Breaking 80 just once in his career is often enough to bring elation to an amateur golfer. Whether a golfer is looking to become a player who consistently shoots in the 70s, or is an 80s golfer just looking to work his way below the 80-stroke mark once to say he has done it, the key to breaking 80 is approaching the course with the proper mind-set, and making decisions on the course with the intent of maximizing the odds of shooting in the 70s.
Check your gear regularly to ensure that it is in top condition. Balls that have scuffs in them will not fly straight. Clubs with slick grips will be difficult to control, forcing you to oversqueeze, costing you accuracy.
Remain calm on the course, even if bad shots occur. Trying to overcompensate for a bad shot often leads to further bad shots, and more overcompensation, causing an entire round to unravel.
Make adjustments during the round to correct problems that arise. If you are constantly mishitting your driver off the tee, switch to a smaller wood when teeing off, maintaining accuracy over the difference in distance, thus avoiding penalty strokes or difficult shots out of the rough.
Take note of the lie of your ball in relation to your feet before taking a practice swing. Many golfers take their practice swings before addressing the ball, then fail to adjust when the ball is higher or lower than their feet. By addressing the ball, then stepping back, you prepare yourself for where on the grips you should be when swinging.
Assess the course before beginning a round, identifying holes that you have the potential to score well on, and holes that could cost you multiple strokes and should be approached with caution to avoid committing costly penalties.
Play smart on the course, and don't take unnecessary risks. Know that on an average par-72 course, you can afford to bogey seven holes and still break 80, and by adding as few as two birdies on holes that you can score well on, you enable yourself to bogey half the holes you play. When a shot goes wrong, and a par seems difficult, sometimes the smart play to make is to accept that your new target for the hole is a one-over-par bogey.
Practice at the driving range between rounds to fix errors in your game that consistently pop up. Attempting to correct a slicing drive on the course will only lead to frustration. However, time on the range can be used to remedy that slice so the driver can again come out of your bag.
Know your goal and what you need to attain it. If simply shooting your best is your goal, and you hope to break 80 in doing so, then just playing every hole as best you can is the right strategy. If coming down the final holes with your primary goal being to break 80, adjust your game accordingly. Play conservatively if you have wiggle room below 80, and can afford a bogey or two, but play aggressive and go for the shots you need if low scores are needed—if your goal is 79 or less, there is little difference between an 80 and an 83.