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 afternoon.
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Mike asks at 12:59:
How can I fix my snap hook and get more elevation on my driver?
The snap hook and low ballflight with the driver is almost always caused by a closed or shut clubface position. You have to get your clubface in a more neutral position. There are two simple ways to achieve this. First, make sure your grip isn't too strong. This means that your hands come into the club from the sides. A stronger grip has the top hand more above the handle and the bottom hand more under it. Second, try to maintain the cup or slight bend backwards in the left wrist all the way to the top of the backswing. This will help the clubface from becoming closed, fixing the hook and getting the ball airborne.
Tony asks at 12:56:
I've been coming over the top and making an outside to inside swing producing either a pull or ugly slice. Is this because my shoulders are starting the downswing or my hips? Pinpointing this has been a big issue.
I answered a slice question earlier in the blog that should give you some good info. I will add that the downswing should never start with the shoulders. This is a great way to come over the top and hit the slice. The swing should always start with the feet and move up, both going back and coming down.
Hwang-jae Yoon asks at 12:47:
Sometimes around the green from far off as 50 yards approximately, I seem to require a shot, preferably a pitch shot, that flys low and stops quickly! I sometimes pull the shot off by accident, and every time it seems like I miss hit is by thinning it too much. You see the pros do it all the time and it seems like they bladed the shot but bounce once and stops or releases slightly. Is there a certain techinque to this shot? I understand it's a high risk gamble shot, but it seems very useful for that shot to be in my bag.
This is a very common question. Once you have hit this shot accidentally it can be very frustrating trying to hit it again. It actually isn't that risky, but it does take some specific technical know-how. The one bounce and grab shot needs clubhead speed to be successful. In order to create the speed and not hit the ball too far the clubface must be slightly open in the address position. The club should be taken back slightly to the inside with a limited amount of wrist hinge. The critical component is to get the clubface to rotate even more open going back. When combined with the direction of the takeaway, the clubhead can attack the ball from the inside with an aggressive release coming through impact. The feeling of impact is that of striking a match, it must be sharp and crisp to create the clubhead speed and backspin needed to stop the ball quickly.
Good luck with the shot. It takes quite a bit of practice and a good golf ball. If you try this shot with a range ball it wont work.
Anthony asks at 12:40:
I am a pretty average golfer handicap below 10. I have recently been taking two lessons a week to try to better my game and start playing in tourneys. Since taking lesson my miss has been either hitting the ball fat or hitting far behind the ball. The pro I have been taking lessons with says that I am trying to lift the ball rather than hitting down on it. I have been doing many different types of drills for weeks and can't figure it out. Do you have any insight on what my fix this miss?
If you are below 10 you are far better than an average golfer. I would never tell you your teacher doesn't know what he/she is doing because I don't have enough information. I will tell you that I wouldn't have you try to hit down on the ball. This should happen naturally if you move maintain your spine angle and move your weight properly on the downswing. In most cases, hitting the ball fat is the result of an overly steep downswing. This can be fixed by swinging the club more around the body, especially as you attack the ball. The club should come from behind you on the downswing and go out and away from you after impact. The steep attack is just the opposite. The club comes from in front of you on the downswing and moves across you to your left after impact.
Hopefully, you are using some video and getting an idea what your swing is supposed to look like so you can help yourself along the way.
Drew asks at 12:32:
Brady, I'm working on trying to maintain lag well into the downswing. Any suggestions, tips, drills, etc?
The question is why are you trying to maintain lag? Speaking from decades of experience, I can tell you it is a slippery slope trying to "maintain" or "store" lag on the downswing. In most cases, trying to maintain lag can make your ballstriking far worse. With that said, I will tell you to work on your sequence of motion to produce a more athletic swing that may have the side benefit of increasing your lag. If you get lag working on your athleticism, it can be a benefit.
Just remember that the swing is fluid and dynamic, with no starts, pauses, and stops along the way. I like to think of the swing as a full motion, not a backswing and then a downswing. This helps you move the body ahead of the club at each stage. The weight should move back before the arms and the club get going in the takeaway, and the weight should move forward towards the target on the downswing before the arms and club get going. This makes the golf swing like every other athletic motion you have made in your life.
Ross asks at 12:29:
With my drives, I can bomb it, but only when I hit it straight, which isn't often. My misses are either severe slices, or high, left, short pulls. Is there something I should work on for this?
It sounds like you are steep on the downswing. This will cause both the severe slice, the pull, and the pop-up. If you check my earlier post regarding how to fix the slice it should give you a good blueprint to move forward.
Garrett asks at 12:20:
I am a young (Early 20s) golfer, and I have played for about a year. I am a mid handicap and am looking to groove a more repetitive golf swing for more consistency. Most non-professionals that I talk to think that I swing too hard (about 110 mph), but every time I try to slow my swing down, I fall into my natural tendency to slice the ball. Any tips or advice?
Don't swing easier, it is overrated. Think of it this way, if the alignment on your car is pulling to the right you will run into the parked cars on the side of the road if you are driving 5MPH or 50MPH. What needs to be fixed is the car's alignment not the speed. The same is true for your swing. If you are comfortable swinging harder that is fine, just make sure your fundamentals are sound. This means you must manage and monitor the clubface position (square, open, closed) and the swing path (neutral, outside, inside). If these critical factors are off, you won't hit the ball at the target regardless of your speed. Find a well respected professional in your area and take a couple of lessons so you can understand how to recognize faulty mechanics and how to fix them.
Tony asks at 12:15
I recently purchased a new NIKE STR8-FIT driver with a stiff shaft. I took it to the range and found that I was hitting on the heel. I tried to make adjustments (closed stance, slower swing, etc.) to no avail. I took it to the course and the same happened. People have been telling me that it's my shaft and that I should be using regular instead of stiff. Do you think that is what is causing my heel shots? What else can I do? Any help would be greatly, and I mean greatly, appreciated.
Hopefully you were fit for the driver before you purchased it. Without the fitting, it is difficult to get the proper combination of length, loft, shaft flex and head design. The most important part of the clubfitting is the shaft, it can make or break your purchase. Logically, if you weren't hitting your old driver off the heel and you are now, it sounds like the club is the problem.
Todd asks at 12:05
I am fairly new to the game, but have played probably 20 rounds. I have taken lessons but for the life of me cannot stop topping the ball. Is there any special technique/practice routine? It happens with both irons and woods. It is increasingly frustrating because when I make solid contact the ball is pretty much consistently straight [as it is when I top it]. I want to be able to work on other parts of the game, but if I can't hit the ball, it doesn't matter what I do on the green.
Welcome to the game. Topping the ball is a very common problem to beginning golfers. There are three things you can do that will help immediately, but you must also change your mindset. A common mistake beginning golfers make is they try to get under the ball to lift it into the air. This causes the club to work UP through impact, making the bottom or leading edge of the club hit the equator of the ball leading to the top. Instead, you must trust the loft of the club to get the ball airborne.
From a technical standpoint there are three fixes. First, you need to maintain the forward bend you create in the set-up throughout the swing. This will maintain your distance from the ball removing one of the causes of the top. Next, the weight must transfer into the front foot at impact to make the bottom of the swing land in front of the ball. If the weight stays on the back foot, the bottom of the swing will be behind the ball forcing the club UP through impact. Finally, allow your arms to relax and extend as you strike the ball. This will help the club find it's true bottom of the swing arc and help you make better contact.
Doug asks at 12:00
I used to push the ball pretty much exclusively straight right. Then, after some work, I was hitting it better, but hooking it. Then, I read Shawn Humphries' "Two Steps to a Perfect Golf Swing," and now I'm making GREAT contact with all my clubs, but I'm back to slicing. Are you familiar with this book, and even if you aren't, what are some basic things I can try to do to fix this slice? Thanks!
I haven't read Shawn's book but I am sure he did a good job, he is a very good teacher. The fact that you are still hitting a slice implies that you haven't fully grasped how the club is designed to work through the impact area. Most recreational players are under the impression that if they hit the back of the ball with the face square the ball will go straight. This misunderstanding is why we have an entire industry filled with products designed to fix the slice.
Instead, you need to attack the inside-back of the ball with the clubface closing gradually to hit the ball straight. This means you must try to start the ball to the right of the target with your swing path and allow the toe of the club to work over the heel. This is completely backwards to your instincts when you are slicing it which makes it difficult, but it will work.