Live Ask the Top 100 Chat: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions
Had trouble on the greens this weekend? Still can't get rid of that slice? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs answered readers' swing questions in a live forum on Tuesday at noon EST. If you still have a question, check Golf.com next Tuesday for an all-new Ask the Top 100 Live.
Thanks for reading today. I am sorry I couldn't get to all your questions. Please ask again next week, but ask earlier so I can get to your problem. I want to encourage everyone to sign up for SI GOLFNation. I’m a member, along with some of my fellow Top 100 Teachers, and we’d love to hear from you there as well.
Chester Lebeau asks at 12:58:
My problem is with my driver everything is going left, I'm a righthanded golfer. I have tried putting the balls foward in the stance,problem continues.
Moving the ball more forward will only make the problem worse. This opens your shoulders in the address position making it more likely you will swing the club into the ball from the outside creating a shot that goes well left.
Instead, move the ball to a position slightly inside the left heel, and shape your downswing so the ball will start well to the right of the target. If you played baseball growing up, try to hit the driver so that it starts between the first baseman and the pitcher. This will bring the club into the ball on a more inside path; combined with your better ball position you should eliminate your pull.
Tim asks at 12:51:
Over the last year my distance with all clubs has been slowly disappearing and my ball flight has been getting higher and higher. The more I try and correct this the worse it gets. Any help would be appreciated.
Without more info I am guessing a bit but here it goes. If your ball flight is getting higher and you are hitting it shorter, chances are your weight is getting too far on your back foot as you are making contact. This will add loft on the club and have a very negative effect on your power. Think of the Quarterback going back to pass with a rush up the middle, if he throws from his back foot the ball floats, has no velocity, and usually is intercepted. Hitting a golf ball is very similar. Try to step into your throw, or your downswing in this case, to create more power and utilize the proper loft of your club. Make sure in your finish you can tap the point of your shoe into the ground a couple of times. This will ensure you have made the proper weight shift and are in balance.
Jesus asks at 12:47:
I have uniflex shafts and since I've been playiing them my distances have decreased by an avg. of 5 to 7 yards in some clubs more. I used in the past Dynamic Gold R-300 shaft and my distances were s bit longer.
Then switch back. You should never lose distance making a shaft change. If you have your old clubs with the R-300 shafts take them to the range and hit them next to your new clubs. If they are going farther, you should either change the shafts in your new clubs or just play your old ones. Lesson learned, don't ever buy something on the recommendation of a club fitter. Go out and hit the new club before purchasing them.
John Smail asks at 12:34:
1. What putting tips/drills do you suggest to work on rolling your putt on line, every time? 2. For a scratch golfer, what club choices do you suggest? A five-wood and/or a hybrid? Start with a 4 iron? 3 wedges? Thanks!
I have never been a huge fan of drills to be honest. I would rather you work on your mechanics and then putt under stress as much as possible. This is best done while gambling for most people on the putting green. I do like The Putting Arc if you are inclined to putt with that style. It seems to be an excellent way to feel the proper motion and get the sense of releasing the putter head through impact. This is the key to getting the ball to roll properly.
In terms of club choices, it really depends on your strengths and weaknesses and the golf course you are playing. If you are a long hitter playing a short course, more wedges is a good thing. If you are a short or average driver playing a long course, more hybrids and fairway woods are good. When it comes to hybrid vs 5-wood, it depends upon your preference. When the hybrids first came out they were terrible for a good player with a right to left ballflight as they made the slight draw a big hook. They have become much better, but the fear of the hook with that club lingers for many good players playing a draw.
Most if not all of the professionals I teach have multiple choices when they go to a tournament. How they set up their bag is determined by the practice round.
Chris T. asks at 12:25:
I know that you are suppose to open your stance and the club face and cut across the ball in the bunkers. However, if you simply used a club with more bounce, would you have to cut across and open the face? Couldn't you just hit a straightforward sand shot. Wouldn't this straightforward shot be easier to judge?
Good question Chris. You have options in the sand regarding the lines you create with the clubface and feet. The more loft you have on your sand wedge, the less "opening" you need in your clubface and feet. I like to refer to the clubface position in the sand as layback rather than opening. This allows you to get the proper loft on the club without feeling like the face is pointing way right. As a result, the feet don't need to start as excessively open. Here is something to consider: one of the reasons you should open your stance slightly in to allow for the hips to rotate enough through impact. With the feet, specifically your back foot, unable to move as it normally would during a full swing it is difficult to get the hips rotating open into the finish without the headstart the open stance provides. This gives the body a chance to be more out of the way during impact so the arms can work naturally to the left, keeping the hands from becomming too involved.
This is a complicated answer but hopefully you can understand that the best way to become great around the greens is to experiment. Your question indicates you have a good imagination when it comes to short shots, this will serve you well.
Jim C. asks at 12:17:
I had a friend video me swinging and I am bending my left elbow—even with my sand wedge. I had no idea!
I must have been doing it for so long, I can’t tell when I’m doing it. How do I stop bending my left elbow!?
The dreaded chicken wing! This is a fairly common problem. When the club attacks the ball from a steep, outside-in angle then your arms, hands, and club are getting closer to your body during impact. To create some room and prevent you from hitting the ground too hard and/or shanking it your left arm will compensate and bend. To fix this, your club arms and hands must be moving away from your body during contact. In other words, a proper inside attack will create the opportunity for the arms to get the proper extension during and after impact. If you have ever been jammed by a fastball playing baseball you know the feeling of a lack of extension. Just like the power hitter in baseball, good golfers want to get their arms extending during impact. Don't jam yourself by swinging on an improper path.
Mike asks at 12:10:
Brady, I'm a beginning golfer. How come every 3 or 4 shots I hit one great, but then go back to hitting them poorly?
Mike, you have picked a very hard game! I give thousands of lessons every year and the one thing people want, from beginner to professional, is to be more consistent. The best advice I can give you is to find a good teacher, someone who is very busy with a good reputation, and work on your basics and fundamentals. This is critical in the beginning if you want to avoid problems that can linger for years. The basics include grip, posture, alignment, ball position, distance from the ball, and tilt. Remember this order of things you need to control: clubface, swingpath, and then pivot. The swing is very interrelated, but if you work on it in a specific order you will have better results.
Bill G. asks at 12:03:
Most of my miss hits are thin shots, especially irons off of the fairway. What should I do to correct this?
There are many causes of thin shots. Here's where you start: Watch your distance from the ball, if you get too far away it is difficult to make solid contact. Next, make sure you get your weight up on top of the balls of your feet in the address position. This will help you move your weight properly, into your back heel going back and your front heel going through. Finally, you need to stay bent over during the swing. If you stand up and lose your posture during the swing you will most likely hit it thin.
Anonie asks at 12:00:
My problem is getting too quick at the top and thus ending up too quick with my lower body as well. What drills should help me address this flaw?
You need to work on what starts the downswing first, not how fast you start. Getting quick happens when your arms and hands initiate the downswing. Instead, your weight should move into your front leg as if your stepping into a throw. This gets your body out in front of your arms and hands, and keeps the speed of your downswing in check. Make some practice swings taking with your feet close together and take a small step to begin your downswing, this will give you the feel of the proper sequence and make it easier to transition into a normal swing.