Archive: March 2011

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March 31, 2011

Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs works with Danielle Kang at the Kraft Nabisco Championship

Posted at 10:54 AM by Brady Riggs

Danielle-interview This week Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is working with a student, U.S. Amateur winner Danielle Kang, at the LPGA's first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Brady will file stories from the course throughout the week, so keep checking back for more updates.

WEDNESDAY

Day 3 at the Nabisco marks the end of practice. It can't come soon enough for Danielle who told me she was ready Tuesday morning after 4 holes.

Danielle is always a great interview because she says exactly what's on her mind. Ted Sobel from KNX radio is getting the low down here.

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Danielle-putt Most of the practice putts we have worked on this week were from the back of the green. With greens this firm it's hard to imagine putting from the front edge very often.

Danielle starts late on Thursday, which means that sleeping in and relaxing during the morning becomes a priority. You can be too ready to play, and adjusting sleep to your starting time is a little thing that can really help a player feel ready to go.

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The swing from today (below, left) is shorter and running parallel to the target line. This is a big improvement over Monday's swing (below, right) when her backswing went across the line position at the top and produced too much draw.

This is what the beginning of the week is all about. Identifying a problem area and working on it to produce a more consistent result. Nothing needs to be reinvented, just improved.

Danielle-practice

March 30, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Try these three steps to better putting

Posted at 3:46 PM by Marius Filmalter

Another week has passed since I last imparted my limited knowledge unto you all. This week I am taking a hiatus from the Tour as I have some teaching functions back in Dallas to attend. Since I can't talk about this week's event in Houston, I thought it was the perfect time to answer some questions I have received in the past week.

Apparently my golfing friends to the North are eager to get out and play. I received several emails asking what they should be practicing during the winter/spring to make sure their putting is the best it can be.

First things first -- you don't need a fancy indoor putting facility to improve your putting. What you need is a spot of carpet (preferably not shag as we would like to see the ball roll out a little bit) or even floor and a mirror.

When we practice during the offseason, especially indoors, we should be less focused on whatever we are using as a makeshift hole and focus more on three things; ball position, posture and tempo.

Step one is to check ball position. I mentioned this in my first blog contribution, but ball position is critically important to improving your putting. To determine the ideal ball position, take your address position and drop a ball from the eye that is closest to your target. (The left eye for right-handers and the right eye for left-handers.) Wherever the ball lands is where you should position the ball.

Step two is to monitor your posture. Posture is important because most amateur players hunch their shoulders when putting. By hunching your shoulders you actually freeze them up and the stroke becomes armsy, or what others may call "handsy." To understand how to get into a better posture please watch the clip below from my DVD -- "Automatic Putting" and look at your posture in the mirror as you set up.

Step three is tempo, which I believe is the most important of all the steps. Brad Faxon put it best when he said that having good rhythm and tempo can hide a lot of faults in the putting stroke. To practice tempo I highly recommend the use of a metronome. To establish your personal tempo with the metronome, simply walk around your house at a normal walking speed. Adjust the metronome tone up or down until each beep from the metronome is matched with a step you make. Now if you don't have a metronome, again start walking in your house until you are at a normal walking speed then count "one, two" for every step you take. Now, with either the metronome or by simply counting one out loud, take a couple of practice strokes. Make sure that when your putter reaches the end of its backstroke you hear a beep or count "one." When you make contact with the ball you should hear another beep or count "two." Whether you use a metronome or simply count in your head, focus on making putting strokes that match your personal rhythm.

Please send me comments or questions to blog@mariusgolf.com and also check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. Also, my website offers my new Automatic Putting package which includes a three-disc DVD set, "Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome." The package now includes free shipping.

Until next time….cheers!

Marius Filmalter is the leading expert on the science of putting and works with more than 40 PGA Tour pros. His blog appears every Wednesday on Golf.com.

Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs works with Danielle Kang at the Kraft Nabisco Championship: Day 2

Posted at 11:02 AM by Kevin Cunningham

Danielle-with-father This week Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is working with a student, U.S. Amateur winner Danielle Kang, at the LPGA's first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Brady will file stories from the course throughout the week, so keep checking back for more updates.

If you submitted a question for Brady about your swing, click here to see his response.

TUESDAY

Day 2 at the Nabisco in Palm Desert. We were joined today by Danielle's father Mr. Kang. He caddied for Danielle during her victory at the U.S. Amateur last summer. He's taking this week off to enjoy the golf from outside the ropes.

We had an early tee time this morning as we got out ahead of the Pro-Am. For the second straight day we played alone, just the way Danielle likes it. 

No range session, straight to the first tee 270 down the middle... oh to be 18 again!!

Danielle's ball striking was much better today, the left miss has been calmed down a great deal.

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Danielle-address-position Being the hungriest man on the golf course, Ty is very happy we are at the "Nabisco". Between Oreo's, Animal Crackers and Nutter Butter's Ty is in snack heaven. He is doing a solid job so far, although the early wake up call is making him less than thrilled.

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Major Championship weeks are like any other. It all starts with the address position.

In the beginning of the week Danielle was too far from the ball and inconsistent with her alignment. It is much cleaner now. 

Great posture here, end of the grip pointing at her navel, arms hanging down relaxed, knees bent over her toes.

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Danielle-backswing The swing thought of the week is keep it short. It was long early Monday morning, and Danielle was struggling with the lefts.

As soon as it got shorter she gained control of the direction.

This is a great look at the width Danielle maintains in the takeaway while cranking with her upper body.

There is no early hinge here, the right arm remains long and above the left helping the club move UP and not IN.

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This is not where I want Danielle to be. 45 yards into an elevated green, front hole location, to a surface that will not hold.

The false front makes this even worse as a misjudged wedge will roll back several yards off the green.

This makes the lay-up distances on par 5's critical. We are working hard on the math to help Danielle have a full shot into the greens to control the first bounce.

----Danielle-hole-in-one

Off the fairway is not the place to be this week. The rough is extremely high... and it's only Tuesday. The rough is at least a two-club penalty in distance, and with the elevated greens and bunkers in front a green in regulation is unlikely.

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HOLE IN ONE!!! The second of Danielle's career came with an 8-iron to the par-3 14th. It landed at 132 yards, bounced once and went straight into the hole at 138 yards. Great shot, great example of how the ball will release when it lands on these firm greens.

March 29, 2011

Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs works with Danielle Kang at the Kraft Nabisco Championship

Posted at 10:36 AM by Brady Riggs

P1-kang-mon_298x388 This week Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is working with a student, U.S. Amateur winner Danielle Kang, at the LPGA's first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Brady will file stories from the course throughout the week, so keep checking back for more updates.

If you'd like to submit a question for Brady about your own swing, click here and check back on Wednesday to see his responses.

MONDAY
Here's a photo of Danielle and her caddy, Ty Gretzky. Ty is a strong player in his own right and an asset on the bag this week. While he lacks experience as a caddy, he can keep Danielle loose and relaxed. Practice rounds can be boring. A very slow group in front of us made for a long afternoon. Ty provided some comic relief. Danielle might never stop laughing when Ty puts on the full body caddy bib. She offered Ty $100 to jump in the lake on 18 after the round to practice for Sunday afternoon. (Never can be too prepared, right?) He chickened out.

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P1-kang-yardages_298x293 A big part of Monday's practice round is getting Danielle's yardages down. This starts on the tee box, where we identify the correct landing distance to stay away from trouble and maximize her opportunities to get her approach shots close.

It continues with charting carry distance with the driver and 3-wood, plus average roll-out in the fairway. The fairways were quite long today, very little roll-out off the tee.

The iron distances need to be dialed in with both the carry distance for each club and the average roll-out when it hits the green. The greens were very firm this afternoon, wedges were jumping between 6 and 12 yards forward, long irons would roll 10-20 yards after hitting the putting surface.

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P1-kang-range_298x339 Here's a shot of Danielle warming up before the practice round on Monday. Danielle is recovering from a muscle strain in her back, but her swing looked good on the range.

We wanted to get on the course ASAP, so Danielle only hit about 20 balls. Just a warm-up. She's been fighting with some left shots of late, we will be working on it during the practice round.

This is a great spot coming down. The club is right on plane and her knees are still parallel to the target line. Not only is this a powerful position, the patient lower body keeps the swing in sync.

 

March 27, 2011

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

Posted at 9:36 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is working with a student, U.S. Amateur winner Danielle Kang, at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week, so he won't be taking live questions on Tuesday. He will, however, answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos when he's off the course. Post a question or link to a video in the comments section below, and he'll answer by Wednesday.

I will be back to finish the blog tomorrow. We have an early practice round in the desert so to those of you I haven't gotten to hang in there and check back on Wednesday evening.

Nick asks:

If I remember correctly, I read that you have some background in TGM(Homer Kelley's The Golfing Machine). What are some of the major aspects that ever present in your swing and pivot methods that have been greatly influenced by Kelley's book and/or other TGM instructors?
Maybe just in general, if i read incorrectly about your TGM background, what are some things that you like about the TGM methodology? I personally like their description of commonly misinterpreted terms such as lag and pivot.

Also, what are some major aspects that you disagree with in terms of what other TGM instructors are teaching such as Lynn Blake?

Thanks for the great question Nick. Let me first tell you that 2 of the 3 most influential PGA Professionals in my career were TGM guys; Ben Doyle and Gregg McHatton. The third was my Great Uncle V.O. “Red” Allen from the Wigwam in Litchfield Park, AZ. “Red” was a fantastic player who loved the game for all the right reasons and continued to impart his wisdom and no-nonsense approach to his students into his 90’s. Ben and Gregg are both true TEACHERS of the game. They aren’t shameless self promoters who are more concerned with making $ and “branding” their name then the well-being of their students. They are both a credit to the game and the profession.

I have nothing but positive things to say about Lynn Blake and many other TGM guys. In fact, one of the most deserving guys to enter the TOP 100 list in the last few years is Brian Manzella a long-time student and friend of Ben Doyle. There are so many positive things to say about TGM and how it is taught that it is hard to pick out just a few. I will tell you that the guided struggle vs the blind one is the cornerstone of my teaching philosophy and I can’t think of many days that go by where that thought doesn’t cross my mind.

The best thing about TGM is that it isn’t a swing methodology at all. It is anything but. It tries to define and explain the what, how, when, and why of the swing. Is it a very difficult read and sometimes exasperating to understand? Absolutely! However, those that spend the time and energy to unlock the terminology and ideas in the book will always be thankful for their efforts.

While I have no problems with what is inside TGM, I disagree with some of the approaches to teach it. I am not a big fan of teaching impact alignments to people. I believe there are better ways to get the player into a flat left, bent right, #3 pressure point than hitting short shots forever. That has been my experience over the years as a player and a teacher. However, I have seen that approach work time and time again so I wouldn’t criticize someone who taught that way, it just isn’t my favorite.

I am constantly on my soapbox about method teachers and theories that tell people they have the only way or the best way to hit a golf ball. The Golfing Machine is the exact opposite of a methodology, which is what makes it such a great resource.


Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2011/03/ask-brady-riggs-live-golf-magazine-top-100-teacher-will-fix-your-faults-1.html#ixzz1I9LJKFLx

 

allan gropper asks:

cannot get a fairway wood up in the air. grounders with every swing and i hit down

There are 2 ways to top the fairway woods. There is the traditional hit the top of the ball with the bottom of the club. This generally happens with the player starting too far from the ball and the weight never getting forward into the front foot at impact. The easiest fix with this problem is to get closer to the ball and move the weight into the front foot at impact. However, you say you are hitting down and still topping it. This gives us the second and less traditional way of topping shots, a smother. Trying to hit down too much can steepen the angle of attack to the point where your very low lofted fairway wood has no loft. In this case you will be taking a divot and still not getting the ball into the air. If this is your situation widen the stance slightly, feel like your right or trailing shoulder is slightly lower and pulled back away from the ball at address. This will shallow out your angle of attack and help you use the true loft of the club to get the ball airborne.


Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2011/03/ask-brady-riggs-live-golf-magazine-top-100-teacher-will-fix-your-faults-1.html#ixzz1I9IvOHAf

 

Hwang-jae Yoon asks:

I have been wanting to post a video of my swing for a long time and finally found a reason and time to do so (senior year in High School has been hectic-er? than i thought) but now that I wanted to I'm curious as to what is the best neutral position to record my swing. I have a feeling its right behind in line with the hands and almost/about chest height? From a reasonable distance? Maybe I can better record and analyze my swing this way!

Great question!! The angle you film your swing on can make things appear differently than they actually are. The down the line angle should be at hands high, and be between your toes and the target line. It is really important to film at a consistent angle to be able to see how your swing is changing over time. From face-on, you should be perpendicular to the target line and in line with the belt buckle at hands high. Here are a couple of pictures of the correct camera angles.

Cameras


Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2011/03/ask-brady-riggs-live-golf-magazine-top-100-teacher-will-fix-your-faults-1.html#ixzz1I9Fbi81r

 

Damien asks:

There are many resources that are online that can provide with a wealth of information both paid and free, you can take any golf swing guide in existence but to really polish your own personal game you have to take the advice that's given and see if it fits YOU. Brady Riggs knows what he's talking about(check some of his videos that are online if you havent seen him in action). waiting to see what tips he has for everyone.

Couldn’t agree more about finding the advice that fits YOU. Well said Damien…and thanks for the kind words.


Read more: http://blogs.golf.com/top100/2011/03/ask-brady-riggs-live-golf-magazine-top-100-teacher-will-fix-your-faults-1.html#ixzz1I9Esh3qB


March 24, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Tour pros need putting fundamentals too

Posted at 6:25 PM by Marius Filmalter

Herron Let’s start with Gary Woodland’s putting performance to win the Transitions Championship last week. On Sunday, Gary made 17 of 17 putts from within 20 feet and had only 10 putts on the back nine to win his first event. What is even more impressive is that earlier in the round Gary hit a drive 337 yards. This is the future of golf, my friends— brute strength with touch on the greens.

On Monday, I worked with Ernie Els while he played in his Els for Autism tournament at PGA National. Ernie’s game is great right now, and his putting is improving every week. After the event, I made the short drive from West Palm Beach to Orlando. On Tuesday morning, I arrived at Bay Hill and spoke with many players who all shared the same sentiment: the course was in the best condition they had ever seen it.

Speaking of Bay Hill, I would like to take a minute to speak about this week’s tournament host, Arnold Palmer. For those who have not had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Palmer, he is every bit the gentleman that you see on television. I can’t imagine what it is like to be Mr. Palmer as he is mobbed everywhere he goes, but in all my years of working at Tour events, I have never met an individual who handles that attention with more grace and appreciation. Some of the 20-somethings our here on Tour can learn a thing or two from Mr. Palmer.

On Tuesday, I split my time between two longtime students, two-time U.S. Open champ Lee Janzen and Tim “Lumpy” Herron [photo right]. Lee has an exceptional putting stroke with great release (something 99.9 percent of you can learn from). The only thing I noticed with Lee this week was that he was hitting up on the ball too much. For those of you who own a copy of my DVD, you will know that adding loft is one of the 10 characteristics of a great putter. With that being said, too much loft is actually detrimental. In Lee’s case, his ball position was too far forward so I had him move the ball back approximately a half-inch and the ball began rolling much better along the green.

Tim Herron has putted with both short and long putters. This week he is using the short putter, which I am happy to see. Tim mentioned he had been struggling with poor contact, in particular off the toe of the putter face. After I watched him stroke some putts, I had him move slightly closer to the ball, as well as get more connected. More connected means to get your upper arms and elbows rested on your torso when putting. Tim’s stroke improved greatly in a short amount of time.

Tip of the Day: Both Lee Janzen and Tim Herron were not making as many putts as they liked. However, neither of them decided to re-build their putting strokes; instead, they returned to fundamentals. All too often, players (both pros and amateurs) are too critical of their current stroke, and when things are going wrong they think that everything needs to be overhauled. In both cases, a simple change in ball position or improving the connection between the arms and body created a marked improvement. To become a good putter, you must understand what good fundamentals are. Then when things aren’t going as well as you’d like, you can return to those fundamentals and you will see improvement.

Please email your questions and comments to blog@mariusgolf.com. You can also check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. In the coming months I will be launching a new upload section that will allow you to send me video of your putting stroke for analysis.

Until next time…cheers!

Marius Filmalter is the leading expert on the science of putting and works with more than 40 PGA Tour pros. His blog appears every Wednesday on Golf.com.

[Photo by Nick Laham, Getty Images]

March 22, 2011

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

Posted at 9:40 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, check back next Tuesday at noon for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live! on Golf.com.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Next week I will be doing the blog from the Nabisco Championships in Palm Springs as my student, U.S. Amateur Champion Danielle Kang, prepares for the event. For those of you aspiring to play on higher levels or just interested in what goes into preparation for a major, it should be very informative. Have a great week.

Nick asks at 1:45:

Is it possible to retain a flat left wrist and a cupped right wrist after impact? I see most pros finishing their swings with a cupped/bent left wrist. Would this be considered the ideal or what we should be hypothetically trying to achieve, even if we end up not doing so since a flat left wrist aligned with our left shoulder is desired for an impact position?

I suppose this also gets into what release pattern you try to promote with your players. Do you advocate a more down-the-line release or a low-and-left release? Can the flat left wrist be retained through either of these release styles? Do we want to retain it and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each release?

Don’t keep the left wrist flat and the right wrist bent past impact and into the finish. It doesn’t work, it’s not powerful, it restricts the natural release of energy, just say no. I hate the low-left release, not a big fan at all. Look at the guys who have won the most tournaments over the last three or four decades and you won’t see many low-left. I want the club to go past the body after impact, dragging the club low-left is great if your trying to get back on top of the plane from an excessively underneath attack. Other than that, it stinks. Here are a couple of pictures of a non-low-left release, my preference.

Nolowleft

Dave asks at 1:38:

Dave here, looking forward to some more Tuesday tips as always. I have straightened out my driver significantly thanks to the tips you've given over the past few weeks, thanks again! The next weakness in my game that I want to attack is consistent contact on iron shots. I feel I'm fairly consistent already but want to know what the next step might be to really hitting it pure almost all the time, beyond spending lots of time on the range, which I already do. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

Dave, a good thing to work on is controlling the trajectory of your iron shots. This will not only help you in windy conditions, but it is an excellent way to reinforce good mechanics. By working on the height of your shots, your weight will move more on top of your front foot and the shaft will tend to lean a bit more forward at impact. While this isn’t new information, working on trajectory control is an excellent way to get the most control and consistency out of your irons.

Scotty asks at 1:10:

I'm so confused and I'm hoping you can help me understand the wrist hinge in the backswing. I'm a right-hander trying to move from a strong grip to neutral. I understand that the left wrist hinges up in the backswing and the right hinges back. With my old stronger grip I seemed to focus on the right wrist gradually breaking back from the start of the takeway to the end of the backswing. I'm thinking that this isn't correct.

Now with a more neutral grip in the takeaway, my wrists don't do much hinging at all until they get to about the midway point in the backswing. From there the left hinges up and the right sort of flops back on itself so that roughly 80-90 percent of the hinging of both wrists is completed right after the midway point. To me this seems more like an upward hinging motion than before. To swing through to impact from this position requires me to drop my arms or else there is no way the wrists could unhinge properly. To illustrate this better, I recall an article in the Golf Magazine Instruction book that talks about how the unhinging of the wrists coming into impact is like turning a door knob. This is the sensation I'm now getting with a more neutral grip.

Although the clubface is in line at the top of the backswing, I'm just wondering if this is the right motion I should expect of my wrists in the backswing with a more neutral grip?

Thanks so much

Thanks for the question, Scotty. The first thing you need to come to “grips” with is the fact that address and impact are not the same when it comes to the condition of the wrists. In addition, address and the top COULD be the same and the top and impact COULD be the same, just not all three. Confused yet? At address, the left wrist is usually bent and the right wrist is usually in a flat position (yes, there are unique starts but let's go with the majority). At impact, the left wrist becomes flat and the right wrist is bent backwards. While there is some variation, impact conditions are fairly consistent across the board. SO, you need to decide if you want the top of the backswing to have the address conditions of your wrists or the impact conditions. It is entirely up to you. There have been major champions who have played with the left wrist flat (impact) at the top and the left wrist bent (address). Yes, this will change the relative position of the clubface with the flat wrist showing a more closed position than the bent. The fact is each has its strengths and weaknesses. This will determine how you are going to hinge your wrists on the backswing and how you will release the club through impact. If you choose to make the adjustment in the wrists from address to the top, the clubshaft will work up on a flatter angle than if you keep the bend in the left wrist a constant. If you choose keep the bend, the left wrist will need to become flat in the transition, a move that is fairly natural when the sequence of motion is correct.

The simple fact is, despite what so many people who are trying to sell books and DVDs will tell you, there is more than one way to do this. Try both and find out what works best for you. Send me your swing and I will give you some insight as to where you might be more effective.

Bill asks at 12:46:

I would appreciate a bit of help here. I have been told that for 6'2", I have a very flat swing (Matt Kuchar comes to mind). This causes me to drop too far inside and of course leads to mostly pushes, or a push fade if I try to steepen the swing. This becomes more of an issue with my driver. I have started choking up on the driver and it helps a bit, but I feel as though I am losing distance. Thank you for your help.

Bill, thanks for the email. There isn’t a great deal of information here to go on but I will do my best. There is no reason that the combination of your height and a flatter swing couldn’t work for you. It obviously works for Kuchar and many other taller players. A common problem associated with the misses you describe is the right arm getting stuck behind the right hip approaching impact. This is the result of a loss of posture beginning with a faulty address position. As with so many things in the swing the address position will make or break you. Make sure your weight is on the balls of your feet, arms hanging down, and you are ready to make an athletic and relaxed motion. If you can send me some video I will give you more specific advice.

George asks at 12:38:

Hi Brady. Love the blog. I greatly appreciate you taking from your day. It's the highlight of my Tuesdays and a great 15 minutes of decompressing from work. I have been working all winter on (a) staying more connected on the takeaway so as to keep the club from getting flat and behind me and (b) working to maintain the tush line on the downswing, leading with my lower body and approaching the inside back of the ball (obviously being flat going back my tendency is to be steep coming down). I am great in slow motion in the house. I live in the Northeast so I am still realistically 3-4 weeks away from being able to practice. What is your suggestion on how to best work from slow motion up to real speed so that the changes I am trying to make stick?

You are well on your way, George. It sounds like you have a very clear picture in your mind about what you are trying to do. That is the most critical aspect of improving. I always tell my students they can improve at home, at work, in the car, or while sleeping. Doing the work “within (your mind)” while you are “without (the practice ground)” is the BEST way to improve. Slow practice is the best, no doubt. I constantly remind my students, “If you can’t do it slow, how can you do it fast?” I would continue with the slow swings on the range when you are able to hit balls again and very carefully work into full speed. If you find that you are losing the technique as you get faster, dial it back to the speed at which you are still able to do it right. It’s that simple.

Steve asks at 12:33:

I need help in dialing back my swing and having a more consistent tempo. It mostly rears its ugly head with mid to long irons. My natural tendency is too want to mash the ball. When I do that I either swing my arms ahead of my body and pull hard left or I will actually hold off the release and push right. I have tried some counting mechanisms like 1 and 2 or 1, 2, 3 on the back swing and 1, 2, 3 on the downswing. Counting doesn't work for me. What I have tried to do with some success is just think 60% on my swing. Another thing that has helped is thinking layup shot even when hitting to the green. I very rarely over swing on a 2nd shot layup to a par 5 or very long par 4.

Any drills you can suggest to assist?

Steve, stop thinking about your tempo. If swinging the club aggressively makes you hit the ball poorly, tempo isn’t the issue. You touched on the real problem of starting the downswing with your arms, this is the area you should focus on. The sequence of motion on the downswing should always be body first, arms and club last. If this gets out of whack no amount of focus on a slower tempo will fix it. Look at the swing of Tommy Armour III or Anthony Kim and you will see a VERY aggressive change of direction in both. However, the change begins with the movement of weight in the direction of the target, not with the arms. To work on this you can do the basic step drill and hit shots. Start with your normal address position and then move your left foot next to your right foot. As you near the top of your backswing, begin to step your left foot to the target. This should begin before the backswing is complete and initiate the move toward the target. You can experiment with when you step to determine your own timing. Stop laying up! Fix the problem and go for the green!
 

Gerry asks at 12:30:

Good day, Mr Riggs.Thanks for the tip last week, I went to the range and practiced a lot. My question today is about fat shots. If i move my weight to my right side and start my downswing with my lower body, it seems like I don't take a divot or I take one right behind the ball. It happens more with my longer clubs. Any tips will be greatly appreciated.Thank you

When you get more to the right going back, it gives you the freedom to move aggressively into the left side to start the downswing. If you don’t get back to the left, the bottom of the swing will be behind the ball and so will your contact.

Peter asks at 12:13:

Weakened grip per your instruction. Hitting push fades. Thanks

Peter, sorry to hear that. If you could send me a video of where the swing is I will get you back on track. Getting better is a process. It is difficult to hit the ball accurately when you have an odd number of mistakes. It is likely that when you fixed the grip and the clubface your compensations for the more closed face position you used to have no longer help you. Hang in there.

Dave asks at 12:00:

Good day...thanks for all the information and help you put out here in the forum. I'd like to know your opinion of Tiger's "new" swing. The things you like & dislike about the changes he is making and the move in general. I look forward to your opinion.

As you may know I have written about the changes in the past. Without going back into too much detail, there is one thing about Tiger you should consider. He could probably be successful with just about any method of swinging the golf club. He is that talented. I don’t like the more front footed pivot, it is basically a Stack and Tilt move that is inferior to his swing that produced the best run of play since Hogan in ‘53. I don’t care what others say about how Snead did this or Hogan did that or whoever did whatever…. Tiger had the greatest year in the last half century with a DIFFERENT swing than he is currently using. It is my opinion that he should use what already worked instead of going in a completely different direction. Here is a picture my buddy Mel Blackmon took showing the front foot pivot…..Great picture…bad position.

Mel1

 

 

March 17, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Changing putters is a short-term-only fix

Posted at 11:03 AM by Marius Filmalter

Adamscott_longputter On Wednesday I was at the Transitions Championship at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club near Tampa. The tournament is played on the Copperhead Course, which many of the players on Tour consider to be the best course in the Florida swing. The greens are Tiff Eagle Bermuda grass, which by Thursday will be running somewhere between 11 and 12 on the Stimpmeter. Some of the greens at Copperhead have very severe slopes and it has been my experience that anything faster than 12 on the Stimpmeter could make it almost impossible to putt on, especially if you are putting down-grain from above the cup.

I received a few e-mails last week asking about my thoughts on Adam Scott’s change to a long putter [above right]. I actually spoke with him on the putting green at Doral. I strongly believe Adam has the ability to be one of the top three or four players in the world if he could make a few more putts. Last week, Adam did have some success with the broom handle, but I think it is too early to say that this change is for the better. It has been my experience that players who switch to the long putter after struggling with the short putter see some near-term success, but not long-term improvement. I attribute this short-term success not to a drastic improvement in technique but rather to a change in the player’s mindset. The player hasn’t putted long enough with the new putter to have many negative thoughts or experiences. An equipment change helps them refocus on what is most important—making the putt rather than how the putter works to make the putt. I hope Adam is one of the exceptions to this.

The Lesson: When the putts aren’t falling, don’t hesitate to try a long-putter or change to a different style putter to mix it up. Just understand that any improvement is likely to be short-term unless you have actually improved your technique.

It will be a busy weekend for me as I am heading back to Dallas on Friday, where I will spend time teaching 2008 Senior British Open Champ Bruce Vaughn before heading back to Orlando on Sunday to help Ernie Els prepare to defend at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

I want to thank the readers who took the time to share their comments and questions following my first blog last week. Please keep them coming by emailing me at blog@mariusgolf.com. Apparently someone likes what I am writing, as Golf Magazine has asked me to contribute on a weekly basis rather than every other week.

You can also check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. In the coming months I will be launching a new upload section that will allow you to send me video of your putting stroke for analysis.

Until next time…cheers!

[Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images]

March 15, 2011

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

Posted at 9:30 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question for Brady come back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask Brady Live. 

Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone, please repost your question next week so I help you out. Get them in early and I'll see you next week.

Eric asks at 5:30 p.m.

Brady: I have a problem I have been struggling with for years. On the range I hit my driver well, but when I get on the tee box, especially under any kind of pressure, I tense up and hit straight pulls left or a weak slice right. What is the best thing to thing about before and during your swing? My mechanics aren't the problem, it's my head. I want to play more tournaments, but my confidence keeps me from doing well.

C'mon Eric, let's get you playing. The most important thing you can do is develop a rock solid routine to help you relax under pressure. This must be planned out, practiced, and finally ingrained so it happens without thought. Once you have the routine, you need to suck it up and challenge yourself. Gamble, talk trash, play tournaments and put yourself under the gun so you can get comfortable being UNcomfortable.

Tom asks at 5:15 p.m.

Hi Brady, I recently damaged a disc in my lower back and can no longer maintain anything other than a very upright posture. I'm going to have to get longer shafts to compensate, but even once that's fixed I'm still destined to swing on a very steep plane. Are there any swing tips you can give to someone who's used to more shallow angles of attack? The swings I've tried so far have all resulted in...well, it hasn't been pretty. Thank you so much!

Look at the swing of Rocco Mediate. He is tall at address but swings shallow enough and hits a slight draw. He is a great player for you to model your swing after.

Travis asks at 5 p.m.

Hi Brady, I've lowered my handicap from a 16 to a 10 in the past year. Right now, I'm fighting hooks and slices in equal measure. In particular, really fighting fat shallow divots. Below are YouTube videos of my swing:

Two things that are really difficult for me to do are: (a) Keeping my head behind the ball at impact (from a face-on view) and (b) clearing my left hip and knee to the left during the downswing and through impact (from a down the line view). What are the easiest things I can do to achieve positions (a) and (b)? Thanks!

I looked at the videos, and here's the deal, Travis. We need to get your set-up under control if you are going to improve. Your strong grip makes the face closed, your excessive distance from the ball sucks the club too far inside during the takeaway, and you're misaligned with your lines and tilt. Fixing this is the priority.

The legs get wild because if they didn't drive aggressively to the target you would hit a smother hook. Your head would get behind the ball better if your tilt improved at address. It all comes back to the start.

I actually like your club and overall motion during the swing. Once the set-up improves you could be dangerous.

Nick asks at 4:55 p.m.

Mr. Riggs I used to have a 1.4 handicap but I do not know what it is now since I haven't been able to play much, but when I hit a lot of my pitch shots -- no matter what club -- I seem to catch it off the top fairly often. I have been told that I stand to close to the ball on my pitch shots and was wondering if that is the cause catching my pitch shots off the toe. I also have trouble flighting my wedges. I hit them an okay distance 110 GW (52 degrees), 95 SW (56 degrees) but they go sky high. I would much rather see the ball have a lower trajectory and hit them farther, rather than hit it an acceptable distance but sky high. Could you give me tips on how to better control my ball flight with my wedges?

The toe shots with the pitches are usually caused by a loop to a steeper angle of attack coming down. This gets the clubhead lined up on the target line too soon, forcing the club to work left thru impact while the contact goes straight to the toe.

Flighting the wedges lower requires two things. First you need to be attacking on a shallower path to allow the clubface to rotate thru impact normally (a similar issue to your pitch shots). When the path is shallower, your right side, specifically your chest and shoulder, can drive the club through impact and around to a more chopped-off finish position. This will really bring the trajectory down and help you control not only the height, but the distances as well.

Tim asks at 4:47 p.m.

Hey Brady, I'm making great progress with the advice you give on here every week so I'm back for some more of the Kool-Aid. I was watching some new swings of our man AK and noticed a few things that I'd love to incorporate into my own golf swing. First, his left arm at the top of his backswing seems to be much lower then most of the Tour pros out there. I like this look because he seems to be very connected. Is he swinging the club deep behind him to get into this position? Second, AK's clubshaft is always pointing to the left of his target at the top of his backswing, I know this is mainly because he's already starting his transition but when I'm at that same position my clubshaft is pointing more to the target or even right of it (across the line). Could you shed some light on how I can model AK's backswing? By the way, I loved your recent article in Golf Magazine. here's the vid of AK at the WGC matchplay that im referring to and a video of me working on keeping the cup in my left wrist.

Anthony Kim:

Tim:

The club points left at the top for AK and any other player swinging on a neutral plane if the shaft is short of parallel. If you get the club to parallel it should be lined up in your hands, past parallel to the right of your hands. This doesn't mean it had to be there, but that is neutral. If you maintain the quarter turn of your left arm at the top and limit the amount of hinge in your left wrist you will be lined up.

Casey asks at 4:37 p.m.

Hey Brady. Just wanted to say thank you for all the tips. I've started making good progress on my swing with all the advice you've given me here. And I really don't think I would have been working on the right things if it wasn't for your suggestions. Thanks a lot.

Wow! Very cool to hear, Casey. Every time I see your post it gets my attention because you share your name with my brother. Keep it up...

Nate asks at 4:32 p.m.

 

Hello Brady. I am a somewhat tall player (6'2") and I've been working on getting a solid address position (posture, ball position, etc.) Do you see anything I need to work on with my address position or swing in general? My misses with the longer clubs tend to be straight pushes or slight hooks (10-15 yards).

Also, even though I have a neutral grip my club face is somewhat closed at the top and I can't get it square for some reason. Any thoughts on why that is? Thanks!

When the grip is neutral but the face is closed you need to look at the position of your left wrist at the top of the swing. If your wrist becomes bowed you will have a closed clubface. This looks to be the case in your swing. I would also encourage you to get your weight off your heels and more toward the front of your shoes.You are sitting back at address and stuck on your heels at impact because of your address. This will make the hands over work and lead to a hook.

Dave asks at 4:29 p.m.

Dave here reading your blog as always! Tips on squaring the clubface last time definitely helped. I've worked on my grip and already eliminated/lessened my misses to the right. Now I'm working on swing path to try and go more in-to-out as opposed to my usual chop across the ball. The latest swing thought that's really helped is keeping my back to the target for a split second at the start of the downswing so that I don't unwind and lose the coil too soon. It's seemed to help get the club coming in a bit shallower and straighter down the line. Any thoughts or tips to help this process further would be appreciated!!

Sounds like you are on the right track. I would also encourage you to get more into your front foot with your weight as you keep your back at the target. This will help the path get more on track.

Luke asks at 4:23 p.m.

Luke said... Brady, please clarify for me...what initiates the downswing? I thought it was the unwinding of the hips, but I recently saw the hands should drop. Don't they drop as part of the sequence? Thanks, always a great read on Tuesdays.

The arms don't drop before the body moves in the direction of the target. While this may be a "feel" someone will use to get their overly fast body to slow down, it isn't a reality! I would also be weary of "clearing" the hips too early as it will make getting your right arm down in front of your right hip very challenging.

Jesse asks at 4:17 p.m.

Mr. Riggs, I just recently broke 80 for the first time. This is great but like any golfer I want to continue to get better and break goals. Do you have any tips to help me break 75? Thanks

The Golf Magazine April cover story "How to Break 80: A 6-Week Plan" will definitely apply to getting under 75. I would make sure you are getting the most out of those areas first. The next steps are in areas I work with my competitive players and professionals. These would include the elements in the breaking 80 article, plus...

1.) Developing accurate carry and roll-out distances for all of your clubs. This changes month to month and with the roll outs day to day. When at a tournament site you should be calibrating your carry and roll-out numbers in the beginning of the week during the practice rounds.

2.) Fitness and more specifically maintaining your golf health should also become an area of focus. This could be done with a golf-specific program like my buddy Michael Pauldine develops. There are many other elements that I could go into, but you get the point. Stay tuned because in a couple of weeks during the Nabisco Championship I will be doing a week long blog from the tournament. I will be showing how I prepare my student US Amateur Champion Danielle Kang for a Major. It should be really informative.

Nick asks at 4:10 p.m.

Mr. Riggs, What is more important in the backswing? Depth (cannot see right arm as much from a face-on view at the top of the backswing) or width (good extension of the arms away from shoulders, still can see right arm at the top from face-on view)? How do these factors affect one's extension through the ball after impact? If one's arms are more bent (triangle formed between arms has become more like a pentagon shape and more bent at elbows) as opposed to extended (maintain triangle shape between arms) at post-impact, could it be attributed to a lack of width or too much depth in the backswing? Or is that related to your balance conditions in your feet? For example, if i had a lot of pressure on my toes coming into impact, I would think that the space between my arms and the ball would decrease and therefore, create a position with the arms lacking proper extension at post impact. Finally, do you have any drills for folks having trouble achieving proper extension post impact?

Thanks for your time,

Nick

Depth and width both play a role in getting the club attacking on the correct path. Regardless of how funky your backswing is your downswing can still work -- it just makes it tougher when you have to compensate for crap you did going up. A lack of depth will make it more likely you will come in above plane. A lack of width will make it more likely you will lose some angle coming down and forfeit speed. Every negative going up can be adjusted for but you better know what you are doing.

The bend in both arms is fine. Many players worry about a straight lead arm and screw themselves up by getting tight. Soft arms are always better and will give you more speed as they become taut coming down. They get stretched between the body going toward the target and the weight of the club trying to go back.

Good extension comes from a good path, proper sequence of motion, maintaining your distance from the ball, and the thought of "throwing" your arms and club out of your shoulder sockets through impact. Since the path is a must, the backswing needs to be functional so make sure your extension problems aren't from a bad backswing.

Pete asks at 4 p.m.

Hello Brady,

I have been following this post for the past several weeks and decided to write in. I can’t seem to hold the angle of the club coming into the ball. I have an early release that leads to snap hooks and low pulls. I went to the overlap grip from the interlock and shortened my backswing but the changes have not made much of a difference. Is there a drill for holding the release and keeping the club more square to the line? Thanks for taking a look at the enclosed video. Pete

Pete, the problem lies more with your address position than the early release on the downswing. You are making adjustments in your set-up that are great for someone trying to eliminate a slice and promote a draw. Unfortunately, you are fighting the opposite problem, so you're only making things worse. You need to make some changes before you take the club away that will change your ballflight before you change your swing. 

The grip is way too strong and causes the clubface to become closed during the backswing. At the top, the leading edge of the club should be angled roughly 45* to the ground. Yours is running parallel to the horizon. Regardless of whether you are interlocked or overlapped, it needs to become more neutral. This will level out your shoulders and help your hands become more centered. These subtle adjustments WILL change your ballflight. This is where you should begin. Make these changes and send me some new video ASAP.

March 14, 2011

Sign up for Golf.com's Break 80 Challenge Group

Posted at 4:43 PM by Golf.com

Are you ready to break 80 with Brady? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is looking for a few dedicated players who have yet to break golf's most-intimidating scoring barrier for his Break 80 Challenge Group. If you are selected for Brady's Break 80 Challenge Group, you will get personal feedback from Brady as you follow his six-week plan to lower scores and have your story told on Golf.com. To be considered, please send an email to editor@golf.com. Tell us about yourself: your career low score, your handicap and why you want to break 80. Good luck!


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