Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to answer your questions
and analyze your swing videos.
Welcome to the Tuesday Instruction Blog! Lets get this thing rolling....
firstname.lastname@example.org asks at 1:15:
I've always had a cup wrist. Now I see people with flat wrists. Any drills for feel on that?
Thank You, Mike
There is nothing wrong with a slightly cupped left wrist at the top of the swing. There is no reason the left wrist must be flat at the top, regardless of what is said in print or on TV. Here are a few pictures of a slightly cupped left wrist. Here is a picture of Faldo and O'Hair that prove my point.
Harry asks at 1:10:
I used to
be a 3 handicap but had to give up golf for several years because of a
back injury. My back is much better, but now I have developed a shank
with any and all irons. If I place a board outside the ball I hit the
ball dead center. Remove the board and I start to make contact towards
the heel of the club and then finally shank. I've also found that if I
focus 1/2" inside the ball I will make solid contact. If I look directly
at the ball I start to shank again. Any ideas?
Glad to hear that your back is allowing you to play again. Without seeing the swing I can't give you specific advice but I can tell you to keep looking at the inside of the ball. I know this seems like a bit of a band-aid to you right now but it is fixing the problem. I had a professional come to me once with this same issue in the sand. He was literally shanking every shot until I told him to try to miss the ball off the toe of the club. When he approached it this way he was flawless. As soon as he went back to trying to hit the sweet spot he would shank it again. He stuck with trying to hit the ball off the toe for a few weeks and then it wasn't a problem for him going forward. I would stick with what works and send me some video so I can give you more specific advice.
Brendan asks at 12:55:
that I have lowered my scores to the mid 80s through better ball
striking and putting, I have realized that I can gain a bunch of shots
through better chipping around the green.
Do you have any technique or club selection for these around the
green shots? Do you subscribe to a no-wrist hinge motion, hinge and
hold a la Phil, or something completely different?
Thanks as always!
The most critical aspect to chipping in pitching is to be organized. The first element is you need to have a plan. This means you need to have an exact spot on the green you are going to land the ball with a specific height, spin and roll taken into consideration. I am old school when it comes to getting the ball on the green asap. I think young players use the lob wedge far too often. The second part of the equation is the execution. This is actually hitting the shot the way you intended. When you put the two parts together you will have a method of hitting short shots around the green. When you miss, you will know if your plan was faulty or your execution was off. When it comes to style of shot, you need them all. Start with the easy stuff first, the short shot with no wrist action that controls the ball and then move onto the Mickelson lob. You will have the basic shot far more than any other so work on that the most.
JP asks at 12:42:
rotate the club on the downswing better... What do you think?
The rotation looks better. The video is a bit tough to make out but I would like to see the shaft exit a bit higher out of your body so you can get around to a more complete finish position. I don't expect to see Annika or Tiger from you but I think you can get to where Clarke and Armour III are in this picture.
Jeremey asks at 12:30:
trying to model my pitching action on Steve Stricker's, keeping the
wrists out of my swing as much as possible.
Do you have any face-on footage of Steve's short iron swing? Or any
advice on how to model a swing like his?
The clips I have of Stricker are with a driver and long iron unfortunately. Keep in mind that Stricker is a big, strong player who doesn't need to create a great deal of wrist hinge to produce power. If you don't match this description then you should reconsider your choice. While I think taking elements of players swings to copy is a great idea, I am always weary of copying another player 100%. When you take out hinge you decrease clubhead speed and power but can increase control and consistency. If this is your goal here are a couple of things to keep in mind. When your left arm is parallel to the ground on the backswing the club should be perpendicular to the ground. This is 90 degrees of hinge and is enough for the rest of the swing. There is no need to increase the amount of hinge from this spot which makes the shoulders and back the driving force for the rest of the backswing.
Roger asks at 12:20:
I have a
big problem in my backswing with rolling the arms/wrists in the start
of the swing. The result is a bad takeaway going in to a flat backswing
often resulting in a shank.
Do you have any good drills that can fix this problem? Both drills that
work on the range and drills that I can do at home when practicing my
I also wonder how far ahead of the clubhead (leading the clubhead) the
hands should be on iron play at address?
This is a very typical problem I see on the range every day. The overactive hands and arms in the takeaway leads to a flat clubshaft angle going back that usually causes an over the top move coming down. The change in the takeaway is uncomfortable but can make all the difference. Instead of the shaft going from flat going back to steep going down, in makes the opposite loop and attacks on the proper path. Check out this sequence of Hal Sutton, a fantastic ballstriker in his day, to see the difference going back.
Travis asks at 12:04:
having problems with inconsistent contact, and my playing partners have
noticed my legs stop helping in the swing later in rounds. Obviously
this is due to fatigue, but I'm wondering what the correct leg/lower
body action is during a swing, I notice I hit the ball better and
farther when my legs are involved and I'm wondering if getting my lower
body more active could help me become more consistent and hit it
There is no question that using your lower body effectively will improve your distance, consistency, and help you sustain your ballstriking through your entire round. Easier said than done of course. The fact is that your swing should be triggered from and controlled by your feet. The weight should be moving into the right foot to start the backswing and into the left foot to start the downswing. This is the trigger to your entire motion and should be reinforced on the golf course with each and every practice swing you make. Many golfers make the mistake of thinking that active legs are moving around significantly, this just isn't the case. If you think of a basketball player going up for a rebound you can visualize that side to side, sloppy leg action with the knees going laterally isn't very productive. Instead, the legs should act as pistons going up and down with a minimum of movement laterally while both feet stay on the ground for much of the swing. I have included a couple of pictures to help you get the idea. This is of a very young AK.
Justin Mateer asks at 12:00:
question regarding backspin. On full shots with my short irons and
wedges I've been getting far too much backspin. At times, spinning the
ball back 20-25 feet. What is the cause of this and how can I reduce
some of the spin?
Tom Kite said it best regarding backspin, he said he never wanted the ball coming back towards him. The reason backspin is an issue is you never can control how much it spins, making it very unpredictable and unreliable as you seem to have discovered. The first adjustment you make is with your golf ball. There are so many options out on the market now that offer different spin rates you should be able to find a ball that will help at least a little. When it comes to the technique you need to understand that the harder you hit a short iron the higher it will go and the more spin it will have. For these reasons it is much better for your consistency and control to hit the short irons less than full whenever possible. If you watch Tour players hit wedges and short irons you will see the ball fly at a very low trajectory because they aren't hitting them full, and want to control the first bounce the ball takes on the green. It seems like simple advice but change your ball and take more club so you can hit the ball easier and you will rid yourself of this issue.