What Percent Of Golfers Break 90? [And How Long]

For many new amateur golfers, their goal is to try and break 90 as quickly as possible. Once they’ve managed to breach the 100 mark, the next step is beating 90.

But what percentage of golfers actually manage to shoot a score lower than 90? Let’s find out.

What Percent Of Golfers Break 90?

What Percent Of Golfers Break 90?

What Percent Of Golfers Break 90?

According to the United States Golf Association (USGA) handicap statistics, around 75% of male golfers and 20% of female golfers can break 90 on a regular basis, although the number of golfers who are consistently beating 90 is actually far less.

Although the golf course par can vary, the average par rating is 72. This therefore means that players with a handicap of 18 or better are those breaking 90.

This data takes into account the golfers that have a registered handicap of 18 or better, so should be shooting scores of around the 90 mark or better.

However, it does only take into account the golfers who have a registered golf handicap, roughly 3 million in the US, which is only about 12% of the total golfers in the US.

You’ve also got the fact that most of the golfers with a handicap of around 18 are only breaking 90 occasionally and not consistently as their handicap would suggest.

Therefore, it’s pretty safe to say that across the world, the number of golfers who can actually break 90 legitimately (no gimmies or mulligans) is less than 10% of golfers.

How Long To Break 90 In Golf?

For most golfers, it can take 3 years or longer to get to a standard of golf that is good enough to break 90.

However, this time frame can vary greatly because of a number of factors:

Natural Talent

Each golfer is different. From shape, power, flexibility and hand-eye coordination.

Some might be naturally gifted to the game and find that they can beat 90 within just a few months. Other golfers might never actually be able to break 90 and they’re not too fussed about it.


It will also very much depend on the level of time and practice that is dedicated to golf and breaking 90.

Some golfers might be practicing and playing 3 or 4 times a week. This would mean they’re far more likely to break 90 sooner than someone that is only playing once a month.


It’s not that important when you’re just starting out, but having good equipment which is well-suited to your game will help shoot better scores more quickly.

It shouldn’t be your main focus, unlike building solid fundamentals, but it should be something you think about as scores begin to get lower.

Starting Point

Where you’re starting from is a big influence in how long it will take to break 90.

A total beginner who has only just heard of golf is going to take way longer than someone that played it occasionally as a child or was very good at another sport.

I was very young when I first got into the game of golf. As a little 7 year old, it physically wasn’t possible for me to break 90 the same way someone aged 80 would also struggle.


Getting regular coaching is a great way of improving at golf and will most likely help speed up time to beat 90.

A good quality coach can build your golf game and show you how to practice effectively. The can also help you develop good habits early on and offer feedback on how to go from breaking 100 to breaking 90 and so on.

Ultimately, the answer for how long does it take to break 90 is “how long is a piece of string”. If you’re willing to dedicate yourself to improving and becoming a better golfer, you can help shorten the time it takes to break 90.

However, for the average golfer, it can take years or even decades before their average golf score is less than 90.

How Do You Score Less Than 90 In Golf?

Shooting lower scores than 90 is a major milestone for any new golfer, but it takes a good skill level and lots of practice to be able to achieve it.

Those looking to beat 90 are going to have to develop all aspects of their games, from long game to their mental game.

Here’s a few tips on what to do to be breaking 90:

Solid Fundamentals

A good golf score starts with some great swing fundamentals which need to be learned and mastered.

The correct grip, stance and posture are things in a golf swing which can be worked on until they feel comfortable and normal each time you setup for a golf shot.

With these fundamentals, a golfer can begin to develop a tempo and rhythm which will help build muscle memory through regular driving range practice.

Short Game

The short game is an area in golf which often gets overlooked by new golfers. It’s far more fun to try at hit the ball 300 yards with a driver than work on 3 foot putts, after all.

But short game is one of, if not, the best way a golfer can learn to break 90 consistently.

A great short game can get you out of all sorts of trouble when you need it. You’re not going to be hitting every fairway and green in a round, so having a way of scrambling and saving a good score is important.

Breaking 90 is essentially playing bogey golf, a bogey on each hole to shoot a total of 18 over par. Therefore, eliminating double bogeys or worse through a solid short game will lead to lower scores.

Course Management

A lot of what breaking 90 requires is keeping your golf ball out of trouble, which is where good course management comes into playing golf.

Many average golfers will see a par 4 or par 5 hole and immediately think to hit driver as hard as they can. But many times, this isn’t the right play.

Choosing to hit an iron on a tee shot instead of a driver to miss the trees. Or laying up to a yardage which you’re more comfortable with. Or even aiming away from a flag stick to avoid a water hazard.

All of these are great course management decisions which require some thought and planning, but will help to reduce the bad shots and help lower scores.

Mental Game

Golf is as much about the mental game as it is the physical game.

As the great Arnold Palmer once said, “Golf is a game of inches. The most important are the six inches between your ears.”

For many amateur golfers, one bad shot can lead to a downward spiral and ruin the rest of a round. But keeping calm and sticking to your game plan is vital to breaking 90.

As an amateur golfer, you’re going to hit some bad shots. Golf is too difficult not to.

But it’s how you react to those bad shots and how you deal with them for the rest of your round. Focus on what’s ahead of you rather than what you’ve already played.

Club Selection and Knowledge

Knowing your yardages on the course is a real superpower for any golfer.

Being able to confidently stand up to a shot knowing that you’ve got the correct golf club means that you can trust it and put a good swing on it.

Find a rangefinder or a good GPS watch or app and you’ll have the exact yardage for every shot you play during a round, so that you can make club selection decisions.

Play Smart

Don’t ever try and be a hero when you’re out on the golf course.

Yes, it’s cool when that shot from the trees, with the smallest possible gap, comes off, but it’s a 1 in a 100 shot to pull off. The other 99 attempts are ending up back over your head and you’re walking away with an 8.

Aim for bogey golf and take your medicine if you have to. A chip out to the fairway might look exciting, but it gives a far better chance of avoiding the higher scores.

Play Regularly

Ultimately, the you can practice as much as you like, but breaking 90 will come down to how well you perform out on the golf course.

Therefore it’s important to get the reps in on the golf course as much as it is to do on the driving range.

Play more and get more comfortable with playing on different types of golf courses and conditions.

Final Thoughts

For most amateur golfers, their goal is to play a round of golf in under 90 shots, however for many their average score will be far higher.

Having said that, with structured practice and smart playing, many golfers can break 90 in their golfing careers


What percentage of golfers break 90 in golf?

About 10% of golfers can break 90 on a regular basis,

How many rounds of golf does it take to break 90?

It usually takes at least 50 rounds of golf before a golfer is able to break 90, however this number can depend on multiple factors such as skill level and golf course type.

Is it hard to break 90?

Yes, it’s not easy to break 90 in golf and many players will never be able to achieve it.

Ed Welton

Founder, Editor

Ed is the founder and editor at EEE Golf. He’s been playing golf for over 20 years, competing in many top amateur events. He’s played courses all over the world and played with some of the best players in the game. His aim is to help educate people about the game of golf and give insights into the sport he loves most.

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