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 every Tuesday at
noon Eastern to fix your golf swing.
Thanks to everyone for your questions. I am sorry that we ran out of time and couldn't get to all of your problems. Please ask again next week and get them in early so we can be sure to give you an answer. Remember that you can post your swing on You Tube and give us a link so we can all get a look at it. Enjoy the PGA Championship this week and make sure you follow it here at Golf.com and on SI GOLFNation.
Todd asks at 12:59:
I am about a 12 handicap. My one trouble shot is hitting iron shots fat. I feel like I have good distance and can putt ok, but fat shots will kill my round. I feel like I can't stop myself from dropping my shoulder during my downswing. I watch Tiger look like he's dropping way down yet he always hits the ball first. I know this is difficult to diagnose from just my description, but are there any tips I should be thinking about?
The best place to begin is with your swing path. If the swing is getting steep and coming excessively down as you strike the ball, hitting fat is a very likely miss. Try to get the club swinging into the inside-back of the ball and not the back of the ball. This will shallow out the swing path and make the contact more consistent. It will also encourage your miss to be thin instead of fat, a big key to better scoring. I always say that I have hit a ton of awful, thin shots and made birdie but I have never hit a fat shot close to the hole.
Vinny asks at 12:54:
I have always been told to take a slightly open stance, keep most my weight on my left side (I'm right handed), and hit down when hitting short irons. It has always worked well in the past. Lately, I have had a tendency to come into the ball with an open club face and get a weak slice. It feels like my hands are getting ahead of me or I'm cutting across the target line. When it happens, the more I try to stop it, the worse it seems to get. What am I doing wrong and what's the fix?
I wouldn't have you change your address position just because you are hitting a short iron. When you are open and have your weight forward, it is difficult to get the clubhead past your body and square up the face properly. I would get you squared up, weight even, and make a normal swing with the club going past your body as it would with a longer club. This will get the distance and direction back on track.
BTW, I don't even let my really good junior golfers hit pitch and chip shots with their stance really open. The technique has changed for the better over the years. Give it a try.
Matt asks at 12:48:
Brady, I’m looking a drill that will help with ball striking. I’m a 9 handicap and think any inconsistency is usually a result of the transition to downswing. Thanks!
I can always use a little more info to help you with a specific problem like fat, thin, shank, etc. I will tell you that most often poor contact relating to the transition is from improper sequence. Try to make sure your weight is always moving before your club, and not the other way around. Think of a quarterback throwing a pass, if he steps up into the pocket and then throws he has power and accuracy. If he faces a rush up the middle and throws off the back foot, he is likely to get intercepted. Make sure you "step into" your downswing and your contact should improve dramatically.
Ron asks at 12:40:
I'm 6'2'' and I have trouble getting into good posture, standing tall like Tiger. Do you have a routine I can follow to achieve good/proper posture?
Standing like Tiger is a good idea, standing too tall like Adam Scott is a bad idea. Don't get too hung up on being "tall" at set-up, it can really be bad for your game. I always encourage my students to feel like an athlete in the address position, knees flexed out over the toes with the weight in the balls of the feet, core tight, and neck relaxed. If you get your body ready to move in an athletic fashion, your posture will be good.
Greg asks at 12:35:
I really struggle with my hybrid club. I rarely use it off the tee, so it's most often hit out of the rough for me. Most of the time, I top shots with it, or just make terrible contact in general. I've heard to approach hybrid shots like iron shots, but that doesn't work any better than when I treat it more like a driver or wood. Help!!
I have seen this problem since the hybrids were introduced. Most people top the hybrid and hit it poorly when they stand too far from the ball. Get closer to it and you will hit it more solidly.
Jeremey asks at 12:25:
I have a lot of trouble with pitch shots (50-100 yds away from the green). I never know how to handle them, and I always either leave them way short, push them right, or crush them way over the green. Any advice?
Trying to avoid half wedges is always a good solution, even professionals don't enjoy them believe me. First thing to do is find the yardage you hit each wedge comfortably and be specific about your distances on the course. Don't try to nitpick five yards more or less to get to the flag, play to specific, conservative targets so you can make an aggressive swing and don't worry if the ball is ten or fifteen feet short or long. From a swing standpoint, the best advice I can give you is to keep your body rotating through to the finish with all the wedge shots you hit, both short and long. If the body stops, your contact will be inconsistent and the results will stink.
Kl asks at 12:15:
Quick question...I seem to hit my driver and fairway woods great lately, but have been struggling with my irons. I feel the start of the cause is the takeaway. With my driver and woods, I feel comforatable dragging the club on the takeaway, skimming the grass. But on the irons if I do the same thing, it feels as if my club gets stuck in the grass going back. I have tried correcting this, but it seems like I am making too much of an upright takeaway/backswing with my irons. Any drills to ensure my irons are going back on the correct path? Thanks a bunch!
This is a fairly easy one, thanks. The simple solution to the problem is to not ground the clubhead at set up. Your club is getting stuck in the takeaway with the iron because the head isn't as wide and can easily get hung up in the grass while the "woods" slide back much easier. A large number of tour players don't ground the club at all in the set-up position for multiple reasons. Jack Nicklaus was famous for this because he didn't want the ball to move and cost him a stroke, but it has other benefits. When you hover the clubhead at set up, or just keep the clubhead on the tops of the blades of grass, you are carrying all of the weight of the club in your hands and arms instead of letting the ground take the weight. This makes the takeaway much smoother, and encourages your body, arms, and hands to move the club back instead of snatching it with your hands. The start of the swing is much cleaner as the clubhead can't get hung up in the grass, and the movement is more together helping your swing start smoother and more powerfully.
Doug asks at 12:08:
I'm still fighting a stubborn hook on most of my shots, especially the driver. I've tried everything -- slight open stance, weakened grip, etc. and nothing's working. What's left for me to do to fix this hook?? Thanks!
Maybe an exorcism? Or we can fix your swing-path. If the clubface isn't closed then we move into the path the club is swinging on. If the club is attacking the ball from a path that is too far from the inside, you can hook it even if the face is OPEN during the swing. Opening the stace wont do the trick. Fixing the path starts in the takeaway by keeping the club from whipping inside immediately. Try to keep the clubhead outside your hands until the shaft is parallel to the ground. This will help the club move more up in front of you and encourage the club to point more parallel to the target line at the top instead of pointing across the line (over your head). If the club is more parallel to the line or even laid off slightly at the top, it is very difficult to get the club on a path that is too far from the inside. This will prevent you from the nasty combination of inside attack with flip of the clubface that was causing your hook and get the ball flying much straighter.
Asked by BC at 12:00:
Brady, this year I have lost major distance on all of my irons and my ball flight seems to be much higher than usual (sand wedge from 110 to 85, driver down to 220). I am hitting the ball solidly, but it just fails to cover any distance. Help!
There are two likely suspects in this problem. The first thing to check is your clubface position via your grip. If the grip has become weak then the clubface will be open, leading to a much higher ballflight and severe lack of distance. Make sure your left hand is on top of the handle, not to the side, and your trail hand is coming on more from the side, not from the top. This will fix any clubface issues you have. The second thing to check is your weight movement. Sometimes people move their weight in the opposite direction it should go both on the backswing and downswing. Make an effort to get your weight turning into your back heel on the backswing and driving towards the target and around to the front foot in the finish.
The combination of a more square clubface and proper weight movement should do the trick.