My name is Petter Tärbe, and I’ve been playing golf for 35 years. I started playing golf at the age of 7 and broke par when I was 32. It took 25 years (!) to break par. Most of the time, my handicap was hovering between 1 and 5, but once I figured out some 'secrets,' I consistently played between +1 and +2. I've worked as a golf teacher for several years and have been studying golf for somewhere between 8-10 years. I know what it took for me to finally break par, and I wish to share everything I've gathered.

Why this Guide and who is it for?

I’ve played with so many people over the years who possess amazing talent but hinder themselves with unnecessary factors and noise, preventing them from achieving what they want. I want to share my perspective and hope to help some of you finally achieve that low number.

This guide is for you who wish to take charge of their golf game and leave less to the golf gods. If you are more ambitious than just seeing golf as a social activity, this guide is for you.

Guide Overview

The guide is sectioned into the below structure:

  1. What’s Needed and What Actually Matters
  2. Course Management - One Dimensional Guide
  3. The Mental Game - How Important Is It?
  4. How to Train - Use Your Time Smartly
  5. The Breaking Par Loop - How to Achieve It

What’s Needed & What Actually Matters

Loads and loads of golfers have the long game skill and athletic ability to break par every round they play, but still, they have issues breaking 80. To be blunt, they let noise in and have no focus on relevant stuff. The scorecard doesn’t care about the wonderful emotions that went through your body when you hit that penetrating 4-iron on the par-3, carrying the flag and going 15 meters long with a downhill lie, only to three-putt due to the close-to-impossible lag putt. The scorecard doesn’t care about how unfairly you were treated when you got that bounce on the fairway, putting your ball in the fairway bunker where you had to blast it out with a lob wedge. It only cares about you scrambling that easy chip and run or the birdie that you converted on that reachable but tight par-5.

Breaking Par is all about identifying what is actually important and just getting rid of all nonsense. It’s quite relieving, to be honest. I’ll dive into this identification in the following way:

What’s Needed - Course Performance, Swing Speed & Swing Mechanics

What Actually Matters - Factors That Boost or Kill Your Score

What’s Needed

Course Performance - Greens and Fairway Hits

All examples I will use here are made for a 6,000 meters (6,550 yards) course played in normal conditions. The course in question has 4 par-3s and 4 par-5s. Just a note here before I start: I don’t care about statistics during the round; I only look at them afterward to see what I need to train. With that said, let’s get on with it.

The number of Greens In Regulation (GIR) you need has a direct connection to how good your short game (chipping, bunker & putting) is. If you are a top-notch short game golfer, you need 10 GIR to break par. If you are more average in terms of your short game, you need more GIR. Most students, including myself, need 12-13 GIR to break par.

Regarding Fairway In Regulation (FIR), I honestly don’t care that much. Instead, I look to see if I put myself in a good or bad spot to make a good approach shot. A bad spot would be somewhere on the playing field where you basically can’t make it to the green, and it starts a fight for par rather than hunting a birdie. You have 14 tee shots to hit (4 par-3s), and I would say that I can’t handle more than 2-3 bad spots from the tee if I want to break par.

Course Performance - Birdies vs Bogeys

I have never broken par with fewer than three birdies, and I have never broken par with more than one double bogey. Most of my 68-69 rounds have 5-6 birdies and 3-4 bogeys. Most of my 70-71 rounds have 3-4 birdies and 2-3 bogeys in them. So, birdie production is key, and three is the threshold for me.

Swing Speed

The need for speed is massively overrated in modern golf. You need somewhere around a 95 mph clubhead speed with the driver to achieve adequate distances from the tee for acceptable approach distances—about 220 meters in total length. Anything more than that is just a luxury distance that can make the task easier as long as you keep it within the playing field.

Driver: 220 meters (total length)
7 Iron: 130 meters carry

Why do I write this? Too many golfers are obsessed with distance when they should be focusing on entirely different things. Many of the 'new fancy swing techniques' on Instagram emphasize pure long-driving aspects of golf—stuff that can hurt your accuracy and, if you aren’t strong enough, your body. Is it reasonable to expect that you hit your 7 iron the same distance as PGA tour players? Not really, right? Figure out your 'accuracy distance numbers,' which is the swing speed you have where you actually achieve good shot dispersion. The rest is more long-drive speed-hungry garbage that won’t help your efforts to break par

Swing Mechanics & Ball Striking Skills

If you have read my Golf Technique Change Guide, you know that I’m a technique junkie, but it has very little to do with my ability to break par. Common misconceptions of what you need to be able to do include hitting it in the sweet spot every time, playing different curved shots on command, and playing high and low shots on command. Honestly, those are the skills the pros utilize to win fat checks every weekend. This, however, is about a club golfer breaking par. Again, erase the noise!

The only feature you need to break par is a one-dimensional shot pattern. What does this mean? Basically, you eliminate one of the two big misses (left or right). This will enable you to create a shot dispersion pattern that you can rely on. You play this shot pattern 99% of the time. You don’t get cute. You grind it out.

For instance, I play a draw pattern, so I will never miss big to the right (of course, it happens but not often). 25% of my shots are the draw I want, 25% are slight pushes, 25% are overdraws, and 25% are a big miss to the left. All of this is very acceptable for beating par. People think they have to hit it 90% perfectly. I completely disagree.

Most modern players are one-dimensional, where the big miss left never happens (yes, it happens but rarely). They play fades on most shots. Check out the Taylor Made video with Colin Morikawa (always top approach player on the tours) where he talks with Tiger. He can barely play a proper draw on command, and he is world top in approaches. So what? He grinds his little fade and is always top in stats at the end of the week.

Why not hit a straight shot?

It took many years to realize that this is the most difficult thing in golf, and given your 'perfect shot rate,' where will your miss now be? It can be big to the left or big to the right. Hence, it’s not statistically viable, and it’s emotionally terrible to try to accomplish. I’d rather play a '25% perfect shot style draw pattern' than a '75% perfect straight shot pattern.' Again, this is about breaking par.

A last comment about curving the ball: How often are you faced with the 18th tee shot at Augusta? How often do you play green areas that only accept one shot shape? Let’s be honest. It happens so seldom that training this specific subset of your technique makes zero sense.

How do you go about getting a one-dimensional pattern?

It’s all about your release style. The release style determines in which way you produce power and close the clubface. The clubface positioning (together with club path) ultimately determines which trajectory you have.

The only requirement for having a one-dimensional pattern is that you can’t have a non-functional release style. You cannot use the 'WRONG' closing mechanism of the clubface because it makes life too chaotic in the ball-striking department. (For the interested - read here about the most common non functional techniques.

In a nutshell, there are two release styles that dominate functional techniques: The slingshot flap release style and the forearm supination release style.

Are you a player that holds off the release like many of the top tour guys? Then you should work for never missing left (make sure to hold it off). This technique I describe in detail in the Modern Slingshot Framework in my technique guide and very few people I have ever met master this. 

Are you a player that supinates your forearms (rotates the forearms on purpose) in the downswing? Then you would be a more hand-dominant player, and odds are that you fit better with a draw pattern. The big miss left will be hard to eradicate with this release style, but the big miss right you can get rid of with proper training. I really like to use the Lag & Supination Framework in my technique guide for this. It works very well. The easiest and most pragmatic way to do it would be the John Erickson and Bradley Hughes system because it is taught in very intuitive drills. Check it out here.

Don’t wish to dig that deep or think that you are good enough already? In that case - awesome! Just go to the range and take a 7 iron, 4 iron, and a driver. Hit 20 balls each. Which miss never happens - big right or big left?

Do it however you see fit, but just have in mind that eliminating one big miss out of your repertoire will make life so much easier for course management and the mental aspect of the game.

What Actually Matters - Boost or Kill your Score

Breaking par in golf is all about handling the key factors in the best possible way. I identify them as below and intentionally leave the mental part to its own chapter further down the road:

Bleed Out Factors

  • 3-Meter Putting
  • Basic Chipping
  • 10-Meter Bunker Shots
  • Playing Perfect Golf Distances
  • Not Leaving Your Approach Play to Chance

The Bleed Out Factors

All of these factors will influence other parts of your game whether you want it or not. It’s why I call them bleed out factors. 

Short Putting Distance - 3 meters / 10 footers

Professionals make 40% of their 3-meter/10-footer putts, considering they often contend with slippery, mountain-region-like greens. On our comparatively easier greens, we have the potential to hole 50% of our 3-meter putts.

I've chosen 3 meters/10 feet because this is often our scrambling distance. Once you feel confident in your ability to sink putts from this distance in all directions, shorter putts start to feel more manageable. Moreover, being adept at this distance can significantly reduce the stress associated with chipping.

Basic Chipping - Chip & Run

The most common miss on an approach will leave you with a standard chip lie. Here, I'm not referring to fancy lob wedge spinny checker chips; I'm talking about good old-fashioned chip-and-runs—boring and effective. (If you find yourself forced to execute multiple lob shots per round, you probably have lousy course management skills).

Being able to scramble around the greens with chip and run is a crucial aspect of going under par. If you can't successfully scramble 50% of your missed greens, you will encounter issues with too many bogeys.

Technically, it's all about understanding the low point of the club. Don't buy into the whole 'use the bounce' nonsense; we're not aiming to be short game geniuses here, just trying to scramble. In other words, figure out how to make contact with the ball first and practice 10m, 20m, and 30m chip shots. Personally, I use two clubs—one for high shots and one for low shots. For me, it's an 8 Iron and a SW. More about this in the training segment.

10 Meter Bunker Shots

The second most common non-green lie you’ll encounter is a close-range bunker shot. Phil Mickelson very deliberately focuses on training 10-meter shots since statistics indicate this is a critical distance, and I don’t disagree with this approach.

The relatively short bunker shot also demands a solid technique, and once again, your goal is to successfully scramble 50% of the time. The key from a technical perspective is to play a shot that aligns with the amount of sand in the bunker. If there's very little sand, make sure to set up with a more square blade and get the heel of the club down (these components will help you dig). For thick sand bunkers, open the face more and play more upright (it will enable the club to bounce more).

I see very few people actively training bunker shots for scoring. If you do, you will gain a significant advantage in this game.

Here's another hidden gem in the mental department: If you start viewing bunkers as something intriguing to play from, you will approach approaches much more positively. As a bonus, you will now have extensive landing zones for second shots on par-5s (if you are in a position to hit the second shot towards the green area).

Playing Perfect Golf Shot Distances

This is a short one. When you choose your club for your landing area, do you count on hitting the perfect shot to reach the spot? If yes, then please think again. No golfer hits it perfectly every time. Personally, I achieve my intended shot only 25% of the time, with the remaining 75% being small misses.

Ninety-five percent of the people I have played with over the years choose a club based on the best shot of their life. Don’t go down that path. Simply accepting that you aren’t golf's next messiah will save you something like 3-4 strokes per round, and it’s probably the lowest hanging fruit out there. Being 5 meters long has never killed anyone.

Not Leaving Your Approach Play to Chance

With approach play, I mean every par-3 tee shot, every par-4 second shot, and every par-5 third shot. Do you know your carry numbers? And again, not your best shot of the year distance, but your normal, boring, semi-good 8-iron number. Mine is 142m.

Have you ever gone to a studio with TrackMan numbers? If not, do it. Hit 20 shots per club and figure out the true carry distance for your average shot. It’s nothing fancy, but you should know it. Mine are 58W - 90m, 54W - 102m, 50W - 114m, PW - 121m, 9 - 132m, 8 - 142m, 7 - 151m, 6 - 160m, 5 - 170m, 4 - 179m.

Do you know the wind effect on your iron play? If you play 5 meters per second into the wind or tailwind, how does it affect your carry distance and roll out? The dispersion between the club carry distance will be less in a headwind and more in a tailwind. In a headwind, swallow your ego and always go for the longer club.

Do you know how to take 5 meters off your approach? I grip mine down half an inch and also train on it so it feels comfortable.

You need to know your distances in all conditions because the common denominator of good approaches is to be pin high. I would even go so far as to say that I’d rather have dispersion in width than in length. Be pin high, and your results will improve massively.

If you start seeing approaches as your weapon, you will begin to realize that tee shots are just there to put you in a good position. More about that in the course management section coming after the summary below.

Summary - What’s Needed & What Matters

Again, my whole point here is to erase noise, so here is what is left after these more in-depth pages:

What’s Needed - Course Performance

  • 12-13 GIR for a normal, short game-skilled player
  • Max 2-3 Bad Spots on your 14 long tee shots
  • 3 birdies per round

What’s Needed - Swing Speed

  • 95 mph driver clubhead speed
  • 220m+ distance
  • 130m carry for a 7 iron
  • Anything more than this is just pure luxury

What’s Needed - Swing Mechanics

  • Create a swing that produces One Dimensional Golf
  • Develop a shot pattern that eliminates one big miss (left or right)

What Actually Matters - Boost or Kill Factors

  • Hole half of your 3m putts
  • Train 10, 20, 30m chip and runs frequently - scramble half
  • 10-meter bunker play - scramble half
  • Play your boring average distance numbers instead of a 'delusional perfect shot every time' number
  • Know your exact carry numbers and understand the value of being pin high

Course Management & One Dimensional Golf

Playing one-dimensional golf, where you can reliably count on a shot dispersion pattern, makes life much easier and eliminates bad decision-making. This one-dimensional approach eliminates your ability to make bad decisions.

Let's dissect course management in the following way:

Aiming Tee Shots - Straight holes, Dogleg Left & Right

Tee Shot Club Selection - Par 5s, Short Par 4s & Long Par 4s

Approach Shot Aiming - Identify the safe area and aim your pattern

Aiming Tee Shots

Aiming Tee Shots: While it may sound mundane, the task you give yourself mentally translates into feels and swing thoughts that are much easier to deal with if aligned with your core mechanics.

The Draw-based shot pattern includes:

  • Stock draw = Green
  • Small undercurve/push = Small miss hit = Yellow
  • Small overcurve/pull draw = Small miss hit = Orange
  • Big overcurve/pull draw = Big miss hit = Red

What isn’t included is the big miss hit to the right. Exclude this from your pattern completely. Although it may happen, it occurs so rarely that you can omit it from your thoughts entirely.

The Fade-based shot pattern includes:

  • Stock fade = Green
  • Small undercurve/pull = Small miss hit = Yellow
  • Small overcurve/push fade = Small miss hit = Orange
  • Big overcurve/push fade = Big miss hit = Red

In contrast to the draw pattern, exclude the big miss to the left in your fade-based pattern.

Straight Hole - Draw Based Pattern

The big thing here is that you never miss big to the right. Your curve will take you left, shaping your style of play on the course. Please notice that I always tee up on the left side of the tee to establish this better in my visual perception.

Short Version: Tee it to the left and aim for the right edge of the fairway.

Straight Hole - Fade Based Pattern

The big thing here is that you never miss big to the left. You will have a fade curve, and that's perfectly fine. We're not talking about an over-the-top dysfunctional technique but rather a functional fade curve. Please notice that it is played from the right side of the tee box.

Short Version: Tee it to the right and aim for the left edge of the fairway.

Dogleg Left - Draw Based Pattern

This is the fun one for drawers. You aim slightly right of center, and your big miss might actually be the most awesome result. Again, always tee to the left to encourage your behavior.

Short Version: Tee it to the left and aim for the right center.

Dogleg Left - Fade Based Pattern

Suck it up. This is the less exciting one for fade-prone players. What's the better option? Trying to pull off your likely half-dusty draw swing or accepting that you'll be slightly worse off than a draw-biased swing. Suck it up, keep grinding. The trick is to play enough to the right so that a small miss to the left carries the dogleg.

Short Version: Accept that this is the less exciting one, tee it to the right, and aim for the left center.

Dogleg Right - Draw Based Pattern

Now, this is a visually boring one for drawers, but honestly, it’s not that bad. The most common misses actually put you in a great position. Do you find it easy to switch gears to a fade release style just for a shot and then get on with your life?

Short Version: Accept that this isn’t where you shine, tee it to the left, and aim for the right center of the fairway.

Dogleg Right - Fade Based Pattern

This is visually pleasing for the fade player. The big overcurve miss to the right will possibly create a great position for the approach. Once again, the trick is to aim far enough left so that both the small overcurve and big overcurve misses put you in a nice position.

Short version: Tee it to the right and aim towards the left center.

Tee Shot Club Selection

Tee Shot Club Selection:

So, what club do you hit? Well, it’s all up to what kind of hole you are facing. Is it a birdie hole or is it a par hole? This will hugely influence the strategy to approach your club selection.

Par5s - Birdie Opportunity x 2

Can you reach the par5 in two shots or make it at least to scrambling distance, the green area? The driver is the choice for almost every par5 out there. Why? Your bad tee shots will put you in lay up mode, and that’s what would happen if you played conservatively from the tee anyway. On the rare occasion where you face a very tight teeshot, where your normal driver shot dispersion will have a hard time finding the surface, then I just tap out and play, for example, a 2 iron. The two-shot strategy is then off the table. Par5s offer a great possibility for birdie, and if you screw up from the tee, you still get another chance as long as you keep it somewhat in play.

Short Version: Par5s give you double chances for birdies, either from scrambling distance or from approach distance. 99% Driver from Tee.

Short Par4s - Birdie Heaven With Approach Focus

So, you have a 280m-330m par4 in front of you. Here, most people just grab the driver and try to go as close as possible to the green. Golf is all about risk-reward, and this is likely the most risk for the least reward you can get. There is a statistic out there saying that the closer you are to the green, the better your score will be. Well… Sometimes you should really question statistics. I don’t know any person in my playing bracket that hit a 50-70 meter shot better than a 100-meter shot. Myself included, the weekend golfer, if you will, don’t train these shots nearly as much as you need to be hot from these distances. For pretty much everyone I have played with the last couple of years - having a full wedge (48-60 degrees) - will yield much better results. Why? Because they put you pin-high. And by the way, hitting a 220-260 meter driver vs hitting a 3 iron of 170-210 meters - dispersion pattern favors which shot? Boring? Heck yes, but this guide isn’t about being fancy. It’s about playing your numbers and giving yourself the best chance. The best risk-reward on a 300m hole for us normal non PGA Tour golfers? 3 iron to a 110m approach distance and sticking the approach. No question about that. Short par4s represent a golden birdie opportunity.

Short Version: Short Par4s are all about reaching your preferred distance and hitting a solid approach.

Long Par4s - In it for the Pars

Holes that are 360-400m. This is one of the tricky parts of golf. Most people that don’t break par see the distance as the primary factor and don’t consider that golf courses consist of 18 holes, some better birdie opportunities than others. Long par4s aren’t where you statistically produce birdies. AND THAT IS FINE. They are about making sweet pars. Most Long Par4s have strategically placed bunkers that will make your driver a hazardous choice. Playing fairway bunker shots with a PW is barely a problem but having a 160m approach with a bunker lip close to you will likely leave you with a lousy result and give you a very hard scrambling for par. Again, long par4s are about making as MANY PARS AS YOU CAN. That’s it.

There are a billion different long par4s, so I put my course management like this:

  • I only hit driver here if I know that I can carry the obstacles with a decent strike. I never calculate myself to hit it perfectly if it’s about scoring. So in my case, if it’s more than 230 to carry, then I’m not hitting the driver.
  • More often than not, I prefer being in the fairway and would rather hit my 3 wood that has a slightly tighter dispersion than my driver.
  • I much prefer having a 170m approach from a decent lie than 130m with the potential of being trapped in a bunker with a high lip or something like that.
  • The approach is aimed for the scrambling-friendly part of the green area. This is about making pars. It’s not about making birdies. Birdies are bonuses.

    Short Version: Long Par4s are about scrambling for par. Suck it up. (ps, Long Par3s are also par holes, but you will see that in the coming pages).

Approach - Short Distances - 80-150 meters

So, this is about the distances that are very comfortable for you to hit a full shot from. For me, it stretches up to 150m. Above 150, it becomes more difficult as the dispersion becomes wider.

My first task is to identify where the “safe spot” is on the green. Well left of the water and a comfortable carry distance from the hellish bunker. So that’s priority 1, and it’s marked in green. If I mis-hit it and come up a bit shorter than anticipated, I still clear the bunker.

For those playing a draw as their one-dimensional play, this flag can be challenging since there is a tendency to over-close the clubface due to a subconscious fear of the water. But many times, with proper commitment, the slight miss will put you closest to the pin.

Fade-biased approaches will more often than not end up long left, which is a very fair result on this. Again, miss-hitting might even put you closer to the flag here.

Approach - Long Distances - 160-220 meters

Approach - Long Distances - 160-220 meters:

Alright, so for the longer approaches, you have another objective. Your goal here is to secure a par. If you make the green - that’s awesome, but the primary focus is avoiding potential score killers.

The safe area has shifted now that you have a much bigger dispersion to deal with in both distance and width. Obviously, the water to the right is the big issue.

The draw-biased shot dispersion will, if perfectly struck, end up slightly long. But let’s be honest. How often does a 100% center hit with a 4 iron happen?

The fade-biased shot dispersion will have its small overcurve closest to the pin, and if you strike your good curve slightly off center, you will likely add spin to the ball, so the off-center hits end up really nice on this one (except the red, which will always have a danger here).

Again, it’s about making pars, and if you absolutely crush it and get a flyer (get some grass on the clubface at impact and end up with less curve and spin, which makes the ball fly longer), you’ll end up long and left, which is a very scramble-friendly region in this example.

The Mental Game - How Important?

If I were to create a small pie chart to illustrate the significance of the mental game compared to all other aspects of golf, I would allocate 90% to the mental aspect and 10% to the rest. Surprisingly, however, most people tend to spend 99% of their time on the remaining 10%.

Ask yourself this simple question: Do you hit your shots as well on the course as on the driving range? Be honest. If your answer is no - which is likely for most golfers - then your mental game is hindering your results. PERIOD.

Golf is one of the most peculiar challenges in the mental department. It can drain you of energy even though you're simply hitting a stationary golf ball. In our relentless pursuit of results and improvement, it's almost refreshing to understand that the 'put pressure on yourself' attitude, which might be successful in other aspects of life, offers little to nothing on the golf course. In fact, it's counterproductive.

On the golf course, a low score is only the result of something else, and the more you yearn for it, the more elusive it becomes. Focus on the actions that produce the score, not the score itself. Once you grasp this concept, you can begin to develop. If you don't agree with this, nothing I write next will make sense to you.

Let me share a brief backstory and then provide practical advice on how you can improve your score without fixating on the score itself.

My Back Story - Unlocking the Secret Sauce

I mentioned that it took me 25 years to break par. I used to have a decent swing but was often angry on the course due to not achieving my non-actionable goals. My routine consisted of going out with the attitude to score low, playing inconsistently, then giving up and finally picking up my game towards the end. That was my standard behavior, and I scored around 75-78 most of the time, with my worst days reaching over 80. It wasn't very enjoyable to play golf this way.

Then, I made a decision to stop all this nonsense; it was not helping me beat par. I read loads of books, but most importantly, I revisited why I played golf. It boiled down to hitting shots the way I wanted them to fly. It was more about creating trajectories that pleased me than achieving specific results. I realized that the score is just a result of something else, and thinking about it would get me nowhere. I started to leave the score alone and adopted a learning attitude on the golf course. Every shot I hit was about learning and becoming better at hitting my desired trajectory.

I can't explain how much easier it was to go onto a golf course. The stiffness was gone, and it freed me up. And what happened with the score that I often thought about? Well, I started shooting 72-75 all the time, rarely having anything worse than 77. But, first and foremost, I didn't care too much because my attitude was all about learning and hitting nice trajectories. No anger anymore because my expectations were focused on the actual actions I took and not on the elusive outcome.

I concluded that my technique was pretty good, but I battled the two-way miss, leading to too many bogeys. I delved into the tech laboratory and emerged with a one-dimensional swing with new feels. This happened during a full winter break. It was amazing because I was a much better ball striker on the driving range, a stress-free environment where I had everything needed to go many shots under par.

However, it didn't translate to the course. Back on the course, my body reverted back to the 'pre-change' mode, and my two-way miss was back. I kept shooting 72-77, but I felt I left many shots out there. Something was missing.

Then, I saw Hideki Matsuyama hit a golf shot in one of the PGA tour competitions when he won three tournaments in a row back in 2017. He hit a 7-iron to 1m left of the pin and dropped the club in a feeling of complete devastation. My jaw dropped. You hit the perfect shot - why are you acting like a baby?

I continued to watch him, and the further it went, the clearer it became. He cared nothing - I mean nothing - about the result. He only cared - there and then - about the task he had given himself, likely an internalized feeling of his swing. He was so much in his own goal completion mode that a shot that landed 1m (!) from the pin meant nothing to him.

I had a shot-making process, but in all honesty, it was complete garbage. It was likely something I picked up during my junior years that someone told me, but I never owned it. What if I could create a non-result-oriented trajectory-hitting routine that kept me entirely in the moment? I took a pen and paper and noted down how I wanted it to look. I committed to using this Shot Shaping Process for every long shot I hit in the coming three rounds of golf.

Round 1 - 72 (par), Round 2 - 69 (-2), Round 3 - 70 (-1). 25 years of focusing on the wrong stuff were finally over. Later that year, I went down to shoot 64 with nine birdies in a single round. And I have never looked back.

Pragmatic Tips About the Mental Game

Tip 1 - A Soft Attitude to the Game

I used to be one of those people who took this game so seriously that it destroyed my ability to perform as well as in training.

Go back to the roots of why you play golf. Make this your outspoken attitude. Mine is the hunger for learning and hitting nice trajectories—a soft value attitude that keeps you from being too serious out there.

Bernhard Langer carries a small note with him at all tournaments, a biblical phrase that puts the game of golf in perspective. Write it down and read it during the round when you start to lose yourself in the result-chasing delusion. It helps EVERY TIME.

Tip 2 - A Shot Making Process That Fits You

We're all tinkering and making adjustments to our swings, and the only tool that will translate this to your on-course performance is your Shot-Making Process. I've shared mine here, and it's highly likely that yours is different.

So, commit your exact Shot-Making Process to memory and set it as your goal for every long shot during your golf round.

Additionally, practice this routine during your range sessions. Treat every shot on the range as a reflection of the golf course. Repeat the routine consistently until it becomes ingrained in your system, allowing you to execute it effortlessly. This foundation will prove invaluable in challenging situations.

Tip 3 - Conserve Mental Energy

When you play a good round of golf, it almost feels like the easiest thing ever, right? Now, compare that to a challenging round where your golf shots fall below par. What happens to your energy levels?

I used to feel drained after 18 holes because my thoughts were scattered. What had I done, what should I do, what happened if I did this or that – all irrelevant and creating subconscious expectations for the next shots. It's all garbage.

In golf, the only thing that matters is your next shot. That's the only thing that exists. Everything else is just noise and needs to fade away. It does not help you.

The next shot in golf begins 30 seconds before it's your turn to hit. Everything between shots is non-golf-related stretches of time where you transition in and out of your Shot-Making Process.

For instance, if your shot-making routine takes 30 seconds, and you hit 36 shots per round (36 putts), you play golf for a total of 18 minutes. If you treat the 'in-between shot sessions' as mental game territory, you play golf for at least 210 minutes (3.5 hours). 

A stellar example of conserving energy is Brooks Koepka winning the 2018 PGA Championship. Leading by two shots on the 18th tee in the final round, he had to wait 7-8 minutes as his playing partner struggled. An eternity. Watch how Brooks, despite the pressure, remains calm and hits his approach in the top three moments of his golf career. He never engages with the game until it's his turn – chatting with his caddy, seemingly in a bubble, as if it were just a round with buddies where nothing big was happening. He re-entered his golf round 15 seconds before he hit his shot. In and out of the bubble as smoothly as it gets. Watch it here at the 3:51 mark..

Tip 4 - How to Deal with Disturbance

This is just my approach, and if you can take something from it, great.

Feeling nervous for a special shot, whether it's the first tee in front of a crowd or the final shot to close down a match -> TRUST your Shot-Making Process.

When your thoughts race back and forth in time on the course between shots, like contemplating if birdieing the next two holes will put you under par -> Go straight to your Attitude - why do you play the game? That will make most of those thoughts disappear.

If your shot-making breaks down during the round, and you have a hard time figuring it out -> Can you do it on the driving range? If so, you can do it on the course -> Trust Your Shot-Making Process.

When the under-par ghost comes chasing you, like being 3 under with 4 holes to play -> Go straight to the Attitude. You don’t play for results; you play for the enjoyment of your choosing.

After the round, most people calculate statistics. Well, do yourself a favor and include statistics on how you handled the mental department.

So, you've got the drill by now, right? Keep the result away from your Attitude and your Shot-Making Process. Play golf for the least amount of time, and your chance for success is the biggest (or at least has been for me).

In this data-driven, crazy world where people need to know everything about anything, golf isn't an exception. Do yourself a favor and tally your statistics when the round is finished. It gives you nothing during the round but reduces the possibility of falling into the result-chasing delusion.

Write down your stats after the round is complete.

Summary of the Mental Game

Think about and write down your mental attitude towards the game -> it will be a door-opener to perform what you want on the course.

Create a tailor-made Shot-Making Process that you perform on every single long shot on the course. That’s your round goal.

Play golf when it’s your turn and completely disconnect between shots. Watch the trees, talk to your buddy, do whatever, but don’t play golf between shots. Trust the process. Use your Attitude and Shot-Making Process to battle disturbance.

Finally - including the mental aspect of your game in your statistics is an eye-opener.

How to Train - Use Your Time Smartly

This guide is made for you that don’t have all the time in the world to play and train golf. You likely put aside way too much time already (from your family perspective) so let’s use what you have in a smart way.

Initial Statement

I never just go to the range and hit balls without a plan. I used to do that but it never really had any impact. It wasn’t transferring to the course.

This section is segmented into Long Game Training and Short Game Training.

Long Game Training

Course Replication Session (Driving Range)

Goal & Outcome

To train my Shot Making Process and replicate course gameplay. To understand my shot dispersion pattern and build confidence in my aiming. To marry my technical thoughts with feelings that are easy to call upon on the course.


That I don’t have a two way miss. If I do I will do another training form until I’m fit for this type of session. 


  • 20 nonsense warmup shots where I just get the juices flowing.
  • Then I step into 3 Shot Making Process shots where I take e.g. a 7 iron and just go through my process like on the course. Like a mental warm up.
  • After that I “play” 9 holes on my course on the range. 
  • Every shot I hit is with the Shot Making Process. And every shot has a 15-30 sec pause in between (yes you should do a minute but…)
  • If it’s a teeshot you tee it. If it’s an approach you play non teed. So for my home course front 9: Teeshot 2 iron, Approach 7 iron, Teeshot 3 wood, Approach 8 iron, Teeshot Driver, Approach 3 wood, Teeshot 8 iron etc.. 16 shots total 

Time Needed

1,5-2 hours

One Dimensional Pattern Session (Driving Range)

Goal & Outcome

Eliminate the two way miss via understanding how you feel your release and your club closing mechanism. It’s about understanding your true power source (the one that produces accurate distance) and mastering it to a very high level. It sounds boring but it’s the underbelly of my whole effort in the long game.

Again, I step into this session every time I feel that I don’t produce One Dimensional Golf. It happens more often than you think.


That I actually know what technique framework I’m doing. That I know what my release style is and where my power comes from. Again, erase noise and focus on what is important for you. If you don’t know - study it here.


  • 10-20 warmup nonsense balls. No meaning to these except the juices flowing.
  • From here I jump into a three shot club sequence. I don’t bother with my shot making routine here. 3 shots per club in the bag. I start with the SW and work myself to the driver. That’s a total of 39 shots and it goes much faster than the Course Replication Session.. 
  • If I have more than 2-3 big misses to the wrong side I will go ahead and do it again.
  • If I succeed in delivering my pattern I will now jump into 1 shot per club with a Shot Making Process. 13 shots in total 

Time Needed

1-2 hours

Swing Change Training (A Net in the Backyard..)

This isn’t my training routine but many people try to accomplish something without the proper groundwork. Be honest with yourself. Do you have the understanding and movement patterns to make it work or do you need to do something about it?

Goal & Outcome

So this is for you that can’t produce a one dimensional shot dispersion pattern no matter how hard you try. You just don’t have the right movements. Don’t worry - it’s all something that you can remedy but you don’t do it at the driving range. Seeing the ball flight in these type of sessions is counter productive 

Long story short - your goal is to change your motor pattern with drills.

Progression & Time Needed

Figure out what technique you try to accomplish. Go to this guide and figure it out.

Time Needed for a proper swing change is 1-3 months depending on how active you are. Do yourself a favor and just don’t play course golf during this time. Just go off grid and come back with a better motor pattern.

Short Game Training

It’s so easy to slip into “only long game mode” since it’s more fun but don’t underestimate putting in some effort into the short game. These drills are the easiest way to shave shots off your score.

Putt Scrambling Session

Goal & Outcome

Train my stroke through the drill and build confidence in scrambling


  • I choose a hole on the green and put down 4 pegs 3 meters from the hole. In all directions. Then I pursue to put 1 ball per direction until I have hit 20 putts (go five rounds in a circle). 10 of them need to go in.
  • When I have completed that I repeat the story on another hole with other angles. 

Time Needed

0,5-1 hour

Putt for Birdies Session

Goal & Outcome

Teaching your brain that you can hole puts and build confidence. Bonus is stroke training.


  • Choose a 5 meter putt of your liking and put a tee where you want to start
  • Sink 5 putts in a row. If I miss one then I start over

Time Needed

0,5-2 Hours

Lag Putting Session

Goal & Outcome

Establish a relationship to your home turf and feel more comfortable playing for “safe areas” on the greens on tough holes.


  • Choose random 10+ meter puts and make the ball roll in the hole. My whole attitude here is that I want the ball to fall into the hole. If I miss the put it should be a dead gimmie next to the hole.
  • I read every putt backwards = I look at how the ball should enter the hole and draw my intended putting line this way. This gives me a much better understanding of where my start line should be.

Time Needed

20 minutes. That’s roughly how long your “internal computer” can calculate distances subconsciously.

Chip & Run Session

Goal & Outcome

Replicating standard chip shots on the course. A feeling of that leaving myself within scrambling distance is an easy task.


  • I take 5 balls and my two clubs (one for low and one for high) and I go to my 10 meter distance area and drop the balls from hip high. I play them as they lie and choose the club I feel is the best option. No need to overcomplicate things.
  • 2 rounds at 10 meters (to the pin) and half needs to be within 2 meters.
  • If successful I go to 20 meters and with the same result goal
  • If successful I go to 30 meters but here I lower my demand to 3 meters.

Time Needed

0,5-1 hour

Lob Shot Play Around Session

Goal & Outcome

This is all about playing around and having fun. The outcome is that you get a better feel in your hands and that all of a sudden your normal chip & run seems real easy. 

(How often do you need to hit a flop shot? If too often you need to address your course mgmt skills…)


  • Just choose random pretty neat lies and perform lob shots
  • I don’t have any particular result goal here because it’s more about getting a feel for the club
Time Needed

15 minutes

Bunker 10 meters

Goal & Outcome

Cement that you can scramble from the bunker without any issues. 


  • I bring 10 balls into the bunker and bring the rake with me. Then I place my ball in different lies (uphill, downhill, underneath and above) and try to get it close to the flag.
  • I do three sets of 10 balls here and I want to have 50% within two meters. If I don’t succeed I do 1 set at a time until I succeed.

Time Needed

30 Minutes

The Pre Round Warm Up

Most people do some kind of range session technique training where they beat out 50-100 balls in warm up for a golf round. I don’t know why.

For me it’s all about making a physical and mental warm up of what’s to come. Put as little mental energy as possible into it. (I can even go as far to question some of the professionals' long warm up routines.)

The point is. Playing golf on the course only allows you to perform what you already know. If you are working on your technique then you probably should be doing that rather than playing 18 holes. Don’t MIX.

This is the routine I do

Warm Up

  • Just some movement exercises for the legs, core, shoulders and so on. Whatever you like. 1-2 minutes on this
  • 10  play around nonsense shots where I just get a feel for the club. I care NOTHING about the result here

Long Game (just to get into your Shot Making Process)

  • 5 Course Replicant Shots where I do my Shot Making Process . Again, I only care about my ability to do my process. The results are only outcomes of my process actions.
  • Finally I steal Tiger Woods' recipe of finishing off with the same club as the teeshot on the first tee.

Short Game (just to know you’ve got it)

  • 5 easy chip and runs
  • 5 bunker shots
  • 5 1 meter putts just to get the hole it feeling
  • 5 lag putts

Mental Game Attitude Check (ready, set, go)

I remind myself to trust the process and what my attitude towards the game is. In my case - learning and loving trajectories.

I set up my goal for the round which is always the same - Perform my Shot Making Process on each long game shot.

Then Tee Off...

How to Achieve It - The Breaking Par Loop

You’ve made it this far. Great, I appreciate you taking your time. Now, let’s make an actual plan for reaching the goal of producing a low number.

Firstly, Do You have the Basic Requirements in Order?

  • Do you dash out 220m/240y with the driver (total distance)? 
  • Do you have a dispersion pattern that eliminates one of the two big misses?

If you need swing changes - do these first and use my other guide to help out. It’s a 1-3 months process where you basically go off the golfing grid to change your motor pattern.

The Breaking Par Loop

I call the below my Breaking Par Loop where you now step into the grind of achieving your goal. You have eliminated all noise and can start both training and playing with a clear intent. 

Overview of the Loop

  • Each Loop starts with a full round of 18 holes. You do your pre round routine and clearly state your goal for the round
  • Actionable Statistics.
  • 2 training occasions & eventual studies based on your Statistics
  • Onto the next loop

The Loop - Component Explanation

The 18 hole round
  • What’s your goal? Perform your Shot Making Process on each shot. Conserve energy via going in and out of the bubble (again, the only thing you can affect is your actions. These are what leads to a score. Thinking about a specific score will just deviate yourself from the task) 
  • What’s your attitude? Mine is to be in a learning mode and loving trajectories.
Write Your Statistics
  • Green In Regulation
  • Bad Spots After Tee Shots
  • Amount of Wrong Big Misses
  • Amount of Birdies
  • Short Putting Skills (1-3m conversion)
  • 3 putts from Lag Distance
  • Scrambling from Chipping
  • Scrambling from Bunker
  • Mental - Shot Making Process Completion - Grade yourself 1/10 on how well you did
  • Mental - Going in and out of the Bubble - 1-10 how well you did
  • Mental - Attitude Consistency - Did you manage to keep the attitude? 1-10

This is what you write down after each round. It takes 10 minutes to do and it gives you all the data you need for the following part of the loop.

How to Choose Your Training Sessions

I dedicate 2-3  hours for each occasion and I want 2 occasions between each round. 

What I choose is very much weighed on why I didn’t make it last time. In life it’s much more fulfilling to focus on your strengths. In golf your mistakes cost you more than your good stuff gives you. Grind your shortcomings to an adequate level and then focus on strengths.

Real Life of Progressing the Plan - 1st Loop

The 18 Hole Round

Playing PGA National in Sweden Links Course. Normal Condition with 5-6 mps winds.

I shot a 76 (+4)  where I felt that I left much on the table.

Actionable Statistics

  • Green In Regulation 11
  • Bad Spots After Tee Shots 4
  • Amount of Wrong Big Misses 1
  • Amount of Birdies 2
  • Short Putting Skills (1-3m conversion) 30%
  • 3 putts from Lag Distance 1
  • Scrambling from Chipping 40% 2/5
  • Scrambling from Bunker 50% 1/2
  • Mental - Shot Making Process Completion 7
  • Mental - Going in and out of the Bubble 5
  • Mental - Attitude Consistency 8

I putted like crap this day and was lacking confidence. My approach play was ok but not great. I felt like I didn’t really trust the process and drained myself a bit.

Training Selection

Occasion 1 - Putting & Course Replication

1x Putt Scrambling Session

1x Lag Putting

1x Course Replication Session 

This took me 2,5 hours and I felt much more confident in putting after it. Also fun to finish off with some long game shots.

Occasion 2 - Course Replication & Putt for Birdies

1x Course Replication

1x Putt for Birdies

Took me 3 hours because Putt for Birdies used all 2 hours.

Next Round - 2nd Loop

It really paid off. Played the same course in normal conditions and shot a 72 (par).  I Feel like something is happening in the right direction here.

Actionable Statistics

  • Green In Regulation 12
  • Bad Spots After Tee Shots 2
  • Amount of Wrong Big Misses 0
  • Amount of Birdies 3
  • Short Putting Skills (1-3m conversion) 50%
  • 3 putts from Lag Distance 0
  • Scrambling from Chipping 50% 3/6
  • Scrambling from Bunker NA
  • Mental - Shot Making Process Completion 9
  • Mental - Going in and out of the Bubble 8
  • Mental - Attitude Consistency 8

I managed to stick many approaches and made something happen out of the par5s. The mental department was really up to speed this time and had much less leakage.

Training Selection

Basically the bad stuff seemed to be alright so let’s focus on strengths.

Occasion 1

Course Replication Super Session - Spent 2 hours on doing course play on the range. Strengthening and powering the Shot Making Process

Occasion 2

Light Course Replicant Session (just keeping it alive for 30 minutes)

Putt for Birdies - chose another type of brake to life it up. Took only 1 hour to complete this time. 

1,5 hours all together

Next Round - 3rd Loop

I played the Barsebäck Pine Course and broke par for the first time in my life. Shot a -2 69. 

Actionable Statistics

  • Green In Regulation 14
  • Bad Spots After Tee Shots 0
  • Amount of Wrong Big Misses 0
  • Amount of Birdies 3 and 1 eagle
  • Short Putting Skills (1-3m conversion) 50%
  • 3 putts from Lag Distance 0
  • Scrambling from Chipping 66% 2/3
  • Scrambling from Bunker 1/1 100%
  • Mental - Shot Making Process Completion 10
  • Mental - Going in and out of the Bubble 7
  • Mental - Attitude Consistency 8

Basically it was all about enhancing my Shot Making Process. Once I had gotten rid of my weak links it was very fun to see that my efforts on my strengths really paid off. I did 3 birdies on par4s and an eagle on a par5.

It was very tough in the going in and out of the bubble department though. I was very drained after having the under par ghost chasing me the last 10 holes. My playing buddy was nice enough to remind me that I was 3 under after 8 holes. But I did trust the Shot Making Process and at the end this was the game changer. And the loop goes on and on. 15 loops later I posted my lowest score of my life. The process - always the same. 

In this link you have a PDF with the actual loop. Print out 10 of them and make it your Breaking Par Plan.

Thank you for seeing this through. Grind and grind and grind and the results will come to you. Good luck with your Breaking Par Plan and please reach out if you have any questions.

Petter Tärbe, Co-Founder Snöleo,