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
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
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.")