Archive: May 2011

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May 31, 2011

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

Posted at 11:39 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online next Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Be sure to check back next Tuesday for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live!

Thanks for everyone's questions, videos, and comments. Have a great week on the links!

Luke asks at 1:50:

tried to shift back into my right side more and then fire through more this past weekend and really liked the feeling of loading up and then powering through. I felt more powerful, but, alas, my shots mostly went right of target. When should I feel like releasing the club to square the face?

Without seeing the swing it is impossible to know exactly what is causing the ball to go right. I would encourage you to go back to the basics of address and make sure the grip, posture, ball position, alignment, and distance from the ball are correct. This seems tedious and unglamorous but I can tell assure you most people waste a great deal of their time chasing something in their swing when more often than not the issues begin at address.

Joe asks at 1:25:

How important is it to return the hands to the same place (from a DTL view) they were at address? Obviously impact and address are two totally different things, so maybe the better question is should the shaft angle be the same at impact and address? Hogan and Trevino seemed to match it up perfectly, however some of the best players today return the hands a little higher than where they started. Is it just personal preference or shot type or both? Thanks for doing the blog every week!

It isn’t that important Joe. Yes, Hogan, Trevino, Sergio and some others return to the same shaft angle, many more don’t. If the player tends to play left to right or starts with their hands higher at address they will be more likely to return the shaft to the same angle at impact it was at address. If the player plays a straighter or right to left ball flight and/or the hands are normal to lower at address then the shaft will be more upright at impact. As you said, address and impact aren’t the same so you shouldn’t worry about it. I will tell you that if your hands are significantly higher at impact then a good place to look is the Tush line. If your tush, hips, and legs are getting closer to the ball coming down than they were at address the hands won’t have any room and the shaft angle will definitely rise. In most cases, if the swing path is good, the Tush line is maintained and the original height of the hands was neutral you should be good to go.

David asks at 1:05:

Recently, I have been trying to match my release to my shaft plane at address (hence the drill you see in the video). This has improved my ballstriking, but I am now losing more shots to the right with the release more around my body than it used to be. Do you have any thoughts, am I going in the right direction (the swing used to have a much more vertical finish with the club exiting in my neck vs. my midsection). Thanks for the blog!

You are going in the right direction if you only want to hit the ball from left to right. Based upon your description of your previous swing I can understand why you have tried to change the shape of your swing. However, it appears you have taken the entire bottle instead of just a couple of pills. There are many things about your golf swing I think are fantastic. You maintain your body positions extremely well (almost too much as you dive at it a bit) and I still think your extension through impact is excellent despite the more “left” and low exit of the club. If you got the backswing and downswing angles to match into a more “uniplane” look I think you would be able to hit either ball flight and improve your consistency. Don’t go so crazy about the lower exit, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You will have more control over the shape of your shots if the swing is a bit more neutral. Here is a picture of AK going up and coming down I think you should try to emulate.

Akuniplane

Edhalsim asks at 12:45:

I'm a 5 handicap. Here are two views of my swing:

My problem has always been swinging too far from the inside leading to blocks and hooks depending on whether or not I hang back and flip my hands. If you would, please take a look and let me know what you think. Any specific drills I should be doing? Thanks!
- Ed

I’m not sure I completely agree with your assessment of the problem. I use the term “under the bottom” when dealing with your specific swing shape and ballflight issue. The club is only “under” or inside the proper path in the frames just before impact. In all the frames before the last few before impact club is attacking on a path that is too steep and above the proper path.

The problem begins as you near the top of the swing. The club is too flat (pointing outside the ball) as you approach the top and has a very common shift to a steeper angle as you begin the downswing. This can be seen if you look at the angle of the shaft when your hands are shoulder high going up and coming down. While many great players shift their hands to a more outside plane coming down or shift the club to a more shallow angle in the transition it if very uncommon for a really good player to get more steep with the shaft angle. While a player of lesser ability would just ride this steep angle into impact producing deep divots, pulls, and fades you fix it. Your fix just before impact to a more inside path opens the face and hangs you back behind the ball. This requires you to square the face with your hands as you strike it. If you are late you hit the block, early you hit the fade. The fix is to get your clubshaft working up more vertically as you finish the backswing so it can shallow out in the transition to a flatter angle. This will make you more “inside” coming down but will allow you to release the club properly and not have to adjust the angles just before impact. I have included a picture of your shaft angle as you come down to show you how steep the shaft is and another of where you should be. Good luck.


Edsteep

Clarkedown

Dan asks at 12:25:

Brady... I have worked on the tush line, and, I found myself bottoming out way behind the ball with a driver as a result. What I found is the I totally got out of any weight transfer. At impact and after I was never getting more than 50% of my weight on my front foot, but, I maintained the tush line. I guess my fix will be to get a better weight transfer and maintain the tush line also........Do you see this problem very often, just curious?

This can happen. As you drive more weight into the right heel at the top of the backswing it can be more difficult to get the weight onto the front foot at impact. Keep in mind that you should be moving your weight in the direction of the target before you complete your backswing. If you focus on this part of the sequence it is easier to get the weight off the back foot at impact while maintaining the tush line.

Doug asks at 12:00:

I finally got some videos of my swing, and hoped you could help me out. I have a horrible push-slice with my driver, and have tried everything I can think of to fix it, with no success. I also do not hit the ball as far as I feel I should be able to, though I'd gladly accept that if it meant I could avoid my push-slice, which leads to numerous lost balls per round. Anything you see that I could work on? Thank you!

http://www.v1golfacademy.com/SwingStore/1D0AFF4A2027.mp4
http://www.v1golfacademy.com/SwingStore/5F32D616D3F7.mp4

Thanks for sending in your videos Doug. The golf swing can seem very confusing and illogical at times. This will be one of those times. The reason you hit the push-slice is because you are fighting a clubface position that should produce the exact opposite shot. Your grip is the cause of the closed clubface position. It is in an extremely strong position. Logically it would seem that the closed clubface would produce a big hook. Like many players you compensate for the closed clubface by attacking the ball on an excessively inside path and fight off the release of the club during impact. You have done such a good job that you are hitting the exact opposite shot. To fix the push-slice you have to do something illogical, get the clubface more open. This requires you to make the grip neutral to produce a square clubface position. This will give you the opportunity to release the clubface properly through impact. The excessively inside path will improve with the grip. The strong grip you currently have produces too much right side tilt at address forcing the club inside during the takeaway and across the line at the top of the backswing. When the grip is more neutral the shoulder will tilt less and the poor shape of your backswing produced by the strong grip will go away.

May 27, 2011

Marius Filmalter: A friendly wager will improve your focus on greens

Posted at 10:50 AM by Marius Filmalter

Tag_putt I do provide full-swing instruction to some of my tour players, but my real passion is on the putting green. Although I consider myself a fair player, having played a few years professionally in Europe, I consider myself an excellent putter. I still have those competitive juices from playing so many years ago, and I often like to challenge my students to putting contests. I do this because I believe a friendly wager helps narrow a player’s focus plus I like to remind my student’s that I can perform what I preach.

These putting games are never for any large amounts; in fact my standard game is a nine-hole match for $1. Now that might not sound like much, but remember that 99 percent of the players on the PGA Tour would rather play in a lightning storm carrying a metal wood over their head than lose any bet on the golf course. And strictly for evidence, I ask any players that lose to me to sign the dollar.

I share this story to remind you folks at home that it is good to practice with a little wager on the line. It doesn’t have to be about money. In fact, I push many of my students to set goals like making 10 or 15 four-footers in a row before they head back to the hotel for the night. Practicing with a purpose will help you focus and be more comfortable when you need to make a putt in a pressure situation.

Just in case you were wondering how the putting competition went this week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship at TPC at Las Colinas, well, the old guy came out on top as I took a buck from Tag Ridings [above]. I suspect he will be back for his dollar real soon.

Before I leave you this week, I wanted to discuss a trend that I am seeing more and more with my students. Traditionally, players come to see me when they are struggling on the greens and are looking for some guidance. However, a growing number of players make it a point to see me when they are putting their best. At first glance, it seems pointless to see an instructor when things are good, but I am a strong supporter of it and you can benefit from this practice as well.

Consider the last time you were playing a round and you were putting really well for the first few holes and then the putter seemed to turn cold out of the blue. Most amateurs will get more and more frustrated and the poor putter will end up in an early grave by the end of the round. Instead of letting a cold putter ruin your round, try the following exercise to salvage it:

The next time you have a great day on the greens, instead of immediately celebrating with a couple beers, take a moment to jot a couple points about your day on the greens down on a piece of paper. Did you putt with authority or did you die the ball in the hole? What grip did you use? How many practice strokes did you make before putting? Did you look at the hole before making the putt?

After you are finished writing a couple points down, tuck that piece of paper back in your golf bag for the next time your putter goes cold. Most of my students find that reading these points helps settle them down and often turns around their fortunes on the greens.

Inevitably, someone will say, “Marius, I have never had a good day on the putting green to establish this memory jog.” If that is the case then email me at blog@mariusgolf.com and we can set up a private lesson.

Thanks to all those that ordered the Automatic Putting Package last week. The response was so good I decided to extend the promo code for one more week. Simply visit mariusgolf.com and use promo ‘radio’ in the checkout for $10 off your purchase.

Until next time … cheers!

[Photo: Getty Images]

May 24, 2011

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

Posted at 10:19 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady this week, be sure to check back on Tuesday for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live!

Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Sorry I couldn't get  to everyone. Get your posts in early next wek so I can help you fix your issue. Thanks again and have a great week.

Jan Lernfelt asks at 1:50:

Working on getting the ball start more online or slightly to the right and drawing back. Like I've said in a previous post I've always hit pull fades, which has worked, but obviously I've had problems hitting draws.

I am starting to get the path right now but still loosing balls to the right - which makes this a club face problem, yes? Also this is causing some distance loss.

To solve this I must close the face somehow but I have gathered as much info to understand that excessive rotating of the arms and wrists can cause timing problems. So either I take away the club with very little rotation like Dustin Johnson and just slam the clubface down, or I try to rotate more and think of the left forearm short and right fore arm long, a la Azingers golfplan videos. Any thoughts on the swing overall?

Here's a vid om me hitting an 8-iron down the line.

Thanks for your time, love the podcast!

Glad you liked the podcast. The issue is that the clubface is actually too CLOSED and the path is too steep on the downswing. It is not a good idea to release a closed clubface through impact and next to impossible if the path is steep. You need to allow the face to rotate during the takeaway so the leading edge is perpendicular to the ground by the height seen here. Jan

The club is also slightly left of your hands as you approach the top of the swing. It is nearly impossible to get the club on a shallower angle of attack when you are sin this position. Getting the face more square and the club lined up better as you approach the top will naturally shallow out the club in the transition and allow you to extend the club out and away from you from impact into the release. This will make the face rotation automatic and produce the shot shape you are looking for. Get away from the closed face takeaway first then work on the position of the club at the top. Keep me posted.

Joe asks at 1:30:

Thanks for doing this every week. It has really helped me with understanding my golf swing better. I sent you my swing about a year ago and got to work on the things you told me could use some improvement. Since then I have made a big leap in my overall ballstriking. Here is a video that shows my swing last July compared to now. Three of my big focuses have been 1. having a one-piece takeaway without rolling my hands and clubface open 2. shortening my backswing 3. staying on that tush line.

So here it is, let me know what you think! (Sorry that the camera is a little close) Thanks.

Thanks for showing the before and after! It’s always fun to look at the progress you make when working on the right things. The improvement is impressive in every aspect of your swing. The Tush line is no longer an issue. The adjustments you need to make are very subtle. The takeaway is a bit inside your hands. This takes the club a little too deep and flat as you work towards the top. The problem with this is the natural momentum of the shape of your swing will create a steeper than ideal downswing angle. This makes the natural release of the club very difficult which can be seen as your clubface exits your body slightly open. The advice at this point would be to improve the takeaway by getting the club inline or slightly outside your hands. This will get the club working more up and less in making it much easier to work the club down on the proper angle. Check out the pictures of AK to see a more neutral shape.

AKback

Tom asks at 1:14:

This is really a great service. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer questions. I would like to submit a video so I could get more precise advice from you. I notice that many of those who post on here have slow motion swing shots. I do not have a video camera that can slow it down like that. Would you still be able to get a decent feel for my swing if it was not in slow motion? Or, how do you suggest I get a shot in slow mo? Your help is greatly appreciated.

Send it in however you can. If you can give me a face on and down the line view that would be great. If you can include a close up of your grip that would be even better. I look forward to seeing it.

 

JP asks at 1:10:

Brady.... Very specific question here. One video is a practice swing and one is a swing hitting a ball (of course they are different!!). My question is on the downswing hitting a ball, I can't keep the shaft from flattening out. On the practice swing, I like the downswing path quite a bit. What am I doing in the real swing that flattens out the downswing so much?

Thanks.. JP

The path with the practice swing is a bit too far above the plane but obviously different than your regular swing. I still believe that if you improve upon your pivot, specifically where your tush is through impact and how your hips are rotating to get you there the club will line up properly all by itself. The basic idea being that the shape of your swing is pretty sound but your body is forcing the club down and behind you as you approach impact. I agree that the club is better on your practice swing but so is your pivot. If the pivot of your body gets cleaned up the club will be where it should be. Check out the reply I gave to the first question today about how to practice keeping the Tush line and let me know how it goes.

Seph asks at 1:00:

I am working hard to "hit down" at the golf ball more to keep my hands ahead of the clubface on my downswing. What do you recommend in the way of practice or actually trying to do this better and more often when I'm swinging?

I wouldn’t recommend TRYING to hit down. If you are moving your weight in the direction of the target, swinging the club on the proper path, keeping some softness in the arms to create a little lag, and allowing the club to let go you should hit the ground. There is the small matter of having a good address position and maintaining some forward bend during the swing but that isn’t that difficult. If you take care of the fundamentals of swinging the club properly you will find the ground in front of the ball without “trying” to.

Phil J asks at 12:34:

Brady ... love the blog. Great reading for those of us that are fortunate enough to have internet access in the workplace.

My question is this ... I have a bit of an "odd" move at the start of my backswing. At setup, my head is tilted away from the target at about a 30 to 45 degree angle. So my eye alignment, is closed and looking inside to out with regards to the target line. At the beginning of my swing, my first move is to almost straighten my head out. As the club starts back, my head tilts towards to the target. This seems to get my in an awkward position and make it difficult for me to turn my shoulders and seems to limit my weight shift.

My question is this ... what is the proper eye alignment at address? Should my eyes be square to the target line like my feet, knees, hips, shoulders? Secondly, have you seen this type of move before and what kind of difficulties or faults does it cause.

In all of the reading and watching I've done on the internet about the golf swing, I have only seen this move discussed in one other place. It was mentioned in that piece that this teacher had seen it in someone who was told to keep their head absolutely still. So to combat the natural turning and shift of the head backwards during the backswing, the student tilted his head towards the target in an effort to "keep it still".

Any thoughts?

You are right eye dominant, welcome to the club. I see this tilt every time I look at video of my own swing. Yes, it is very common. No, you shouldn’t try to be perfectly square at address because it is way too difficult. However, if you don’t get it a bit more neutral you will try to find a more “centered” position during the takeaway which will drive your head in the direction of the target and make shifting your weight and turning properly impossible. So….get the head tilted only a little so you can allow your head to shift AWAY from the target during the backswing. When done properly your pivot going back will allow you to make a more dynamic shift in the direction of the target as you begin the downswing. This is the exact opposite position you are currently in as your weight is positioned over your front foot and your spine is tilted towards the target. Even in my pictures you will see the inevitable shift from a bit of tilt to more tilt at impact. This is a better direction to go than over-tilted to less-tilted. You can’t run from right eye-dominance, embrace it.

Eyes

Doug asks at 12:16:

I struggle with a push-slice that ranges from slightly off to "goodbye ball." After over a year of trying to fix it, I think I've realized that my biggest problem is getting the clubface square at impact. Do you have any pointers on something I could do with my grip, backswing, etc. to make sure I square the clubface at impact and get rid of this awful push-slice? Thanks!

The push slice is easily the most painful shot in golf. While the shank feels awful and is embarrassing, the push-slice tends to go OB and hit houses, cars, livestock, etc. The problem is the combination of a path that is slightly to severely inside and a clubface that is open to that path.

You could fix the face and possibly see an improvement, but it’s not a sure thing. This can be done by strengthening the grip, flattening the left wrist at the top, and/or turning the toe harder and earlier at the bottom of the swing. However, this may not be the answer. Often times the body is hanging so far back and the right side has become so over-tilted that there is no amount of closing the clubface that will prevent the dreaded push-slice.

If you are unable to kill the shot by fixing the face there is another way to go. I would recommend you try to keep the length in the right side of your torso on the downswing, through impact, into the release and finally to the finish. This will allow the clubface to rotate through more naturally and help the path get up on top of the plane. Think of the swings of Rocco Mediate and Annika as examples of how to do it. If you can send me some video I can give you more specific advice.

<

Bill asks at 12:00:

I’ve posted in the past and really appreciate all the help and advice you give to the participants. Your answers are well thought out, descriptive and in depth something I didn’t expect from a busy Pro. Thanks.
I have been working on getting rid of the persistent pull shot. You suggested sliding toward the target which allows you to attack the ball from the inside. I’ve had some success but a wild pull creeps in on both the driver and irons. Also and I’m not sure if it is an issue, my right foot is up off the ground at impact. The photos of you swing in Golf shows you more flat footed at impact. I also bend the left arm at the top. Finally, what’s a good guide to determine if you are standing too close to the bal as I think I might be.
I’ve included a few swings for you review and comment. Thanks again for all the help.
Bill

Thanks for the kind words about the blog Bill. I wouldn’t worry about the bent left arm at the top. I would rather it be soft and slightly bent than locked out and straight. Locked out and tight arms are always slow. You are definitely getting your weight and the bottom of the swing towards the target on the downswing by incorporating some lateral motion.

The issue is with your tush line. You are having trouble keeping your tush on the line during the downswing, into impact, and during the release. When your tush moves towards the ball as you work through impact your left hip can’t rotate properly. This makes it impossible for the club to track enough to the “left” and forces it up and off the plane. Your hands will try to compensate by rolling the clubface during impact, the source of your shots missing left. It is a challenge to maintain contact with the line and move the proper amount laterally towards the target. When done properly your back foot can come off the ground at impact, but it shouldn’t be on your toe until you near the finish. Look at the back foot of AK, Davis Love III, and Annika to see a cross-section of age and gender with great footwork.

The best way to work on this is near a wall without a club. Take your address position with your tush about 3 inches away from a wall. On the backswing allow your right “cheek” to push back against the wall. As you start your downswing get both “cheeks” against the wall and slide laterally a couple of inches to the target. At impact, only your left “cheek” should be against the wall with your leg straightening. The left “cheek” should stay in contact until your hands reach shoulder height and then it too should come off as your body stands up more vertically into the finish. Work on this until you own it!!

When it comes to distance from the ball the end of the handle should hang down in line with your toes while the weight is positioned in the balls of your feet. If your weight starts in your heel you will have NO chance of maintaining the Tush line.

May 19, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Vijay's new putting stroke (Plus, don't over-think your putts)

Posted at 1:07 PM by Marius Filmalter

Vijay This week I am on site at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas. Because the event is a short drive from my home base in Dallas, I decided it was a good week to set up the SAM PuttLab and collect some new putting data. The SAM Puttlab measures 28 different putting parameters including acceleration, rotation and loft at impact. During the past two days, I collected data from with 15 players, including Tim Herron, Rickie Fowler, Brian Gay and Vijay Singh.

Vijay and I have had an interesting relationship over the years. Like many great players, Vijay is very strong-willed, but I am no pushover either. I will tell a player what I really think of their stroke -- good, bad or otherwise. On Tuesday, I mentioned to Vijay how much I disliked his putting stroke the last time we had seen each other, which was prior to the Masters. Vijay took that as an opportunity to formally announce to all the players on the putting green that “Marius hates my putting stroke,” which was pretty entertaining.

Vijay had made some changes to his putting stroke since then. The most dramatic change was that Vijay now has significantly more rotation in his putting stroke relative to the target line. Vijay has long supported a variation of a straight-back-straight-through putting stroke. It appears now that Vijay is consciously attempting to let the putter swing more freely on an arc rather than being so rigid in an attempt to swing straight-back-straight-through. When we got Vijay hooked up to the SAM machine, his putting stroke was the best I have seen it in years. Vijay is on a great path and I think it will start to show in his results.

This week's reader question comes via blog@mariusgolf.com. Paul R. wrote that he is a 6 handicap, but that putting was the weakest part of his game. He went on to explain that he has a habit of watching the putterhead during the stroke, which makes his head move all around throughout the stroke. He believes that his putting inconsistencies are directly related to this head movement.

Paul needs to understand that following the putterhead throughout a stroke is not uncommon. Although, I would not teach this, I work with players who glance at the putterhead as they begin their stroke, and they do this playing on the PGA Tour.

Much of Paul’s problem stems from being too technically focused when putting. I am a strong believer in solid fundamentals for the improvement of putting (that is the reason I established the 10 characteristics of a great putter on my Automatic Putting DVD), but there is a time and place for that type of thinking. That time and place is not when you are on the golf course trying to make a six-footer to save par.

When you are standing over a putt in a match, your thoughts should be focused on picking the right line and committing to the speed it will take to make the putt. Players who watch the putterhead moving back and through are so “technically focused” that they lose sight of what the actual goal is –- making the putt. Paul needs to focus his eyes on a spot on the ball. I recommend that he begins putting with the number of the ball facing up so that his eyes are fixated on that spot rather than the putterhead. If Paul prefers to use the seam of the ball for alignment, then he should take his marker and put a dot in one of the dimples and use that spot to focus his eyes on when he putts.

Although I am driven to introduce more scientific data into the world of putting, the data is strictly to improve the understanding of what the best players do with the short stick. Understanding what is actually happening bio-mechanically will help improve the instruction of putting, which has changed very little over the years. But at the end of the day, the goal when you are on the green is to have the fewest putts. The next time any of you are on the golf course playing, focus on making the putt rather than on what the putter needs to do to make the putt.

Lastly, if you haven’t purchased my Automatic Putting Package yet, what are you waiting for? My 3-disc DVD set is based on 20+ years of putting research of more than 54,000 putting strokes. If you look at the careers as a whole from all the players included in my research, you would have more than $600 million in career earnings, 34 major championships (including 11 green jackets) and more than 260 PGA Tour victories. This week I am offering a promo code to my blog readers that will save you $10 off the package. Simply visit www.mariusgolf.com and use the promo code ‘radio’ in the checkout. As always shipping anywhere in the United States is free.

Until next time…cheers!

[Photo by Getty Images]

May 17, 2011

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

Posted at 9:54 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at noon Eastern time to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video for Brady, submit it now in the comments section below!

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. This was a busy week on the blog. Sorry I didn't get to everyone. Please resubmit early next week so I can answer everyone. Thanks again.

Jason asks at 1:55:

Hey Brady, thanks for the blog. I look forward to reading it every week. I was given a set of lessons with a particular instructor. He's having me keep my weight 100% on my front foot throughout the swing, which feels really awkward but has helped keep my hands in front of the clubhead at impact resulting in much better contact than what I was getting before. What drills can I do to make a proper weight shift and still get in a good position at impact to keep my hands in front of the club head? Thanks!

I am going to try to be open-minded here and assume the reason he is having you do this is because you were swaying terribly going back and the “feel” of 100% of your weight on your front foot is making the pivot function properly. However, if this isn’t the case and he really wants that much weight forward, your future isn’t going to be very bright. Have a conversation with him about where the ideal spot is for your weight during the swing and why he is having you pivot this way. If he tells you that is the way he teaches everyone then my advice is to have him help you with your short game and leave the full swing to someone else. Remember, one size and one method doesn’t fit everyone. 

Eric M. asks at 1:34:

Had been playing with very solid ball-striking golf recently until last 2.5 rounds when I got the shanks. What is a general drill or swing thought to work out of those and get swing back? Thanks Brady!

There are several things that can cause a shank. Standing too close to the ball, getting too close to the ball during the swing, attacking from too far outside the proper path, attacking from too far inside the proper path, a clubface that is too closed at impact and a clubface that is too open at impact. You can see this isn’t the most clear-cut issue. I will tell you that when you look at the shape of your more solid shots, the depth of the divot, the address position and your balance, the picture becomes much clearer. I would recommend you try something a bit silly. When on the range, try to hit the ball off the tip of the toe of the club. When you are able to catch this part of the club several times you will most likely have fixed the variable that has become screwed up. If this doesn’t work, send me some video and I will give you the specific fix. Good luck!

Nick asks at 1:15:

I have been trying to incorporate rolling over the instep of my right foot (right-handed player) as I come into impact as opposed to getting up on my toes. My problem is that this tends to get me to sling the club down the line and more toward right field. I prefer to have the club in front of my sternum as much as possible during my pivot and the clubface fairly square to my swing plane. I do not like letting the club outrace my body to my finish.

I do not have a video at the moment, but hopefully I can upload one next week. Do you have any suggestions or just more information regarding this topic for me to incorporate the rolling of the right foot without disrupting my natural pivot motion? I would really prefer to have this rolling move as opposed to the heel lifting because this move can really hurt my driver swings when I tend to over rotate my hips too fast.

I think you have isolated an important part of your swing but might be working at it in the wrong way. I agree that the right heel shouldn’t come off the ground too early on the downswing as it is a sign that the right hip has moved out toward the target line in a place that blocks the right arm from moving down on plane. To control the right heel you need to load your left quad (front of your upper leg) harder and longer on the downswing. This will keep your hips from spinning open too quickly and keep your right heel down without thinking about it. Move the weight onto the quad as you begin your downswing and try to keep it there longer and you will see the heel stay down. Here are a couple of pics to help you get the idea.

Rightheel

Steve asks at 1:00:

What do you recommend in setup for wedges? For a regular shot should one swing at 80%? My trajectory seems too high to make my distances consistent.

The set-up for wedges hit at nearly full distances should be just like any other iron shot. The ball position is still played under the low point on the target side of your sternum. The whole percentage of power thing has never really worked for me. If the player is swinging consistently, hitting the sweet spot of the club, and ending up in balance than that is what matters. If swinging harder makes this difficult than the swing should slow down and the mechanics worked on so the speed can be turned up again. If your trajectory is too high than there are several places to look. As much as I hate to change or blame equipment, it should be checked. If the shaft is too light or soft, the head is designed for a high handicapper or the ball is spinning too much the trajectory can be too high. Once that has been ruled out, you have to look at where the shaft is or isn’t leaning at impact. If the shaft is leaning forward and your low point is in front of the ball you should be able to control the trajectory if the equipment is right. If you are hanging too far behind the ball and the shaft is leaning backwards at impact, there is no amount of money you can spend to keep the ball flight down. 

JohnnyH asks at 12:45:

Brady, thanks for doing this. You're one of the more insightful golf minds around. Here's my question: whenever I try to fully rotate my body to the target, or think about doing that, I tend to come over the top, sort of out to in. I think this is because of opening up the upper body too soon. Also, I've never learned to roll my forearms over in the through swing. I guess I"m more shut-faced, body swinger. I've gotten to a 4 handicap like this, but do you think I need to learn the proper release to get to the next level? Many thanks

I will try to live up to the high praise; thanks, Johnny. It really comes down to how effective you are as a ballstriker and if you are continuing to improve. I always ask players at your handicap level if they have continued to improve over the last couple of years or if you have hit a flat spot. If the ballstriking continues to get better, there is no need to completely change your clubface position, pivot, and release. You may start down a dark hole and never come out. If you aren’t getting better and feel the swing is the issue, then proceed with caution and work at the change slowly. As you already know, it is difficult to release the club like Ernie Els if your clubface looks like Paul Azinger’s. I agree with you that if your upper body rotates too much too soon you will likely come over the top. However, if your body stays back and the face is closed your hands will be more active through impact and the closed clubface will be released hard. This is not a good scenario. I would love to see the swing to let you know how to proceed and which areas need to be tweaked to get you closer to neutral. Keep me informed.

Todd asks at 12:39:

I tend to hit behind the ball. Too many fat shots that don't get to the green. What's the solution? Thank you.

Hitting behind the ball is the result of two factors. The bottom of your arc will always be slightly on the target side of your sternum or under your left pec. When this part of your body is behind the ball at impact, the bottom of your swing will be behind the ball and you will either hit the ground first creating a fat shot or miss the ground and hit the ball on the upswing creating a thin shot. The consequence of this position with the body is that the club will NOT be leaning slightly forward (handle in front of clubhead) but will be in the opposite alignment with the shaft leaning backwards. Moving the weight in the direction of the target will get the bottom of the arc in front of the ball and give the club a chance to be in the proper leaning forward position at impact. Get these two factors under control and you will see huge improvement.

Kermit asks at 12:13:

I have been a fan for a long time and really look forward to your weekly live chats. I was wondering if you could look at the link below and see what you think. I have been having trouble with hooks and pull hooks and would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKZB_nB2mCQ

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Overall I think the swing is very good. The address is solid. The club comes back a bit inside, but it doesn’t cross the line at the top so I wouldn’t mess with it much. The face looks square going up and at the top with the club working down very close to on-plane. If anything on the downswing, the club is a bit steep and the face a bit closed. It is obvious you are fighting the hook as we look at the swing during and after impact. The club exits on a very vertical angle with your left arm fighting to stay higher than the right. This is a classic anti-hook release.

To improve your ball-striking and get rid of the hook I would like to see you do a couple of things. First, the club needs to be a bit shallower coming down with the face completely square. The good news is when you get the club a bit more behind you on the downswing the face will naturally open from where it currently is. From a shallower angle of attack you can get your entire body moving more up and around at and immediately after impact. This is particularly important for the right side of your body and your head. Check out the exit of your club and the picture of Darren Clarke and Annika to see the difference. I would love to see you practice allowing your eyes to come off the ball and move toward the target a la Annika, Duval, Allenby, Clarke, Durant, Warren, etc. This will help your swing sync up through impact as your body, arms and club work together. Check out the pics and go to work.

Kermit1
Kermit release

Todd asks at 12:00:

One of my swing faults is over swinging. I just can't stop at the top and throw my weight off and it gets ugly from there. Do you have any drills or swing thoughts to help this? Thanks!

Many people struggle with controlling the length of their backswing. The ironic thing is to get control of the “overswing” going back you need to think of starting the downswing sooner. If you begin moving your weight back in the direction of the target well before your arms have swung the club up to parallel at the top, then your backswing will stop in time. In other words, the length of your backswing has nothing to do with you trying to stop it and everything to do with starting the downswing earlier. Not only will this change in direction control the length going back, it will help you create more load in the shaft as it resists the change in direction and lags behind the hands coming down. If you struggle hitting your iron shots crisp and lack distance overall, making your transition from backswing to downswing more dynamic can produce amazing results. Check out the swings of Tommy Armour III and Anthony Kim on my website for some visual cues.

 

May 12, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Why putting is so hard (plus, my 10-minute warm-up routine)

Posted at 7:44 PM by Marius Filmalter

YE_putts TPC at Sawgrass, home of this week’s Players Championship, can be summed up in three words: dry and fast. Florida has had an exceptionally dry winter/spring this year and its shows on the golf course. The greens and fairways are both hard and running very fast.

I spent some time on Tuesday with Y.E. Yang, Ryan Palmer and Derek Lamely. Yang and I started doing some work together back in 2009. He is a wonderful putter and probably doesn’t get enough credit for it.

I heard a significant amount of talk this past week about the new putting stat introduced by the PGA Tour called Strokes Gained-Putting. For those who are unfamiliar with it, take a moment and read Connell Barrett’s article on Golf.com, which does an excellent job explaining the process.

Many people have asked me for my opinion on the new putting stat. The introduction of mountains of data through the stat “Strokes Gained-Putting” is another step in the new relationship between science and the game of golf. This relationship will only continue to grow as the PGA Tour’s ShotLink program allows universities access to the Tour’s vast statistical data. It is just a matter of time before we see variations of this type of statistic that cover all aspects of the game. The slogan of my business Marius Golf is “Science not Theory.”

After reviewing this new stat, I saw several probabilities amateurs could learn from. First, the average Tour professional will make 95 percent of 3-footers but only 75 percent of 5-footers. Second, a putt of 7 feet and 10 inches has a make-or-miss probability of 50-50. Lastly, at 14 feet the probability of making the putt is only 25 percent.

When reading these probabilities, you can see that even the best players don’t make everything. Remember, these probabilities are based on the results of the best players in the world playing on the best-conditioned golf courses in the world. So unless you play your Saturday morning game at Oakmont, give yourself a break. Putting isn’t easy.

Let me leave you today with a question I received via blog@mariusgolf.com from Dan S. of Tampa, FL.

Dan mentioned that he barely hits his drives past his wife so he has to rely on making more putts to beat her. Dan asked what I thought was the best use of the 10 minutes he allotted himself to warm up on the practice green. For the first minute I suggest that you start by standing a foot away from the hole with three balls. Make a putt with each ball and try to hit the left side, the center and the right side of the hole. This helps you get your aim and your eyesight in sync. Next I would spend five minutes on making 3-5 foot putts around the hole. I recommend using multiple golf balls and make sure you don’t putt over and over again from the same spot. Lastly, putt to a hole that is more than 25 feet away from you. If possible, putt to a hole that is uphill and then to a hole that is downhill. This last drill is to help you get acclimated to the green speed. Close your warm-up by making a couple 3 footers in a row for confidence.

As always check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. I also want to thank all the readers who have purchased my new Automatic Putting package (3-disc DVD set, Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome). I have gotten several hundred emails from folks sharing their stories of improvement, which is very rewarding to me. Keep them coming.

Until next time….cheers!

[Photo: Getty Images]

May 10, 2011

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

Posted at 9:53 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, come back next week for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live!

Thanks to everyone for your videos, questions, and comments. It was a great blog today. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone this week. Please get your questions in early next week so I can help you out.

Mark Sanderson asks at 1:25:

I absolutely love your column every week. I would appreciate your comments on my golf swing. I have a link to my face-on driver swing below. (Sorry I don't have a down-the-line video.) My typical mis-hits are to the right with a push-fade (not a typically left-to-right slice). Two things I notice: 1) I have a lot of movement forward with my head (toward the target) on the downswing, 2) I also seem to lift up a bit at impact with my head. Could these 2 issues be contributing to my mis-hits to the right?

Thanks in advance for your help!

MS

Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Mark. I couldn’t agree more about your head movement being the issue, but it goes bad in the address. You create so much right-side tilt and bend away from the target before you move the club, your body has no choice but to try to find balance immediately in the takeaway. As a result, your head moves in the direction of the target as you begin your swing. This leans your head and upper body too far toward the target in what many used to call a “reverse pivot.” Your head tries in vain to get back behind the ball at impact, which gives you the “up” you mentioned in your question and has the consequence of opening the clubface. When you combine the open clubface with your head in front of its original position at impact you get the classic push slice.

Start with your head more centered over your tailbone. This will create less right-side tilt and allow you to MOVE BACK AWAY from the target during the backswing. Yes, this means your head should move during the swing (don’t tell the S&T/Foley crowd). When you are back away from your original position at the top you can allow yourself to move (step into the throw or hit from other sports) toward the target as you start your downswing with going past your original position. This will give you more power and allow you to release the club PAST your body enabling you to hit the fairway. Check out the pics of the drive I posted to the question below and look at your head at address and the top. GET TO WORK!

Check out the tree in the background to see how much your head moves. Really obvious in the video.

Driverstart
Reversepivot

Val asks at 1:00:

Can you talk a bit about head position at impact? Should my head be on top of the ball with short irons and behind it with driver/wood. How do you keep your head back in the swing when needed?

There is no one position the head should be in when making contact with the short irons or driver. With that said, there are better spots than others. What we see with a large percentage of Tour players and successful amateurs is the head behind its original position with the Driver and at or in front of its original position with the short irons. There are multiple reasons for this but here are the main ideas. First, the width of the stance is much wider with the driver than the short irons. This creates more right side tilt at address with the driver and makes it much easier to maintain the tilt through impact. The tilt helps the contact with the driver as it enables the low point of the swing to be slightly behind the ball allowing the clubhead to work through a flat spot or slightly up during impact. The short irons are different because the stance is narrower, creating less right-side tilt and the ball should be struck before the club reaches the low point. The change from the driver in the address position makes it much easier for the head to move in the direction of the target during impact.

Keeping your head back during the swing isn’t as complicated as you may think. If the head moves off the ball and away from the target on the backswing, there is no need to get MORE behind it during impact. Thanks to the Stack and Tilt folks, we have a whole new generation of players who try to keep there head stationery going back (some who even move toward the target). This gives the player very little choice through impact with the driver but to dive behind the ball. The head should NEVER move away from the target during impact as it forces your right arm to straighten too early and mandates excessively active hands when you need them least. Here are a couple of pictures that will help you.

Foximpactiron
Foximpactdriver

Deacon asks at 12:38:

I understand that your weight moves back and through, but would you mind describing briefly where and generally how much the weight shifts in the feet during the swing? Is it correct that you should never let your weight move to the outside of the right foot on the backswing? From address, should your weight move from the balls of your feet to your inner right foot or right heel?

There is a great deal of room for individual preference when it comes to this subject. In most cases the player will get the best results with the weight starting in the balls of the feet at address, working toward the right heel going back to the top, ball of the left foot in the transition and into the left heel at impact. This is the general idea—leaving out some details along the way—and it should help you get the idea. It isn’t a great idea to get the weight to the outside of the right foot going back under any circumstances as it gives you no leverage. I’m not a big fan of keeping the weight on the inside of the foot either as it can restrict the proper turn and movement during the swing. A good rule of thumb to follow is to maintain the feeling of athleticism during the swing. There shouldn’t be a time during the swing where you don’t feel like you can move dynamically as you would in any other sport. Anything contrived on the outside or inside of the foot isn’t athletic and shouldn’t be part of your program.

Daniel asks at 12:20:

Hi Wayne! I've been trying to improve keeping my tush line. I still feel that my approach is way too vertical and I'm too handsy through the ball. My two-next-step plan to improve was changing my takeaway so it doesn't go so underneath the plane (which may cause the loop at the top) and keep working on the tush line stuff so I'm able to move my weight toward my left heel and rolling my right foot more inwards instead of popping up so much chasing the ball, but I want to know your opinion. I want to turn teaching pro and need to improve my long game dramatically, but I feel that I need to go in the right direction and work things in the proper order.


Sorry that I'm only able to send a target line view. Thank you very much!

 

Not sure who Wayne is, but I will help anyway. I think you are doing a pretty solid job with the Tush Line and your takeaway. I agree that you are shifting to a steeper-than-desirable plane in the transition, making it difficult to hit the longer clubs in your bag. A shallower angle of attack will make hitting the less-lofted clubs much easier and produce more consistent misses that stay on the golf course. Many good players fail to focus on hitting the inside-back quadrant of the ball with the face rotating through impact. Instead, they are trying to hit the back of the ball with the face square. This is only an effective strategy on the shortest of putts. It often produces steep transitions when the mindset isn’t correct. Here are a couple of pictures to help you out beginning with your delivery position.

Steep
Kangdeliv

Matt asks at 12:05:

I'm having some trouble understanding how to keep my weight on my left side while chipping and pitching. I'm not sure if I'm leaning too far to the left but I'm not able to turn back and through smoothly. With my weight equally balanced, I have no problem turning my shoulders and hips back and through easily, but when setting up on my left to ensure a downward stroke I invariably lose the same smooth body turn. Do you have any suggestions on how to stay left without hindering my body turn? Should I concentrate on leaning my lower legs from my knee down toward the target instead of my whole body? Should you feel at least some pressure on your right foot in the backswing? Thanks so much for your help.

The amount of weight you need to begin on the left side isn’t that significant. As you have experienced, leaning the upper body to the left makes it very difficult to make a comfortable motion. Instead, your left hip can push over slightly toward the target to get a bit of weight onto the front foot. I would encourage you to check out the chipping video I did during the Breaking 80 Series as it has some good examples of the address position and overall lack of movement during the chipping motion.

Michael asks at 12:00:

Brady - just wanted to thank you for your advice. I've been working on the 6 step program you recommended a while back in the article "How To Break 80" and this weekend I not only managed to break 80 - I smashed right through it, shooting 75! (I'd broken 80 before on shorter par 70 and 71 courses, but not on a challenging track with a 131 slope.)

Just to demonstrate how my stats in those essential categories compared with your recommendations (in parentheses): GIR 150 yds and in - 60% (48.4%); fairways hit - 64.2% (62.5%); scrambling - 50% (30.1%); putting from 4-8 feet - 66% with no 3-putts! (58.1%); scoring averages - par 3's (2.67), par 5's (5.75), par 4's (4.1). So only the par 5's tripped me up a bit.

So just goes to show when you get it all going at once, not only are scores in the 70s possible, but now I'm looking to break par!

That is very exciting to hear. Your Par 3 scoring average is very low, it will be hard to keep that going. You are correct about the par 5s, they can come down considerably. Keep up the good work.


May 05, 2011

Marius Filmalter: The best quick putting fix (and a cure for the yips)

Posted at 12:51 PM by Marius Filmalter

Omeara_clawAfter my stop last week at the Nationwide event in Georgia, I planned to return to the PGA Tour for the Wells Fargo Championship. However, after a little coaxing from my Champions Tour students I made my way west to Shoal Creek for the first major of the year, the Regions Tradition.

This week’s major championship is being overshadowed by the devastation of recent tornados in the Birmingham area. My heart goes out to all those affected and I hope for a quick rebuilding and a timely healing for all that had lost loved ones.

Arriving on Tuesday morning, I quickly toured Shoal Creek. I know I say this a lot, but it is a wonderful golf course and it is in exceptional condition. In fact, when you consider how much damage there was in the area, Shoal Creek was fortunate to be relatively unaffected except for a handful of downed trees.

I spent Tuesday afternoon and most of Wednesday watching over many of my students and friends. In particular, I spent some time with Bruce Vaughn, Mike Goodes, Don Pooley, David Eger, Rod Spittle and Peter Jacobson. During the week of a major, no one wants an overhaul, so instead we work on the fundamentals.

In a previous blog, I discussed the importance of good posture. This week I would like to discuss the role of the grip in putting. Since starting this blog I have received several emails asking me to reveal the grip that will help you make the most putts. Well, unfortunately there is no perfect grip. In fact, my research shows there is little to no correlation between great putters and a specific putting grip.

To improve your putting immediately, make sure the shoulders and forearms are square to the intended target line. This will give you the best chance to be square at impact no matter which grip you use.

However, if you suffer from the yips, a grip change might be exactly what you need. Much of my putting research has been focused on the yips. One way I have dealt with students who have the yips is to get them to try the saw grip (or a variation of this grip). To apply the saw grip (assuming you are right-handed), place your left hand on the putter where it would normally be and then with your right hand pinch the shaft between the thumb and three fingers (the hand will be parallel to the ground).

One of my most successful students who tried the claw grip was Mark O’Meara (pictured). Back in late 2003, Mark’s game was excellent, but he was struggling on the greens. His swing instructor Hank Haney and I persuaded Mark to try the claw grip. In 1994, he won the Dubai Desert Classic over a very strong field, including Tiger Woods.

I would also like to congratulate a couple of my students for their recent success. First, David Eger (along with partner Mark McNulty) on his victory at last week’s Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf. This was David’s fourth career Champions Tour victory and second in as many years. Also I would like to congratulate Matthew Goggin for his consistently good play on the Nationwide Tour. Matthew now holds the No. 1 position on the money list. Matthew has been a long-time student and friend. I wish both David and Matthew continued success in 2011.

Please email me questions or comments to blog@mariusgolf.com. As always check out my website at www.mariusgolf.com and sign-up for the free member section. I also want to thank all the readers who have purchased my new Automatic Putting package (3-disc DVD set, Marius Putting Belt and Marius Metronome). I have gotten several hundred emails from folks sharing their stories of improvement which is very rewarding to me. Keep them coming.

Until next time….cheers!

[Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images]

May 03, 2011

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

Posted at 9:27 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you still have a question or video for Brady, come back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. If I didn't get to you today please ask your question again next week. The weather is getting pretty great here in Southern California. Hope everyone is able to get out and play this week. Have a good one.

Mark asks at 3:20:

Always the highlight of my week to read the blog and advice as this is my year to improve the game. (I just got fitted and purchased new irons). Do you have any drills or swing thoughts for coming too much from the inside? I've been told my right side drops too much and then the club is way too inside to out. This causes a hook/draw if I time it right with my hands or a severe block to the right. Thanks so much in advance for any help.

Mark (7.4 index)

Thanks for the kind words, Mark. If you look at the answer I gave to the previous question about getting below plane, I think it will help you. Understanding why a problem is happening is the best way to improve the issue. It sounds like you know what the problem is, but the “why” is critical to you overcoming it. The roll of the body during the downswing is to maintain the proper geometry of the club’s attack when it comes to clubface, path, and angle of attack, while providing power and teamwork with the hands and arms. When you lose your body on the downswing, you can lose everything. Here is another picture that should help you see how things can go wrong.

AKBESS

John asks at 3:00:

I have an issue with getting laid off at the top of my swing. My downswing plane is then pointing well outside of the ball and I tend to hit a slight pull draw or fade. Should I work on getting my hands lower? I take the club outside and away from my body in my initial takeaway which is a move I added to keep from taking it too far inside. Can an overly done outside takeaway result in getting laid off and off plane in the downswing? Everytime I try to hit the ball from the inside, I get really far underplane. I don't understand how to swing down the elbow plane and still attack from the inside. Please help!

Absolutely the outside takeaway can be overdone and create a laid-off position at the top of the swing. When the club is laid off and the hands are a bit high, it is very difficult to attack on any path other than steep and outside. This will lead to your pull-draw/fade combination of misses. Getting under plane is another issue altogether. In most cases a player gets under plane when their body loses its lane (tush comes off line and body gets more upright). Maintaining the Tush line and keeping the forward bend of the body through impact is an excellent way to get the club back up on top of the plane approaching impact. I would encourage you to work on neutral lines during the backswing and maintaining your body’s lane on the downswing to improve your consistency and overall ballstriking. Here are a couple of pictures to help you get the visual.

DKneutral
The lane

Dave asks at 2:54:

Getting ready to leave work early today (to play golf) so I won't be able to catch your responses this week. Just wanted to say hello and thanks again for your insight thus far this year. Tips have definitely helped improve my game. Working to eliminate those one or two big numbers per round and start breaking 80 more often. I'll report next week and let you know how today goes.

Thanks for checking in Dave. Look forward to hearing of your success.  

 

Tim asks at 2:40:

Love reading the blog. My question is how the hell does Bubba Watson hit a 7 iron 220 yards out of a bunker? I understand the concepts of being delofted at impact and swing speed but I still don't understand how he gets that much distance from that club. I would be impressed by 220 with a 7i from the fairway. Is Bubba just swinging harder and much more delofted than other pros and us amateurs? I deloft at address and I believe I stay that way at impact, however I hit the ball 45 yards shorter. Is there a way to learn to be more delofted, if that's the reason for his distance? Thanks for doing this every week.

The simple answer to your question is the guy is a freak. Bubba has more speed than everyone else which is why he hits the ball harder. De-lofting the club at address offers no guarantee of being de-lofted at impact. Impact and address shouldn’t be at the same spot and it is easier to create more lag and a more forward-leaning shaft at impact if you start from a more centered hands position. I would rather see you work on hitting the ball more solidly in the center of the clubface while you attack on the proper plane than worry too much about de-lofting the club at impact. More speed without more precision is often a recipe for disaster.

Steve asks at 2:32:

My question is about club choice for chipping around the green. I am a 10 handicapper and have a decent short game, though there is certainly room for improvement. I have always used my 56 degree wedge for chipping. If I want to hit a low running chip, I just move the handle more forward and play the ball farther back in my stance. If I want to pop it up in the air, I move the handle back and the ball more forward. I have friends who are better golfers than me who use a variety of clubs for chipping, from 6 irons through their wedges. I have limited practice time, so I find it easier just to work with the one club. Maybe I am just being lazy. Is it better to get the feel for using multiple clubs depending on the type of shot to be hit?

If you look at my response to the question below you will see I answer most of your issues. I would also encourage you to watch the Break 80 video as it answers some of your specific questions and gives some visuals of how to proceed. I wouldn’t say it is a case of being lazy but not having the right technique. In the long run you would be more effective around the green if you were able to have more choices and weapons in your arsenal.

J from the UK asks at 2:18:

You helped me with my swing a few months back and I have a video update for you below. You had some positives about my leg action, but I was swinging too inside on the way back and a bit steep on the way down (OTT).

I'd appreciate an comments you have. I'm swinging it the best so far this year and have my high draw back from my teens. I think I'm close to swinging up and down the same plane (you may remember I came OTT a bit before). When admiring the swings of players like Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy, I notice that that they really do drop the club from the inside producing lots of lag. Whenever I try to do this (starting from the ground up of course) I cannot square the face and leave it open. How do you get the feeling of dropping the club down with lag and turning though the ball. I heard the phrase "covering the ball" once when a analyst commented on Sergio's swing—is there such a thing and what is it exactly?

I struggle with my sequencing a bit (making sure I start with the lower body) and my short game is poor. I have tried playing around with lower lofted clubs for chip shots rather than just grabbing my SW or LW. I either hit them too far, or (when trying to take a bit off) decelerate and duff it. Do you have any short game tips to share in relation to the choice of shot?

Love what you do.

There are still some frames that can improve. The club is a bit inside going back and steeper than ideal on the downswing. The camera angles in all the videos could be a bit more lined up between the toes and the target line and a bit farther away. I understand that is difficult at times based upon space. It is hard to imagine you coming too far below plane based upon these pictures, but I do understand you struggling with the face position. As the club “lays down” more behind a player coming down, the clubface WILL become more open. Covering the ball through impact is a phrase we use to help a player get the feel of maintaining the forward bend of their upper body as their hips open during impact. This prevents the arms and club from moving too far out away from the body during impact and into the release, while making it easier to square up the clubface. If a player loses the forward bend, the club has a tendency to drop below plane with the face open making the hands play too active a roll during impact to save the shot.

When it comes to the short game, it sounds like you aren’t using the true loft of the club when choosing something other than your most lofted wedges. In many cases, the ball gets too far back in the stance, the weight too far forward, the shaft leaning too far ahead of the ball and the clubface gets de-lofted dramatically. This makes the ball jump off the face with less lofted clubs and land too “hot” to control once it hits the green. The most lofted wedges are the only clubs that can be hit with any measure of control when hitting chips and short pitches with this technique. I would encourage you to check out the Break 80 video I did on chipping and pitching as it addresses this issue specifically. I would love to see a face-on shot of you hitting some pitches and chips to give you some more specifics.

Stephen asks at 2:07:

Is there an ideal trajectory for scoring clubs? I know it can vary based on conditions, but I typically hit them very high and feel my distance control would be a lot more consistent with a better ball flight. Thoughts?

There are two important elements to distance control with the shorter clubs. The first issue is controlling the distances the ball will fly in the air. This is obviously done with a great deal of practice, but the importance of trajectory control can’t be underestimated. Obviously wind and other course and weather conditions will have a profound effect on the distance a ball will travel. Controlling the height of the shot is critical to managing the changing conditions. The second element works hand in hand with trajectory control, especially with the wedges, and that is spin. Once the carry distance is reliable, the spin on the ball becomes another factor on getting pin high. If the trajectory is lower, more spin is usually required to keep the ball from releasing too far. If the trajectory is high, too much spin can bring the ball back too far making it impossible to rely on. The combination of control over carry distance and control over spin should be the priority as your ability to hit consistently solid shots becomes the norm.

Bill asks at 2:00:

I'm working on not coming over the top which leads to a cupped wrist and impact and pull shots. I've tried your suggestions to attack the inner quadrant of the ball to get the feeling of an in to out swing. However, this method for me leads to even more severe pulls, especially with the driver. I think i'm not clearing the hips soon enough which causes me to come around to in. My question is there a thought or swing key that might help with the hip turn/timing that might achieve the inner quadrant attack?

Fortunately there is more than one way to fix the problem. Clearing the hips earlier and more aggressively usually increases the difficulty of attacking from the inside. Without seeing the swing in its current state I can’t offer you specifics about what you need to do. Keep in mind that your lead hip MUST be closer to the target at impact than it was at address. If you spin the hips without sliding first toward the target, your arms will have no route to the ball as your body will be in the way. For this reason, most players coming over the top are helped by starting the downswing with more lateral slide to the target. The slide keeps the shoulders from spinning open too early, helps the club stay back behind the body longer, makes the right hip stay away from the target line opening up a route to the ball from the inside, and makes it easier to bottom out the swing in front of the ball with the irons. The driver is also served well by this move with the wider stance preventing the club from descending too much at impact. STEP toward the target to start the downswing instead of spinning open and the club will stay behind you and come more from the inside.

 

 


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