How to shoot in the 70s consistently

I’ve already listed Hack It Out podcast as one of my top 5 golf podcasts and they have now introduced a new series of episodes on the subject of shooting consistently in the 70s. Their first episode was last week and I thought I would deep dive into the show and try to compare their averages to my game (without the ropes).

The insights provided on the show, not just this series, are fascinating. They highlight how good the pros really are, and because Lou sits on top of the Arccos database they are able to discuss some really interesting numbers about the regular golfer. These real life snippets are really good to see how you compare against golfers of similar abilities. The key talking points:


Shooting in the 70s is something that I should do quite regularly but how do I compare? How do you?

A 5 handicap will shoot in the 70s about 40% of the time.
2022 Scores and rolling averages

My handicap fluctuated quite a bit during the season and although the scores above are not all handicap rounds it does show the consistency, or lack thereof, of my game. From that graphic I broke eighty 46% of the time. My average score was 80.

Greens in regulation

Most of the media in golf acknowledge that the traditional stats collected in the game don’t add much value as they don’t really tell the story behind the number. Fairways hit, for example, is misleading. You can be a meter off the fairway, in light rough, with a good lie and clear path to the green. A missed fairway, but does it really penalise you?

An average 5 handicap hits around 8.6 greens in regulation per round.

My average from 2023 was 9.9. This highlights one of the main flaws in game: putting & short game in general.

For every extra green hit in your round you should see on average an improvement to your score by around 1.1.

Proximity to the hole

The next segment covered approach shots and how they contrast between handicap ranges. For me this is harder to measure but I do have strokes gained for this part of the game. I lost again.

So for percentage of shots that end up outside of 20% of the target distance a 5 handicap will do this around 4% of the time from between 125-150 yards and 6% from 150-175 yards.

What does that mean? Well to explain using simple maths, if a player has a shot of 100x then they hit less that 80x a certain percentage.

Strokes gained on approach: I suck

The root cause of this depends on the player, but strike is a key component. Consistency of contact should improve as your level improves so this could be something to measure. I am now trying to analyse approaches to include strike, anyways and general short/long attempts.

Hitting short is a common trait in the amateur game. This can be caused by ego, general misunderstanding of how far you hit the ball or poor strike.

There were quite a few suggestions on how to improve in this area. Practice is always on the list, but trying hitting distances with different clubs or shot types is good addition too. Practicing from a mat is not the same as real golf, so knowing how to hit different shots can be a real differentiator.


Based on this episode I should be quite comparable to the average 5 handicap, and, of course, it highlighted some areas that I should improve in my game in general, namely:

  • keep the ball in play
  • hit more greens
  • get better at short game
  • fight for bogeys

I will make some excuses for last year, especially the short game. I felt that my putting actually improved. Technically it did, by 1,1, but the greens for most of the year were horrendous. I do need to get nearer to 30 putts per round but feel confident that I can do it this year. If I do, and I keep the ball, and limit the amount of doubles or worse, then I can become a respectable golfer.

Hack it out

The podcast gave 5 handicap examples and compared them to a 15 highlighting areas that the higher handicap can catch up to lower their handicap.

More details of the podcast can be found below, check out this episode and subscribe to the channel. You will learn a load and may laugh a bit along the way 😀

More information on the series can be found on Lou’s post.

At the time of publishing, at least the second episode in the series has been published. Check it out.