What Percentage of Golfers Break 90?

What Percentage of Golfers Break 90?

From sinking your first birdie to achieving a single-digit handicap, every golfer has their own set of goals. One such milestone that stands as a testament to a player’s evolving skills is breaking 90. This achievement marks the transition from a casual player to a more serious, committed golfer. 

Understanding what percentage of golfers break 90 provides you with a clearer picture of the golf scoring system and helps improve your current playing level. So let’s look deeper into this aspect of golf.

I. What percentage of golfers break 90?

Based on the data from the National Golf Foundation, approximately one in four golfers can consistently score less than 90 on standard 18-hole courses.

Yet, the United States Golf Association presents a different picture, stating that over 70% of male golfers and roughly 21% of female golfers in the U.S. are able to break 90.

These varying percentages may stem from differences in how the data was collected, the size of the sample groups, or even the interpretation of what it means to “consistently” break 90. 

Regardless of these variations, it’s clear that a significant number of golfers are capable of achieving this goal, showcasing a considerable level of expertise in the sport.

II. Percentage of Golfers that Break 70, 80, 90 & 100

Here’s a table representation of the percentages of golfers breaking specific scores: 

Score to break Percentage of GolfersAverage ScoreHandicap RangeExperience Level
705%68-69+2 to 2Highly Experienced
8021%78-79  8 to 10Experienced
9026%85-8918 to 20Intermediate
10055%95-99  28 to 36Beginner

III. Breaking 90: What Does It Mean?

In golf terminology, “breaking 90” means shooting an 89 or less in an 18-hole round. This also means getting a bogey on every hole. If a golfer can do this consistently, they’re scoring less than five strokes on each hole on average.

This is an achievement as It puts the golfers ahead of the typical weekend golfer. It’s a big goal that many golfers aim for.

IV. How Long Does it Take to Break 90?

The timeframe to break 90 in golf can vary, but for those committed to enhancing their skills, the goal is typically reached within 18 to 36 months. This estimate applies to serious golfers who dedicate a substantial amount of time to practice, learning and regular gameplay. 

However, this timeline can be significantly reduced with the guidance of a coach or an experienced player. By identifying areas for improvement and suggesting targeted exercises, they can help shorten the learning curve, potentially bringing down the time to break 90 to just 12 to 15 months.

V. How to Improve Your Chances of Breaking 90?

Breaking 90 in golf is a significant achievement that depends on various factors. Here are some of the key elements that can affect a golfer’s ability to break 90:

  • Strategic Course Management: Approach golf with a nuanced strategy, especially on challenging Par 5s. Consider the presence of hazards and your distance from the green before deciding whether to go for it or lay up, and don’t be afraid to use different clubs off the tee if it suits your game plan.
  • Invest in Quality Equipment: Prioritize investing in suitable, quality golf equipment – it significantly impacts your game and can be cost-effective. Even one mismatched club can affect your score, so ensure your gear matches your needs, focusing on quality over price. 
  • Mental Game Strategy: Overcoming the mental challenges in golf involves a commitment to improvement, using techniques like the “count sheep” method for rhythmic focus during swings, verbalizing the desired ball trajectory before each shot, and enhancing knowledge by reading books like “Every Shot Must Have a Purpose”.
  • Putting Strategy: To enhance golf performance, minimize 3-putts, avoid 4-putts, practice 3-foot putts for consistency, engage in lag putt drills despite their monotonous nature, and guess the end point of lag putts pre-rounds to improve green reading skills.
  • Avoid Blow-Up Holes: Aim to minimize blow-up holes on the scorecard by focusing on avoiding huge numbers like quads, carefully selecting clubs for tee shots and around the green, and stepping off and restarting your pre-shot routine when necessary, potentially saving 2-3 shots per round.
If you are looking for ways on how to break 90 in your golf game, these 5 tips will help you get on your way – US Golf TV


Breaking 90 is not an easy feat in golf, with just about a quarter of golfers managing to achieve it. This statistic underscores the complexity and challenge that golf presents, making it a sport that demands patience, strategy, and continuous improvement. 


1. How hard is it to break 90 in golf?

Breaking 90 in golf is a significant milestone that requires consistent playing and understanding of the game. It’s a challenge, but with regular practice and strategic play, it’s achievable.

2. Does the average golfer break 90?

According to the National Golf Foundation, only about 26% of all golfers can consistently break 90, which suggests that the average golfer does not typically break 90.

3. What is my golf handicap if I shoot 90?

If you consistently score 90 on a course with a par of 72, your handicap would be approximately 18. This is a rough estimate; the exact handicap can vary based on the course rating and slope.

4. What does the average recreational golfer score?

The scoring range for the average recreational golfer typically falls above the 90 mark. While this can vary, statistics suggest that a majority of these players score within the 90-100 range. 

A closer look at gender-based performance reveals that men usually score around 86, while women average a score of about 99. 

5. How Does Age Affect a Golfer’s Ability to Break 90?

Age can impact physical abilities like strength and flexibility, which are important in golf. 

However, golf is also a game of strategy and experience, so older golfers may still maintain or even improve their scores through smart play and good technique.

6. What Is the Average Number of Rounds of Golf It Takes for a Golfer to Break 90 for the First Time?

This number varies greatly from golfer to golfer. Factors like initial skill level, frequency of play, quality of instruction, and individual learning pace all influence this. 

For some, it might take a few dozen rounds, while others may need hundreds of rounds to break 90 for the first time.

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