I thought I would build on, or rather continue the theme of the 80/20 rule from last week and talk about numbers as they relate to scoring. Therefore, I will pose a question. If you think about your handicap, what then, would you consider a good score? What should you expect to shoot each time you go out to play, on average? As you consider what this number might be, I thought I would touch upon the idea of the Bell Curve and how it relates to golf. First however, we need a flashback.
We all remember the Curve from school, don’t we? Mrs. Abbott would get up in front of the class and declare that the test we were about to take would be graded on a Bell Curve…so get your pencils out, sit up straight and when I say begin, you may turn your papers over…. Ahh, the memories of days gone by and the joys of test taking. In the end, there’s an average score, with the majority of test takers falling into that category. Of course there are the highs and the lows, and all the scores find their way on a graph. The bulk of us find ourselves smack dab in the middle. If we had only opened the book to study…AT ALL! But I digress…….
Now, back to golf. And the story begins……you head out on a Saturday to play with your friends. Your handicap is a 13, you feel great and you’re hitting the ball like nobody’s business. You make a rough calculation that you’ll probably shoot anywhere from 80 – 85 today and off you go! The round unfolds and things are not going quite as you had anticipated. A couple of doubles and a triple and your number is climbing! That’s ok you tell yourself, you have 6 holes left to play. “If I just par 4 of the last 6 holes and birdie the other two, I’ll be ok.” No problem! Well, the numbers you end up writing down on the card, are nowhere near the estimated calculation you’ve made to save the day. Your finishing score? 91. You are beside yourself. “What?! A 91?..how did this happen?”
Actually, the 91 is right within in your range of scoring. The problem is, it’s on the higher end of your “bell curve” of scores and you only want to see the lower end. Here’s the dilemma….non of us want to believe we will have any more high scores, especially after our most recent handicap update! Now some of our scores are low (we love those), some are high (not our favorite) and the rest are about average. In statistics, the bell curve represents normal distribution. The shape of the curve indicates that the majority of scores will concentrate in the center with a decrease on either side. If we take all of our scores and plot them on a graph, we’re likely to see the beautiful bell. The 91 is in there along with the awesome 80 we shot last week. They’re all part of the mix and the truth of the matter is, we can’t control or even predict when or which score will find its way to the score card! In fact, statistics prove that we will play average or better only 50% of the time.
So what can we come to expect? What we can always count on is that we WILL have a final score at the end of the round and it WILL be within our estimated scoring range. The more we understand and accept our Bell Curve and all the scores that lie within it, the more we take the pressure off our need to “post a low number”. Embrace YOUR Bell Curve and you’ll enjoy the game more than you ever thought you could. Power to the Bell!!