Does Shooting 79 Count as Breaking 80?

Ok, I have a friend who broke 80 recently. This guy is a mediocre golfer by all accounts, but sometimes he blacks out and shoots better than his totally average 14 handicap index would suggest.

So this friend had a 79. It was a real 79, involving 2 penalty strokes and everything was putt into the hole, so no 4 foot gimmes.

Here’s the possible catch, my friends. It was from the white tees at this particular course, which has a rating of 67.5 and slope of 121, playing to a yardage of about 5,600, par 71.

Does that count as being able to answer “Yes” to the question of have you broken 80? Is it, Yes, but it needs a qualifier, such as the course was playing 5,600 yards? Or is the answer, Nope, that’s nothing more than a modestly brutish executive course, so sorry Charlie, step back to the blues and show me that 79 and then we’ll talk.

Your thoughts???

It’s a really short course, but I’d say it still counts as it’s a par 71.


Yes - 79 < 80 so if he wants to he can. 121 slope is enough.

However- it’s a valid question. The lowest I ever shot for 18 was at a par 71 that was 5300 yards, slope 113. I do not factor it in to my own record book.



It for sure counts.

Also, who’s asking? Why do they care? Anyone bragging about shooting a score is an ass, anyone knocking down someone’s score is an ass too. It’s a catch-22 of assness.


@DeepFriedEgg is a decent post detective…

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5600? I could break 80 using only my putter. Doesn’t count.

I reckon it counts for sure. Under 113 slope and you’d maybe be giving him the side-eye, but like @Rmbship says, 121 is plenty.


I guess it’s personal preference.

Only time I’ve broken 80 was last month at a par 66 (rating 63) where I shot 73.

It was still the best round I’ve ever played in terms of my golf game. But effectively it was 10 over (based on the rating of 63), rather than 6 over the par.

In your friend’s case - he could keep shooting 79 on that course, but that will never get his handicap to below 12.

I guess the whole point of breaking 80 is that you would mean you are playing to single figures. i.e. breaking 80 every other round, playing a par 72, 6,700 yard course would trend towards becoming single figures.

I wouldn’t count it.

I had the exact same on Saturday, shot 79 on a par 71, 5750 yard course. It didn’t feel great after so I don’t really count it. If your friend isn’t sure then it’s also not the real deal.

10 rounds of 79 at that course as his only recorded rounds would get his index to 10.2.

If he went and played 1 round at Bethpage Black and shot 90 he’d be a single digit index with the rest of those recorded rounds.

Breaking 80 every other round on 6700 yard courses would likely give you a very low index. Pending slope and rating but my guess would be something in the 3-5 range.

I guess my overall point is the golfer you’re describing is a lot better than I think you think it would be in regards to an index. Consistently breaking 80 from 6700 yard courses is very good. Breaking 80 from a 5600 yard course is also good and shouldn’t be looked down on or excused away because of slope ratings.

The refuge loves to project itself on the weirdest shit.


Fair enough. I’m a UK golfer so was just basing it off the course rating as a rough guide.

Did he break 80? Yes. Does “breaking 80” usually mean trending to single digits? Yes. Is he really trending to single digits? Probably not ? Did he legitimately break 80? Yes. Does it matter? Depends, but not for you!

If someone asks him “Have you broken 80?” and he says “Yes”, are you going to cut him off and add the qualifier? That’s kinda shit, right?

On the other hand, if he says “I’ve broken 80” on a teebox, you can offer him less strokes now via the back of your hand :slight_smile:

Breaking 80 is breaking 80, and breaking par is breaking par. If I broke par from the women’s tees (surprisingly hard to do at most places), I’d probably have a disclaimer when I told people, but I also hang my hat on my golf differently than most. YMMV!


I’m starting to agree with Tom Coyne. Who, as a player who has APPROACHED consistently playing at scratch (he has a handicap now, but played as a +2 during Paper Tiger). He chooses a course rating of as close to 72 as he can to judge both his play AND the course when he plays.

Mind you, I’m inferring much of this. We’ve played a little, and this is based on our conversations, and his choices of which tees to play.

Thusly, for this guy, who is a 14, you could say adjusting for the course, his handicap would have been closer to a 10, so an 81 would have been inline with his ability. If he normally shoots in the mid to high 80s, I would put this round on par with an 82 or an 83, and can see why you’re asking. Either way, it’s still a 79, but no more impressive than a couple shots better than his handicap.

what’s the math here?

I just plugged it in a free index handicap calculator. 10 rounds at that rating and slope was 10.2.
I added an 11th round of 90 at Bethpage and that got it to single digits. And then I did 10 rounds of 79 at a course in my hometown that plays to 6700 yards 74.5/134 and that would get you to a 3.2 index.

my thoughts are that this thread and asking this question makes you sound like a hater…be happy for your buddy, he is a 14 handicap who shot 79


Interesting. the 3.2 makes sense given the 74.5 rating to me. I guess I didn’t fully realize that a 121 slope on what seemed like it would be a goat track did that much to an index.

while i understand your line of thinking, how do you feel about shooting a 79 on 9 holes? I mean, there ARE qualifiers. How about on a 17 hole par 3 course like the Sandbox?

If someone wants to say they broke 80, what stake in that do I have? Good for them, it’s their self-determined accomplishment not mine.

We really are discussing how to gatekeep “breaking 80” here? New lows…