How To Break 80 In Golf - What The Stats Say

We take a look at some Arccos statistics for 8 handicappers to see what they do to regularly break 80...

How To Break 80 In Golf - What The Stats Say
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Breaking 80 is one of many golfing milestones that usually takes golfers years and years to achieve.If you shoot below 80, it means you're probably somewhere between seven-to-ten over par, so for this article we'll be looking at the statistics of an eight handicap golfer to see how they compile their rounds and what you can learn.

We've already written about the stats behind a scratch golfer as well as how scratch vs 18 handicap golfers compare, so what can we learn from eight handicaps? We take a look through various different aspects of the game.The stats in this piece from Arccos Golf, with data gleaned from more than 540 million shots from 11.5 million rounds worldwide.

Video: How to break 80 - What the stats say

Break 80 stats - scoring

The most important numbers to consider if you're trying to break 80 relate to scoring. On average, 8 handicap golfers make just 0.9 birdies per round, 7.7 pars, 7.2 bogeys and 2.3 doubles or worse. 

These numbers show that to break 80 you clearly don't need to make birdie after birdie, but need to limit the doubles, triples and blobs. Eight handicappers average 3.6 on par-3s, 4.5 on par-4s and 5.4 on par-5s, suggesting that they play the longer holes slightly better and probably make the odd birdie on the par-5s. If you have more than three or four double-bogeys per round, limiting them to just two would make a huge difference to your scores.

Break 80 stats - driving

Golfer holds their finish on a drive

The typical 8 handicap averages 237 yards off the tee, finding 47% of fairways

(Image credit: Future)

The average 8 handicapper averages 237 yards off the tee, finding 47% of fairways. It must be said, though, as important as distance, accuracy and driving are, this area is likely the least important when it comes to breaking 80. If you only hit the ball 220 yards or perhaps are a bit wayward from the tee, there are still plenty of opportunities to shoot in the 70s thanks to course management, well struck irons, a solid short game and good putting. 

Break 80 stats - approach

Typical 8 handicap golfers hit just 40% of greens in regulation, which equates to an average of 7.2 per round. Break that down per nine holes to 3.6 and it shows that if you're hitting 4 of 9 greens each half then you'll be on for shooting in the 70s. If you're only hitting between 4-6 greens per round, this is a real area to improve on if you want to break 80. Maybe your driving is costing you the chance of greens in regulation or perhaps it comes down to poor iron play. The average 8 handicap player hits their approaches to 30ft when finding the green in regulation, and 60ft on all approaches. 

Break 80 stats - short game

Golfer hits a greenside bunker shot

The typical 8 handicapper makes just 24% of sand saves from inside 25 yards but finds the green 81% of the time

(Image credit: Future)

Short game is crucial when it comes to breaking 80, with 8 handicappers getting up-and-down 40% of the time from within 25 yards of the pin. If you're nowhere near 4 in 10 up-and-downs, then heading to the practice green will do you a world of good. From inside 25 yards, 8 handicappers only get it up-and-down from bunkers 24% of the time, but they find the green 81% of the time - likely pointing to the fact that they rarely leave it in the sand and waste shots.

Break 80 stats - putting

This is really where a round can turn from a 77 to an 81 - on the putting green. Typically, 8 handicappers one-putt 3.9 times per round, two-putt 11.7 times per round and have just 2.4 three-putts. Overall, they average 1.8 putts per hole, 33.4 putts per round and 3.1 putts per green in regulation.

Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-5. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2 HL

Irons: Mizuno MP-H4 3-iron, Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5