Archive: November 2010

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November 30, 2010

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

Posted at 11:33 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online at 5 p.m. Eastern to fix your faults and analyze your swing videos. Leave a question in the comments section below.


Thanks to everyone for your questions and videos. I look forward to seeing and hearing from all of you next week at our normal time, Noon EST. Have a great week.

Gene asks at 6:10:

I was wondering how open the hips and shoulders should be at impact. I know that the hips are more open vs the shoulders but at impact would you say that the shoulders should be square, open or closed to the target line at impact. Is it my imagination but does it seem like some of the younger tour studs seem open at impact with their shoulders? ie Rory McIlroy.....Thanks again


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November 23, 2010

Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Will Fix Your Faults

Posted at 10:03 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday at noon Eastern to help fix your faults and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady this week, get your videos ready because he'll be back the same time next week. 

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. If you would like to learn more visit my website at See everyone next week.

Tim asks at 12:50:

I'm 6' 5" and struggle with a flattish backswing. My misses are push/slice my driver...hook my hybrids...and pull/draw my irons. So I don't know WHAT that tells you. Help?!


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November 18, 2010

America's Worst Golf Shot: Contest Winner

Posted at 3:56 PM by Jeff Ritter

Last week, announced its search for the Worst Golf Shot in America. (We also gave you a great example.) After combing through the entries, we have a winner.

In the video below, you will find Jim "Smoke" Foteff stuck in the bunker on the 12th hole at Bandon Dunes. Smoke's buddy Bob Clemo filmed the action, and for his submission he will receive a free subscription to GOLF Magazine. Foteff will have his video analyzed by Top 100 Teacher T.J. Tomasi in an upcoming article on

When submitting the video, Clemo said that Foteff is a 15-handicap who's known on the course for two things: "a golf bet and a good cigar." After the scene you are about to see, Foteff reportedly pressed his bet.

We're guessing he did not make much money on this day at Bandon.

As Jim Nantz might say, We go live now to the 12th, where Smoke Foteff has found the greenside bunker at the par-3. Let's see what he can do from here...

November 16, 2010

Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Will Fix Your Faults

Posted at 9:52 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online on Tuesday at noon Eastern time to help fix your faults and analyze your swing videos. Leave your question or video link for Brady in the comments below.

***Due to a technical problem, Brady Riggs had to end his blog early today. We apologizes for the inconvenience, but he'll be back next Tuesday for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs live. If you left a video link below, Brady will answer your question next week.***

Joel Williams asks at 12:30:

Brady, I have a lot of trouble on the course with mistakes and decision making. Do you recommend any things I can do to get my "mind right"?

A great thing to try is making a plan for how you are going to play the golf course before the round. This sounds overly simple but here are a few wrinkles that make it work. There is the plan for how you would LIKE to play each hole and then the plan for how you are going to adjust when things go bad. This may include specifics like "punch out to the fairway when in the trees" to help you stay organized when you are struggling. The plan also includes your routine before every shot from your driver to the shortest putt. This includes the specifics of your routine (waggles, breathing, etc.) and should also address positive thinking and precise target selection. Having a plan in place and sticking to it takes the pressure off of many decision-making situations and keeps the tension level low when playing.

Dan asks at 12:15:

I really enjoy reading the blog and appreciate the work you do week in and week out. Here is a recent swing video, using a 7-iron. I would like to apologize ahead of time for the poor lighting, people talking and lack of a face-on view (other than that, it's pretty good).

I am playing to a 13 at the moment, but trending upward. Needless to say, I am not playing real well right now. I noticed my head moves/drops quite a bit in this video. There is a yardage sign that comes into view during the swing, yet it is not visible during address. My most common misses lately are thin shots and blocks out right. When it's good, I'll hit a nice high fade, or a lower, baby draw like the one in this video (but I don't move the ball too much in either direction unless it's a miss, in which case, I can curve it with the best of them).

Some video is always better than no video. The head drop issue isn't unusual among really good players. The fact that it never goes up before going down is a good sign. The part of your swing I would like to see you improve upon is the top. Your arm-swing is very high making it necessary for you to re-route your downswing to a flatter angle to get the club working into the ball properly. While a little vertical isn't a big deal, you need to make a significant adjustment that is very hard to do consistently. A good way to think about the change is that your arms and club need to work more around you to the top and less straight up. The slight change going up will make it much easier for you to attack the ball from a more inside angle allowing the face to rotate properly through impact.

LeftLefty asks at 12:00:

A big thank you for doing this. I like the way you think about the swing. My question is about rotating through a shot. As a lefty, when I feel my left shoulder going through the shot, it's usually a good sign (rather than my typical hanging back and flip). But I find it hard to finish in balance when I throw the rear shoulder at it. I feel like I lunge. I seem to be more in balance and under control when I think first about rotating down and "behind me" (i.e., keeping the back facing the target longer), then when the club gets down near my hips or so, fire through impact. Does this make sense? Also, I read Hunter Mahan's swing thought of "falling toward the target" from the top of the backswing. I tried this and, boy, it was a disaster. Can you explain what he's trying to say?

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Let's deal with your shoulder issue first. The problem with "feels like" advice is that it doesn't produce reliable results. It sounds like you are trying to deal with the issue of hanging back by driving your rear shoulder around to the target. This is a strategy that can work. Another approach would be to monitor the amount of slide toward the target in your lower body during the downswing. If the hips move too far toward the target, there is no thought or feel that will get your upper body moving properly to the finish. In many cases, the problem of hanging back occurs well before the "hanging back" and happens in the transition. Without putting words in Mahan's mouth it sounds like he is talking about letting his upper body drift toward the target to begin his downswing. This keeps the lower body from moving away from the upper, the cause of the hang-back move you are fighting. As I said before, his "feel" may not work well for you. You need to find the thought and feel that produces the desired effect. Keep in mind to look at the root cause of the problem instead of focusing on the symptoms.

November 09, 2010

Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Will Fix Your Faults

Posted at 9:42 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time to help fix your swing and analyze your video. He'll be back next week at the same time so video your swing and post it on YouTube so Brady can analyze it next week

Thanks to everyone for your comments and questions. I look forward to seeing everyone again next week.

Ryan asks at 1:30:

Brady, What do you think? I'm really trying to cover it more but can't seem to get all the way left

Ryan, I'm running short on time but I wanted to give you some quick feedback. The steepness of your downswing is betraying your efforts. The club is too flat coming back forcing the momentum of the club across the line at the top of the swing. This causes the shaft to become too steep coming down, making it impossible to go as left as you would like. Keep this in mind, when the shaft is steep coming down you NEED the lower body to slide a bit to help the club attack on the proper path.

Steve Marcus asks at 1:20:

There is such an abundance of information out there regarding the golf swing, much of it conflicting. Your blog puts things in perspective, and makes everything much more understandable. I thank you for that.

My question relates to the downswing. How active should the arms be in the downswing assuming one is relatively on plane with the backswing? Some "experts" talk about very passive arms going along for the ride and other "experts" talk about more active arms to generate swing speed.

Thanks for the kind words. This is one of those things teachers screw up. If you asked 10 Tour players if they think their arms are passive or active coming down you will hear some say passive, some active, and some passive in the beginning of the downswing and active through impact. When you deal with a subjective issue like this you are dealing with the players' feel. There is no way to quantify feel. Teachers make a mistake when they say the arms MUST be one way or the other.

I like to tell my students to think about how they use their body when throwing a ball. The weight moves first followed by the arm that is relaxed and able to snap the wrist during the release. Just as you wouldn't focus on the arm during a throw you shouldn't during the swing. What makes it powerful and consistent is that it works in the proper sequence with the right amount of tension. I know this may not be the answer you were looking for, but I think it is accurate.

Stephen asks at 1:05:

Hi Brady, thoughts on my swing (other than the head drop) and what I should focus on during the winter months?

Thanks for sending the video. Your feet are closed to the target line and your shoulders are open. This is the exact opposite combination that you see in Tour players so I would encourage you fix that straight away. If you look at the face-on video, you will see that your weight is sitting back excessively on your left foot. This will lead to the head drop at the top of the swing you mentioned in your question. Always remember you will go where you are NOT during the swing, starting back as you do will force you to drop down during the backswing. I would like to see your arms and club come down closer to your body and more from the inside than you are in this swing. It will help you create more extension after impact and produce a more balanced and healthier finish position. The best news is that if you improve your address position everything will get better.

Progk1 asks at 12:50:

What is the best way to correct the fault of casting/early release? Like so many others I have lost the angle between the shaft and my lead arm coming into impact, then lose my posture to prevent the fat shot but causes thin shots. Is it more complicated than just being conscious of trying to maintain that angle or perhaps finding another path into the ball that helps maintain that angle? Thanks for all your hard work!

The worst thing you can do is TRY to keep the angle. The only way you retain it is by keeping your arms, wrists, and hands soft on the club and moving your body in the proper sequence. This is a term we hear all the time (sequence) and it can be very confusing. The best way to think of sequence is to remember that the weight should always precede the movement of the club. In other words, your weight moves slightly into the right thigh and then your club should start back away from the ball. Before your arms and club have finished going back your weight should move aggressively into the left thigh. When the arms, wrists, and hands are soft and the weight moves into the left thigh first, the angle between the left arm and club will become MORE powerful. When the arms, wrists, and hands are tight on the club and they begin the downswing before the weight moves, you will lose the angle and all of your potential power.

Andrea asks at 12:30:

Brady, what do you think of my swing? I posted a video and got some feedback from you a long time ago and have worked on my swing a lot since then.

9 iron:

5 iron:

I'm working on my finish as I don't like its look with the short irons.

Here is my objective opinion. At this point, I think your speed and athleticism is fantastic during the swing and could take you to great places as a player. On the other hand, I think some of your mechanics are flawed, some seriously, which will hold you back until they are cleaned up. Here is a laundry list of things to work on. At address you carry your hands too high and your weight is sitting back in your heel excessively. This combination of errors leads to a club that is excessively inside in the takeaway, a halfway-back position that is too flat, and an inevitable steepening of the shaft during the transition. With the weight in your heels at address, your body is forced to lean closer to the ball during the swing than it started, forcing your tush off the line and your body to become to vertical through impact. This makes it difficult for your left elbow to get down in front of your left hip approaching impact, creating a blocked or trapped arm position. The clubface also appears to be a bit shut during the swing. I can't tell from the video if this is caused solely from a bowed right wrist at the top or if your grip is also a bit strong, but it is an issue.

Having said all that, the fact is you can fix all of these issues fairly quickly and improve your game dramatically if you work on them in the proper ORDER. This means start with the grip, the hand height at address and your weight more in the ball of your feet. Once these are better proceed to the takeaway which will help the shape of the backswing and prevent the steepening of the shaft coming down. The proper posture at address and the improved takeaway and backswing should greatly improve your trapped arm coming down without even trying, and your finish will come along for the ride.

When you screw up the start, the rest is doomed. Work on the basics at the set-up and you will see your entire motion improve dramatically.

Ben asks at 12:13:

Brady, what are your thoughts on a swing where the club comes left after hitting the ball and comes around to a flatter finish? I think this a better way to swing that the classic down-the-line swing. It seems many Tour player now have this swing. My swing has always ended up going down the line after hitting the ball and come more vertical on the follow-through. I've tried many times to get a more rounded follow-through and I'm not quite sure the best way to go about it. I end up with a lot of pulls when I try to really stay over the ball. What are some things to focus on? Body rotation through the ball? How do you swing left on the follow-through with out coming across the ball? I don't have a recent video to show you but here is one I've posted here a while ago that is still representative of the problem I'm describing.

I remember seeing this swing. I think the "going left" thing after impact is all the rage right now. I agree that the swing that is more around the body is better on many levels than the down the-line swing, but don't discount how many great players have played more up and down. The problem with the swing you sent is that your hips move too much laterally coming down to produce anything but a more vertical exit of the club. This begins with your pivot going back and continues with the lack of rotation in your left knee as you start down. This may seem complicated, but I will show you some pictures that will help. One last thing, your head stays down way too long past impact making it impossible for your body to move through properly.


Steve asks at 12:00:

Brady, I used to be a lights out wedge player-basically from 80 yards in. I recently lost 40 pounds and the wedge game went with it. I now have no consistency and even hit the shots fat. I know the loss of girth has probably changed my swing. Please help. Thanks so much.

You aren't the first player who lost a bunch of weight and struggled. The simple fact is that shots requiring a deft touch require constant practice and repetition. When your body changed, your feel for these shots changed with it. The solution isn't to go back to the ice cream shop but to improve the mechanical problem that is causing your poor contact. In other words, don't blame the weight loss, blame the swing.

When the wedge shots are fat there are three typical problems to check. The first and most common issue is with the clubface. If you are trying to keep the face to "square" during your abbreviated swing it can cause the leading edge of the club to "dig" as it makes contact with the turf. The next issue is the angle the club is attacking the ball. If the angle becomes too steep, the club can easily find the ground before the ball. The last thing to check is your commitment level to moving THROUGH the ball to the finish. It is critical to your success with the wedges to make sure your chest continues to move to the finish. This is a simple thought Nick Faldo used and it is a fantastic way to improve your contact.

If it continues to be a problem, send in some video of yourself hitting wedges and we will get it cleaned up.
November 08, 2010 wants to see your worst golf shot

Posted at 9:43 AM by Jeff Ritter

On a recent golf outing in Florida, I filmed my friend Brian Hutcherson teeing off on the final hole of a marathon day on the links. With flip cam rolling and darkness falling, our group watched (and laughed) in awe as Brian unleashed what may have been -- and I don't want to sell this short -- the most pitiful series of swings in the history of golf.

Or were they? is having a contest: we want to see your worst shot. We’re guessing that the champion will be able to benefit from a few swing tips, so the winner will have his or her swing video analyzed by GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher T.J. Tomasi.

To enter, send us a YouTube link of your most wretched golf shot. You can paste the url in the comments section below, or email it to Please include your name, the name of the person in the video, contact information and the golfer's hometown.

In the meantime, here's Brian, the man to beat. Your shot, America.

November 02, 2010

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

Posted at 10:07 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time to help fix your swing and analyze your video. He'll be back next week at the same time so video your swing and post it on YouTube so Brady can analyze it next week.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and videos. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone but I am off to the lesson tee. See everyone next week. Remember, if you need more information about me please visit

Thomas asks at 1:00:
Great stuff--this is a fantastic resource. You've helped improve my game by helping me embrace some of what I thought were flawed techniques (e.g., the ten-finger grip). I have more confidence than ever and now have more time to focus on the parts of my swing that really need work....

My question is about the left arm on takeaway. My natural backswing results in about a 155 angle on my left arm. I find maintaining a straight left arm to be cumbersome and rigid. I'm a much better ball striker with the more relaxed, bent takeaway (and long enough).

Nonetheless--I still could stand to improve my ball striking--its not like I'm Sir Nick Faldo out there (9-10 handicap). Should I take this offseason to try to improve my technique and get more comfortable with a straight left arm--so I can eventually improve more? Is a bent left arm an impediment to true ball-striking consistency?

Thanks for the kind words, Thomas. This is another "fundamental" you can scratch off your list. Keeping the left arm straight at the top of the swing is not mandatory for playing great golf. In fact, keeping it straight at impact isn't mandatory either. It is far more important that your arms are soft and relaxed to transfer the power and energy from your pivot through your arms and into the club. Many people get worse after looking at their swing on video and mistaking a bent left arm as a problem with their swing.

If you can always remember that the clubface is the most important thing to control, then the path of the club and finally the pivot, you will be on your way. The bent left arm has no negative effect on either the face, path or pivot. If you were following golf back in the 80s there was a guy named Calvin Peete who was one of the single best ball-strikers of his time. He was so straight off the tee it was scary. His left arm was injured as a kid and he was unable to straighten it completely. It remained bent throughout his swing, but it didn't prevent him from becoming a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. Of course that was during a time on Tour when accuracy was important, but I digress...

Check out this picture of Retief Goosen, two-time U.S. Open Champion, and the No. 1 player in the world, Lee Westwood, for further confirmation.


Daniel asks at 12:40:
My question is about lag. I'm a 9-handicapper and I've always fought with early release. I've tried everything, I start my downswing shifting the weight to the left foot, turn my upper body properly covering the ball, but nothing can stop my hands from casting at the top which causes loss of distance, lack of accuracy and loss of compression and touch. Any help? this vids are a bit old and taken at night, but they're maybe useful.

Thanks for sending in your swing, Daniel. It looks like a move that should be producing better scores than what you are currently showing. The quest for lag is mysterious, magical, and often misunderstood. Once people begin to tinker with creating more lag they often become obsessed about it. If there is one thing I have learned over the years it is that the obsession about lag has ruined more good players than it has produced. If I were coaching you I would take a different approach. First, let me say I really like many aspects of your golf swing. It is powerful, big, and obviously that of a good athlete. It has the makings of something fairly special. If you look at the swing from the face-on view you can see your head diving down and back through impact. This is a compensating move to attempt to drive the club into a shallower and more inside angle of attack approaching impact. The problem with this compensating move is it hangs your upper body back behind the ball excessively, making it difficult to sync things up at impact and into the finish.

From the target line view we see your arms quite high and disconnected at the top of the swing. This "running on" of your arms after you have completed your turn leads to the steeper transition and the need to dive back behind the ball at impact. I would like to see your arms lower at the top, the club significantly flatter on the downswing, and your body staying more level through impact. Here is a picture to help you get the idea of where your arms and club should be. Use the picture on the right as your guide.


Jack asks at 12:24:
I posted some videos last winter, and am curious to hear some comments again. After the last couple of lessons at my pro he strengthened my grip, tried to have me "lock" my right hip by tucking it "down and in" at the start of the backswing, and also wanted my right elbow to support the club more at the top (like a waiter holding a tray). How do these suggestions sound to you, and would you focus on something else?

Here's what I think. The grip certainly isn't too strong and the clubface may be a bit open so I don't think his suggestion about a stronger grip is necessarily bad. I don't understand the description of how he wants you to fix the hip and why, but it sounds like he is trying to keep it from sliding during the backswing. I think your hips move in the wrong direction as you finish the backswing so this may be the same type of idea. The arms and club look pretty good to me at the top, so if this is after you worked on it, then good job. If you haven't tried it yet I wouldn't. The real issue is your pivot on the backswing. The basic idea is that your upper body is moving to the target first on the downswing instead of your hips, making it very difficult to come in on the proper angle and develop any consistency. As you finish the backswing, your right butt cheek should be moving TOWARD the target while your head is moving slightly AWAY from the target. Your move is exactly the opposite, which is in fact a reverse pivot. I have included a picture to help you visualize where it is supposed to go.

JP asks at 12:15:
Brady.... Thanks for the help during the summer, this is a great thing you are doing. Due to it being November and I am in the Midwest, this will be my last post until April or so. I am just looking for some things to think about over the winter or some indoor things I can do. In my down the line video I am working on tush line, and the only way that I know I am doing good is to have my bag behind me. I am also curious what you think of my release, or if my hands are working correctly thru impact.

The swing is definitely looking better. You are doing a good job maintaining the tush line. It is difficult for me to see your hands in this video, but nothing looks too unusual. I would like to see you maintain your height during the backswing a little better. If you watch the clip from face-on you will see your head move a couple of inches up during the backswing. this can also be seen from the target line view as the angle of your head changes. The reason for this is your shoulders are turning flatter than is ideal and your weight isn't loading into your back heel at the top as obviously as I would like. This is the part of the swing I would be working on during the off-season.

Roberta asks at 12:08:
My partner is a beginner and his takeaway is good, but he doesn't get the weight transfer bit and reverse pivots too? Any ideas?

Encourage him to make the golf swing an athletic motion and you will see him improve quickly. Just as he would when throwing, kicking, or hitting a ball, his weight would move in the direction of the target as he releases. If he stays on the front foot during the backswing, he won't be able to move in that direction of the target. Encourage him to make practice swings to feel the proper motion.

Scott Fahrney asks at 12:00:
Brady, I've been struggling with full shots with my 52, 56, and 60 wedges this year, I seem to be hitting everything a bit fat. On most of my iron shots I take a decent divot, but they dont end up fat? Any tips or suggestions that could help me?

This is a fairly typical problem when people hit the short wedges full. It is much easier to make solid contact, control your trajectory and your distances when you hit them more three-quarter. If you are going to hit the wedge full, I would suggest you keep the width of your stance fairly narrow and the ball slightly forward of the middle of your stance. This change in your stance combined with an effort to keep your upper body rotating through to the finish should help you make better contact. The most common mistake people make when hitting it fat is putting the ball BACK in the stance. This will only make your problems worse...

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