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Implicit Overcompensation: Why putting can be so hard

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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

3 Comments

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Jan 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

    Jan 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

    Jan 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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Instruction

Trackman Tuesday (Episode 2): Driver Loft

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Welcome to Episode 2 of Trackman Tuesday. In this weekly series, I will be using Trackman data to help you understand the game of golf in a little more detail and help you hit better shots and play better golf.

In this week’s episode, I look at driver loft. What effect does driver loft have on your shots and how important is it, really?

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Instruction

How Far Away from the Ball Should You Be at Address?

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How far away from the ball should you be at address? This video is in response to a question from Tom McCord on Facebook.

In this video, I look at the setup position. I offer a simple way to check your distance from the ball at address with your driver, irons and wedges.

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Instruction

Tour Pros Revealed: 3 Tests to See How You Stack Up

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You want to be better at golf, more consistent and longer off the tee. I am sure a lot of you would love to stop hurting. You would like these things with minimal work, if possible. You also want them yesterday. That about sum it up?

In the next 5 minutes, you’ll learn about the one thing that solves these problems for good. Before we dive in, though, I want to tee up three stats for you from my research.

  1. PGA Tour players can jump between 18-22 inches off the ground while LPGA Tour players can jump between 16-20 inches off the ground. Long drive competitors can often leap 30+ inches off the ground!
  2. Elite-level golfers who drive the ball 300+ yards can shot put a 6-pound ball more than 30 feet with less than a 5-percent difference in right-handed to left-handed throws.
  3. Elite golfers in the world can hurl a medicine ball with a seated chest pass just as far in feet as they can jump in inches (ie. a 20-inch vertical leap and a 20-foot seated chest pass).

What do these numbers have to do with you and your game? More importantly, what do these stats have to do with solving your problems? Let’s start by telling you what the solution is.   

Objective Assessment and Intelligent Exercise Prescription

Say that three times fast. It’s a mouth full… But seriously, read it two more times and think about what that means.

It means that before you act on anything to improve your health or your game, you need to objectively assess what the problem is and get to the root cause. You should use quality objective data to arrive at intelligent health and golf improvement decisions based on the long-term likelihood that they will be successful. We can’t just select exercises, swing changes or training aids based on what is hot in the market today or what the latest celebrity was paid big bucks to sell to us.

There is a reason why the infomercials you see today on Golf Channel will be different in 2 months. The same gimmicks run out of steam when enough people realize that is what they are… gimmicks. When looking to achieve your goals of playing better golf and/or having less pain, don’t just grab for the quick fix as so many golfers today do. 

We are in the information age. Information from quality data is power. Using this data intelligently, you can fix problems in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost. Hopefully, I am giving you the power to make a meaningful and lasting change in your game. I’m sorry to say that most amateurs will not be hitting 300+ yard drives despite what the latest marketing ploy will have you believe. But, if you know what tests you can do to measure the areas that affect your distance off the tee, you can at least gain insight into where your biggest return on your time investment will be. 

This is where working with a golf fitness expert can be so valuable to you. Not only can they help you interpret your results from the tests, but they will also be able to prescribe you the most effective means to move closer to 300 yards from where you are right now.  

If you have a problem with your car not accelerating as fast as you would like or not being able to reach top end speed on the highway, I hope you take it to the mechanic and don’t just look up quick fixes on YouTube to see what you can do on your own. The reason you pay the mechanic to fix your car is because that is what they do all day. They will get it done as quickly as possible. More importantly, they’ll get correctly so that the problem doesn’t pop up again in 2 weeks.

A golf fitness expert is no different. Use them for their expertise and knowledge. Once you have a diagnosis of what is holding you back and a plan to correct it, you are on your way and won’t have to waste any more time or money trying silly quick fixes that never stick.

The three statistics mentioned earlier represent numbers measured across the globe by industry leaders and at our facility 3-4 times per year on hundreds of golfers each time. Our facility has thousands of data points. With this much data comes the ability to draw conclusions from objective assessments. These conclusions drive the intelligent implementation of successful solutions directed at the root causes of problems for thousands of golfers around the globe.

The first three statistics have an R-value of over 0.85 in correlation to clubhead speed. Translation: if you perform well in the first three tests with high numbers, you are very likely to have a high club speed. Further, if you improve in any of those three tests relative to where you started, you are almost assured to have a higher club speed than when you began (assuming swing technique and equipment is relatively unchanged).  

Keep in mind that in statistics, correlation is not the same as cause and effect. But when the R-value is that close to 1 and anecdotally you have seen the results and changes we have, you put some weight behind these three tests. So:

  • See how high you can jump
  • See how far you can shot put a 6-pound medicine ball
  • See how far you can chest pass a 6-pound medicine ball from a seated position

Doing so will give you an idea of how much power you have in your lower body, total rotary system and upper body respectively. Train whichever one is the worst, or train them all if you want. Rest assured that if you improve one of them, you will more than likely increase your swing speed.  

By doing these assessments and addressing the one or two weak areas, you will improve with the least work possible. Sounds about what you were looking for, right? If you are able to identify where you need to improve BEFORE you buy whatever is claiming to fix your problems, you will save lots of money and time. You will actually start to improve with the least amount of work possible and in the least amount of time possible.  

What’s next? After completing the assessment tests, start working to improve them.

  • Coming Soon: Lower Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Upper Body Power for Golf
  • Coming Soon: Rotary Power for Golf
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