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 comments and questions. Great job by everyone involved today. See you guys next Tuesday morning.
Evan said at 5:30:
is the best methord for starting putts on your intended line? What I
typically do is stand behind the ball facing the hole and pick my line
based on what I think the break is then I find some kind of mark on the
green that is 1 to 2 feet in front of the ball that is directly on my
intended line. I then set up alligned to roll the ball directly over
that mark. Is there a better method of lining up putts that you would
Reading greens and getting the ball started on line is equal parts technique and art. There are many methods for getting the ball started on your intended line and they can all work. The issue is finding the one that works best for you. Some people us a line on the ball and point it directly at their starting spot. This allows them to match the line on their putter with the line on their ball and let it go. Many use your method of finding a spot to start the ball at, above, or below either close to the ball or midway through the putt. Another method is to aim even with the hole but off to the side either a certain amount of balls or cups to establish a starting spot. The last method, the one I use, is to visualize the entire length of the putt and find the front door to the hole, from there I work back towards my ball to help me "see" the speed and line of the putt I am hitting.
Jeff asks at 5:10:
lurker and love reading this column. One thing I've seen you talk
about is rotation of your arms in your backswing. I've seen it come up a
few times and your description is that you want to turn/rotate your
arms from about 12'o clock to 3'o clock.
My question is why is this important? One thing I had been taught
from my coach in the past is to not rotate the arms. This allows me to
only rotate my body and not think too hard about having to turn the arms
back. Looking at the difference, I can see that this rotation allows
my left arm to stay straight (rather than a slight bend) and ends with
my left arm in a higher position and places my club at the top of the
backswing higher up than barely over my shoulder. However, I'm still
curious on what this affects as adding this would be a extra
complication to the swing.
Great question Jeff. The fact is that many people try to oversimplify the golfswing by omitting important aspects. When this happens the swing isn't more simple, it is incomplete. The left arm must rotate a quarter turn by the time the hands are at shoulder height on the downswing if the club is going to be attacking on the proper angle. The simple fact is many great players achieve this spot naturally and without thinking. Some rotate early going back like Adam Scott, some later like Faldo or Ryan Moore. When this happens is just as irrelevant as if the player knows it happens. What does matter is that it gets lined up. By understanding the critical aspects of the golf swing you will move ever closer to that mystical destination, consistency. Check out my website www.bradyriggs.com to see more about this subject in the videos and galleries section.
Joe asks at 4:59:
What's the best way to improve your golf game over the winter months in terms of indoor drills?
Earlier in the blog today I answered a question regarding working on your game with limited practice time. The answer to that applies to your question as well when it comes to sticking with your core mechanics and not trying to add anything new. Here is one more piece of advice to working on your game over the winter. I have a saying on the range that ," if you can't do it slow you can't do it fast!" This is a critical element of improving your technique on and off the range. Slow practice swings in the house are a great way to get more awareness of where your club is during the swing and how your body is moving it. One last thing, there is no excuse for not practicing your putting indoors so get to work.
Robert asks at 4:50:
Hi Brady, whats the best way to gain more distance off the tee? I average about 230 and would love to get it out there 250-260 on average.
There is so little info to go on here Robert but I will give you some quick ideas. First, make sure that your address position with the driver is conducive to hitting the ball as far as possible. This means your stance is wider than your irons, your grip isn't weak, the ball is forward in your stance, your shoulders are shifted slightly with your right shoulder down and back at address, and your knees are flexed and ready to move. The next step is to insure that you are making a strong turn away from the ball with your hips and shoulders and your weight is getting completely off your back foot and over your front foot at the finish. These are the basic ingredients you see all good players utilize when hitting the driver and can make a huge difference in your ability to hit the ball farther.
Jeff asks at 4:38:
have a question that has been bugging me for years: I am a scratch
golfer who frequently hits shanks on driving ranges with rubber mats.
This never , ever happens on grass ranges or on the course. In fact, I
can't remember the last time I hit a shank off of grass. From what I
have researched on the Internet, this is a unique phenomenon that
sometimes happens to low handicap golfers. It seems to have something to
do with hitting balls off mats as opposed to grass. Unfortunately, it
is rather demoralizing and unnerving to start a round after hitting
several shanks on the range (not to mention embarrassing). Have you ever
come across this problem and what is the solution?
Thanks in advance for your help.
I have seen it occasionally in really good players but can't recall it being caused from the mat necessarily. As I think about your question the lack of tearing on a mat may have something to do with the problem. If the lie angle on your clubs isn't quite right and you make contact with the grass you will see a divot that is deeper on one side than the other. If the same scenario plays out on a mat there is no tearing involved as it would with grass, making it very likely that the clubhead itself will twist significantly at impact. I am obviously thinking out loud here but it seems logical to me. The next step in the process would be to check the lie angles on your clubs to see if they are correct. If they are then it is strike one for me. Let me know what happens as you have now peeked my curiosity. If you can send in some video I will give you a more definitive answer.
Thomas Tremblay asks at 4:20:
You are an outstanding teacher and I trust (and have applied) your advice. My question concerns what you feel are the best remedies for a hook, particularly in reference to how the hands and arms work versus body
Thanks for the kind words, I will try to live up to it. When it comes to any ball flight issue you need to begin at the beginning. Remember to start with the clubface, then the path and finally the pivot. It sounds like your question relates to the pivot rather than the face or path but they must be addressed first. You can hook it with an open face just as easily as you can with a shut face. The shut face is an obvious cause, but an open face can be excessively rotated through the hitting area resulting in a hook. The shut face can come from either an excessively strong grip or a bowed left wrist at the top of the swing just as the open face can be the result of a weak grip and cupped left wrist. If the path is excessively inside coming down the face can over-rotate to compensate which also leads to the hook.
The pivot issue is a bit more complex. Think of the pivot and it's involvement in impact as a scale. On one side of the scale you have the body, on the other side you have the arms and hands. If the body plays a less active role through impact (ie. it is hanging back) than the arms and hands become more heavily weighted on the scale. This tips the balance towards using the hands and arms more leading to a hook. If you have checked the face and path and confirmed they are fairly neutral, this is where you need to look for the cause of the hook. If you need to see some clear pictures of clubface and grip positions check them out on my website under the Redgoat galleries page www.bradyriggs.com.
Sam asks at 4:10:
What do you think of the idea that you must have two swings, one for your irons and one your woods?
Thanks for the good question Sam. The fact is that it is hard enough to make one good swing let alone two. The changes in your address position should be enough to change the mechanics of your swing from iron to driver. The wider stance, increased right side tilt, forward ball position and more upright posture associated with the driver should be enough to help the club attack on a shallower angle with the bottom of the swing happening behind the ball instead of in front of it.
Chris asks at 4:03:
Brady thanks for taking the time to answer questions! Enjoy reading your column every week.
I'm having an issue with impact position. I tend to turn my right
hand over the left which causes the occasional pull. Is there a way I
can learn to have a bowed left wrist and a cupped right? When I try this
I hit a very low shot; usually to the left. Thanks!
I would get your mind off your impact position as soon as possible. If there is one thing you can't focus on in your swing and be successful on the golf course it is micro-managing your impact alignments. Try to keep in mind that if the club attacks on the proper path your clubhead will stay behind your hands approaching impact, giving you the impact position you are looking for. This is much easier to focus on and achieve on the golf course than trying to manipulate and control your hands at impact.
JC said at 4:00:
really enjoy your column and look forward to it every week. My game
has gone south this season due to the lack of practice and play time.
What things should I focus on during my limited practice time so I can
maximize the effectiveness of my practice sessions and regain some of
the game I lost?
Thanks for the kind words about the blog. When your time is limited to practice your focus should be more on maintaining what you have rather than working on something new. Spend your limited time working on your address position which includes alignment, ball position, posture, etc. Work on your go to ball flight so you can count on it when you play and make sure to spend some time every practice session on the intermediate wedges as they are the first thing to go.