Archive: July 2010

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July 27, 2010

Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher will fix your faults

Posted at 9:49 AM by Brady Riggs

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. Here's what he had to say.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. I am sorry I couldn't get to everyone but I am off to the lesson tee. Special thanks to Sandy and everyone at Taylormade/Adidas for their great products and help! See everyone next week.

Ethan asks at 1:37:

Love the column. I like to know that every Tuesday I can become a little more knowledgeable and hopefully a little less horrible at golf.

My question is about conditioning. My wife has been bugging me to start lifting weights and doing other types of strength training. Apparently hitting a bucket at the range every couple days doesn't qualify as serious exercise in her book. Since I'm going to be working up a sweat I figured I might as well use this opportunity to get better at golf. Are there any exercises you'd suggest to increase overall golf fitness and/or power? Anything I should avoid as to not impede my naturally beautiful swing path?

Thanks for the feedback about the blog, I hope to help you be less horrible every week! Here is the deal about golf/fitness, etc. The simple fact of the matter is that there have been great golfers of all shapes and sizes as long as the game has been played. On the highest levels golf specific fitness training has moved from non-existent to the norm over the last 20 years or so. I have never been a big believer that specific fitness training is a requirement for the recreational player to play the game well. It is impossible to get someone to work on their body if they don't want to so I don't even bother pushing on anyone unless they ask. WITH THAT SAID....

I have gone on a personal journey of fitness this year that has been life-changing. I started the year at 220lbs and now check in under 180lbs. In the process I have become so much stronger in both the power and cardio departments that it amazes me (and everyone else that knows me). I was never FAT, just plump, and have stayed active in sports my entire life but felt that I needed to get healthier this year. One wonderful side effect of this is that my back pain which was chronic for over 20 years is gone, making it easier for me to enjoy the game. Here is the kicker, I don't hit the ball any better or farther than I did 40lbs. ago. So, while my results aren't any better my ability to play pain free is greatly improved and I will hopefully be able to play longer in my life.

Nate asks at 1:30:

Since I started playing golf I've had this move in my backswing where I roll my hands a little bit in the takeaway and the club shaft gets somewhat horizontal at about chest height. I get the club into a decent position at the top (shaft parallel to target line, but face is slightly closed) so I'm trying to understand what kind of detrimental effects this rolling of the hands has on my ballstriking. And how can I go about instilling the proper wrist hinge? My misses (push-fade) tend to pop up with the longer irons and driver especially.

The golf swing is more about where you have come from and where you are going than where you are. In other words, a static picture of a position at the top of the swing doesn't tell you enough of the story when it comes to how effective your swing will be. It is better to see the frames before the top and after the top as they let you know how the shape of your swing is going to determine the contact, power, and direction of the shot. The problem with rolling your hands early in the backswing is that it tends to open up the clubface. This can obviously produce shots that go the right of the target, something you have described as one of your misses. The other issue with rolling the hands that you accurately described is that the shaft gets horizontal or excessively "flat" going back. This is the momentum thing I mentioned earlier. What goes up on one side of neutral almost always comes down on the other side of neutral. So, if you go up flat you tend to come down steep. Steep usually causes pop-ups with the driver, another miss you have described. The fact that the club is in a "good" position at the top isn't as important as the clubface being open or the shaft attacking on too steep an angle. If you fix the takeaway, you may fix both downswing issues at once without working on them specifically. This is the secret to being a good teacher, fixing the problems in the downswing before they get there. Here is a picture of a good takeaway that you can copy.

AKback

dizquierdo21@yahoo.com asks at 1:15:

Great work with this blog. I seem to hit player's clubs really well. I have Mizuno MX-25 w/ KBS Tour Stiff shafts. However, everytime I hit a smaller cavity or even a muscleback like the MP 57, MP 60 or even MP 32, I really kill it, especially if they have Project X shafts. This really seems to help. I have an aggressive (almost violent move at the ball). Would you recommend switching the shafts, or just getting more of a player's club altogether? My game fluctuates anywhere between a solid 10 to a 15. My 6 iron ss is around 90-92 mph and I have done the Mizuno shaft optimizer and gotten two completely different recommendations.

Thanks for the feedback about the blog Tom. I think you have answered your own question. I don't care what a machine or even a clubfitter tells you when it comes to equipment. If you hit a certain club or shaft better than another that is the one you should be playing. I have been on the range at many tour events where players will have 3 or 4 drivers all exactly the same it terms of shaft, weight, loft, etc. and pick the one out they think feels the best to them. There is no better way to make a determination of which club to use than to hit them with a real ball off real grass on the range or even better on the course.

Angelo asks at 1:00:

I'm a right-handed player and I have trouble with my alignment on any shot that requires me to aim to the right. The longer the club, the more trouble with the shot I have. I follow my usual routine of lining up my shot from behind the ball, but when I set up over the ball for the shot I feel totally misaligned and my upper and lower bodies feel like they are working against each other. What can I do to fix this problem? Thank you.

My mom has the same issue Angelo. She is very liberal so I wonder if that has something to do with her aversion to the right side of things. Anyway, the key here is to change your routine so you don't feel like you are aiming to the right or left but straight regardless of the situation. When I played competitively I always picked a target 12-18 inches in front of my ball that was directly in-line with where I was aiming (not necessarily the target). I stole this from Nicklaus of course and it really helped me get the feeling that regardless of the circumstance or difficulty of the shot I just needed to execute my technique to be successful. Once I determined that spot in front of my ball I had the sense that you could cut out the piece of earth I was standing on and point me in any direction and it wouldn't matter because I had my intermediate target to guide me. Seems strange but it is very effective.

Greg Bryant asks at 12:50:

Brady, I'm a 6.1 hcp and looking for help. I'm working on my tush line and feel like I'm good to the top of my swing. When I try to start the downswing with a bump to the left side or try to reconnect my left hip to the tush line, my left shoulder turns before my hands drop and I come across the ball. Any suggestions on how to delay the left shoulder turn?

This is a typical problem for players on every level so don't be disheartened Greg. It sounds like your problem is with the WHEN of things and not necessarily the HOW. Here is what I mean. If the body begins the bump towards the target before the arms and club have finished the backswing there is no way for the shoulders to spin before the hands come down. When people struggle with the transition they often are waiting too long to bump. As a result the shoulders, arms and hands play an active role starting down and the swing goes south quickly. Keep in mind that the left hip doesn't need to reconnect with the "tush line" for a while coming down, it just can't move closer to the target line than it was at the top. In other words, the hips stay turned but move PARALLEL to the target line, not diagonally. This is a critical element of keeping the "Lane" clear as you will see in the pictures I posted of AK earlier in the blog.

If you get the opportunity to send it video of your swing I can help you pinpoint exactly where to go.

Brendan asks at 12:40:

Welcome back Brady! We missed you last week.

My question this week is for tips on how to hit the 3-wood off the tee. My problem is that I take out the 3-wood for accuracy on short par 4's and end up either topping it or hitting it fat.

Do you have any advice on how to consistently hit the 3-wood off the tee (i.e. tee height, ball position, etc.)?

Also, my set is currently composed of D, 3, 5, 3H, 5-PW, 50, 55, 60. I am a 12 handicap and carry 4 wedges to fix my distance gap. My concern now is that by taking out my 4-iron I have a gap of 20 yards (200-180) between by 3H and 5-iron. I am considering adding a 4H to my bag, but do now know what club to remove. The extra wedge? The 5-wood?

It's good to be back, although I miss Hawaii! Many people struggle with the 3-wood and hybrids from the fairway. When the miss is a top the problem is almost always standing too far from the ball. With your issue being from the tee and adding a fat shot to the mix my guess is that the distance from it isn't the issue, but it is a good place to start. If you are hitting the driver well and hitting the 3-wood consistently from the fairway then I would certainly go through the set-up and make sure you are clean there first. It should obviously be a bit easier from the tee but it's golf after all so go figure. If everything seems fine at address than focus on a solid routine and getting to a balanced finish on the golf course. This seems like generic advice but can really make the difference if you are struggling from a mental standpoint. If that doesn't work send me a video of the 3-wood so I can give you more specific advice.

When it comes to setting up the bag remember that it can change from course to course, day to day. If you are playing a shorter golf course that requires more wedges into greens than the current set up you are using is great. If the course has a couple par 3's that are in your distance gap than you should take out one of the wedges and add the 4h to fill that gap. If you do take out a wedge it should be the 60 as it doesn't leave a gap between clubs.

Tim asks at 12:12:

I like what you're doing on this blog. Awesome work! My question for you is regarding to Anthony Kim (again lol). Ive tried looking other places to learn more about his swing but you seem to be the only one with good pics and insight on his swing. Im hoping you can explain how he keeps his hips so stable on the backswing (other then tremendous flexibilty) and how he keeps them from coming into the ball on the downswing (keeping his tush line).It looks like he has a large lateral shift into his right side but i dont think its as much as it looks. Also i noticed that at address he has the clubshaft point more towards his navel where i have mine more towards my belt buckle. how does this help him and what exactly is he doing to get set up this way? Again thank you for your time.

You have made some very good observations about AK's technique. Let's start with the lateral motion during the swing. Anthony is very flexible in addition to being very strong. As a result he can create a tremendous amount of torque with a minimum amount of rotation with his hips during the backswing. This is a nearly impossible move for most recreational players to attempt to copy as they lack the the physicality necessary to be successful. There is a large amount of lateral motion going back and coming down in his swing. While his hips aren't rotating a great deal, his upper body is cranking it up and doing it on a much steeper angle than many on tour. This is similar to the pivot of Villegas and only meant for the most athletic players.

You have brought up a good point about the tush line. Despite the lack of movement rotationally on the backswing AK is able to maintain his lane coming down and not lose the line because he moves parallel to the target line with his hips and not diagonally TOWARDS the target line. This is a subtle difference but is critical to his success. The major deal with AK is that his golf swing isn't comprised of two parts, a backswing and downswing, but is a fluid motion without seams.

The last point about the clubshaft at address is also very observant. Because AK chokes down on every club in his bag his left wrists doesn't have the typical amount of vertical hinge in it that most players achieve. As a result his clubshaft sits more upright at address than is considered normal pointing above his navel and not at it.

I would encourage you to study AK's move but keep in mind that you should steal from everyone but copy nobody when it comes to the golf swing. I have included a couple of pics to help you visualize. 

Akaddress
Aklane
Akmove 

Akdrop



Evan asks at 12:04:

Love the blog!

I am a 1 handicap that has developed a swing with my instructor that has no hip bump in the transition/downswing.

For this to work (I have been hitting a ton of thin shots because I have really been spinning out lately) I have adopted a more reverse K setup which allows me to post onto my left side without having to bump.

My question is if you feel like this is a good way to play golf and if you could point out any pro's who have no/minimal hip bump in their swings.

Thanks for the feedback about the blog. I like it as well.

I have to be honest with you Evan and say that I can't stand that philosophy of swinging. I have seen it work on occasion with good players but it is terribly unnatural to not move your weight during an athletic motion like a golf swing. Look at any other sport that throws or hits at an object and you will see an obvious shift of the body in the direction of the target. Take a ball in the backyard and throw one while keeping all your weight on your front foot during the motion and one where you allow your weight to shift back and through to the target, the results are obvious. I would rather you work on pivoting properly than omitting the movement completely.

BTW, you spin out because instead of spending a couple of frames on the downswing going to the target with your "bump" you are already on the left side. Your body instinctively wants to do something so it spins.

Bill Pucci asks at 12:00:

I have severe back problems which inhibits my hips opening up and I end up having my arms take over the swing and as you can imagine big problems set in.Is there anything you could suggest to keep my arms from overtaking my swing.

It sounds like you are going to have to go with what you have Bill. My dad has some major difficulties with his lower back and can't swing the club the way he used to. We have modified his swing to be more arms and hands oriented so he can stay on the golf course and enjoy the game. If improving the condition of your back isn't a possibility, then you need to adopt a similar philosophy that allows you to play good golf while minimizing your level of discomfort. There have been countless great players with limited body rotation back and through that are successful because they use their arms and hands effectively.

July 13, 2010

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

Posted at 10:35 AM by Brady Riggs

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos.

Here's what he had to say... 

Robin asks at 4:34:

Thanks for the advice every week. I took your advice on ballooning my irons and upgraded from game-improvement clubs (PING G10) to more of a players club (Mizuno MP-57) with Project X shafts, and my ball flight has come down and I've gained about 5 yards on most of my iron shots. As I adjust to the new irons I've been struggling to hit full shots with my short irons and wedges. My shots end up short and right. I believe it is because I'm not fully pivoting and end up swinging with my arms, not my body. I've tried focusing on keeping my shirt sleeve tucked between my left arm and body the way Justin Rose has been doing lately for his putts, and it seems to help. Do you have any other tips for maintaining a good rhythm and connection, especially when hitting full wedges and short irons?

I'm glad to hear that the clubs have helped. On the full shots you need to make sure your right side is getting completely through to the finish. This will help you get the weight over the front foot and encourage the clubface to rotate properly through impact. On the golf course you are always better off making a good practice swing focused on a solid finish position before every shot. This seems obvious but it really important.

Karm asks at 4:13:

hanks for all the help via the blog. i cant seem to get rid of a dropkick i have with my driver and the occassional iron shot. it feels like i am getting stuck on the downswing. its getting embarassing and costing me numerous shots per round. any help would be very much appreciated.

The dropkick happens because your club is finding the bottom of the arc behind the ball. While this is obvious the "why" can be confusing. There are two main causes of this problem. The first is that the club is attacking on a path that is excessively from the inside, forcing the club into the ground before impact. This can often be the result of excessive right side bend on the downswing away from the target which makes attacking the club on the proper path impossible.

The other problem is less typical but can happen. A common mistake for players suffering from the dropkick is to put the ball too far back in the stance. When this happens any forward movement to the target (usually a good thing) becomes strange and the player actually moves away from the target and more in the back foot through impact. This forces the club into the ground early, the very problem the ball back was supposed to fix.

Start with the ball position and make sure it is in a neutral position. To fix the excessive right side bend through impact focus on finishing with the right shoulder closer to the target than the left foot. This will help you get through the ball better and improve the contact.

Bob asks at 4:00:

Brady.... Here is my son, he is almost 8. I am about a 5 handicap and he learns by watching me, I have not given him hardly any advice. I is hitting the ball pretty good. What advice, if any, should be given at this point?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYGgzdC9V5A

He seems to be swinging the club pretty good already. I would tell you only a couple of things. First, try to get a club in his hands that fits him a bit better. That club looks too long and heavy for him at this point. Second, make sure he hits balls with athletic shoes on, those flip flops aren't helping his balance and could lead to some habits you don't want. Finally, tell him he can swing hard as long as he can hold his finish position. That is a must as kids begin to learn the game. Here is a picture of a great finish he can copy.

Villegas

Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2010/07/ask-top-100-july-13.html#ixzz0tgs0VHRA

JP asks at 3:47:

Here is the latest and greatest. I think I need some more hip turn on the downswing. Do you agree and how could I achieve that?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBJFNKOQICE

JP, thanks for the video. I am not happy with where your tush and legs are relative to where they began. It still looks like the left heel isn't getting enough weight at the top of the swing and then the left thigh is out of it's lane coming down. I would like to see you maintain your tush line and leg positions rather than focus more on the hips. Here is a picture that might help you see the difference. 

Foxleft


Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2010/07/ask-top-100-july-13.html#ixzz0tgonjXTi

Ben asks at 3:35:

I'm having trouble putting some things together in my head so maybe you can help me out. PGA pro's all seem to hit these nice low, tight wedges that skip and stop. I'm amazed at how low they really hit them. They also don't take super sized divots which I would assume is because they come in shallow with the bounce working for them. Now, I would think that hitting it low involves getting the hands forward to deloft. But I find that doing that causes massive divots since the leading edge is now coming in sharper and find that chunking really comes into play. I've also tried closing the clubface but then it just goes left and further gets the leading edge coming in first. So how does one utilize the bounce which needs an open club face, but keeps the hands ahead and not shank, slice, sky a wedge shot. Do they have more bounce on the wedges? Whats going on there?

This is a great question that has been asked of me by many students over the years. You actually have it worked out fairly well to be honest. Yes, the club must attack on a MUCH SHALLOWER angle than you might think. The part you are struggling with is the clubface. It needs to be slightly open in the address position rotate back and through as it would in a normal shot. Most people make the mistake of trying to keep the clubface square to the ball during the motion with the club attacking straight down the target line. Instead, the clubface must be square to the plane which means it rotates away from the ball back and through and the club must attack from inside the target line. This allows the face to stay in contact with the ball a bit longer creating more spin and check when it hits the green. I try to get my really good players to feel as if the hands and club never get higher than the hips during this swing, instead traveling more around instead of up and down. One trick that really helps with the bounce of the club is to start with the shaft slightly upright and the face slightly open. This makes the heel of the club come off the ground further insuring you avoid sticking the leading edge into the turf. Here is a great picture of Jonathan Byrd hitting that shot. 

Byrd

Bill Johnson asks at 3:20:

How would you recommend playing a shot (right handed player) from a short iron distance with the ball above your feet, severe hazard left and with woods to the right.

Normally I would play out the right and allow for the draw, but since blocked out I am at a loss.

Is a long punch shot in order? Can you discuss the mechanics involved?

In most sidehill situations you would like to ride the slope as much as possible. However, as you have illustrated this isn't a possibility with the trees to the right. To fight the right to left slope and hit a "holding" shot against it you have to make a couple of adjustments. First, you need to put the ball back slightly in the stance to help guard against the tendency for the ball to go left. Remember that if you make a mistake right is still better than left is this specific situation so don't get crazy with any of the changes. Next the clubface must be dealt with during impact and into the release. The natural left created from the slope must be accounted for by "holding off" the clubface. To do this the left arm must stay higher than the right into what becomes a "punch" finish. This will be a shorter follow-through than normal with the left arm "feeling" like it is in a "chicken wing" position. While this seems strange, it is the only way to start the ball more on line without it moving to the left in the air.

As with any new "shot" you are going to play make sure you are successful with in on the practice range before putting it into action on the course.

Travis asks at 3:10:

My 8 year old niece is getting interested in golf. She has come to the driving range a few times now, and I was interested in any advice you might have on the best way to go about helping her learn the game while keeping her interested in golf.

Make sure she has fun is the first priority. There is some great equipment you can get her started with made by US Kids Golf. No need to buy an entire set, they sell clubs one at a time and make it easy to find the club for her height. The thing I did with my own kids at an early age was show them video of Annika Sorenstam hitting a ball, start to finish. I asked them to pay attention to her finish position and try to copy it in the house. On the range, I only encouraged them to set up correctly then try to get to Annika's finish. The results were amazing. I can tell you having a great model to copy without the interruption of an adult barking instructions is the single best way to teach a young person how to swing a golf club.

Start her out on the range and then close to the hole on the green so she can feel the joy of knocking it in the hole. When she progresses take her to the 3 par and then on to the big stuff once she has become proficient at each level. There is no need to rush, just keep on encouraging her and don't stay at the course for more than an hour. Any longer and it will go downhill quickly.

Chris Johnson asks at 3:00:

Hello Mr. Brady your tips are very helpful I hope you answer this one. My downswing is coming down from the outside and cutting across the ball.They say you should start the downsing by droppin the arms how do you get that feel. Could you please give some drills or tips to start the downsing more with the body and not pulling my shoulders.

Good question Chris. In about 90% of players that come across the ball the clubface is in an open position on the downswing. The motivation to start the ball left of the target is very high because the ball always curves to the right. For this reason make sure your grip is in a neutral position in address and your left wrist isn't excessively cupped or bent at the top of the backswing. This will get the face issue taken care of and allow you to proceed with the transition.

The start of the downswing is confusing to players on every level. The problem with the "over the top" move you are describing is that the left leg isn't taking and keeping enough of the weight as the downswing begins. From a technical standpoint, the quad muscle of the left leg should be "engaged" for several beats as the downswing begins. This prevents the shoulders from spinning open which forces the club outside. The leg has more weight in it after the downswing begins than it did before the backswing was finished, meaning that there is a shift of weight to the target without a spin of the body as you start down.

July 06, 2010

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

Posted at 2:41 PM by Brady Riggs

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at noon to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos.

Thanks to everyone for your comments and videos. Special thanks to Mark and Co. at JC Video for all their help with their fantastic software, it brings the blog to life. See everyone next week...

Tim asks at 1:12:

I just want to start off by saying thanks for all the great instructional advice. It's all very helpful. I have a question about Anthony Kim's backswing. I've tried very hard the past two years trying to emulate his motion. For one we have the same body type and build, and for two it looks so simple and low maintenance. What I'm hoping for is if you can explain how he gets the club so short and compact (clubshaft pointing to the left when short of parallel) without getting flat and across the line. I see he gets his hands fairly deep and behind him in his backswing, when I do this I'm super flat and usually across the line. I like feeling as though my arms and body are working very closely together rather then feeling like my hands are very high at the top of the backswing. I would love to have the same motion as he does and with your help maybe I can :) Thanks again for your time week after week. Here are a couple videos of my swing.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I think your motion is fairly sound, I like the sharp change of direction. The reason you are long and across when trying to get deeper is you lack the proper left forearm rotation needed to get the club pointing properly at the top. Here is a simple way to feel the correct amount. When standing straight up and down and not holding a club, hold your left arm out in front of you fully extended with your thumb pointing up. Rotate your entire arm from the shoulder down as a unit to get the thumb pointing to 3:00. This is a quarter turn of the arm and all that is needed to get the club in line at the top of the swing. You can repeat this motion with a club and then eventually bent over in your normal starting position. Some players never get enough rotation and as a result achieve a position at the top that is across the line. Some players have excessive rotation early and lose what they had to get the club across. If you want to shape your swing like AK, the proper amount of left-arm rotation should be slowly happening during the backswing and get to the quarter turn as your hands near shoulder height. Here is a couple of pictures to help...

Quarterturn

John asks at 12:54:

Can you give me some advice on getting on a better plane in the downswing?
Also, I don't hit the ball very far and am wondering where I'm losing power.

Please comment on anything that you don't like.

Thanks!

Thanks for the video, John. There are two specific things you can work on that would not only help you with your lines and angles during the swing but would greatly improve your distance. First, your clubface is closed at the top of the swing, restricting your ability to release properly during impact and into the finish. The grip appears to be fairly neutral so the problem lies in the excessively flat-to-bowed left wrist position and the overly flat arms swing. The second issue is your lack of weight shift during the backswing into the right side. You basically swing the club with your body in the same place going back and coming through. If you use throwing as an analogy, the weight moves back into your rear foot then forward into your front foot. Imagine throwing without moving your weight and you can see just how much potential power you are missing. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize.

Akmove

Brendan asks at 12:42:

Brady, I have a club championship tournament this weekend and thanks in large part to your tips on swing path my game is rounding into shape.

My most glaring concern is my sand wedge. Normally I hit my 55-degree wedge about 100 yards but sometimes it feels as if the face slides right under the ball and it only goes 70 yards. Nothing kills a great drive like a 70 yard sw.

Any ideas on what could cause this result or any tips on how to fix it?

Glad to hear you are getting better. Losing yardage with the wedge usually happens when the clubface stays too open during the release, making the ball slide up the face and greatly reducing the distance. The best thing you can do in the short term is to try to hit the wedges with a bit of a draw. This will help you get the toe of the club through during impact, making it easy to hit the ball a consistent distance.

Michael Paige asks at 12:30:

I have heard a lot of instructors talk about not getting laid off at the top of the backswing and how bad it is.

But when I was looking at this swing of CH3 on youtube, I noticed that at the start of the downswing he immediately lays off the club.

Why does he do this? Is this a fault or am I missing something here?

There is no fault here at all in this video of Charles Howell III. The clubshaft is naturally shallowing out as his body leads the downswing. This action to the club is seen in a large number of great players and is different than being laid off at the top. The critical alignment of the club in the transition is that it is pointing at or outside the target line when the hands are at shoulder height. Where the club is at the top isn't nearly as important as where it is in the transition. The problem with being laid off is that it can make the transition too steep and get the arms too far away from the body. Here are a couple of pictures to help illustrate the top and transition difference.

Howell 

Howell2

Mike asks at 12:20:

Brady... At what point should someone play x-stiff in a driver. I see many of the shorter Tour players use x-stiff. I normally hit drives around 270 - 290 and play a stiff shaft.

There are so many different combinations of weight, length, materials, loft, etc. that make a driver fit properly it is difficult to tell you exactly when and what to change to. I have several professionals I work with who hit the ball extremely far that still use a stiff shaft. If there is one club you should have fit by a professional fitter and constantly update, it is your driver.

Gary asks at 12:08:

Thanks for the great blog, I look forward to it every Tues.

Do you have any good drills/thoughts/methods to practice the correct way of starting the downswing?

I have been trying a drill where as you swing back you draw your left foot next to your right so at the top of the swing both feet are close together. Then you start your downswing by re-planting your left foot in its original position.

It seems to be helping my weight shift but I am not sure what my arms are supposed to be doing at the time I am planting my left foot in the downswing.

Was wondering if you had anything like it that you use with your students.

Thanks for the feedback about the blog. I use something similar to help people get the idea when it comes to the proper sequence to start the downswing. Take your normal address position and then slide your front foot next to your back foot. when the arms near the top of the swing step with the front foot to the target to lead the downswing. I like this particular method because it requires only one step during the swing. Remember that it is always easier to work on a specific part of the swing going slower than normal.

The arms should always come after your weight moves to the target. Think of it like stepping into a throw in baseball or hitting a pitch. When you move your weight is up to the individual. Some players like Tommy Armour III get the weight going when the arms have barely reached parallel to the ground. This keeps the backswing very short. Others like John Daly wait until the club is well past parallel to get the weight moving. In either case the sequence is the same, weight before arms and club.

Kevin asks at 12:00:

Brady..... I liked the picture you posted a few weeks back of the face on view of Els showing the release/arms crossing. That's a position I really lack and have started hitting everything much more solid from a 50-yard shot to a driver. That really isn't a position that's natural... it seems like you really have to put some effort into getting in that position, would you agree?

It is natural for some, unnatural for others. The thing I will tell you Kevin is that if the club is attacking on the proper swing path and the clubface isn't closed, the release becomes very natural out of necessity. Here is the picture you referenced one more time:

Elsrelease

July 05, 2010

New iPhone App Repairs Your Swing On The Spot

Posted at 11:44 AM by Jeff Ritter

P1-golf-fix_283x450 It doesn't matter if you're a scratch handicap or a weekend duffer -- no golfer is immune from losing his swing in the middle of a round.

Thankfully, now there's an app for that.

It's called "Golf Shot Fixes," and it's the brainchild of Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Mitchell Spearman. A former PGA Tour pro, Spearman has created an app that offers high-def video tips to correct virtually any type of swing malfunction. Problem areas addressed include slices, hooks, shanks and chunked chips. More than 60 video clips were filmed at Orlando's Isleworth Country Club.

"My app gives instant access to professional advice so you can figure out what you're doing wrong and fix your swing straightaway," Spearman said. "Your skills -- and round -- will improve immediately."

The app costs $4.99 and is now available in the iTunes Store.

For more information, visit golfshotfixes.com.


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