Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher will fix your faults
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to help fix your swing. Here's what he had to say.
Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. See everyone next week. Enjoy the Ryder Cup. Come visist my site at www.bradyriggs.com
Mark asks at 12:34:
Hey Brady, enjoy the column. I am a 7/8 handicap that is looking for more distance off the tee. My carry average is probably in the 230-240 range with a very high ball flight and little release. My drives seem to balloon right at impact and float in the air. I am looking for a more boring ball flight. Any suggestions on how to flatten out my drives for more distance? Thanks, Mark
The higher ballflight and no roll are most likely related to one of two issues. The first can be equipment. While I am not a big fan of blaming the clubs for your problems the higher ball flight and lack of roll can be the result of a shaft that is too soft and/or light for you. While most people think the loft on the club has the largest effect on the trajectory, it is the shaft that plays the most significant role in your ballflight. If it isn't the shaft in can be the swing. When you hit down on the driver excessively you impart too much backspin on the ball, making it fly too high and not roll. Moving the ball farther up in your stance while creating more tilt away from the target will help you make contact with the ball in the flatest spot in your arc or slightly on an ascending angle. Give these a try and let me know how it works.
Nathan asks at 12:15:
Hi Brady. I'm wondering what can be learned by comparing a golfer's address and impact positions. Should they be fairly identical with regards to the angle of the shaft and the location of one's head? For example, what does it say about my swing that at impact (from the 'down the line' view) my head is a little lower and farther from the ball and my hands are a little higher than at address? Here are some pictures...
By the way, I have a low handicap but I tend to miss right with my irons (left to right ballflight).
Thanks for sending in your swing Nathan. There are definitely things that can be learned by comparing the two. I would prefer to have video of your entire swing as that would help me explain to you when things go wacky but this is better than nothing. Here are a couple of answers to your questions regarding the similarity/difference between set-up and impact. The head should be in a position at impact that is fairly similar in terms of distance from the ball. From the face-on camera view the head can move closer to the target at impact than address with an iron, but stay in its location or be slightly behind with the driver. The shaft is another issue. Depending upon the height of your hands in the address position the shaft can move up to a more upright position and still be ok. Most professionals have the shaft slightly higher at impact than address, some are on the exact same angle. Like so many things with the swing a little isn't a problem, more than a little is a big problem.
When it comes to your swing the position of your head and the lack of stretch or length in your rear leg is indicative of hanging back behind the ball too much at impact. This change in posture generally begins on the downswing and is triggered by sliding the hips excessively towards the target. As a result, your upper body hangs back behind the ball, your spine angle becomes more upright than it was at address which steepens the angle of your clubshaft at impact. You could improve your ball-striking and consistency if you kept minimized the amount of lower body slide to the target while keeping your upper body bent over the ball. This would also help you get the ball started on the line you intended. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize.
Chris asks at 12:00:
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Look forward to your column every week! I have been working on moving my right elbow towards the ball to lower the shaft and create lag. But I have been struggling with releasing the club and making solid contact with the ball. Lot of thin shots. Any suggestions?
I assume you are a right handed player. Trying to drive the right elbow towards the ball is a common strategy when searching for more lag. The problem with this focus is that it often raises the left shoulder to early in the downswing, forcing the body to tilt away from the target excessively approaching impact. While some tilt is a good thing, excessive tilt drives the club under the plane and causes the bottom of the swing to be further behind the ball than you would like. When the bottom of the swing is behind the ball the results are either fat or thin contact. A better way to increase lag is to keep your arms softer as you begin your downswing and maintain the angle in your shoulders closer to impact. In other words, the left shoulder will stay closer to the ground than the right for a longer period of time. When combined with the softer arms you will increase your lag without disturbing the bottom of your arc.