Implicit Overcompensation: Why putting can be so hard
By Domenic Crouch
I am going to start this article with a question: Have you ever left a 10 footer halfway and then hit the remaining 5 footer 5 feet past?
If so, you may recall that the next comment following this is: “Why didn’t you do that the first time?”
There is a highly patterned thought process we go through in this instance, and in this article I hope to demonstrate this and help remove this from your game. When this issue is removed from your game it essentially enables you to become a “play one shot a time” golfer.
Implicit overcompensation is the thought pattern I alluded to — it happens when we use our previous experiences to alter our impending execution. Had you hit the last putt short, you overcompensate by hitting the next putt harder. This could happen on your immediate next putt on the same green, on the next hole, or five holes later when you face a similar putt in length and break. Conversely, had you hit your putt 5 feet past, chances are the next read will change to consider the green as much faster than it is. Consequentially, the putt will finish well short of the hole.
While this is an important concept, little effort is needed to remove implicit compensation from your game. Changing this process, rather, is centered on an awareness of this process that is crucial to its removal from the reading of putts. Being aware of this form of thinking, it can then be accounted for by our conscious mind.
Green reading is an important avenue for success in golf. We are all aware of the influence of our putting performance from the work of Dave Pelz, with 46 percent of the score devoted to the flat stick. Therefore, in ensuring we putt well (and score well), we must ensure each read is correct. To make a correct read we must account for all the vital variables, and not undercut our own intelligence by creating overcompensations.
So, in order to putt well we must account for as many variables in the correct manner. allow our well trained subconscious to process the information, decide on and visualize your key indicators, and hit the putt we see.
This process must be always performed in isolation. Practice makes perfect, and if your putting practice currently involves comparing one putt to the next, expect implicit overcompensations on the course. You must train yourself on the putting green to read each putt by itself and hit each putt in isolation.