Live Ask the Top 100 Chat: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions
If you missed Brady today, check Golf.com on Tuesday, June 23, at noon EST for the next Ask the Top 100 Live!
Thanks for all the questions and comments. I am late getting back to the lesson tee. I will answer all the questions posted before 1 p.m. EST when I get back to the computer later tonight.--Brady Riggs
How would I go about setting up a lesson with you next time I am in the LA area?
I can be found at the beautiful, and very public, Woodley Lakes Golf Course in Van Nuys. I will be the one under a Taylormade Tent wearing three layers of clothing to protect myself from the sun.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 11:39 PST
The cliche that hybrid clubs are "easier to hit" is a total myth.
For many players, the hybrid is a great alternative to the middle and long irons. It is easier to get airborne, more versatile out of poor lies, and generally produces better misses. Personally, I don't like them. I prefer the feel and look of a long iron over a hybrid.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 11:35 PST
James asks at 12:40 EST:
I'm a reasonable good player (0.5) handicap) thats just trying to tighten up my swing. My biggest issue is that I lose a lot of wrist hinge early coming down, much like a David Toms type player but more exagerated, im not casting but there just isn't the angle I'd like to see. My problem is that when I try to really come in with a lot of lag it feels like impact is going to be a murderous, steep chop on the ball. From looking at video my arms get a little high at the top with the club bordering on laid off; from there it seems like the club seems to come down a little too steep (just inside my shoulder with that shaft pointing at or slightly inside the ball) as I come down. Is this the reason why I don't feel like I can lag the club the way I want to, and what are some good drills to fix any of these problems?
I have to tell you that I think too many good players become obsessed with creating more lag in their swing. In their haste to create more they usually deteriorate as players. David Toms isn't a bad player to be sure, so having a swing similar is something I would consider a good thing. The thing to ask yourself is do you think the lack of angle is causing some problems or preventing you from becoming a better player, or do you just not like the look of it on video?
Steep sounds like the more serious issue to me. I would work on your sequence of motion to kill both problems at once. You need to get the sensation that your body in beginning its move to the target on the downswing before the arms and club finish going up. This will help the club stay behind you more as it comes down eliminating the steep issue, and create more of a dynamic motion that will increase your lag.
I don't think you should be trying to get more lag, just improve the sequence and it will happen naturally.
Brady RIggs, June 17, 12:47 EST
Aaron asks at 12:34 EST:
normally about a 12 handicap but the last time i played i looked like
i've never swung club before. I got a case of the shanks and they stuck
with me the whole round. From what I've read i need to swing more out
to in while turning my hips instead of sliding. What's the best drill
If you look at the question I just answered it was about the shanks. I would tell you that you should really try to understand your problem and how to fix it before you start tinkering too much with your swing. If you were a good player before then the swing is most likely in there. Go back to your set-up and check your ball position, grip, alignment, posture and distance from the ball before you start messing too much with your motion.
If you work in the proper order, you can avoid making things worse.
Brady Riggs, June 17 12:37 EST
JD asks at 12:29 EST:
Lately I have gotten a case of the shanks. No matter what I do I hit the ball with hostel. I can't even tell if I'm coming from the inside or the outside but it feels like I am lifting my head before impact. Any ideas or drills to help?
I am very sorry to hear that! There are 4 great ways to shank it. You can start to close to the ball, get too close to the ball during the swing, come excessively from the inside or excessively from the outside. While this doesn't answer your question, it gives you an idea what you are dealing with.
The best place to start is with your address. A common mistake people who are shanking make is starting too far from the ball with the weight in the heels. This makes the player move towards the ball during the swing, cutting off the space you were trying to create in set-up and can often lead to the dreaded shank. Instead, start with the weight more in the balls of your feet and try to get the feeling the weight is moving into the right heel on the backswing and the left heel on the downswing.
This should help. If it doesn't, you need to figure out which path problem you have and work on that as well.
Brady Riggs, June 17 12:32 EST
Tom asks at 12:22 EST:
I've heard that getting fit with clubs that are upright and long can exacerbate an over-the-top move. I think this may be happening in my game. My misses start out slightly left of target and usually draw further left. Thank you.
Based upon your ball flight that sounds perfectly reasonable. I am not a big fan of most clubfitting. In many cases, the clubfitter tries to improve your ballflight by making unnecessary and drastic changes to the lie angle of the club. In the vast majority of those instances, the swing needs to be improved and the club should be left at a more standard set-up. The fact is you can't buy your game, it must be earned.
Get those clubs adjusted back to a more neutral set-up.
Brady Riggs, June 17 12:26 EST
Marc asks at 12:15 EST:
What is a great drill for hitting solid short irons? I hit a nice draw with my mid and long irons but I struggle to hit my short irons consistently well. I tried steepening my swing with my short irons but then I tend to hit a lot of balls fat. I really want to work hard at them because they are key to good scoring but I get confused as to what is the best way to swing them. Thanks.
There are a couple things you can do that will help. First, don't hit your short irons too hard. If you are swinging any where near full then you need to back off. The key to good short irons is swinging under control so if you are between a 9 iron and a Wedge hit the 9 every time. If you are hitting you mid and long irons well then your mechanics must be very solid. Steepening your swing just for your short irons is a bad idea, and could have negative consequences for the rest of your game.
One last thing, check the width of your stance. If your feet get too far apart it is difficult to make solid contact.
Brady Riggs, June 17 12:21 EST
Jan asks at 12:04 EST:
Could you give us all a refresher in how to grip the club properly, is there a gripping routine to use? many thanks
There are many ways to get your hands on the club properly. Something that has been very helpful for students over the years is to use the seam on their glove to line up the top hand properly. It runs down the back of the hand between the thumb and index finger. If the top hand is on the club properly, that seam will continue down the middle of the handle of the club once the grip has been taken. The bottom hand has a trick as well. While the hand is off the club the inside of the thumb should be connected to the palm so the muscle on the back of the hand pops up, only then should the grip be taken. This is critical because it acts as a bridge of support for the club at the top of the swing.
BTW, interlock, overlap, and 10-finger can all work just fine. How the hands work under the handle isn't nearly as important as how they function on top.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 12:14 EST
Fred asks at 12:00am EST:
I am consistantly hitting the ball off the toe of the club(with driver), but the face is square. My divots point slightly to the left and are on the shallower side. I think i seem to have a push
If your divots are pointing to the left then coming over the top will only make your problem worse. You need to get the club more to the inside on the downswing. This will help the clubface rotate more naturally through impact making it easier for you to it your natural, right to left ballflight. If you think of hitting a baseball, you need to start your shot to the right of the pitcher. The swingpath you are currently creating would start the ball at the shortstop.
My game has gone to pot. I hit everything short. the ball slices off of my driver. The club turns in my hand on almost every shot. I never hit two shots the same. Please help!
Don't worry Dan, we all hate this game occasionally. Here's the deal, it sounds like you are hitting the ball off the toe of the club with the face excessively open at impact. The poor contact leads to the club spinning in your hands, the open face produces the slice. Get your hands of the club properly, flatten your left wrist at the top of the swing and try to hit the ball as far RIGHT as possible. The combination of a grip change and better left wrist alignment will improve the clubface, the attempt to hit the ball right will make the swing path more inside and help you hit the middle of the clubhead.
If this doesn't work, take some time off and go fishing. Golf shouldn't be so miserable.
Why do I hit it fat & also high, short & right?
I can think of a couple reasons but I am stabbing in the dark a bit with so little info. I can tell you chances are you are probably coming down very steep, creating the fat shots and a lack of clubface rotation during impact that will produce a shot going to the right. The lack of clubface rotation also leads to a serious lack of distance.
The fix begins with you feeling a swing that is more around, less up and down, and a clubface that is actively turning through impact. This should be fairly natural as your around motion improves, but a little manipulation in the beginning with your hands and arms turning the face isn't a bad idea. Make some swings off the ground about hip height to get the feeling of swinging more around and try to get the sense of the clubface closing at the hitting area. I would recommend hitting balls from a tee in the beginning, as this will make it easier to achieve both the around motion and better release.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 1:35 PST
I’m in the Air Force but when I retire I want to teach golf of some sort I have the passion for the game and about a 5 handicap. What is the best way to achieve this goal of mine. I have looked at the San Diego university schools but not sure if that’s the best way to go about it. Any advice you could give me would be really appreciated thanks for your time.
On behalf of a grateful family thank you for serving our nation.
I am asked this question all the time and always cringe a little when I hear it. This is not a profession to join if you want to play golf. The hours spent on the range are long, the pay starts out pretty bad, and the duties often don't involve teaching. With that said, I love my job!
If you are one of those strange guys that loves looking and books, mags, and videos of the swing. Likes to tinker with different ideas, and gets a kick out of helping people than by all means join the ranks of the crazies. If you want to play golf and make some easy cash, run for the hills.
My best advice would be to pursue membership in the PGA. I know the program is long, difficult, and expensive, but there is no doubt that the best teachers are almost always PGA Members. The relationships you make becoming a member are invaluable to your development as a teacher and critical to your future job prospects.
You will find differing opinions on this, but I truly believe that the best way to become qualified and respected is to become a PGA Member.
If you need any help along the way, please don't hesitate to ask....
Brady RIggs, June 17, 1:20 PST
I am a 29 year old golfer that plays pretty much every day. Recently, I have lost up to two clubs of distance on my irons. The shots still fly high and at my target. I am leaving a good divot beyond the ball. I have struggled with reverse pivots in the past, but think I have this problem solved. Any suggestions as to how I could lose this much power would be appreciated. Thanks.
The first place to look is in the clubface position. If the face has become excessively open you will hit the ball substantially shorter. This can have the effect of a loss of distance but not a loss of accuracy if your hands are becoming excessively active through impact. The cause of this can be either a grip that is too weak, or a left wrist that has become overly cupped or bent backwards at the top of the backswing.
Make sure your grip is at least neutral, and your left wrist is flat at the top. If both are fine, let me know and we will go down the list.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 1:15PST
I am a 14-year-old golfer who's been playing the game for a long while. I constantly shoot in the low to mid 80's and i am having trouble with my driver. My driver was custom fit to 44.5" since I am only 5"6. However, my instructor says i keep the club too low at address. I am pushing most of my tee-shots but they are staying right instead of flying with my usual slight draw. I hit them out 220, and I was wondering why i am hitting them right, and any drill that could help me through this fault. My dad says I need to swing more over-the-top.
I could use a bit more info. How are your divots? Deep? Pointing left? Are you striking the ball in the center of the face or on the toe, heel? Get back to me....
Brady Riggs, June 17, 1:11PST
I am a low single digit golfer who has a block/hooking problem from an inside out swing path. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix my swing so I can start hitting a cut again? The farther left I aim, the farther I tend to push it to the right (or hard left if I let the club release)You
You have the classic good players miss. Welcome to the club. Getting inside is the key to becoming a good player, and the albatross preventing you from becoming better. The number one cause of this problem is becoming steep in the transition from backswing to downswing. The place to check this on video is when your hands are just below your shoulder on the downswing from the target line side. If your club is pointing inside the ball in this frame, you are hosed! It should point at or outside the target line. If it isn't your only chance to hit a good shot is to drop the club back to the inside late in the downswing. As a result, the club attacks excessively from the inside and you receive the joyful hook/block combination.
The fix is a combination of a better takeaway and top position combined with the feeling of going low and left with your hands through impact. While this sounds complicated, a little work on video can getting you going in the right direction pretty fast. The first step is to try to get the club pointed slightly left of your hands at the top (right-handed player) in a more laid off position. This will encourage the club to point in the proper direction during the transition, making your life much easier. Next, you need to feel as if the hands are passing closer to the ground and across your left hip after impact. Again, this will help shape the swing in a more neutral direction eliminating your hook and block.
Brady Riggs, June 17 1:05PST
On my downswing my arms are too active rather than allowing my hips to turn and my arms to drop and swing naturally. What kind of practice will help me get used to the feeling of my arms dropping and my speed being generated by my hips turning through without being to active with my arms and coming over the top?
You are dealing with a sequence problem. In every athletic motion from throwing a ball to striking an object with a stick (ie. tennis, baseball, or hockey), you must move your weight before your arms. Based on your description, you are starting the downswing backwards with your arms moving before the weight is engaged into your front leg. You need to get the sense that your first move down happens before the arms and club reach the top of the backswing. This is done by sensing the weight landing on your front foot before your arms start down.
Make some baseball swings with your golf club and you will feel the sequence of weight then arms. This will help you sense the motion that makes a great golf swing, and relieve you of the burden of making a backswing and then a downswing. Get rid of the pause at the top and get that weight moving.
Not only will this improve your contact and power, but it should eliminate your over the top headache.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 12:35PST
How do I fix an "across the line" position at the top of my backswing? Depending on how my hands recover from overswinging, big push slices or nasty hooks result. "Shortening my swing" is easier said than done. Thanks for the help!
First you need to determine where things are getting strange. Momentum is an interesting thing on the backswing, it can either help you or hurt you. Think of your backswing as equal parts up and in. The in being the club working away from the target line and the up being over your shoulder. If you get too much of one early, you will end with all of the other as the club reaches the top. In other words, if your club is excessively inside during the takeaway (IN) it will go very up as it finishes the backswing. The momentum that results gives you the bonus direction of ACROSS.
The fix begins by getting more up in your takeaway. This will allow for more in as the club finishes the backswing, helping the club line up better at the top. A good sensation at the top is that your left elbow is higher than your hands. This combination should kill your across the line position at the top, making it much easier to keep the downswing on plane.
Brady Riggs, June 17, 12:54PST