Archive: May 2010

« April 2010 | Main | June 2010 »

May 25, 2010

Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs is here to fix your faults

Posted at 11:15 AM by Brady Riggs

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, he'll be back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask the Top 100 Live.

Thanks to everyone for your comments questions and especially your videos. I will be back next week so get in your requests early. I am off to the lesson tee...

Matt asks at 1:05:

Brady, Several Tour pros such as Duval, Sorenstam, and Allenby swivel their head at the beginning of the downswing so that at impact they appear to be looking in front of the ball several feet. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this and would you ever teach a student to do this? Thanks.

I absolutely love this move. I do it myself and teach many of my students to do it as well. There is also some early head rotation in Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson, Charles Warren, and a ton in Joe Durant. This really helps get rid of hanging back behind the ball and is much easier on the neck through impact. I would love to go into more detail with pictures but need my broken computer to be fixed. Hopefully this will be the case during next week's blog. Please ask this question again. 

Sammy asks at 12:56:

Brady--
Thanks for all your help to the golf.com online readers! You're certainly on the cutting edge of golf instruction.

Can you share with us your thoughts on divots. We've heard about Ben Hogan's thin dollar-bill size divots. How can you make a longer divot after the ball, that is, have the club stay low through impact? What do you have to do in your swing/setup to have a longer, shallow divot?

Flattery will get you everywhere, Sammy, thank you. Interestingly enough, I am a big fan of a very shallow divot, not necessarily a longer one. To get the divot to be longer in the ground after impact you need to have your hands WAY in front of the clubhead during and after impact. This requires more tilt away from the target which can be very bad on the lower back. The shallower divot comes from swinging the club on a slightly more inside path, leading to a more right-to-left ball flight. Yes, you can hit a fade with a shallow divot, but it isn't as easy.

JP asks at 12:53:

Brady... Keep up the good work, I am really enjoying the blog.. it's great!!

I am hitting the ball really good right now. My backswing thoughts are keeping the left elbow close to body and right wrist flat. (I'm left-handed.) On the downswing, shift weight and try to really get the hips turning. I try to get my belt buckle facing the target at impact, at least that's the feeling. On video, of course its nowhere near that. Anyway, this has made my arms feel VERY passive on the downswing and I hit it great on Sunday.

Is there any harm in trying to exaggerate the turning of the hips and how do you feel about that passive arm comment? (I imagine this should be improving my tush line also)

That all sounds good to me, JP. Remember that "feel" is a very personal thing during the swing. If you and I were in exactly the same position at a certain part of the swing, it would feel different to both of us. For that reason, video is the best way to analyze where the swing actually is. I am very pleased with your progress over the last several months. Keep sending in the new stuff and we will get you where you want to be.

Brendan asks at 12:45:

Brady,

Besides standing on the other side of the ball, what swing advice do you have for this lefty?

My typical miss is a slice and like any 16 handicapper I struggle with consistency. My preferred ball flight is a draw. Here are my videos:

Thanks in advance for your great insight!

Thanks for sending in the video. It is all about the set-up for you right now. We need to get you looking more neutral than you currently are. There is an excessive amount of left-side tilt away from the target at address. This continues throughout your golf swing and makes it very difficult for you to get the club working properly. Go to my swing site www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the pictures and videos of Anthony Kim to get an idea about where you should be. The swing has a great deal of potential, but I want to see the address position get better before we do anything else. Send in some new video when you get it fixed while hitting a ball and I will take you through the next step.

Dru asks at 12:30:

I was wondering if you could look at my swing and give me some advice. My ball flight tends to "Fade". Not a slice but just a little left to right movement. Here is a video I took off the tee during a round.

Dru, you are a shut-faced cutter. That isn't an insult BTW, so was Trevino, Duval, and a host of other great players. The deal is that your grip is extremely strong and the clubface is very closed or shut during your golf swing. As a result, all roads point to a strong draw or hook as a ball-flight. Yet, you hit a fade. This is what good players do to adjust and avoid a huge miss. They fight against one severe miss and hit the exact opposite shot. On the down side, there has been one common problem that shut-faced cutters experience and that is a bad back. Hopefully, this hasn't happened to you, YET!

Your movement of your body during the swing is fantastic. This is the best element of your move and should be left alone for the most part. If you were on my lesson tee, I would ask you when was the last time you felt you had made progress with your game, specifically your ball-striking. This would help me find out if you had hit your potential with the swing you are currently using. I would also want to know about the condition of your back. If you weren't getting any better of late and were in any pain at all, I would encourage you to make some changes. If you were still improving and not in pain, we would proceed differently.

If we were to get in there and fix it, I would start with making the grip more neutral, I would get your arms up at the top in a more standard position with your left wrist less bowed, and I would get you aiming parallel to the target line. Once the face was square and the top was good, the ball would go WAY RIGHT! From there we would work on a powerful release, something missing from your current swing, to get the ball flight we were looking for.

This is obviously something that would take some time, $$$, and pain on your part. It wouldn't be an easy change and you would certainly play worse for a while. Proceed with some caution as you evaluate what to do.

JR asks at 12:24:

I like the feel of a slightly open clubface at address. Are there any problems that this could cause in my backswing? It gets a little laid-off at the top but I feel comfortable with that, and I still get it on plane coming down.

If it works, don't mess with it. I would recommend that if you prefer the face to be open that you take your grip with the face square and then forward-press slightly to achieve the desired position. It sounds like this is your method, based upon your laid-off position at the top. When you forward-press and open the face, your left arm rotates slightly in a clockwise direction while the inside of your right elbow tucks into your body. This makes it very easy to get the club laid off at the top. You can still start with the press and open face but avoid the laid-off spot by making sure your shoulder turn is a bit more steep and not too flat. Send in some video if you get the chance and I will give you more specific advice.

Barry asks at 12:17:

I am confused about how strength plays a part in the normal golf swing. I've been told to hold the club like I am holding a bird, and swing easy. So where does strength come into play?

Snead's holding the bird analogy has never worked for me. Think instead of throwing a baseball. If you hold on too tight, your wrist and arm will have no suppleness and you will lose all the whip in your motion that creates speed. If you hold onto the ball too lightly, it will fly out of your hand when you pull your arm back. If you hold the golf club like you would a ball when throwing it hard, you will have the right amount of grip pressure. When it comes to strength and its role, it is overrated. Hitting a golf ball has much more to do with technique and skill rather than strength. The club needs to be slung or whipped through impact rather than pulled or forced. Ask any Tour player how they hit a driver a bit farther than normal and they will all tell you they slow down. This helps them wind up and let go with more snap.

Steve asks at 12:12:

Any advice on getting the right elbow more in front of you to prevent blocks? Mine tends to get stuck on my side. Is that a bad thing? Seems I can either start the downswing with my lower body, as we are taught, and the right elbow gets stuck, or I can try and let the "arms lead" starting down. (In reality, they don't, but that's what it feels like.) The problem with the former is getting in front of it, the problem with the latter is lack of power from not being able to rotate enough late. Any thoughts?

The reason your right arm is stuck is because your lower body is moving in the wrong direction. Your lower body should lead the charge coming down, but if your tush gets closer to the ball than it was at address, you will have what is called collision between your right elbow and hip. If your tush stays back against the line, your right elbow will have the space to move in front of the hip even though your legs are ahead of your arms. Don't change your sequence of legs first, you have that correct, work on the position of your tush and the collision will go away.

Matt asks at 12:00:

OK, things looking good except for one swing flaw that's killing me. My backswing is good, the downswing is good, through impact is not good. I cannot maintain a flat left wrist at impact, I am flipping it over. I also cut my hands across the ball, that is right before impact I draw my hands toward my left hip, and my left elbow will chicken wing. I need a cure

You need to fix the path. If the club is attacking the ball from outside the proper path, your left wrist will break down every time. Remember to direct the clubhead into the inside/back quadrant of the ball with the face rotating through impact. If you try to hit the back of the ball with the face square like the majority of recreational golfers, you will lose the path and the left wrist will break down.

Start with shorter shots, build up to bigger swings that are slower and eventually you will have it. Like I tell all my students, if you can't do it slow you can't do it full.

May 21, 2010

Clark, Van Pelt and Molinari are three to watch on Tour

Posted at 10:38 PM by Tom Patri

If you didn't find that win at TPC Sawgrass by Tim Clark impressive, you don't have a pulse. The best thing was the second putt he holed on 18 on Sunday. Right smack in the heart of hearts! With his history of some shaky strokes under pressure, that was the putt that not only won the Players Championship for Tim but could propel him to great things

I had the great pleasure and honor to attend the Presidents Cup at Harding Park in San Francisco last October. It was the first time I got to check out Clark up close. He was nothing short of awesome. Talk about a gutsy competitor. Clark is every player's dream for a partner. There is no give-up in this cat. If you think the Players isn't a major, think again. Compare the depth and quality of the field the past 10 years with the fields of the PGA Championship in the same time period. Clark just won his first major.

Two other guys who really have my attention are Bo Van Pelt and Francesco Molinari. Van Pelt is a cash-checking machine, and he is in the hunt more times than not. A few things you may not know about Van Pelt: he's part of the Tour's Oklahoma State pipeline; he's 35 years old; he's made more than $10 million on Tour; and the last four years he has been 64th (2006), 79th (2007), 50th (2008) and 29th (2010) on the money list. Do you see a trend ? He has only won once but I smell a bunch coming. Molinari, the young Italian stud, is also lurking. Watch closely because he is about to do something big. I can feel it.

Pardon me, if I don't say anything about Peyton Place, aka the Tiger Woods and Hank Haney divorce. What is there to say? In essence, Haney said he stepped aside from coaching the No. 1 player on the planet to focus on Ray Romano. Uh, OK. Do I agree with Tiger's antics? No, but I have had friends who have done some stupid things, as we all have. Tiger happened to do his stupid things in front of the world. If he is your friend, you don't walk away when he is down. And if Haney didn't leave on his own accord, he needs to come up with a better story than Ray Romano!

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Tom Patri is director of instruction at Friar's Head Golf Club in Baiting Hollow, N.Y.

May 18, 2010

Ask The Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs is here to fix your faults

Posted at 9:53 AM by Golf.com

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed him, he'll be back next Tuesday at noon on Golf.com 

Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Sorry I couldn't answer everything but I am needed on the lesson tee. See everyone next week on the Tuesday Instruction Blog.... 

John asks at 1:03:

WTF do you think Tiger's next move will be....swing mechanics wise? Me and my buddies are thinking he'll get back to basics and sort out his grip/Aim/Posture/Ball Pos/tempo/balance/etc.

I have no idea where Tiger is going to go with his swing. I can tell you that in the next issue of GOLF MAGAZINE we take a hard look at his mechanics and statistics with the driver and offer a diagnosis and treatment (for the driver). It was written by some strange dude with a red goatee and his long-time editor. If I were Tiger, I'd check it out ;)

Tiger is a savvy competitor. He will seek out advice, look at his past success and figure out where to go next. I have no doubt he will be winning again sooner than later.

Marc asks at 12:55:

Given the state of golf right now. Who are your picks for the last three majors of this year?

Mine are:

US Open = Tim Clark
British Open (sorry I mean the "Open Championship") = Ernie Els
PGA Champ = Phil Mickelson

As always your insights are strong, Marc. I really like your US Open pick. Clark has been a force for a while and could easily contend on that golf course. If you like the "horses for courses" philosophy I would also add Dustin Johnson to the short list at Pebble. I have been saying for weeks now that Adam Scott was swinging the club much better and his posture looked great at address. He is also on my short list for Pebble and could easily contend at St. Andrews.

I will hold off a bit on The Open Championship and PGA until we get closer to the events.

David asks at 12:45:

Enjoy your column each week, and I gain great insight via your comments. Regarding the backswing: if the clubhead begins back reasonably well (is on plane or very slightly above it), but then halfway back the shaft flattens to much...what is your suggestion on the best way to work on this? I'm assuming my wrists don't hinge up correctly and that this would get the clubhead too far behind the hands, creating issues for consistency in ball-striking.

Good question, David. Yes, getting too flat at the halfway-back spot can cause several problems that include getting in a laid-off position at the top or tipping the club back across the line and into a steeper position coming down. In both cases the club isn't working on a path that allows it to shallow out naturally as the club begins the downswing which makes good ball-striking quite challenging. If the takeaway isn't too far outside your hands when the club is parallel to the ground then you should be able to keep the club working up properly by "feeling like" you are keeping the hands under the shaft as you work towards the top of the backswing. If this still doesn't work, then keep the upper left arm and chest more together in the takeaway so it is easier for you to keep the clubshaft more upright as you work to the top of the backswing. Hopefully, I will have my old computer back up next week so I can post some pictures to help you visualize the difference. If you check out my swing site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com you will see several examples of takeaways that work under the Redgoat Fundamentals section.

Steve asks at 12:35:

Thanks for the great advice you hand out on this blog.

After a round I was having a drink with my golf partners and we were talking about how long the pros are and how it would be great to have a wedge into most par 4s.

And then it struck me, I drive the ball around 260-270 and pretty straight. So that usually leaves with me a wedge into around 5 of the par 4s and all of the par 5s (if I don't go for them in 2) on my home course. So that is around nine holes that I usually have a wedge shot into in regulation. But it doesn't make much difference, because I will still miss 2-3 greens with a wedge, hit 4-5 outside 20 feet and maybe hit 2-3 of them inside 20 feet. So out of an average of 9 wedge shots I am only giving myself 2-3 realistic birdie chances.

Now I don't expect to hit every wedge approach inside 10 feet but I would like to get to a level where I am able to hit 80 percent of them inside 20 feet at least. So I have decided to dedicate 2010 to my wedge game.

What are the keys to developing a solid wedge swing? I never try to swing harder than 80 percent with a wedge yet I still chunk them on occasion when the pressure is on.

Please be as detailed as possible. I am one of those guys who likes to know exactly where my club/plane should be at each position in the swing.

I will give you some important info about the wedges, but I need to see your swing with a wedge from both sides before I can go into detail about the technique. Here are a few details:

Stuart Appleby is currently 73rd on Tour from 100-125 yards averaging around 19'+ from the hole. That means he is above average from that distance. If you achieved your goal of 80 percent inside 20' you would be better than he is from that distance. The simple fact is people have an unrealistic expectation about how close they are going to hit a wedge which makes them have a POOR PLAN about where to aim as they hit them. If you aimed at the center of the green from that distance and completely ignored the hole location you would improve not only your number of greens in regulation, but your proximity to the hole would get closer as well. This is the critical part of good wedge play which is having a good PLAN of where to aim.

From a technical standpoint I can tell you that the best wedge players hit the ball significantly lower than the recreational player from the same distances. This has changed a bit now with the restrictions for Tour players in groove technology but it is still a huge difference. They hit the wedges lower because they don't hit them as hard, lean to their front foot more through impact and have a SHALLOWER angle of attack. This helps them move their body better during impact and into release, minimizing the need for excessive hand and wrist action which lowers the ball flight and increases consistency.

Send in your swing and I will tell you how to proceed from a swing standpoint.

JP asks at 12:26:

Thanks for all the help. Here is an update.
Thanks, JP

Currently working on: Tush Line/Posture, Keeping elbow tucked on backswing. Better rotation on downswing, less sliding.

Current ball flight issues: Starting to fade a little with the better downswing plane. Hitting a lot of 6-7 yard pushes that go pretty high, like the face is open.

Questions....

On the iron video, the face is at a really awkward (closed?) position at impact, what is wrong here?

Are my hands/wrists not working correctly on the downswing?

Also the front foot pivot you talked about last week I didn't quite understand, what I took from that is I need to get the weight on the back foot better on the backswing?

Here is the driver swing that you requested.

iron (weird impact - clubhead)

Thanks for the video, JP. I couldn't really see the weird contact or face position on the video, but if you see the face severely closed just after impact on video it is usually caused by hitting the ball toward the heel of the club. This will spin the toe past the heel violently, causing the face to look closed. This is also the source of people feeling like they are losing their grip as they make contact. The poor contact causes the club to spin in your hands, not the other way around.

You are correct that when I mentioned front-foot pivoting last week I wanted you to get more weight into your back foot and specifically your heel at the top of the swing. This will greatly improve your work with the Tush line, something that still needs attention based upon the driver swing you have just sent in. The lack of space for your arms and club coming into impact caused by moving your lower body closer to the ball during the swing is making it difficult for you to release the driver properly. This is the source of the pushes you are experiencing. Keep working on that tush line with the driver. It should be on the top of your priority list.

3-wood off the tee asks at 12:20:

I have my backswing much more on plane and I am hitting the best irons of my life, but in doing so have lost what has always been my best club, my driver, to high leaky fades or worse, hooks! In changing my swing, I have pushed the grip end of the club farther down into my fingers (but I never had it in the palm) so that I have a longer left thumb. What do you recommend as far as short or long left thumb? Any recommendations? Can the grip be TOO far into my fingers?

Yes, the grip can be too in the fingers which would make the clubface more closed during the swing. This can obviously lead to hooks but doesn't make sense for your other miss of high fades. When players tend to be more successful with the irons than the driver it is often the set-up that is causing the problem. The driver set-up should be taken with a wider stance and an obvious amount of tilt away from the target with your upper body. This will help insure a shallower angle of attack and make it easier to hit the longer club. The iron is both narrower and less tilted, facilitating a more ball-then-turf contact that is not conducive to hitting the driver well.

Chris asks at 12:13:

Brady, I am a 5-handicap who has recently developed a "hosel rocket" problem. My weight distribution feels good and I have even begun to sit down into my stance a little more in an effort to keep my weight off my toes. However, by sitting down into my stance, my ball flight has become inconsistent and I fight both pulls and pushes. I've asked a few pros what the problem could be and they look at my swing, tell me how smooth it looks and say that they have no idea why I'm shanking it. Is there something I can work on (maybe one swing thought) that will help me get rid of these awful shanks? Thanks so much for any help!!!

The dreaded "chili pepper" toward Lee Janzen? No fun!

Without seeing your golf swing I can't tell you exactly what is going on but I can give you some great advice! Hit the TOE! I know this sounds sarcastic but it is actually true. As a 5, you are a very good player with a strong sense of how to make slight adjustments. If you hit several shots, slowly at first, where you make contact on the toe of the club you will begin to feel some different things. This may seem like strange advice but I can tell you from teaching many lessons to those shanking it that it works.

From a technical standpoint there are four major ways you can shank it. The good news is you can only do three of them at once. They are starting too close to the ball, getting too close to the ball during the swing (moving into the toes), coming excessively from the inside, and finally coming excessively from the outside. Because you can't come from the inside and outside on the same swing only three are possible at once. I would start checking the items off the list beginning with your distance from the ball. If you can send in some video of your swing so I can give you more specific advice.

Matt asks at 12:05:

I have started to hit my irons and driver well lately, but I am not taking advantage of them by having too many putts. I know my putting stroke is pretty good, but is there a good way to develop a better feel for putting. I feel that distance control is crucial to lowering scores, especially eliminating three-putting or worse.

I couldn't agree with you more that distance control is the key to good putting. Good distance control helps prevent three-putts while making it possible for you to hit the ball on the proper line. Most people don't read a putt with an idea about how fast the ball will be entering the hole when calibrating the amount of break to play. If you are like Nicklaus used to be and want to have the ball going slowly as it enters, you should allow for more break than a player like Watson who hit the ball more firmly into the back of the hole. Establishing a putting philosophy when it comes to speed will help you read the greens more consistently.

I encourage my students to practice with one ball before a round of golf because it helps them focus more on the putt they are hitting and gets them into a mindset of performance. If you pick the putt on the green with the most break possible and try to have the ball enter the hole on the highest possible line so it falls into the top of the cup you will begin to develop the control over the distance you are looking for.

May 11, 2010

Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs is here to fix your faults

Posted at 11:31 AM by Brady Riggs

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today at from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, he'll be back next Tuesday for another Ask the Top 100 Live.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Get your videos and questions in early next week so I can be sure to get to them. Have a great week....

Ichabod crane asks at 1:19:

What do you think about Haney leaving Tiger via text? Who should be his next coach (other than Butch)?

I have no idea what the communication has been like between Tiger and Haney since the Masters. I have the impression that it hasn't been great. I am sure anyone in that situation would prefer to speak to the other party in person or at least over the phone. Who knows, maybe Haney tried and wasn't successful. In any event it sounds like the correct outcome has occurred and they can both move on. When it comes to his next coach my guess is Tiger will take some time before making a decision.

Andrew asks at 1:14:

I am a longtime golfer who plays to about a ten handicap. My problem is simple--the dreaded "chicken-wing." It is as if there is something wrong with my arms! Can you help?

The chicken wing is a result of a faulty path, not a cause of anything else. If the arms and club are away from your body coming into impact, they will get closer to your body after impact leading to the chicken wing. To fix the problem and greatly improve your distance and accuracy the club must be coming down more from the inside with your arms closer to your body. This will allow both your arms and the club to go OUT after impact creating the extension you are looking for. It is that simple.

Matt T. asks at 1:05:

I think it's time Tiger paired up with Brady Riggs. Your analysis on comments are spot on. Keep up the great work.

I always knew I had very intelligent students and followers here on the instruction blog. I would be more than happy to have Tiger on my lesson tee. I am sure he will get things cleaned up with his technique with a fresh approach. Stay tuned to Golf Magazine as we are working on an in-depth article about Tiger's swing.

Joe asks at 1:00:

Any advice would help. I shoot high 70s to low 80s and lack real power. I've read about the tush line before and notice that it is a problem in my swing too, but I find it hard to straighten my left leg on the downswing while maintaining it.

JP asks at 12:54:

Hi Brady.... Here is a newer video down the line. I think the tush line/posture is better. I also have been trying to keep my back elbow tucked more on the backswing, this really seems to help keep my posture down and it feels much more compact. My downswing plane seems much better here also. Let me know what you think!!

JP asks at 12:50:

Brady... I normally send in a down-the-line view. Here is a face on view. What would be good for me to work on looking at this angle?


It is good to see the swing from this angle, JP. You are "front foot pivoting" here in this particular swing. In other words, all of your weight is in the front foot almost immediately during the backswing, making it likely that your hips will move beyond where they should be by the time you get to impact. I would like to see you hold your back hips location in terms of later motion until your front arm gets to parallel to the ground on the takeaway. This will keep a bit more weight over on your rear leg as you approach the top making it easier to stay in line with your hips as you approach impact. I like the fact that you are moving toward the target to begin your downswing, I only wish you wouldn't be on the front foot as early.

Mike asks at 12:33:

Brady... In looking at video, my clubface looks a little too open right before impact and pretty closed right after... like I am flipping it or something... what causes this and how do you fix?

Just so you don't go fixing something that isn't broken, there are many players that play with the face slightly open approaching impact and have a full roll through impact to square it up.

If you are erratic with your contact and think this is the issue, there are three places to look at as a cause of the open clubface. The first and most obvious spot is your grip. If either hand, especially your left or top hand, is in a weak position, it can cause the face to be open. If the left wrist is bent on the DOWNSWING, especially approaching impact, then the clubface will be open. Finally, the shaft can be on an overly shallow angle of attack, which could cause the clubface to lay back in an open position.

I would check your mechanics in this order to determine which is the cause of the issue and then adjust accordingly. Here is something to keep in mind: If you get the face square and release as you had before, the ball will go way left. Don't be surprised if this happens as it would be expected. Your "flip" will become unnecessary with the change in clubface position and will need to be mellowed to straighten out the shot.

Shahab asks at 12:25:

What things should one to get started to prepare to become a professional golf player?

What instruction should be get?
What kind of practice routine one should have?
And what sort of clubs he should have? Should one practice with square grooves only? Where can I find legal clubs.. even Dick's Sporting Goods near my house didn't have any?

Let's start with the clubs. Chances are you won't be playing in any events where you need to have conforming grooves. That is something that can be taken care of down the road if you are in that situation by a manufacturer that would be more than happy to GIVE you conforming equipment if you have qualified for a big time event.

The best advice I can give you, Shahab, is to find out who is the best instructor in your area and seek out their input about your game. You need an honest evaluation about where you are in terms of your potential in all aspects of golf. The best instructor in your area will have some experience in dealing with players trying to move on to higher levels and can steer you in the right direction.

If you are wondering how to find the best instructor, here is some advice. Find the best players you can at a few different courses either hitting balls on the range or playing and ask them who the best teacher is. Find the junior golfers hanging around the course all day and ask them who they take lessons from. You will probably hear several names keep popping up. Once you have narrowed it down, give them a call or send them an email and ask them if you can bend their ear for some advice.

Good luck!

Fletch asks at 12:18:

I've been struggling with pulling putts, and then pushing them when I am trying to avoid a pull. When I was getting frustrated on the practice green I started messing around with grips and was having some success with a long-putter style grip, my right hand pushing the club rather than being wrapped around it. Do you think grip changes for putting are a good idea, or should I be more focused on making a better stroke with a conventional grip?

Putting is about confidence. If you lack it with a conventional grip, then don't be afraid to mess around and try something different. If you look at any PGA Tour telecast you will see all types of different styles of grips. The one thing I will tell you is that if you make a change give it some time and a fair chance at working. If you go out and three-putt the first hole don't make a change on the second green. Stick with the change for 18 holes and then make a determination about if you are going to stick with it.

Matt asks at 12:10:

In the past you have mentioned that it is important for the shoulders to be level coming into the ball and to not get the right shoulder too low on the way down. Can you expand on this analysis?

No problem, Matt. There is no question that some right-side tilt (for a right-handed player) is necessary with all the clubs just before and during impact. Without it the right shoulder and forearm would never be able to get on plane and the body wouldn't be able to rotate to the left. A common problem with very good players is to have an excessive amount of right-side tilt on the downswing caused by a slide of the hips too far toward the target. This usually hangs the upper body back behind the ball, trapping the club too far on the inside. As a result, the club works into impact from inside the plane, requiring the hands to get involved to save the shot. If the hands are late, the shot is a big block. If the hands are early a snap hook is the result.

JTH asks at 12:00:

Under pressure last Sunday I hit four approach shots left which led to some crooked numbers. What happened?

This is very common under pressure. When you get uptight as a player one thing you can count on is that your body won't move as much as it does when you are loose. When the body isn't as involved during the swing, the arms and hands play a more active role. This results in the clubface closing more rapidly through impact, sending shots left of the target. This is also true when hitting a shot LESS than it's normal distance because your instinct is have your body back off to shorten the shot. If you watch golf on TV you will often see a player hit a pull when they are trying to hit a club softer than normal.

The solution is to make sure your body keeps going under pressure by focusing on a great finish position. This can be reinforced before hitting the shot with a purposeful practice swing that gives the chance at a dress rehearsal before an important shot.

May 04, 2010

Ask the Top 100 LIVE: Brady Riggs is here to fix your faults

Posted at 9:24 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today at from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, he'll be back next Tuesday for another Ask the Top 100 Live.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. I will be back next week with my normal computer so I can put up pictures again. Hope everyone has a great week and enjoys the Players!

Marc asks at 12:58:

Where does Tiger go from here in terms of his swing? He went to Haney because he wanted to "own" his swing but that clearly hasn't happened.

In your opinion, who is the best coach (I am hoping he reads this blog and give you a call) to take Tiger back to his previous heights and what are some of the things he urgently needs to address in his swing.

Good to hear from you, Marc, hope all is well. I am still waiting for an apology from everyone who flamed me after my article discussing Tiger's driver problems after The Masters. Funny how they haven't responded...

It is time for a change. This issue from the tee has been going on for too long. He needs to go back and find his natural shot-shape from right to left so he can hit the fairway again. Would Butch be a good resource? Absolutely! Would he ever go back to see him? Absolutely NOT!

I know, he still almost won at Augusta. But he hit 6 of 28 fairways last week and was missing BIG. The face needs to get more square at the top and the downswing needs to get shallower so he can release the club. It is that simple. Tiger is still great! He will fix this problem eventually and win many more tournaments and majors. When he will get the ship righted remains to be seen.

Mike asks at 12:50:

Why does Phil and Vijay let go of the club with their low hand, can this be explained in simple terms?

Mike, please ask this question again next week. I am on my backup computer and don't have access to my swing clips. I want to give you a visual answer....

Andy asks at 12:45:

If the tush line is so important -- and it does seem to be helping me, thanks -- why don't we hear much about it outside of yourself?

In Broadcast News Holly Hunter's character was asked, "if it was hard to always be the smartest person in the room?" She said it was...

The honest truth is that a large percentage of golf instruction stinks. I was listening to Peter Kessler's show the other day and the guy he had on there was a snake oil salesman. I have no idea how he can put a guy on with no credentials or credibility to discuss the golf swing, but it happened. The mechanics aren't that complicated. The "tush line" is part of maintaining posture which has been discussed by every teacher worth a lick in the past. I may be describing it in a way that is different, but there is nothing earth-shatteringly new under the sun.

Thanks for the feedback about your experience.

Dave asks at 12:35:

I am an 11 handicap and have always hit a natural fade without too much of an over-the-top move. However, I have recently strengthened my grip slightly (making it neutral as my club face used to be open at the top) and have been trying to work a little draw. However, the ball is a lot harder to control and a lot of times I'm rolling through fairways and greens even though my contact and ball flight seem a lot more solid. Are the 5-7 yards w/ the irons and the 10-15 yards with the driver really worth it? I seem to play my best when I just let it go and hit the slight fade, even with the new grip. Which is the better shot shape for consistency over time especially when practice time is limited?

Do you stay where you are or try to get better? Good question, and one that only you can answer. I want my students to push themselves through tough spots to constantly try to improve their game. This doesn't mean that you abandon what has made you successful in the past, but you add to it. If the fade is what comes naturally to you and it would be the shot you would hit if your life depended on it, then hit it. It sounds like the more square clubface position has some benefit to your distances so I would stick with it. The fade will always hold the ground better than the draw, so if you play on a course that is fairly firm with fairways that run off into rough and greens that tend to release, the fade makes perfect sense.

Don't be afraid to practice hitting the draw on the range and in friendly games to establish some confidence and trust. It can be a great weapon for you to have when the situation demands it. Keep this is mind, Kenny Perry plays exclusively right-to-left and Craig Stadler plays left-to-right and they have both made a ton of money playing golf. You don't have to be able to hit every club both directions to play on Tour, so don't get too hung up on it at your level.

Sam asks at 12:25:

I have been playing for two years, and can shoot around a 90 at a good muni. i have done this without a pre-shot routine, and now I would like to get one. What is a good pre-shot routine for a feel player who struggles with getting the same stance every time?

As I mentioned earlier in the blog regarding a grip routine, you need to look at other good players on television and try to find one that works for you. I can tell you that every great player is a "feel" player on the golf course. While many great players are very technical in nature when it comes to their approach to the mechanics of the swing, they must put that aside on the course to be successful.

The one ingredient of the routine I think you should have is a practice swing that helps you "feel" the shape and trajectory of the shot you are going to play. This can be done from directly in line with the ball and the target like Tiger or next to ball like Davis Love III. Where you take the practice swing isn't as important as how you take it. In college, we used to record (audio) our routine to help us make it automatic. While this may seem tedious, it was very effective and amusing to anyone who happened to get in my car while it was playing.

John asks at 12:15:

My wife has been playing for about three years now without using woods. She wanted a little more distance on her tee ball and we bought her a new driver. When she uses it her swing looks the same, but the ball contacts the crown of the club and just pops up. Please help

If you read my first response during the blog I discussed how the swing can be skewed to having success with either the irons or the driver based upon the technique. The description of your wife's contact problems with the driver is a perfect example of how the iron swing has a more descending blow than the driver SHOULD have, which explains why she struggles with the long club. To fix this issue she needs to create some tilt with her right side away from the target in the address position. When combined with widening the stance and putting the ball more forward toward her front foot the club will be attacking on a more sweeping angle. This will help her hit the center of the clubface and create some distance as well as height on her shots.

Carter asks at 12:07:

Grip grip grip! Lately, I have been struggling with my grip. I seem to be placing my hands on the club differently every time. It never feels 100 percent comfortable and consistent on each shot with each club. What is a grip routine or set up I can incorporate to place my hands on the club consistently every time?

If you watch any golf telecast you can tell there are many different ways to get your hands on the club. Nick Faldo used to start with his top hand on the handle first, right foot set, and clubhead on the ground to the side of his left foot. He would put his right hand on and then set his feet to hit the shot. There are many players that hold the club up off the ground horizontally and put both hands on while their arms are extended. I could go through a bunch more, but the point is you need to find out what is most comfortable for you and be disciplined enough to stick with it during your round. A good thing to do is keep a club near your easy chair or in the office and pick it up in your routine during the day. This will make you more comfortable faster and help you get to the point where you don't think about it anymore.

Kurt asks at 12:00:

Brady, my ball striking has been very good early on this year, but my driving not so much. I really don't want to just go to the range and smash drives, so is there a way to carry over my satisfactory iron play into my drives, both in practice and on the course?

This is a more common problem than you might think, Kurt. The issue is that a player's swing can be more suited to one side of the game than the other based upon their technique. If your golf swing is naturally more vertical or steep in nature, you will have more success with the shorter clubs and struggle as they get longer, especially with the driver. If the swing is flatter and more around the driver is easier to hit and the shorter clubs are more of a challenge.

The best thing you can do is work on making your swing more neutral when it comes to path and plane so you can develop consistency throughout your bag. If you can get me some video of your swing with an iron and driver from the face on and target views I can give you more specific advice.


Top 100 Teachers Blog

There are more than 28,000 PGA of America members, and GOLF Magazine uses only the 100 most elite among them to help you lower your scores, improve your swing, hammer the ball longer and putt the lights out.
More tips from the Top 100 Teachers

Subscribe To Blog Headlines

Related Links

Top 100 Teacher Archives

To view posts from a particular day,
simply select the date below.

April 2014
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30

<< Previous Months