Every Golfer that has ever swung a golf club has at least one compensation in their golf swing. Though, to be more blunt and honest – most Golfers have a lot more than just one compensation – they have what we call Compensation Overload.
What’s Compensation Overload? It’s the act of having multiple compensations in your golf swing that you use to correct previous compensations. In other words, you developed a compensation that would sometimes eliminate a bad habit, but occasionally you’d overdo that compensation. So you had a choice – get rid of that compensation and go back to hitting bad shots or keep that compensation, but find another compensation that would help you to use that first compensation more effectively.
Don’t be embarrassed if you have to read that paragraph again – I had to reread it about 16 times to understand it myself!
Sometimes that second compensation will work, however many times it won’t. So once you find that compensation isn’t working as well as you had hoped – it’s off to the driving range to find another compensation that will allow that compensation to work more consistently.
Now, where this becomes frustrating is when that compensation that’s helping the other compensation works for a few holes – but then, without warning that compensation abandons you just as fast as it appeared. So now you’ll have to find another compensation that will allow this compensation to compensate for your first compensation.
To give you a clearer picture of how this might relate to you and to see if you’ve been through a similar experience, read below:The very first time you tried to hit an iron off the ground – you most likely hit behind the golf ball, missed the golf ball or topped the golf ball. Let’s just say you missed the ball. So after missing, you probably thought to yourself or were told by someone else to “keep your head down” (Compensation #1).
Now trying to keep your head down is the ‘Mantra of the Monkey’. Yet, shockingly to many – it’s just about the worst thought a Golfer can have in their head when going to hit a golf ball. Yet, the Monkey is constantly using it as an excuse for a bad shot. So on your next swing, because you’re trying to keep your head down, you’re not able to move your body athletically – so you become armsy (Compensation #2). Which will most likely cause you to hit straight into the ground behind the golf ball creating a crater big enough to bury a small animal.
Which influences you to think or be told by someone else that you need to use your legs to shift your weight (Compensation #3). So on your next shot; you try to keep your head down while shifting your weight. However, this thought will most likely cause you to shift too much weight onto your back foot on the backswing, yet you won’t move it forward to your front foot because you’re trying to keep your head down (or still). This most likely would cause you to hit behind the golf ball again – yet, maybe not as drastically as on your previous effort.
“You know what you’re not doing? You’re not turning your hips. You need to turn your hips” – Compensation #4. So on your next shot, you try to keep your head down, shift your weight on the way back and then turn your hips on the way through. Causing you to move into a position that would make a Chiropractor smile. However, you’re still keeping your head from moving and you still have too much weight on your back foot – though having your hips turn through helps a little because at least it allows you to end up catching the golf ball on the way up – hitting a topped shot that rolls across the ground.
Which is better than hitting behind the golf ball and having it go nowhere. So you continue to use those compensations, but after a few shots that are just rolling and not getting into the air – you need to figure out what you need to do next.
You then think or are told by someone else that you need to try to get underneath the golf ball (Compensation #5) so that you won’t top it anymore. Now, because you don’t know any better and don’t understand that it’s almost impossible to get your club underneath the golf ball to help it up in the air – you try it. And even though it’s not perfect – you do come close. The ball does start to go up in the air a little, albeit on a line drive. But, at least it’s starting to go up.
Which prompts some Monkey to tell you that “you need to hit down on the golf ball” – Compensation #6.
Yet, because your weight is still too much on your back foot as you’re swinging down and because your hips are turning through with your weight on your back foot and you’re still trying to get underneath the golf ball at the same time that you’re trying to hit down on it – you develop the ‘Compensation that launched a million training aides’ – Compensation #7: Coming over the top. Or as it is often referred to as an outside to in swing or casting or whatever you want to call it. This ‘flaw’ was developed because this Compensation will at least allow you to hit the golf ball first before hitting the ground.
And the beauty of this compensation is that it allows you to keep your head down, shift your weight, turn your hips, as well as it allowing you to try to get underneath the golf ball as you try to hit down on it. This infamous compensation (Compensation #7) allows you to do all these wonderful compensations as you start getting the golf ball into the air.
So because you’re finally happy that the golf ball is getting up – you start to groove this swing because you like the results that you’re seeing a lot better than your prior results.
However, (and this is a big ‘however’) although you’re starting to hit the golf ball more solid and starting to get the golf ball into the air with a greater frequency – the golf ball isn’t always going in the direction you were hoping it would go. So you’re told that you need to swing ….
Since Compensations are such a huge aspect of your golf swing and are unfortunately masqueraded as common golf tips that you’re taught – we have decided that this needs to be a 2-part Golf Improvement Weekly. Because many of the golf techniques you’re taught as being the “Basics” are really just band-aids to cover other band-aids that you have applied previously. Or in-other-words: Your Golf Swing Was Built Using Compensations.And Compensations Equal Inconsistency – the more compensations you have in your golf swing, the more inconsistent you’ll be when hitting the golf ball. The faster you eliminate compensations from your golf swing – the sooner you’ll become more consistent.So we’ll continue with Compensations next week by talking about the Mantra of the Golf Instructor – “when all else fails – teach Compensation #8”. Which unfortunately is something you’re most likely trying to do on every golf swing.Go ahead, be a Player (and get rid of your Compensations!)
Marc Solomon – Your Instructor For Life