Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon Eastern
to review your swing videos, answer questions and offer tips to keep your game on track during the cooler winter months. Be first in line by leaving a comment below.
Thanks to everyone for the questions and comments. Sorry we ran out of time. Please ask again next week and get them in early so we can get to them. Have a great week.
AdmiralXizor asks at 9:55:
This is my second season and I'm looking to improve a lot during the
winter. How does "winter golf" (it's going to be the mid-40s most of
the winter) compare to golf in the warm weather? Am I going to have to
re-calculate my distances when the weather improves? I realize I may
have to do that anyway, assuming I'm a better golfer in 4 months..! :D
Are there specific adjustments I need to make to my game for warmer to
colder weather, and/or vice versa?
The ball won't go as far and the thin shots sting the hands for a few holes. The distance differences aren't that drastic and can be adjusted fairly quickly. If you practice at the same facility throughout the year you should be able to see the difference in distances on the range. In most areas of the country where golf can still be played during the winter the ground is more bare and difficult to hit short shots from. When the ground is more firm and tight you can't open the clubface as much around the green or the back of the flange will bounce off the ground and the leading edge will hit the center of the ball.
Mike asks at 9:33:
Hi Brady, Although I think I'm a strong guy, I have a lack of distance
in my irons (5i: around 160yards) and driver (around 235 yards). I know
that to get more distance I need to get more speed. Is it possible to increase the speed in your swing, or is your swing speed a more natural thing? Are
there any drills? Thanks! Mike, The Netherlands
Mike, this is one of those questions I need a few hours to answer. The best advice I can give you without seeing your swing is that you need to understand how speed works in the swing. Clubhead speed comes from whip not muscle. This is why a skinny, seemingly frail player can hit the ball farther than a bulky, offensive lineman type. Speed is about timing, soft arms, a dynamic change of direction from backswing to downswing and the ability to make the club snap or crack like a whip at impact.
The best thing you can do at this point is think of your athletic background and draw upon those skills when you are swinging a club. If you can send me a link to your swing on You Tube that would really help.
Steve asks at 9:20:
I see pros use two sticks to lay down on the ground at the driving
range and place a ball between them to hit. Is this a drill to help
control the club path through impact and is this something everybody
can do or just those with a certain type of swing plane?
Sticks have become all the rage in the bags of good players from the junior ranks to the PGA Tour. They are most beneficial for alignment purposes but can help the player work on numerous swing issues from swing path to plane and beyond. The drill you are speaking of can help a player who is attacking from an excessively inside path combined with too much clubface rotation. The sticks help the player visualize the proper swing path and track for the clubhead to follow through impact while the clubface remains "square." This is a specific fix for a specific problem and can be harmful to your ball-striking if your issue isn't the same.
I highly recommend using the sticks for alignment purposes but keep in mind that another club out of your bag is just as effective.
Rich asks at 9:08:
From the top, I steepen the shaft and dive at the ball with my left shouder. Help please? Does not happen on practice swings.
The most common reason this happens actually results from losing your posture during the backswing. If you stand up and lose your forward lean during the backswing it makes sense that the first move you make during the downswing is to dive. To fix the problem you need to turn your shoulders on a steeper angle. This will help you keep your posture and take away the need to dive starting your downswing. Tom asks at 9:00:
What are the suggested tee heights for the driver, 3-wood, 4 & 5 hybrids for a 20 handicapper?
The tee heights don't change based upon your ability, but they can vary based upon your desired ball-flight and personal preference. The driver tee height has changed quite a bit over the last decade since the introduction of larger, deeper clubhead designs. In the past the standard was the equator of the ball should be at the top of the clubhead. As the head has gotten larger over the years the top of the clubhead has become taller, leading to the need for longer tees. In addition, the old standard of equator of the ball has lost its iron-clad status and players often get the entire ball above the top of the clubhead.
The fact is that the ball-flight you are trying to create can be affected by the height of the tee. For example, it is easier to hit a draw from a higher tee than a shorter tee and easier to hit a fade from a shorter tee than a higher tee. If you aren't sure get the ball up a little higher than "standard" with the driver.
In terms of the other woods, a little lower than the driver standard is usually a better strategy because these clubs are hit with a bit more of a descending blow than the driver. If the tee gets too high, it can be easy to pop up.
Tough time on the links this weekend? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon
Eastern to review your swing videos, answer questions and offer tips.
Be first in line by asking a question in the comments section below.
Thanks to everyone for your great questions and videos. Have a fantastic holiday weekend and I will see you next week on the blog. GO PACKERS!
Paul asks at 11:45:
I am single figure handicap but I always struggle with my driver. What
are some driver basics that I can work on at the range? Is width the
most important thing? I used to play a draw that turned into a snap
hook. So I steepened my swing slightly to play a fade but now I tend to
come over the top on certain occasions. Mostly though I just don't
trust my driver on the course and I end up with 100 swing thoughts
going through my head over the ball. What are some driver basics that I
can use to simplify my practice and my thoughts?
I agree with you Paul that the driver is the most critical club in the bag. If you can't get started on a hole the game is way too difficult. As always I would like to see you have a plan for your driver. It sounds like the experiment to go left to right hasn't worked all that well and you would be happier hitting a slight draw. With this in mind the start of your improvement needs to begin by sticking with a desired ball-flight, in your case a draw and develop your swing around it.
Once you have done this take a hard look at your address position. Make sure you have enough tilt in your right side away from the target to facilitate a more inside attack to the ball. Be aware that the tendency for right to left players is to become too closed with the feet, so make sure you are creating some parallel lines between your shoulders, feet, knees, and hips relative to the target line.
In your golf swing you need to combine the slightly inside attack with the proper face rotation and see the ball start slightly right of the target. Once you have developed the proper shape of shot, you can begin to read your misses. Too little draw and you need to allow the club to pass your body more through impact. Too much draw and you are hanging back on the right side too long causing your clubface to over-rotate. Once the misses make sense you can adjust on the course and begin to drive the ball consistently from day to day.
Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon Eastern to review your swing videos, answer questions and offer tips. Be first in line by asking a question in the comments section below.
Thanks to everyone for your questions and especially your videos. This was a very good blog today. Let's keep it going next week with some more interesting videos, questions, and opinions about the golf swing. Have a great week and go Packers!
CJ asks at 1:00:
Tiger switched coaches from Butch Harmon to Hank Haney. And Ernie
Els switched from Leadbetter to Harmon. So what are the different
coaching styles of those 3 coaches that cause the players to chop and
You would think that they are all teaching the same fundamentals but
they clearly can't be otherwise the players wouldn't change between
CJ, to answer this question properly I would need several hours. I would tell you that Haney and Leadbetter are more likely to impose their methodology on the student where Butch will take what the student has and work with their strengths and weaknesses. There is no way to break down their styles in a blog but in my opinion Butch is more versatile and likely to help a broader spectrum of players than the other two.
Players change coaches because they are always looking for something to help them get a little better. When they have heard a specific set of instructions from the same teacher over a period of time and aren't gettting the results they want they will move on. It is that simple. Tour instructors are like NBA coaches, you get hired to get fired. It usually goes coach, caddie, wife, in that order, when it comes to the chopping block.
CH3fan asks at 12:55:
I was a huge Charles Howell fan when he first came onto the Tour. I
love his swing and the power he generates, it gives us smaller guys
hope. But he never quite lived up to the hype.
I was watching him at the range at one Tour event and you could see
what a great ballstriker he is compared to the other guys. It must be
embarrassing for Leadbetter cos all along he was telling everyone how
good CH3 is.
How come he has never translated his talent into more wins than he has? Thanks.
He has had a better year in 2009 than he did in 2008. When you try to figure out why he hasn't won much there is nothing that stands out. He did finish 2nd twice this year, but I agree that he hasn't lived up to the hype. His statistics are very average, with no specific strength or weakness shinning through which may give some reason to why he can't break through.
I always like to look at two stats, total driving and putting. He is 128th in total driving and 106th in putts per round. If the old line holds true, "you drive for show and putt for dough,", then this is why he hasn't produced like we all thought he would.
Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to review your swing videos, answer questions and offer tips.
THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR THE GREAT QUESTIONS AND FANTASTIC VIDEOS. THIS IS THE KIND OF BLOG WE ARE LOOKING FOR EVERY WEEK. DON'T BE AFRAID TO SEND IN YOUR SWING WITH A LINK TO YOU TUBE, IT MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE TO SEE YOUR MOTION. HAVE A GREAT WEEK AND GO FOR EVERYTHING, NOBODY WILL REMEMBER THE PAR 5 YOU CHICKENED OUT ON AND MADE PAR.
Alex asks at 1:30:
Now that my golf season is almost over I was wondering what exercises I
can do to be in shape for next season. I know I need a lot of core
workout as well as legs for stability but I was wondering if you knew
any specific workouts that would help me.
There is so much great information out there on the internet that can help. I would recommend finding someone in your area that works with high-level golfers. The more golf specific your workout can BECOME, not begin, the better off you are. If money is a huge issue, check out Paul Chek online and research his material. I have over a dozen of my players working with a certified Chek guy that have had great results.
Paul asks at 1:20:
Can you clarify: In order to control distance in greenside bunkershots, do I shorten my backswing or follow-through ?
Neither. I would have you change the speed of your swing to change the distance of the shot. Think of a second baseman throwing to first versus a third baseman. The throwing motion looks the same, it is the speed of the arm swing that changes the throw. To make golf more athletic think of just changing how much energy you put into the swing. On a shorter shot, swing easier; for a longer shot, swing harder. Remember that the sand under the ball moves the ball out of the bunker. If the sand comes out slower and shorter the ball won't go as far as it would if the sand comes out faster and farther.
One last thing about this method. You will see an obvious change in the length of the swing, especially the follow-through, when changing the speed. This happens because there is less momentum in the shorter bunker shot. Be an athlete and don't overthink this.
JJ at 1:18 posted swing video:
JJ, I have no idea what your request is because you didn't ask me a question but I will give you my opinion of what you are doing that looks off from where neutral is. You are excessively bent over in the address position forcing your hands to hang too low to the ground. As you take the club away from the ball, you lose the connection between your upper right arm and your chest forcing the arm to move well away from your body. As a result, your right wrist loses all of it's bend from address and the clubface becomes very closed. This has a lasting effect on your golf swing as it prohibits you from releasing the club properly through impact, shortening your shots and severely restricting your follow-through.
If I were to recommend some changes, it would start at your address. Get into a more neutral posture so your hands aren't so close to the ground. Take the club back with your upper right arm and chest maintaining their connection while you keep some bend in the right wrist. This will help the club into a more square position at the top allowing you to release fully through impact. The final thing I would recommend is to look at the pictures of Tiger, Annika, Adam Scott, etc., at the finish position and try to copy that as best you can. Chances are your flexibility will limit you from getting as around as the swings I mentioned, but it will go a long way to helping you get where you want to go.
Bob Featherstone asks at 1:05 p.m.
I video my swing and noticed that when I started on my down swing from
the top my right heel started to come up should that happen?
all depends on how your heel comes up. If your right heel is coming up
immediately as the downswing begins then their isn't enough weight in your heel at the top of the swing. This will make it very difficult to
attack on the ball on the proper path. In the best-case scenario, the
right foot will come up later in the downswing as the club is
approaching impact. The foot should be leaned toward the inside of the
sole. In other words, you don't want the entire front of your shoe on
the ground with the heel coming up. The "pinky" toe should come up, not
the "big" toe. This may seem like an overanalysis of the weight in your
feet but after your clubface position and your swing path, your weight is
next in the order of importance.
AFTER LOOKING AT THE VIDEO:
My earlier suspicion about the weight not being in your right heel at the top of the swing was correct. Go to my website www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the section on Redgoat fundamentals, Tush Line. This will give you some great visuals about the issue. The fact is that if you draw a line vertically down touching the tush at address you will see by the time you reach the top of the swing the right cheek has lost contact with the line. At impact, your tush is nowhere near the line and your spine angle has changed dramatically.
To fix this you must change your address position. Start with your weight toward the balls of your feet. During the backswing make sure your weight moves into your right heel at the top of the swing and then into your left heel at impact. This will help you maintain your forward lean and significantly improve your ball-striking. You will also notice that your right heel will remain in contact with the ground much longer on the downswing.
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