contact with your fairway shots
  • Master one basic chip shot
  • Putting!

You’ll note the list above doesn’t mention a perfect downswing plane, hitting a draw or backspin. Focus on the principles above and you will shoot lower scores.

Below is a practice plan that will help you master these skills.

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Practice games to break 90

The following is a list of core tasks. At the end of this article, we have a full description of each game/task, how to set it up and score.

Look at this as an ideal to-do list each week. Life will get in the way, so don’t beat yourself up if some weeks are better than others. From 17 years of experience coaching, I’d suggest getting 50-70% done most weeks will result in you making great progress.

  • 18 holes competition round (L2)
  • Long Game Technique (L1)
  • Driving Challenge (L2)
  • 20 in a Row (L1)
  • Round the Clock Putting (L2)
  • Free practice iron play
  • Hugo’s Range Challenge (L2)
  • Short Game Technique
  • 9 hole Par challenge
  • 9 holes in regulation (L1)

The final two 9-hole games are very much optional for you golfing-obsessed readers who are lucky enough to fit in 2 rounds a week.

Practice time per week to break 90

If you managed the full list above, you would complete just under 10 hours a week on and off the golf course. Without the final two games, this plan is roughly a 50:50 split of time on and off the golf course and 6.5 hours of practice and play.

To break 90 you need time on the golf course to learn to score. Then when you’re off the golf course you need to focus on hitting a high volume of shots to build a consistent strike.

time on and off the course to break 90

Dispersion of time across areas of the game

50% of this time is focused on your long game (driving and approach play). There is a short, sharp focus on chipping, then some core tasks to up-skill your putting skills inside 10-feet.

breaking 90 practice plan broken down by area of game

Break down of practice type

The graphic below is again skewed by the optional two 9-hole games, but to break 90 you must spend time learning to score on the golf course. The second most important skill is learning to control your golf ball in a wider sense than just technical swing thoughts.

Can you move the ball forward out of bad lies? Can you stop the ball from going right? Can you find ways to not go left when needed? The skills games in this practice plan should help you get away from too many swing thoughts.

break down of time spent on course, skill development and technical

Practice difficulty

This practice plan has some simple skills games to build confidence and core skills. Then there are splashes of more challenging tasks, like the In regulation 9 hole challenge.

break down of practice difficulty

Practice realism

You’ll notice the realism of your practice is split between high and low, a little in the middle. This reflects the high volume of blocked practice off the golf course and on-course skills challenges.

break down of practice realism

Table of practice plan to break 90

18 holes competition round (L2)Play 18 holes medal or Stableford and see what you can score to par.
Long Game Technique (L1)Hit 50 range balls working on key technical moves to improve your ball flight.
Driving Challenge (L2)Pick a 20-yard wide target on the golf range. Hit 10 shots with driver, 5 with a fairway wood and 5 with a long iron. Give yourself a point for every ball that lands within your target fairway.
20 in a Row (L1)Pick a straight 3 ft putt. Aim to hole 20 in a row. If you miss at any point start again from 0 (Putt with batches of 3-5 golf balls). Your score is how many putts you can hole in a row.
Round the Clock Putting (L2)Pick a sloping putt, and place 6 markers spread evenly around the hole at 4 ft. Aim to hole all putts in a row, if you miss, start again. Your score is how many successful putts you can hole in a row.
9 hole Par challengePlay 9 holes and see how many pars you can make. If you don’t make par pick up and move on.
9 holes in regulation (L1)Play 9 holes and see how many fairways and greens you can hit. You gain 1 point for every fairway hit and 3 points for every green hit in regulation.
Free practice iron playPlan 30 minutes of constructive practice on your iron play and wedges to improve accuracy and consistency.
Hugo’s Range Challenge (L2)Create a 15-yard wide target on the driving range. Your aim is to hit a well-struck shot that lands between these two markers. Start with your Sand Wedge, if your shot lands in your target move on to your PW…see if you can complete the challenge with every club in your bag. Your score is how many balls it takes you to complete the challenge with your entire bag (max 40 attempts).
Short Game TechniquePick a shot that needs work after your short game challenges and refine your technique for that shot.

If you would like a pdf of this plan just click the button below.


That wraps up our practice plan to break 90. One round of golf, 2-3 hours of extra practice off the golf course and then if/when you have time two extra 9-hole games that will really help you control the golf ball around the golf course.

For more tips on how to break 90, check out these top tips from Ian Taylor.

Once you’ve completed this, feel free to jump onto our practice plan to break 80.

Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider

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Will Shaw, PhD, MSc, PGA Pro

Will is a PGA golf professional, with a PhD in Biomedical Science and MSc in Sports Biomechanics & Psychology. He spent 10 years lecturing part-time at Leeds Beckett University and the University of Leeds in Biomechanics and Motor Control before becoming the Head of Golf for the University of Exeter. He currently runs Golf Insider UK, Sport Science Insider around wider consulting and academic roles in sport performance and motor control.

2 thoughts on “Golf Practice Plan to Break 90”

  1. Hi Will

    Hope everything is going well

    When it comes to practice realism/difficulty what status would you attach to each of the practice tasks.., I would think the on-course tasks will be high/high but any thoughts on the others?

    • Hi Andrew,

      Great question. Here is how I currently think about it:

      1) Is the environment the same as where I want to perform? (Golf Course vs Range – representative environment design).
      2) Do I hit many of the same shots in a row or am I mixing up shots and tasks? (practice variability)
      3) Is there a time space in between hitting each shot that represents competitive play?
      4) Does hitting a bad shot have any consequence?
      5) How much planning and decision making does each shot require?

      I think with these questions you can start to make the range, chipping and putting greens much more like the golf course, but you’re right, you’ll never replace time on the course.

      I hope that helps and your golf is on fine form.

      Kind regards,



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