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 Tuesday at noon Eastern to fix your golf swing. Be first in line by leaving a question in the comments section below.
That is all folks! I have to get out to the lesson tee and screw up some golfers in person! Thanks to all for your questions, I apologize for not getting to all of them but I try to give each question as complete an answer as possible so get them in early next week. Anyone posting a link to your swing on You Tube will move to the front of the line so get those cameras out and we will see you next week!
WAIT! WE HAVE A YOU TUBE SWING! TURN THE MACHINES ON FOR ONE MORE ANALYSIS...
Simon asks at 1:25
This is where I am at...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUg2cPVu-DI Where should I start? Have been working on eliminating my shoulder tilt, creating lag by pulling through rather than pushing, and hitting down/out on the ball. Are these the right areas to work on now?
Simon, thanks for posting your swing! Very brave!
The best place to begin is with your grip, it is extremely strong. I would like to see both of your hands turn to your left as you look down on the grip. I gave a detailed answer about grip earlier in the blog today so check that out. I like the down and out idea through impact, but wouldn't be too concerned about created lag, pulling or pushing or eliminating shoulder tilt. Start with the grip, let me know how things go and we will proceed from there. Don't be shocked if a great number of your shots head to the right, this is to be expected in the beginning. We will get to that when you send in an updated video.
Real quick, and this goes for everybody sending in video. Make sure you get a face on clip, a target view clip, and a close up of your grip. This will make it much easier for me to help you get better faster. Also, it is always best to see your swing when you are hitting an actual golf ball so if at all possible make that happen.
Send me a new one next week and we will keep going!
Leftyleft asks at 12:59:
have one big swing flaw, which is a slight reverse pivot which prompts me to move my abdomen closer to the ball in the downswing. I'm almost certain this death move is set up by the backswing. Any thoughts? ps - I feel that when my left hip (I'm LH) turns back at about 45 degrees in the backswing, everything is ok and I have plenty of room to swing the arms through in the downswing.
It sounds like you are on the right track. The reverse pivot begins with a lateral slide of the hips during the takeaway. As a lefty, when your left hip moves laterally during the backswing you lose the forward bend in your trunk that you had in the address position. As a result your head stays in the same place it started or moves closer to the target.
This is a good place for your opponent to see you in and quickly triple the bets.
Turning the left hip immediately in the backswing helps your head move naturally away from the target (SORRY STACK AND TILTERS BUT THIS IS CORRECT) and makes it much easier for your arms and the club to have some room as they approach impact. You know what you need to do, that is more than half the battle, so go fix it!
Ben asks at 12:49:
Two questions. First, I am a pretty decent ball striker with my short irons and wedges but I have trouble shaping my shots. When I try to hit it straight it draws, when I try to hit a draw I push it, and when I try to hit a fade I either hit it fat or just straight pull it. Second, lately I haven't been able to hit my long irons at all, I feel like I'm doing the same things I do with my shorter irons but it seems every time I hit it thin. Any suggestions?
This is like one of those word problems in school where two trains leave the station at the same time traveling 55 mph....
I am stabbing at this a bit but here is what I would do. It sounds to me like your natural ball flight is a slight draw as evidenced by the fact that when you try to hit it straight it turns over. My first advice is to realize that, despite what is being said on tv, most tour players have a natural curve, however slight, that they can count on. This doesn't mean they can't curve it the other direction when necessary, but that when they swing without thinking the ball curves.
If I were helping you I would encourage you to keep the slight draw as a default and work on a fade for the times you need it on the course. Most great players have difficulty working the ball both directions the appropriate amount on command, so I wouldn't recommend you spend your time fighting windmills. I will tell you that as a natural drawer of the ball you need to be careful not to get excessively inside on the downswing as it will be your tendency when things go bad. Take care to check your alignment, ball position, grip, and posture constantly to help you stay consistent and embrace the slight curve that comes so naturally to you.
It works pretty well for Kenny Perry....
Andrew asks at 12:36:
I have been really struggling with my grip. A year ago, I took a lesson and the instructor really believe in a strong grip to draw the ball. I am a real solid player who used to be able to shape the ball around the golf course. I am around a two. I don't really feel comfortable with my grip and want to be able to attack the golf ball. Do you have any tips on how to ensure a proper grip on the golf club.
This is a very challenging answer to give on a blog because it always helps to see where you are and help you manipulate your hands manually, but what the heck! The fact is there is no correct grip for all, but there is a correct grip for you. While that sounds like a cop-out it is true. Personally, I like to see many good players use a grip that is as weak as possible that still allows then to hit a draw comfortably. I am not a big fan of a Zach Johnson, Paul Azinger type grip for most people. However, if a player came to me that was an established player and good ball striker with that type of grip you can bet I would leave it alone.
Here are some checkpoints that might help. I am not a big fan of the whole "knuckles" thing for checking position. I would have you think of it this way. When you look down at your top hand it should look like you have about the same amount of "glove" on either side of the top of the handle. In other words, if the grip is too weak your glove hand will look like it is to the left of the handle, too strong it will look like it is to the right of the handle. The heel pad of your left hand should be on top of the club with the left thumb running down the top and the side of the grip. The right hand, bottom hand, is completely dictated by the glove hand when it comes to position. The right palm should be placed against the left thumb so a snug fit is present. The right thumb print should remain on the handle, across to the target side while the right index finger is "crooked" on the trail side of the club.
Wow, I think I just developed carpal-tunnel syndrome!
Remember one last thing, it is completely irrelevant if you interlock, overlap or 10-finger. How the fingers join together, or don't join together for that matter, under the handle isn't nearly as important as how they work on the top of the handle.
Brian asks at 12:28:
I am a four handicap and in the last half year I have developed a nasty snap hook or a block right with only my driver and three would. I am really confused on how to fix the problem. I believe it’s a combination of backswing problems, tempo, and transition to the downswing the throws the club shut. Am I wrong, and do you have any tips or recommendations to help fix the problem.
I have written about this in previous blogs. It is a problem seen with the better players which is why I call it the "good players miss". All good golfers learn that to hit the ball properly the club must attack on a path from the "inside" with the face "closing" through impact. The problem is, they get too good at it and end up with the club attacking excessively from the inside. This puts a huge burden on the hands as they must square up the clubface perfectly and at the precise time or the shot is gone. Too late with the clubface and the ball is blocked way right, too early and you see the nasty hook.
Now, it is possible that the clubface is already closed by a faulty grip that is too strong or a bowed left wrist at the top. If this is the problem it must be addressed first by making the grip more neutral and/or adding a slight cup to the left wrist at the top. The path is a little more challenging to fix. In most cases, the club is across the line at the top, the result of a takeaway that has gotten inside early. Fix the takeaway by trying to keep the clubhead outside your hands until the club is parallel to the ground and try to feel the club in a more laid off position at the top. This will ensure a better path coming down.
This problem is very fixable so don't panic. It will also come back once you have cleaned it up. The good news is it gets easier to recognize and adjust for as time goes on.
John asks at 12:22:
I have been told that I should be taking a divot with my irons. When I make contact I sweep the ground not leaving much of a mark but I make solid contact. When I try to take a divot I end up hitting behind the ball and get an ugly shot. How can I work on taking a divot in front of the ball?
Don't worry about it. Taking a divot is overrated and trying to is a great way to screw up your swing. Stop listening to other people about your golf, they generally know less than you, believe me. Keep improving your fundamentals and the divot will take care of itself.
PJR asks at 12:16:
I am new to the game and I have a difficult time lining up my shots. I am always off to the left even though I feel like I am lined up dead center. I have tried to compensate by aiming more right but it doesn’t seem to help. Are there any tricks or drills I can do to work on my aim?
Welcome to club! I have had a tendency to aim right of the target for the last 30 years. The only difference is I know that is my default so I adjust for it constantly. The best advice I can give you is to practice with a shaft down between your toes and the ball pointing in the direction you want the ball to fly. Remember that your toe line doesn't point at the target but parallel-left of the target line. The best analogy is that of railroad tracks, a line from the ball to the target forming the right side of the tracks and a line from the toes the left side of the tracks.
Kevin asks at 12:09:
I have 2 questions for you. Lately when i swing i make a big divot and i make terrible contact. I feel like i'm swinging at the ball and not through it. Does that sound right? Also how do you put backspin on chip and wedge shots? Oh and if your drivers flex is too stiff what are the effects?
Let's take these in reverse order. If the driver flex is too stiff you are likely to miss shots to the right with a lower trajectory and shorter distance. Putting spin on chip shots isn't nearly as important and controlling where the ball lands and how much it rolls. Practice your short shots by picking a specific target to land on and using different clubs to learn how much roll out they have. This will help you hit the most common and easiest shots effectively, dramatically reducing your score. Hitting it with more spin looks cool, but it rarely helps the recreational player score better and takes a great deal of skill and practice. Finally, if your contact is terrible and your divots are deep, it is more than likely that your swing path is excessively steep on the downswing. The club should approach the ball on an angle that is not moving into the back of the ball with the face square, but from the inside back of the ball with the face gradually "closing" relative to the target line. This basically means you need to try to swing more to right field because your current swing path could kill the third base coach.
Chris asks at 12:03:
My drives are fairly straight for the most part, but now I want to add some distance. I think if I add some speed to my swing, then I will get more distance. But every time I do that start slicing. What can I do to add more distance?
Remember that adding speed has nothing to do with swinging harder. Usually when people try to hit it farther they "muscle up" and get tighter, especially in their hands and arms. This makes it more difficult to release the club properly and the typical shot is a shot going right or slicing. The best analogy is the act of snapping a towel. If the wrist is loose, the proper sequence of motion creates a more intense snap as you increase speed. If the wrist is tight, the snap because weaker regardless of how fast the arm moves. The same holds true for the golf swing. Maintaining soft, relaxed hands and arms is the best way to add speed and produce solid swing path and clubface alignments. Visualize the towel snap and you will see more speed....
Barry asks at 12:00:
I'm a 4, but I have one club in the bag that just will not cooperate - a 13 degree fairway wood goes left all the time - starts left, then turns left. Is the a case where maybe its the arrow and not the Indian?
It very well could be. Hybrids are notorious for hooking, especially the earlier models. The newer hybrids, especially those designed for the better players, are much better. The TP version of the Taylormade hybrids is one of those clubs. If you are only hitting that club left, kick it out of the bag and try another. There's no use banging your head against the wall.