Archive: June 2011

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June 21, 2011

Marius Filmalter: Make more putts with a shorter pre-shot routine

Posted at 4:39 PM by Marius Filmalter

Rory-McIlroy I can’t tell you how to split every fairway with a 315-yard drive like Rory McIlroy, but I can explain one secret of Rory’s game that I hope everyone reading this will try.

It is refreshing to see that many of the twentysomethings on Tour take significantly less time to hit the ball than generations past. On the greens, Rory follows a very speedy and consistent routine when putting. Follow these three steps to improve your putting and you’ll be as confident in your weekend match as Rory was at Congressional last week

Step 1: Read the line

Look quickly from behind the hole and behind your ball, but don’t beat it to death. Research shows that the majority of the time the line your brain first establishes as the correct line is more accurate than the line you will determine after having a second and third look at the hole.

To speed up play, make sure you read your line while your playing partners are putting. Also, begin reading your line as you walk down the green from the fairway or from the cart. You can often see the green contours from a distance better than up close.

Step 2: Feel your speed

Whether you take one or two practice strokes next to the ball or behind the ball, make sure you are watching the hole and concentrating on how your stroke feels to make the ball go the distance you want it to travel. This process helps your brain understand what your stroke should feel like for a particular length putt.

Try not to use more than two practice strokes because unless you are disciplined your practice strokes will get sloppier the more you make and can affect your actual stroke over the ball. Personally, I practice my distance control with my putting on the practice green so I do not ever take any practice strokes during a round.

Step 3: Confidently Execute

When you address the ball, take a quick glimpse at the hole and then pull the trigger. Standing over the ball thinking about the line, speed or mechanics is pointless. The longer you stand over the ball the more likely indecision or doubt will creep into your mind. I recommend that a player spends NO more than five seconds to address the ball with the putter, look at the hole and start your stroke.

Thanks for all your comments and questions I have received at blog@mariusgolf.com. Please keep them coming as I do take the time to address each and every one of them.

Also I want to congratulate John K. from Toronto, Ontario, who wrote to me last week to say he broke 80 for the first time. John has been working with Automatic Putting since April and said he had no three putts in breaking 80. Please visit www.mariusgolf.com and use promo code ‘radio’ in the checkout for $10 off your purchase. Until next time….cheers!

(Photo: Al Tielemans/SI)

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

Posted at 11:04 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video for Brady, be sure to check back next week for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Sorry I couldn't get to all of them today. Please ask your question again next week. Have a good one....

Jeff asks at 1:25:

thanks for the blog. My question is : how much do the hands roll on the backswing? You have mentioned before about the 1/4 turn of the hand by the time it gets to the top. I seem to have been fanning the clubface open on the way back. Reading an old Hogan book "Power Golf", he says the wrists should not roll. Did he change his mind later?

The quarter turn by the Transition is critical to consistent ball striking. The vast majority of amateurs roll or rotate too much, too early in the backswing making it nearly impossible to get the arm and club lined up properly as the downswing begins. There have been many great players with little or no rotation going up to the top of the backswing that rotate or shallow out the clubshaft as the downswing begins to get the club in the proper position. Nick Price, Nick Faldo, Darren Clarke, Hal Sutton, etc. all fall into this category. I would agree with Hogan that the wrists don’t roll, it is more the entire arm from shoulder to hand that needs to have a ¼ turn. The other thing to keep in mind is that great players will always describe their golf swing as it “feels” to them. In many cases, what they feel is happening and what is actually happening aren’t the same.

Mark asks at 1:14:

Brady, I've recently been having success with my iron shots by exaggerating how much I lead with my hands through impact. However, I sometimes have a number of shots where the divots are just too big and I may be losing distance. I may even push the shot out to the right. Can you recommend a swing thought or move to help eliminate those flaws? Thanks

As I mentioned in the previous question trying to get the hands more forward can produced some contrived results. It sounds like you have created an excessively steep angle of attack causing the deep divots. I went into some detail as to how to get the hands more forward at impact in the previous post. I would have you work on the same parts of the swing to improve the position of your hands at impact.

Thomas asks at 12:47:

 

My main problem at the moment is that I release my club too early in the downswing, resulting in having my hands behind the ball at impact, which causes me to either (1) duck-hook it left, or (2) hit fat shots by hitting behind the ball.

Identifying my problem is not the primary issue - it's fixing the problem that has actually "been the problem." I'm not sure what the best method, swing thought, or drill is to help fix this problem. Releasing my hands early in the swing is my "natural feel" and it's not something I consciously do. Therefore, I find it difficult trying to hold off from releasing the club.

When I try to practice this (by not releasing the club and having my hands in front of the ball at impact) I tend to hit "hosel shots" causing my frustration level to sore.

Any advice on how fix releasing the club too early (and thus having my hands behind the ball at impact)?

Thanks! Love the blog.

Glad you enjoy the blog. This is obviously a common problem that many players struggle with. Trying to get the hands further forward at impact by “not releasing” doesn’t really work as you have discovered. Fixing the problem requires you to improve a couple different parts of your golf swing. There are two main issues you need to resolve to get the hands further forward at impact without “trying” to get them forward. The first is in the transition. When players release early they often begin the downswing with the hands and arms instead of the body. Once the hands move before the body there is no chance to get the hands forward at impact. If the body moves first the arms and club will delay or “lag” behind creating more angle between the left arm and clubshaft as the downswing begins. When the hands move first the exact opposite happens and that angle becomes wider. The second issue has to do with your posture and it’s affect on the right forearm approaching impact. If your hips move in the direction of the ball during the downswing the right hip will block the right forearm from moving down in front of the hip as it should. This will force the release to happen early as the right arm stops. Working on your posture and your transition will go a long way to improving your golf swing and help you get rid of the early release.

Lefty Mike asks at 12:30:

When I stand closer to ball with the driver, it feels as if I have more power than standing farther back. Is there any validity to this? Also, I like the power standing closer to the ball delivers...However, I seem to always hook the ball when I stand closer to it. Is this normal? How can I avoid pulling or pull-hooking the ball when I stand closer to it? Thank you so much for your help and advice.

There is less power standing too far from the ball than the right distance from the ball. Standing to close to the ball can present its’ own problems so it is always best to get the proper distance away so you can remain consistent. If you get too close to the ball the path can become steep and the attack more outside than it should creating the pulls and pull-hooks you are describing. There is no way I can tell a student the exact distance they should stand from the ball at address. The fine tuning of the distance from the ball can only come from work on the range.

Tim asks at 12:24:

Thanks so much for doing this blog. I'm having trouble staying the proper distance from the ball on the downswing. On some shots I have too much weight on my toes at impact, resulting in an off balance finish. Sometimes I have to step out with my right foot. I'm wondering if I have too much weight on my heels in the backswing and then I compensate by shifting hard to my toes. It an intermittent problem. If i stay centered, I hit the ball great. If I get towards the ball, I hit fat and have a weak cut ball flight. Any insight would be awesome. Thanks in advance.

You sound like you have things figured out. When the weight starts too much in the heels it will move in the direction of the toes during the swing. This is an extremely common problem people have with their golf swing. When you get closer to the ball approaching impact your body will generally stand up to make room. Fat shot and weak cuts are common misses with this problem. If you get a bit closer to the ball and start with your weight towards your toes you will have a much easier time maintaining your center. If anything, the weight will move in the direction of your heels during the swing, a very common practice among really good players.

Kyle asks at 12:14:

My new miss seems to me a quick top and pull direct left, any advice on swing thoughts to help avoid that?

There isn’t much to go on here but I’ll give it a shot. The combination of pull and topped shots often happens when the weight is hanging on the back foot coming through impact. When this occurs the bottom of the swing is behind the ball causing the club to move up as it makes contact with the ball. The pull can also be a result of this mistake as the clubface rotates too quickly through impact when the body is hanging back. I would focus on getting the weight into the front foot on the downswing and finishing your swing in balance over your lead leg. This will get you moving in the right direction coming down and should improve both the contact and direction of your shots.

JP asks at 12:00:

Working only on tush line. I was not hitting the ball solid here but I think the tush line is excellent. The club is still under plane on the downswing. Since I am too far from the ball, I have to swing out at it.

A few days later, still working on the tush line, but I decided it was logical to stand closer to the ball, which would promote a steeper downing, which it did. I am pretty happy with this swing, except for the kind of steep backswing.

face on view

I agree that the swing looks much better than before, especially in the clip with you standing closer to the ball.  I wouldn’t worry too much about the “steeper” backswing at this point. It isn’t unusual to work up going back and then more on plane coming down. Overall the swing looks very good and should continue to improve as you own the changes you have made.

June 13, 2011

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

Posted at 6:05 PM 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, be sure to check back next week for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live.

Thanks to everyone! Glad I got to a few more this evening. If I didn't get to your question please ask again next week. Enjoy the US Open!

Bill Dumont asks:

Thanks for all the great tips and information. It is a real help to all of us out there!

Can you please take a quick look at my swing here. I have a short backswing and have been trying to lengthen it but always loose control when I do. I struggle with distance on my irons and always feel that the short backswing and lack of compression is what is doing it. I think my tushline needs work since I feel like I stand up at impact and will even shank the ball sometimes. I feel like I flip at everything too.

Thanks for the feedback about the blog Bill. I agree that your swing is short but disagree that it is a problem. I think the length of the swing is pretty unimportant and shouldn’t be something you worry about going forward. Where I do agree with you about what needs work is the tush line. Your legs move in the direction of the ball as you approach impact forcing your upper body to become more upright and your hands to get further from the ball at impact. There is no way you could do anything but hit thin shots and flip through impact with your body in this position. This is the area of your swing I would like to see you focus on. Additionally, your clubface is quite open on the downswing. This can be worsened by the loss of the tush line but I would check the grip at address and make sure it is strong enough. I have included a couple of pictures for you to see the differences.

OPEN CLUBFACE

Openface
Tushlineloss
LOSS OF TUSHLINE

Clarkeface

Kris asks:

A couple of odd things about my game. I'm a pretty good driver, usually 270+, but my irons go surprisingly short; my 7iron ~150yds, 50* ~100yds, and 60* ~50yds. People I far out-drive hit their irons 20+ yards farther than me. I am a sweeper, would that make such a large difference? Also, a very weird one; I have started pulling my 5-wood hard left. Only my 5-wood, and I have always hit it well. Moving the ball position on either axis doesn't seem to make a difference. Thanks!

Hitting the irons shorter proportionally than the driver can definitely be caused by picking the ball more off the ground than is desirable. While the driver distance isn’t effected by the lack of “down” in the contact, in fact it is better to be on the flat spot of the arc, it does change the contact and face angle with the irons. If the shaft is leaning forward at impact the clubface has less loft and the club is still accelerating at impact. When the shaft is leaning backwards and the bottom of the swing is behind the ball the clubface has more loft, the ball goes higher and shorter, and the club is decelerating at contact. Check out the drill I mentioned earlier in the blog using a step to get your weight and subsequently your hands moving towards the target on the downswing. This will get the shaft leaning forward at impact and improve your distances with the irons.

Jim asks:

Love the blog. I am going out to practice my short game tonight for 2 hours. Can you give me a series of drills and games to sharpen my game from 50 yards and in? Thanks

This advice may surprise you but here it goes. I would recommend you work on the most basic of shots from the edge of the green. This would be within a couple steps of the putting surface on a normal lie with various clubs from your most lofted wedge to 7 iron. The goal is to work on hitting your landing mark, usually a quarter or poker chip, with each club. This will help you get a feel for how far each club will run out once it hits the green. You can spend your time working on a ton of different shots but to score better you need to own the most basic. Forget the hard ones and work on the shots you hit the most.

Jeff asks:

I have a problem getting to my left side and having my belt buckle face the target, do you have an drills that could help?

Enjoy reading your blog every week.

Glad you enjoy the blog Jeff. Getting your belt buckle to face the target and getting your weight to the left can be opposing thoughts. In the grand scheme of things getting your weight left is the more important of the two. The step swings are an excellent way of feeling not only the timing of when to move the weight in the direction of the target but how much weight to move. Start in a normal address position and before you take the club back move your left foot next to your right foot. When your hands reach chest high going back step your left foot back towards the target into it’s original position. This will happen before your hands and arms move back towards the target as should be the case in a normal swing. I would recommend you go a bit slower than normal to get the feel of when the step should happen. After a few of these you will get the timing and be on your way to give it a try in the normal swing. Let me know how it goes.

Matt asks at 1:00:

Enjoy the blog very much. Very helpful. I am a tall golfer (6’ 5”) and struggle with a few things including keeping the tush line throughout the swing. My head moves forward towards the ball on my backswing and I tend to stand up and lose my spine angle on my downswing. I also have trouble maintaining lag, especially with my driver. I can hit a 7-iron 165 but my driver only about 240. Here is a a straight on video with a driver and a down-the-target line with a 7-iron.

Any suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated.

Thanks for the videos Matt. I agree with your assessment of your head and spine angle. I would also add that your shoulders are open or pointed well left of your toe line at address. When combined with the lack of lateral motion in your upper body during the backswing and the amount of lateral motion in your lower body it is plain to see where you are struggling. I would like to see you get completely square at address with your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders pointing parallel to the target line. I would also add a little right side bend in your torso to encourage you to turn your shoulders a bit flatter going back to help your head move away from the target. This will feel much more severe going back than it actually is because your head currently moves in the opposite direction. With the changes to your address and lateral motion coming back it will be much easier for you to attack the inside/back portion of the ball coming down. These changes are necessary for you to maintain a bit more “lag” coming into the ball and produce more consistent impact alignments. Always keep in mind that consistency and improvement begin with a good set-up position and the right ideas about where the club should be going during the swing.

EJ asks at 12:35:

I am a low handicap player that struggles with the top of the backswing and steepness in the downswing. My swing looks to be in proper position through the takeaway and half way back. My problem occurs as I approach the top of the backswing with run off of my arms across the line and past parallel. It almost appears i lose a bit of control of the club. My club is also very much shut. All of this seems to transition into a steep shaft angle about half way back down to the ball before i stand up a bit to try to shallow out.

I would really like to be more like other good players at the top that seem to have the club so much under control and in a great position to shallow out the club coming down. I have studied the swing for many years and have not been able to figure out this riddle. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the question EJ. If you look at the question earlier in the blog you will see a similar problem to the one you described. The issue you described is almost always born in the takeaway and/or backswing. The closed club face and across the line position at the top are both very common when the takeaway is faulty. If this isn’t the case for you and the swing is just long and across after a great takeaway then I would go after your pivot to start the downswing. This may seem overly simplistic but people often swing the club too far back because they wait too long to begin the downswing. The backswing will end when the downswing begins. So, if your body takes off and gets going sooner the swing will shorten. Giving you advice without seeing the swing is obviously a bit of a guess but I would encourage you to work on the takeaway to get the clubface in a square position and the lines more consistent. Once that is clean get the downswing started sooner to get rid of the excess length in the backswing. Send in some video so I can get more specific for you.

Noah asks at 12:30:

You do great work on your blog.

You've advised me in the past to work on maintaining my tush line through impact (I hit a lot of thin shots on the toe). I've made significant improvement in that area, but I've now been shortening my swing radius going through impact (and chicken winging) in efforts to tame my exaggerated inside-out swing path. Do you have any drills/swing thoughts that will help with extension, and preventing the chicken wing/shortened radius.

I feel like I am "running out of right arm" to use a TGM term.

Thanks for your help!!!

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. The chicken wing of the left arm is usually caused by an excessively outside-swing path where the arms are getting closer to the body approaching impact rather than extending out away from the body. “Running out of right arm” usually happens when the right arm and hip have collision before impact and/or the hips have slide too far to the target forcing the upper body to hang back excessively. I would love to see your swing so I could determine exactly what is going on. I am getting some conflicting info from you that is making it hard for me to determine what is going on. Send me the video so I can give you specifics.

Jeff asks at 12:10:

My question is fairly specific to the transition of my swing. I'll defer to you, but my takeaway is fairly good and solid to the top. At the top, it gets off. To me, and the video is below, it looks like my arms shift back, getting deep, and when I start down, I'm steep with the club shaft pointed at my toes instead of the target line. With a driver, I can see the clubhead out of my left eye when this happens. I'm not going to lie: it's annoying.

I am able to rescue it at the bottom, but it robs me of power and I do not feel like I can drive through the shot at all. I'd simply like to figure out how to get the club to the top on plane, get set, and then come back down on plane without all the whipping around you can see.

Video is attached for you to review:

Any assistance is welcomed. Thanks in advance.

Thanks for the video Jeff. One of the things you learn about the swing after giving thousands of lessons is that when you see a problem in the swing it probably happened a few frames before. I agree with you that the transition isn’t great. The club definitely steepens and causes problems for your downswing. Where I would disagree with you is in the effectiveness of your takeaway. I think the issues you are having in the transition are directly caused by the fact that the arms are too far from your body and the clubshaft is to flat during the takeaway. You can almost bank on the transition getting too deep with the hands and too steep with the shaft if the takeaway is too out with the hands and too flat with the shaft. I would encourage you to check out your picture then the pictures I post as an example to see the differences. You need to maintain the upper left arm and chest connection you established in address during the takeaway. If you combined this with keeping the clubhead outside your hands and the shaft tracking more up between your arms you won’t need to make the adjustment in the transition you currently see.

Flattake Clarkeup

Chris asks at 12:00:

Hi Brady. I'm trying to improve my consistency in my ball trajectory. For the most part I make solid contact but I tend to either pull or push the ball depending on my swing. I have a little fade-slice, but I think my trajectory is a bigger problem. Any suggestions on my swing that can lead to more consistency? I think its great that you do this for us.

Thanks for the video and the kind words Chris. There isn’t a player I work with regardless of their level that doesn’t ask me about becoming more consistent. Just like professionals amateurs need to improve, monitor, and practice their address position if they are going to keep getting better. This is where I would start with your swing. You need to stand more upright, bend the legs less with more weight in the balls of the feet and allow your hands to elevate from where they currently hang. It is difficult to see from the angle you sent but it is also likely the grip is a bit strong in the right hand as well. With the posture you are currently using it is impossible for you to maintain your posture during your swing as evidenced by the fact your head comes up away from the ground and your tush moves in towards the ball. When the posture and grip get better there is no doubt in my mind you will hit the ball more consistently. Here is a good picture of the difference you should see between address and impact. Compare it to yours and you will see a big difference.

Foxy

June 09, 2011

Marius Filmalter: How to putt on super-fast greens like the pros

Posted at 3:20 PM by Marius Filmalter

P1-mcdowell Ever wanted to know what it is like to putt on a U.S. Open green on Sunday? Next time you are in the kitchen, jump up on your granite countertops and take a couple putts. Or putt in your bathtub or on your concrete driveway (assuming it is downhill).

OK, you get it, the greens at a U.S. Open are fast. However, I believe fast is relative. Tour event to Tour event, players see greens that run 11 to 12 on the Stimpmeter (with exceptions of course). However, by the weekend of the Masters or the U.S. Open, players will face green speeds in excess of 13 or 14 on the Stimpmeter.

Consider our hypothetical amateur player, let’s call him Cory. Every Saturday, Cory plays the same municipal golf course where the greens run 7-7.5 on the Stimpmeter. Cory’s putting stroke is solid and he makes his share of putts. Now, Cory’s boss invites him out to play his country club, where the greens will run at 10 on the Stimpmeter. What do you think? Is the change in speed from 11 to 13.5 for a professional golfer more severe than the speed change from 7.5 to 10 for the average hacker? (Please tell me what you think in the comments section below.)

If you ignore other external factors such as the pressure the Tour pro is feeling from playing on the Sunday afternoon of a major, I believe the experience is very similar for both our Tour player and Cory. So how would you prepare if you were Cory and were going to play on those super-fast greens?

First, you can get ready for playing fast greens several days before your round. At your house find a spot where you can take a couple practice strokes. Take your normal stance over the ball but loosen your grip and slowly roll your hands down the grip until your bottom hand is at the end of your putter grip. To aid this change, bend more from your hips than normal and add a little knee flex. Take a couple strokes in that position. You should feel like you are in more control of the putter head. Think about how many more fairways you hit when you hit 3-wood instead of driver. The shorter the club, the more control and less distance.

**Note: Gripping down on the putter is a last resort. Attempt the instruction in the following paragraph first and if you are still firing the ball past the hole on the greens revert to choking down on the club.

The second part of your preparation involves getting to your boss’s golf course at least 10 minutes earlier than you planned. Find a spot on the green that is flat and hit a couple putts with the same tempo and swing length that you would at your home course to roll a 12-footer. Since the greens are significantly faster at your boss’s course, your ball will roll out much farther. To adjust the distance the ball is traveling, simply lighten your grip pressure and slow your tempo down until you have the ball rolling the desired 12 feet. Pay extra attention to the tempo required to make that putt roll that distance because you will need to recall that tempo once you get on the golf course.

If you have any questions you want me to address, drop me a line at blog@mariusgolf.com. You can also watch video on downhill-putting tips from the July Issue of Golf Magazine here

Lastly, I wanted to thank Bethesda CC and Woodmont CC who are hosting me this week in the DC area. Both clubs (and several members) have been long-time supporters of my work. I am very appreciative of them both.

Until next time…cheers!

(Photo: Fred Vuich/SI)

June 07, 2011

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

Posted at 10:40 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Leave your question or video for Brady in the comments section below!

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Hope everyone enjoyed it. Look forward to seeing you next week.

Jd asks at 2:00:

i am having trouble getting setup to the ball properly with my wait getting out on my toes and hunching too far over the ball. do you have any tips to get a correct setup position consistently?

There are two things you need to do in the address position that will really help. First you need to find and establish a neutral spine. This is to say you need to avoid to much slouch or too much arch. Here is a great way to find it. Sit on a hard surface with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you sit “up” on your “tush bones” you will feel the neutral position you need to create in the address position. The next step is to allow your upper body to bend over enough to get the weight onto the balls of your feet. This will feel like your knees are over your toes in a position similar to getting ready to dive into a swimming pool. The combination of a neutral spine and the weight positioned over your toes is where you need to be. Here is a picture that will get you going.

Posture

 

Jon asks at 1:45:

Brady... Do you think 'better players' try to hold the lag too long and get the club behind them when they really should be working on an earlier release/rotation? I don't try to hold the lag, but I am tired of see the shaft look like it's in a position to hit a baseball on the way down....

I don’t think “better players” try to hold the lag too long. I think the causes of the club getting behind them range from getting too far across the line at the top, sliding the lower body too far towards the target on the downswing, losing the tush line, and not maintaining their levels during the swing.

Terry asks at 1:20:

Hi Brady Trying to break 90 but I have trouble hitting my iron shots solid - either I hit the ground or hit the ball thin. When I'm looking at the ball - what is my target impact point? Any help would be appreciated. Terry in Idaho

 

There is a significant difference between tour players and amateurs when it comes to how the ball is struck when on the ground. Good players are able to move the bottom of their swing in front of the ball enabling them to hit the ball then the ground. Many amateurs, including some very good ones, often struggle hitting the ground before the ball or missing the ground completely. To get the bottom of the swing in front of the ball you must move your upper body closer to the target at impact than it was at address. This is the “stepping into the shot” or “transferring your weight” that you hear teachers talk about. The start of your downswing is the shift of your body in the direction of the target. This is the athletic move that you see when throwing a ball or hitting a ball with a bat or a racquet. Here are some pictures to help you see the difference between the body position from set up to impact.

Dl3pivot
 

Keenan Jones asks at 1:00:

 

Brady, I really enjoy your blog thanks for your help. I have a real problem fanning the club open early in the backswing. The club goes to far inside and then it comes over the top, so the ball goes sharp to the left. What drills can I practice to fix it. Also I have an issue with hitting the ball thin. Again, any drills to help me out.

The inside/open clubface combination on the takeaway is always a killer. The misses from this position are numerous and certainly include coming over the top and hitting the ball thin. Rather than dealing with the problems on the downswing let’s get the takeaway fixed. To keep the club from getting fanned open you need to focus on the right arm position. The right arms should stay “above” the left as you move the club away from the ball with the palm of your right hand pointing at the ball. This will keep the clubhead outside your hands and stop you from fanning the face open. When the club gets to parallel to the ground during the takeaway the clubhead should still be slightly outside your hands with the clubface parallel to the outside of your right arm. In other words, you should have everything in the basic position it was at address moved as a unit in the takeaway. One last thing to keep in mind is to keep the amount of connection between your upper left arm and chest at address a constant during the takeaway. Too many players allow the left arm to move out and off the chest in an attempt to keep the clubhead from getting inside. This creates other problems as the club moves past the takeaway so avoid that mistake! Here are a couple of pictures to help you see it.

Neutral face

Marcus asks at 12:35:

 

Most of my game is really improving (16.6 H'cap) but my driving is definitely the weak link.
Recently I have taken to using a 3 iron off the tee all the time just to make sure I'm in play - I KNOW this is costing me distance and also know if I can unlock the driver I can go lower.
Trouble is I'm very inconsistent with the big stick, one minute I Slice it the next I pull it - have tried a variety of set ups but ( unlike my irons ) when standing over the ball I have little confidence how the shot will turn out.
I CAN hit a good drive but it is waaay too infrequent.
Any tips for getting better in this department.
Thanks for reading.

Hang in there Marcus, there are many players that struggle with the driver. The deal is any problems with your technique will become more obvious and more penal with the big club. Pulls and slices are in the same family of misses. The basic idea is that you attack the ball on a path that is more outside to in than ideal with a face position that is at times square to the path and often open. Good ballstriking always begins with the grip. Make sure your hands are on the club properly and your grip isn’t too weak. Once the hands are checked move on to alignment. Most players struggling with your issue have their shoulders pointing left of their feet at address. Try to get your shoulders pointing at or slightly right of the target with your fee parallel to the target line. The combination of a better grip and solid address position gives you the best chance of attacking the ball on the proper path with your clubface square. Send in some video if you get a chance.

Ben asks at 12:10:

Brady, Love the blog and thanks for all your help. I couldn't get my video to upload. my problem is during my downswing my right houlder is dropping and not turning through the shot and it seems my arms and hands are at full extension at impact and it is just a flip at the ball. When I try to turn my right shoulder over my left foot at finish it is a huge pull/over the top shot. I know its hard to diagnose without video. Thanks again!

I’ll do my best Ben. There are two common causes of the flip and they are quite different. The first is collision between your right elbow and hip on the downswing. When your tush moves in the direction of the ball approaching impact your right elbow can’t get down in front of your hip. This makes your arms go out and around your hip to get to the ball leading to your over the top shot. To compensate for this many good players will combine the loss of the tush line with a hip slide. This will help the club drop down to the inside but the right shoulder stops rotating through the shot. As a result, the right arm has to straighten too early for the club to reach the ball and you are left with a flip. The solution is to keep your tush back away from the ball approaching impact so your right arm can get down in front of you while it remains bent. The combination of your tush back and arm in front will get your hands more forward at impact. Here is a picture of a before and after to help you get the idea.

Hillarycollide
Hillaryimpact
 

Rdub asks at 12:00:

 

7 HDCP with a question in regards chipping. Every once in a while, when my chipping goes bad, I don't skull or chili dip...I double hit the ball. When looking at the rules of golf, I'd rather skull it. It happens mostly when I have to lay the blade open. But I've had times where I've double hit the ball performing a standard chip shot. What are some causes and things i can work on to stop this?

The double hit is not only costly when it comes to score, it can be very embarrassing. People struggle with this problem because they have the wrong philosophy when it comes to chipping. A prominent short game “guru” has been pushing the idea that you must accelerate the club aggressively through impact to hit solid short shots. In fact, I have seen demonstrations with pitch shots where the backswing is half as long as the follow through. Conversely when you look at professionals hitting the same shot you often see a follow through that is shorter than the backswing. The obvious difference in the teaching of chipping as opposed to the actual technique that professionals use is the issue.

Players double hit chips when the backswing is too short and too slow to create enough momentum in the clubhead to propel the ball the proper distance. As a result they have to accelerate the club with their hands and arms to and through contact, making the clubhead move too quickly to the target as it strikes the ball. This makes the clubhead move at the same speed as the ball and the double hit becomes likely. You should think of the clubhead as a wrecking ball knocking down a building. If the clubhead is taken back far enough and with sufficient pace the clubhead will have plenty of momentum to hit the ball to the target. As a result, the club is doing more of the work instead of the arms and hands making the contact significantly more consistent and reliable. This is why good players describe proper chipping and pitching as “letting the club do the work”.


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