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Compensatory Adjustments

The 16th Secret

Handle Compensatory Adjustments with Care. In trying to overcome an error, a person is apt to accept whatever remedy produces the quickest good results. This often means another error to compensate for the first. As an illustration, a golfer who is slicing will often change his grip by putting his right hand further under the club. But it may be that the slicing is caused by the stance or hip action. He now has two faults instead of one, though he may well correct his slice, and he has made it more difficult to hold on to his game, since there is a probable mathematical limit of improvement for each form and for each combined group of "compensatory" adjustments. Also, with such a compensatory adjustment, what is gained in direction is lost perhaps in power or touch—an additional weakness for which some other compensatory adjustment must be worked out, which in turn breeds other weaknesses.
The answer is that compensatory adjustments should be made within the orthodox limits unless there is a physical handicap. A grip or swing that you are accustomed to can stand slight changes only. Greater changes involve too much relearning. To prevent extreme compensatory adjustments, get outside help.
If the error is comparatively minor, a good way to make the correction is to do so gradually to prevent overcompensation; otherwise a slice may turn into an equally disastrous hook.
One method of avoiding the dangers of compensatory maladjustments is to search for ways to eliminate variables. Let us suppose that one is missing chip shots because he occasionally hits one too "fat" or "tops." A compensatory adjustment might be to abandon the shot altogether and roll the ball up with a putter. Since this solution adds the variable of the terrain it is not a good answer. A much better solution would be one that permanently eliminated some variable. In all likelihood, this could be achieved by resting the right elbow upon the hip for greater reliability.
When an adjustment in grip, for instance, exceeds the orthodox limits, it is a good sign that there is a gross error in form in some other feature of the swing. This should be an indication that one should return to his original grip and search elsewhere for the cause of the trouble. The simplest way to conduct this search is to run through the usual check-points.
The danger of compensatory adjustments is that they not only relapses because of the addition of variables. (Other phases of this problem will be dealt with later under "Don't Practice Strengths.")