Alignment Adjustments to COMPENSATE for Pulls

Sun, 12/29/2013 - 14:00 -- Don Trahan

I was recently asked by a Surgite if there was a way to compensate for hitting pulls and hooks. He's wondering because he's already tried playing around with his stance and he's found only little success. 

Unfortunately, there is nothing I can offer you in terms of a compensation. The reason for that is because I don't believe you should compensate for anything in the golf swing if you are sticking to the fundamentals of the Peak Performance Golf Swing.

I have been using the PPGS now for about 3 years. I have written you a couple of times about my putting and chipping and you have straightened it out. Thank you for that. I'am 72 years old and play Golf about 3 times a week, but I have a lingering problem that pops up every now and then and hope the master pro can help me!!

Every now and then I start pulling the ball left. I always check my alignment and grip and club alignment and that is always good. To compensate for this I have learn to close my stance and this makes the problem go away. I may go for two or three rounds with my stance closed at address until I start hitting the ball to the right and then I go back to my normal stance and everything is okay for a while. I believe when I go in the the mitt and up the tree I am pushing the club outside and that causes my pull. It is not a duck hook or even a hook, it is about a 20 or 30 foot pull off line.

The golf course I play has narrow, long greens and accuracy is a must. Do you have an exercise that will help going straight up the tree instead of outside the tree. One note here...I can't close my stance on the Sand Wedge or the Pitching Wedge or I leave the ball right.

Jim Periman
Southern California  

Anytime you start compensating for something, it starts opening the door to all sorts of other problems. That's why you should never try and fix something by altering the basics of the PPGS. 

If you walk in to the ball with a closed stance and you make good swings, you're going to start hitting it left. Then, to fix that you'll start opening your stance which brings in misses to the right. Compensating can, and most likely will, lead to a domino effect of errors in your golf game.

Golf is a game of misses and he or she who misses best, wins. Eradicate the thought of compensating, though. You don't ever want to compensate. Get back to your fundamentals and remember Rule #5 of the PPGS: If you hit a bad shot and you wonder what you did wrong, the answer is who the next one right!

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

If you can't view the YouTube video above try CLICKING HERE. You must allow popups from this site for the link to work.


Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Thankyou Surge,
For hammering home this fault. It should be my New Year Resolution. Following the 5 Rules religiously is the only way to stand any chance of 'Doing it RIGHT!'
Only a swing session today but looking forward to our next visit to the hallowed turf to DO IT RIGHT! when ever that may be.
A wee bit early for this perhaps, but we wish ALL OUR FELLOW SURGITES A HAPPY AND PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR. Here in 'godzone' New Zealand we get there well before our mates in the US, UK, Europe etc.
Be that as it may, Good Luck and God Bless for the coming year 2014. May it be a brilliant Peak Performance Golf Swing year for us all.
DH and DL in NZ

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

It's never too early to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous New Year,so right back at you and your former caddy/new playing partner, my friend. ;0)

We poor souls here in the NE (snow country) only get to live our golf vicariously from those more fortunate enjoying better weather downunder. OOPS...forgot RM in Las Vegas. :0)

My winter golf activity has consisted of some stretching exercises and shoulder exercises (range of motion). I've also come up with my own version of isometrics to try to keep my arms and core from becoming wet spaghetti. It's working so far and hopefully the door casing to the computer room holds up until spring...LOL.

Enjoy your weather, hit em straight and long and make us all jealous of your success.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

DH and former cady now playing partner Dragon Lady, hope you're having a nice year end holiday season.
Speaking of alignment, you likely read my recent trials of a miss aligned butt and left leg. Working my way through it all. I went to doc today and she recommended
an xray to determine if is a disc or not causing the pain in my ass to foot. I think it is more likely an impingement of the Sciatic nerve by the Piraformis muscle.
In any case they'll be no golf this week:(
Is your bum feeling better now?
I joked with my wife that perhaps I am having sympathy pain after reading about your pain in the bum! Ha ha:)
Get out a play some golf for me will you?
Looks like I may be Cindy's cady for the next week or few.
You and DL have a happy new year!
May 2014 be filled with pars and birdies.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Hi Robert and Cindy in Las Vegas,
Tiger balm saved my bum ; - ) That and just 'doing it right'. SORRY to hear that your sympathetic pain has caught up with you~PLEASE, pretty please forgive me for hoping that I don't catch it!!!
hahaha! I found mine was particularly bad[after the original tumbles], when not transferring the weight correctly from the rear to front side : - ( Tiger Balm and 'cupping' of the lower back and then 'just doing it right' has so far kept it at bay. Our weather today is sunny and warm and where will I be? out with the mower, line trimmer etc, etc boohoo! and guess what the forecast is for tomorrow [New Years Day here], you've guessed it lots of the wet stuff!!! The balm etc only occasionally and not for a while. Cupping would probably help with your sciatic nerve IMHO. It sure as heck sorted mine out in short order. Whatever treatment it does need, may it be sooner rather than later. Then you can get back to hitting it longer and straighter in Las Vegas. Have a Great New Year and get well soon! That is an order!!! ; - ] DH and you got it right Dragon Lady in NZ

Dale S.'s picture

Submitted by Dale S. on

Robert, I went through the piraformis syndrome pain a whole summer before I self diagnosed it. My Doc didn't have a clue. Rolling on a tennis ball in the hip pocket along with stretches took several months to clear it up, and I have to continue the process several times a week to keep it at bay.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm pretty much following the same program. Seems each body area takes turns aching:)
Just pray I don't have all paining on the same days!

Steven's picture

Submitted by Steven on

At about this time last year I posted that I had moved from PPGS back to a halfway house, which seemed to have something going for it as my handicap came down from 18 to 15 (pre-Surge I was 13 and had gone up to 18 in the 2 years of trying to change to PPGS). I knew it wasn't quite right so I made a decision last winter not to read or seek any advice either on-line (including these tips) or from a local Pro - including our own - but to fathom out for myself what worked and what didn't. It took a while but my handicap came down from 15 to 11. I have made a further adjustment recently, which has improved my ball-striking and accuracy (distance is about the same). The one exception to my avoidance of advice is some on-line putting tips from a chap called Marius Filmalter, which did help.

So, what is my swing like now? Here it is but, of course it won't work for everybody:
- Grip: interlocking, light to medium pressure
- Set-up: weight evenly distributed, over the arches of the feet and feel as if I am sitting on a shooting stick (Don's accordion or concertina effect, I think)
- Take-away: left arm (I am right-handed) attached to the chest and left knee cocked moving towards the right leg
- Top of the backswing: straight left arm, flat wrist, left shoulder just touching, but not coming under, the chin (to keep turn to 75 degrees and avoid back pain), angle off-set from the vertical (perhaps 45 degrees), weight 100% on the right side but over the inside of the right heel (very important to avoid swaying out of position)
- Downswing: start with the hips moving towards the target (a bit more than a bump) and keeping the head behind the ball at impact. Straight left arm at impact to ensure clean ball-striking and accurate shots (Don's rock on a string) and maintain spine angle, which I do by feeling my feet are boring into the ground and my knees keep the same angle until after impact.
- Follow-through: let the head come up after impact and the arms should finish over the left shoulder but not quite, in my case, brushing the ear as per PPGS.

Most important for me is that it is repeatable. As I said at the top, it won't suit everybody (or anybody, even) but I hope there is something here that might help somebody.

I will unsubscribe from this site, Mr Smith (if you are still a serial contributor) not because I have not valued Don's lessons but because I have found a method that works for me and trying to copy others has led me astray in the past. What Don has done for me is to make me think deeply about the mechanics of my swing and I now have the lowest handicap in my golfing life and can't wait for the new season (this could not have been said in previous years). Oh, and vari-focals are fine for me ( I went back to them last year).

Good luck, goodbye and happy golfing in 2014.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on


Excellent description of what works for you and, afterall, that's what we're all striving for. I doubt any or very few of us are able to execute Surge's swing the way he can, but coming as close to his principles as I'm physically able has definitely helped my game. Sharing our experiences on this blog has given me help with things I tend to struggle with. Success and failure is all part of the game we all love to hate and sharing both is good.

Please don't be a stranger and let us know how 2014 goes. I too wear progressive lenses and have not yet decided if I'll attempt a change.

Good luck and hit em straight.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

I have recently acquired progressive lens sunglasses, with large lenses. Not the thin variety. The majority of the lens is for long vision and only the very outer outside corners of the lenses is for close up reading etc. On our last outing [which seems so long ago boohoo! but sympathise with others worse off than we are], I came right on the last 5/6 holes with a birdie on the final hole which I have never come close to before
: - ) and I was wearing them!!! So I am on the horns of a dilemma ! So it will be a case of time will tell in my case, with them or without them?
Good Luck with yours Lynn and Happy New Year DH and DL in NZ

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

DH, I have progressive sun glasses as well, aviator type, which I've had for about 6-7 years so strength is somewhat less than my regular progressives. They seem to work for me, but I may try the other option.

Looks like I just keep building core strength shoveling Nice job on the bird. ;0)

CharlieY's picture

Submitted by CharlieY on

Hi, Lynn42--I've tried playing with both single vision lenses and progressives, and I play almost as well with the progressives as I do the single vision lenses. I see a bit more clearly with single vision lenses, but I wish that was the extent of my problem. Eye docs found that I need prisms in my left lens to correct a double vision problem. At address, I see two golf balls. Fortunately, I know which one is the real one. But unfortunately, I have to use some tricks (for lack of a better word) to tell me where the golf ball is located in 3D space. If I simply try to tap the ball at the equator with the butt end of the club, I miss the ball by more than the radius of the ball. I took good vision for granted. I didn't know what I had until I lost it.'s picture

Submitted by on

Hi Jim-Terrific response from Surge regarding "compensation". Rob Meade and I recently blogged about an alignment method which I think would be of great benefit to you. Am only slightly older than you (2months shy of 74) and as a long time fan of the PPGS can attest to the importance of correct alignment. So, I hope you'll give Bob's or my alignment method a try---it should eliminate any further "compensation".

DH--Recently heard from an old friend from Christchurch and was thinking of your blog commentaries. Am a bit saddened by the recent loss of a lucky stone from a South Island beach which I've faithfully carried in my pocket for the last 8+ years (we were there in Feb.-March of '05). Hope to return before cashing in this world chips---but wanted to wish you and fellow New Zealanders a happy and earthquake free new year.


Tee On 13 Golf's picture

Submitted by Tee On 13 Golf on


Can you tell me where I can find suggested alignment method from you and Robert?



Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Wow, I took on the challenge of finding the day Ray and I talked about alignment. I can barely remember the names of my kids on some days so it took some searching in the archives. I'll give it to you in a second but here's how I found the needle in the haystack. First Ray said it was recent so I figured it had to be the last few months of 2013. Second I typed the following into the search bar: Robert alignment. Oh boy, that didn't work out too well since I comment frequently and mention alignment more times than I realized. So next, since Ray doesn't chime in too often I put in: Ray alignment. It then took only about a minute to find where he mentions alignment in recent weeks. Here it is;

Just scroll down till you see his comment followed by mine.

This was not the first time I recommended this method. Some may think it controversial or against the rules but it's legal as long as you pick up the club off the ground before you swing. I don't always do this any more but on some days where I need reminders as to how my alignment is. Keep in mind it was Surge himself that gave me this 3 years ago at a school. Most will never do it because of pride and the peer preasure of playing partners who might be watching. I could care less who's watching and play my own game. A few will rarely even do what Surge has recommended after a good swing to a wrong place, that is lay down a club after the swing to check alignment. When I played 9 with Don he would have me set up and then just before I swung he'd ask if I felt my alignment was good or not. If I said yes and it wasn't he'd lay a club by my feet and have me walk back and recheck it. Sure enough I'd be off. Mind you this was done BEFORE the swing not after.
Now keep in mind I play most of my golf with my wife and family but even if with strangers I don't hesitate to lay a stick or club down briefly then tossing it aside when ready just using the club I'll swing with. I promise you this, if you'll follow this method for several weeks your eyes get used to seeing what parallel left really looks like. Then you'll need this before swing alignment/set up method less and less. You'll begin to set up right most of the time just following the normal 'making the H' routine.

Pay close attention to Step #3 and then the following two paragraphs about the '2 step' and the importance of not looking up. Letting your lyng eyes fool you and then shuffling out of position (normally too far right for the right handed right eye dominant golfer).

If you really want appreciate how far left parallel left is you have to get the 'Ultimate Alignment' video. Likely you already have it. Re-watch it with an open mind and do as Surge instructs. It's one of my goals to be among the few who Surge says straight away, "your alignment is perfect". Maybe this year as we are planning on going to the 2014 US open in North Carolina. Likely visit Surge then.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

A bummer that you lost your lucky South Island [South islanders call the south island, 'The Mainland' ; - ], beach stone. Maybe it will turn up again, if not there is only one thing to do.....before cashing in your chips, as you say... ; - ) and we know what that is eh?
My golf fellow golf nut mate lives in Christchurch where the local Army Course at Burnham Camp, was devasted recently by a storm. It will take years to get back to anything like normal. ChCh has had a rough deal that is for sure. No doubt that New Zealand is a golfers paradise. Have a great New Year and I will pass on your good wishes to other Kiwis. DH

Don K.'s picture

Submitted by Don K. on

Hey Jim, I had the same problem for a couple years, but then I saw Dave Seemam and he immediately pointed out to me that I was not turning my shoulders at all, only lifting to the catchers mitt then up the tree. You HAVE to turn before lifting or you will hit dead pulls or worse yet, slice right. This, along with keeping my lower body still in the backswing are my primary swing thoughts. All of the other aspects of the mechanics fall into place when these two important steps are followed correctly. I have lowered my handicap from the low 20's to the mid teens, sometimes lower, since this revelation. Good luck and keep it vertical. Don K.

Dragonhead's picture

Submitted by Dragonhead on

Don K,
Dead pulls or slicing right? This was me on our last outing, our first for a while. It was only when I realized I was not turning that it all took on very different and satisfying results. Accurate, solid shots with more distance. A great reminder for me. Have a great start to the new year DH

RichF's picture

Submitted by RichF on

I was glad to see Don K.'s comment in response to your question, as it is basically the same thing I was going to suggest. You can be perfectly aligned at address, but if you don't make a limited turn, your backswing will miss the mitt to the outside and lift the club outside the intended line, and the FUS will end up being left of the target. I do that every now and then myself. It took me a while to figure out why it was happening, but I am now confident that's the issue. An easy on course check and reminder is to set up, take a slow backswing and stop, and look at your left arm. It should be dead parallel with your feet and target line, and should be right on your toe line. Do it a few times to get the feeling of that position. For me, it only takes a few of those rehearsals to get back into a proper position and hitting good shots.'s picture

Submitted by on

Hi Don- Thanks for the "turn before lifting" Dave Seaman suggestion. I sometimes forget that and just lift with occasional tragic results (despite being properly aligned as per recent blogging events). Soooo, thanks again for an important swing action to work on.

Happy New Year.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Today as our dear friends in lands down under and from around the world celebrate the new year and those of us in the west also soon bring in the new year it is as good a time as any to reflect and appreciate our lives. Both our past experiences and those to come.
I'd like to wish a Happy New Year to all and send wishes of better health both physically,spiritually, mentally and emotionally along with an optimistic attitude of gratitude.
I am grateful for many things. For each of us the list may vary but family and friends are high on the list and that is how I view our vast family of friends from around the world among the Surge nation.

A couple of weeks ago Surge recommended a couple of books to us. Re-watch it here:

Trusting his judgement I went to Amazon and ordered them both straight away. It was Christmas again as I received them in the mail yesterday. I started with "Golf's Three Nobel Truths". In short let me say that my impression after just a few chapters is that it easily compares to classics such as "Golf in the Kingdom". Deep stuff, that will certainly help all to re-set their priorities for each day we have left before we, as Ray says "cash in our chips". On that note I would like to give you a small excerpt from the very first chapter entitled, 'Dead People Don't Play Golf".

" After your gone, Dear Golfer, who'll ever walk down the down the fairway the way you do ........ The answer is simply: nobody! .... In this life we are granted a finite number of breaths, days, divots, and rounds of golf. Despite your illusions, life doesn't go on forever. Until you realize that, you're missing the whole point. You don't need a whole new golf life. you just need to cherish the golf life you have. ..............................
Learn to cherish golf's small miricles. The fairway bathed in green glory... the dew glistening on the fairway ... the autumn leaves clad in gleeming copper ..
. the wind swirling the autumn leaves in the rough ... the aroma of freshly mowed grass ... the soft velvet of the green under foot ... the wispy pink clouds connecting afternoon to evening ... the stroll toward your ball ... the American flag standing tall by the deserted club house at dusk."

"From this instant forward this is what's left of your life. So tell me, Dear Golfer, what do you plan to do with what remains of your precious life?"

I'd like to take a moment to mention a couple of Surgites that have contributed much to this blog and whom we have heard from so rarely this past year. Dick, 'Cowboy in a kilt' and Terry Medley, Craig63, Marilyn to name just a few. Then there are those that stop by ever so rarely like Robert F. and the always spicy and insightful Steve and the tender hearted Booger. I am sure I am forgetting several others who have not visited in a while so please keep these folks in your prayers and if you have their personal emails drop them a note and let them know their missed.

On a personal note I have decided to give my ego a slap down and learn forgiveness for any whom have offended me or whom I have offended and once again join in when they do stop by here to share.

Health and Happiness to all in 2014
Robert and Cindy Meade's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

hi .Happy New Year !
i had an email from jim mclean today where he talked about having a full swing. he said that a short swing inevitably leads to short shots. now i;m sure ive heard Don say that he has had scientific studies done which prove that there is no distance loss in a 3/4 swing. and i;m sure ive seen steve smith say the same thing. who is right?

cheeers. richard in the UK

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on

Happy New Year, Richard, and to the rest of the Surge Nation.

The only way to lose distance with the PPGS 3/4 swing is to make it 3/4 on both the BUS and the FUS. That is not what Don espouses. The PPGS is 3/4 on the BUS, but then full on the FUS to T-Finish, Recoil, and Relax. Some people mistakenly think the 3/4 swing needs to be the same both back and forward. Doing that means decelerating through the ball; essentially making a punch shot. On, on, on, accelerating, square and solid is the way to go; no distance lost.

Have a great PPGS golfing year,

Kevin in Alabama, USA's picture

Submitted by barrowcloughr@a... on

cheers for the reply kevin. somebody commented that jason duffner has a 3/4 swing and still whacks it over 300 ,so great teacher that Mclean is , can't help feeling he has got this wrong. youre so right about completing the forward swing, my biggest fault is hitting at the ball with the club finishing in a 3/4 position with the consequent loss of distance. the trick is, is to forget the ball !
cheers again richard in the UK

CharlieY's picture

Submitted by CharlieY on

Don't forget that Surge says that with the shortened backswing, we are encouraged to swing faster. It seems logical that we can swing a shortened swing faster and make good contact, and it seems to be that the net result for any particular individual lies in how much you lose from the shorter backswing and less coiling, and how much you gain from swinging faster.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Right on Charlie.
I'm always reminded too that we strike the ball with our forward swing. The back swing simply sets up what happens next.
Getting back to the ball square and solid and as Surge says, "In the bowling alley".
Keeping it simple, more compact with a greater chance of precision and plenty of distance. I'm always shocked at how far the ball goes sometimes.

Lynn42's picture

Submitted by Lynn42 on

Interesting topic, distance. I've probably lost some distance with my drives, but let's not forget golf is a game of misses. I will gladly accept a few yards shorter for a second shot from the short grass. I'm sure in my case some loss in distance is more related to age than a result of using a shorter swing. I do know 3/4 limited turn has definitely improved my accuracy and my back thanks me.
The guys I play with are all rotational and all outdrive me and constantly tell me how rotational will give me more distance. One in particular videos my swing and points out my flaws and gives me nonstop advice for getting more distance. I just smile at the end of the round when we compare scorecards.

Thank you, Surge.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Great observations about 3/4's and still being long. I am as long or longer than ever off the tee and have lost no distance being 3/4's. In fact because I have learned to finally turn the ball over and draw it I am longer than I was last year and more consistent with just 3/4's.
Jim Mclean is also the teacher who promoted and help popularize the X factor in the early 90's that has hurt so many backs and is now falling out of vogue on the PGA tour. His teachings are about as opposite of Surges of any out there. Many pros are becoming more compact yet are bombing it 300+.

Robert Koppe's picture

Submitted by Robert Koppe on

Hi Don
After the last 12 months I have tried to change over to your swing
I am on a h/cap of 14 with a bad back a couple of game ago I do not think a ladies 46 h/cap would not of helped Then I had a flash back to one of your lessons and started to learn your swing again as I had given up on it well the penny dropped and I started to hit the ball straight and long my 5 iron turned into a 4 iron hitting the 5 around 165m and I cannot tell you in words what it done to my drives and recapping on what I was doing wrong or what I changed was not to cock my wrists keeping the club and leading arm straight 3/4 back swing
I have always been told to have wrist cock well I know where that is going I all so have a swing speed monitor my swing speed went form 90 to 95 mph to 105 to 110 and I do not feel that I am swinging the club that fast or that I am putting the same energy in to it its became simple not complex
by the way next game I won the cash 84 of the stick I can not believe the difference it has made I hope this my help some one else

Regards and thanks