Implicit Overcompensation: Why putting can be so hard

by   |   January 21, 2013
putting practice

By Domenic Crouch
GolfWRX Contributor

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Troy Vayanos

    January 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    It’s funny how the mind works sometimes on the golf course.

    We make adjustments after a previous poor shot and more often than not we overcompensate and end up worse than before.

    This is what makes the game of golf such a challenge and why we keep turning up every week to play.

  2. 8thehardway

    January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    This article is cluttered with unsupported conclusions, ambiguity and contradictions. Your observation that we “should make a correct read” and not “create compensations” says nothing of how compensation occur or how to recognize them when they crop up; you don’t explore compensation, explain what “implicit” has to do with it or address the paradox of using the “previous experience” that engenders overcompensation while also using it to execute putts based on correctly reading a green.

    And the 5th paragraph is a truly unfortunate collection of words.

  3. SCOTT MILLER

    January 21, 2013 at 11:43 am

    AWESOME ARTICLE ABOUT TOE HITS. THANKS FOR THE HEADS UP. ARE THERE ANY DRILLS THAT CAN HEP CORRECT THE TOO STEEP SWING? MIRROR HELPS SOME.
    THANKS
    SCOTT MILLER

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