“Compensation in a golf swing don’t make the technique correct; in fact, they inhibit ultimate development.” – David Lee
Why do you suppose that most players develop to a certain level, then seem to hit a brick wall in their ability to improve? This problematic issue occurs not only with amateurs, but with professional players as well. In the fifty-two years that I’ve been teaching golf (for twenty of those years I was just trying to teach it), it has been a rarity to see a beginning player who did not start the down-swing with a “kill” concept.
With few exceptions, players instinctively draw the club back and “hunt” the ball with the arms and club like they were trying to drive a nail with a hammer over three feet long. When the golf swing is approached with such a misguided concept for creating power in the swing, this is what occurs. As the shoulders and arms “flex” in the down-swing, part of the energy serves to move the ball, but simultaneously, part of it goes back into the body and causes the path to move.
When the path (plane) moves to the outside or “over the top,” which will pull or hook the ball, it causes the player to make corrective or “compensating” steps to try and hit the ball on line to the target. A right-handed player (opposite for lefties) can compensate a changing plane and attempt to eliminate the pull by aligning the body to the right, by weakening the grip, by moving the ball back in the stance, or by making postural or equipment changes. All of these compensations can be made independently, or utilized simultaneously. The more energy, however, that is turned back into the body during the execution of the swing, the harder it is to repeat the swing and get consistency in your results. Most golfers make their compensations intentionally, but oftentimes they are made at a subconscious level and the player is totally unaware that he or she is compensating.
As we go from the practice tee to the golf course, especially in tournament situations, body tension increases. As the body tightens (for whatever reason), the center of leverage rises. As this occurs, any energy that is being internalized through improper power application, causes an increase in path-shift over what we experience when we are relaxed. This is exactly why it is so important to eliminate compensations and identify proper power technique, which can be accomplished by training with the “Gravity” golf drills. Study them – they are the “road map” to a technically perfect swing.