Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Bounce Back Stat

For a kid who didn't care for math in school, it is amazing how much I love to study statistics.  If you have read the book Moneyball, you will quickly understand how our accepted way of thinking is often disputed by statistics.  In the book, Michael Lewis writes of how baseball owners slowly adopted the ideas of young, whiz kids who played fantasy baseball and studied the statistics.  Guys like Kevin Youkilis, who were said to have a "bad body" by scouts and had gone undrafted, were now studied using statistics instead of human opinions.  When looking at the statistics, it was found that Youkilis got on base at an extremely high percentage, due to both his ability to hit and to draw walks.  The long accepted way of scouting for talent became statistics based instead of opinion based. 

In golf, there are a lot of important statistics, such as greens hit, p.g.i.r. (putts on greens hit in regulation), and up and down stats.  These are the meat of the scoring stats.  A stat that signals mental toughness is the bounce back stat.  The bounce back stat keeps track of the score you make on any hole after making anything but par.  For example, if you par the first, bogey the second hole and par the third, you will be 1 for 1 in your bounce back.  It is also important to see if you stay in the game after a birdie.  If you go birdie, birdie on #4 and #5, but bogey the sixth hole, you will be 1 for 2 in bounce back for that stretch.

This statistic is an indicator of how well you stay in the present and how well you stick to your game plan.  If you make a mistake and take a double bogey, do you then press and try to make up for your mistake?  If that is a habit, it will show in this statistic.  When you make a birdie or two, do you abandon your game plan and start shooting at pins?  That will also show.  A consistent approach to the game and a firm game plan will keep you steady on the course and keep you focused on what is important - the next shot.

Here is a link to the PGA's Bounce Back Stat  If you want to track your own bounce back stat, all you need to do is keep track of your score on holes after a birdie or bogey or higher and if it is a par or birdie, you get a tally mark in the positive.  When I was coaching, one of my players, Ashley Knoll, had a semester with a perfect bounce back score.  She ended that year ranked #2 in the nation and was named to the All America team.  The correlation between the bounce back stat and the ability to score is a strong one and keeping track of it should help you learn to stay in the present and stick to the game plan.

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