By Mark Fairbank, BSI Mental Coach and Head of Golf Performance
No matter how good a player is, they will hit bad shots and they will have bad holes during their round. The key to keeping a tidy scorecard, is how well we bounce back after each bad shot or a bad hole.
A common mistake is believing that bouncing back from a bogey or double bogey means that we should try make a birdie on the very next hole to get the shot back as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this leads to an inevitable downward spiral of more bogeys or worse. In an attempt to make birdies to bounce back on the scorecard, we make bad decisions, take more risks and attempt to hit shots that we have a low percentage of pulling off, this all leads to more bad holes and ultimately our round unravelling further. Bouncing back means we follow a mistake or bad hole, with better routine, better self-control and importantly with a smart decision. We must regain control of ourselves, our emotions, our processes and commit to good decisions, through this we will then bounce back.
A similar philosophy applies after a single bad shot during a hole, if we have hit our tee shot in the trees, we cannot follow this with an overly aggressive and risky recovery in order to undo the damage we have just done, we must make the smartest decision we can and look to execute a shot we have confidence we can pull off, not attempt something new that we hardly practice. If we follow a poor shot with a poor decision, we will unravel on that hole and walk off with an undesirable score. Following a poor shot with a smart decision means we have regained control of ourselves, of the hole and bounced back correctly, this will inevitably reflect positively on the scorecard.
A good bounce back from a bad hole doesn’t have to reflect immediately, if we have made a double bogey, to follow that with three or four pars in a row is a great way to steady the ship, if we are then able to throw in a birdie five holes later, we have effectively gone from two over par through one hole, to one over par through five holes, this is a good bounce back.
Enjoy your golf more, not by getting angry from a bad shot or bad holes, but by challenging yourself to how well you can bounce back out there.