Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your swing questions
Can't stop three-putting? Chipping from one side of the green to
the other? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online every Tuesday at
noon EST to fix your golf swing. Read this week's installment below.
Thanks to all for the questions. If I didn't get to yours please ask again next week and try to get them in early. Remember you can post a link to your swing on YouTube so I can check you out in action, it will really help us help you!
Marc asks at 1:00:
Brady, a quick one: do you think Tiger's swing is better now with Haney than it was under Butch?
Marc, are you trying to get me in trouble? The simple answer is no, I don't think it is better. The longer answer is that, in my opinion, the clubface has gotten way too closed with the driver making it difficult for him to release the club properly and his swing is too long for the speed of his lower body coming down. I think some of the shots he can hit now are better, in other words he is probably more versatile but for my money I would lke to see him hit more fairways. The swing in 2000 was awfully good. If I were teaching him I would get out the video of Pebble in 2000 and study the swing that won the Open by 15 shots.
Thanks for putting me on the hot seat.
Gene asks at 12:59:
I've been having trouble with a massive hook so I video taped my swing from down-the-line and was shocked to see how upright and vertical my swing is. I wonder if this has anything to do with my hook. (I also attack the ball inside-out.) I would love to hear your thoughts
I am assuming the upright and vertical portion of the swing you are seeing is going back. If this is the case and you are attacking the ball excessively from the inside your swing is like Jim Furyk on steroids. It sounds like you have a big, less than effective shift in your swing that is causing the excessively steep and upright backswing to be overcompensated for coming down. This is a swing that would keep an instructor busy with for a while so I would suggest starting with the address position and working from there. After you have checked and adjusted your address position keep in mind that vertical, upright backswings are caused from a lack of turn and a lack of connection. Try to keep your upper left arm and chest (assuming you are right handed) together as your hips rotate in the beginning of your backswing. This will encourage your swing to be more around going back and flatter at the top.
Now the fun begins. If you make your normal move coming down from this improved backswing position, you may miss the ball. The adjustment you were making before to get the club inside from an upright backsiwng will now completely hose you. Instead, you need to swing more left coming through impact. This will help the club get out to a more neutral path as you attack, helping the contact and producing straighter shots.
Wow, I'm tired just from typing that advice, just think how much work it will be for you. The good news is you know how to get the club inside, you just need to create a backswing that won't need to be compensated for so much coming down. Good luck with your swing, let me know how it's coming and remember you can post a link to your swing from You Tube and we can check out on the blog.
Omer asks at 12:55:
like my set-up and take-away are solid but I get into trouble at the
top of my swing as my arms are too active and rather than following my
hips and dropping my arms down into the "slot" I tend to swing with my
arms and come over the top. I find it so hard to relax my arms and just
let my hip turn create the "speed". Is there anything I can repeat on
the range to ingrain that feeling of just dropping the arms and
trusting that the hips will create the necessary lag and swing speed
and hence ensure solid ball first then ground contact?? Thanks.
This is a theme this morning. I have answered this issue a couple of times in the previous posts so rather than repeat myself (something I am gifted at to be sure) check out the previous questions to see some specifics. The one thing I will add is that you need to play golf like an athlete, not a golfer. This means that you should draw upon all of your past experiences from other sports and inject them into your golf swing. Make sure that you allow your body to move back and through, let your arms follow the lead of your pivot and try to end up balanced in the finish. These seem like simple thoughts but the golf swing need not be complicated! Good luck.
Duane asks at 12:51:
struggle with my weight shift on the downswing. I always feel like I am
starting things with my arms and/or shoulders. I keep hearing from
every source I see that the downswing should start "from the ground
up," but I don't know how to do this. Any suggestions?
Two Duanes in a row, thats a record! You are hearing correctly that the downswing should start from the ground up, not the arms. This simply means your body should move to the target before your arms do. Think of stepping into a throw as a good illustration of how weight works before the arms during an athletic motion. It would be a fairly akward throw if your arm moved before your body when you throw. A good drill to feel the proper sequence is to take your address position, then move your front foot next to your back foot. Make a normal backswing and just before your arms are done going back step with your front foot to the target. Once you have stepped it will feel very natural for your arms and club to follow coming down. If you try this with a ball use a short tee and take a little speed off the swing. You may surprise yourself with how well you hit it.
Dwayne asks at 12:49:
What is the best drill to shallow out a downswing?
The single best drill to shallow out a downswing is to hit the driver off your knees. If you get steep from here you will know it very quickly as the club will bounce of the ground before impact. If your knees are bad and this isn't an option then fixing the issue starts with a good pivot on the backswing where your hips are turning and not sliding away from the target. If your hips slide, your chances of a shallower swing are zero. After the proper turn, swinging more out and around is a good thought for shallowing out the swing. The out portion keeps the club attacking on a more inside path with the club coming from behind you more and the around part helps the swing continue to a solid, balanced finish position.
Phil asks at 12:37:
Two of my worst problems are 1.) keeping the back of my left hand square with the clubface, and 2.) coming over the top. Do you know of any drills or thoughts to fix these issues? Thanks!
I'm not too sure what you mean about your left hand but I assume you are trying to keep your left wrist in a flat position. The fact is that most, not all, but most over the top moves are created from the fear of hitting it to the right. The right shot is generally from the clubface reaching impact in an open position caused either from a weak grip and/or a cupped left wrist on the downswing. SO, we have to fix the face first before the over the top. Get the grip in a neutral or even strong position and keep the left wrist fairly flat at the top of the swing. This will fix the clubface issue and create an interesting result if you come over the top, A HUGE PULL! This is what should happen if you come over the top with a square clubface. Once you have pulled a few it will dawn on you that to hit the target the swing must be more from the inside on the downswing. Remeber that the proper path isn't into the back of the ball but into the inside-back of the ball and you will be hitting it much stronger and straighter.
James asks at 12:31:
I have heard that once you reach the top of your backswing and shift your weight, you should then feel your arms "drop." I don't understand what that means, or what it should feel like. Do they literally just fall straight down or what? I keep hearing it and it doesn't make sense!
It doesn't make much sense to me either James. A better way to think of it is that the proper sequence of body first, arms second keeps the arms trailing the body for the majority of the downswing. At impact, the body begins to slow down it's rotation so the arms can fly by. Think of the other sports you have played growing up, specifically throwing a ball. Can you imagine thinking of stepping towards the target, letting your arm drop and then throwing? Of course not. Make your swing feel like the other athletic motions you have performed in your life and you will be way ahead. Remember the proper sequence is always body then arms, and forget about dropping them.
Marc asks at 12:24:
I've read that you must start the swing by "shifting" back into your left side from the top of the swing. But how much shift is too much before it becomes a hip slide?
The best way to monitor the amount of slide starting down is to check your left foot position and overall balance in the finish. If your left foot is being rolled to the outside excessively and you are having trouble holding the finish chances are your shift or bump has turned into a slide. A good thought is to move your right side around so it points to the target in the finish. This will help you shift the weight properly but will encourage the swing to keep it's movement around instead of sliding laterally too far coming down. When you are shifting properly, you should be able to finish in balance with the left foot fairly flat on the ground. If you are still having problems with the sway and are generally inflexible, don't be afraid to flare both feet out in the address position. This will make it much easier to rotate and take some strain of your lead foot in the finish.
Shane asks at 12:12:
I had knee surgery last year and I am just getting back into golf. I have found now I seem to dip my head alittle and sway to my right side on take away.. do you have have good drill to work this out? Thanks
I had one of those little procedures a couple years back so I feel your pain, literally. The best way to create the proper pivot on the backswing is to allow your right cheek (assuming you are right handed) to rotate towards the target. If you let your backside turn in this fashion, the chances of swaying or reverse pivoting are zero. When performed properly, your head should move slightly away from the target while your tush is moving to the target. Here is a good drill to feel this. Without a club, take your address position and place both palms above your knees with your arms straight. Next, allow your tush to rotate to the target keeping your arms straight. You will notice that your head moves away from the target while your tush moves to it. This is how simple the pivot should be for you during the backswing, don't make it more complicated.
Good luck with that knee and remember if you strengthen the muscles around it the knee will be under far less strain.
Doug asks at 12:00:
having a terrible time with my swing path on the downswing. It seems to
be too inside-out, and the result is that a "good" swing leads to a
straight push, and a bad swing leads to a nasty push-slice. What can I
do to fix my swing path on the downswing? I know I need to come
SOMEWHAT inside-out, but I think I'm just overdoing it.
This is a common problem that many "good players" struggle with. The push-slice is perhaps the worst miss you can have from the tee as it feels awful and almost always goes out of bounds. There are several things you can do to get the path back on track and hit fairways again. First, check your address position and make sure your aren't aimed way right as this makes the problem much worse. The swing fix begins with eliminating the excessive right side tilt you have in your upper body on the downswing. While some tilt is a good thing, too much creates your issue. As you are attacking the ball, try to keep your right shoulder up or higher and moving AROUND to the target. This will make it easier for you to rotate the entire body on the downsing instead of tilting under with your right side. The result should be a stronger ball flight with some right to left shape on it.