Archive: October 2011

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October 25, 2011

Poll: Is Luke Donald 2011's Player of the Year?

Posted at 10:44 AM by Golf.com

Luke Donald strung together a stellar back nine during the final round of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic to secure not only the victory, but the PGA Tour’s money title, as well. Does his season-ending performance solidify him as Player of the Year? We polled the Top 100 Teachers in America to get their opinion on the matter.

Was Luke Donald’s victory at Disney to claim the money title enough to solidify him as 2011’s Player of the Year?

Top-100-Poll-10-25-11

87.9% Yes
12.1% No

"He is without doubt the most consistent. Not 'occasional' in his greatness. That counts!" - Craig Shankland

"That was a performance of a true champion, and player of the year."  - Bruce Patterson 

"Absolutely! He played to win it the last day knowing what he had to do and silenced the critics!" - Nancy Quarcelino 

"Leading money winner on the PGA Tour and European Tour? That’s Player of the Year by anybody’s standards!" - Jim Murphy 

"Luke went down to the Children's to keep his money title, told the press he was going down there to win, then made 6 birdies in a row on the back nine Sunday to do it. It's like Babe Ruth calling a home Rum before he hit."  - Todd Sones 

"Yes. It was a breakout year for Luke. How Luke played the last round at the CMNHC should qualify him for POY. He knew he had to shoot a low score and did so in convincing fashion. Great finish for Luke and the PGA Tour. The Bomb and Gouge players should learn from Luke!" - Don Hurter

"Being the leading money winner on both European and US tours is an amazing feat. His win at Disney not only proves he deserves but says a lot about his competitive spirit." - Mike Bender

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

Posted at 10:24 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 have a question for Brady, check back next Tuesday for an all-new edition!

Thanks for following the blog. Hope to see everyone next week.....

Casey asks at 1:50:

thanks for keeping up with the blog. It's been very helpful all year.

I have a question on AK. I love his swing and am trying to steal some things from it, but I am a little confused why he hits his driver so wild. Do you think his swing is fundamentally sound and his issues might be more related to his health and not practicing enough? I just don't understand how such a pretty and efficient looking swing hits the ball so wild sometimes. Any thoughts are appreciated.

It is a very good question Casey. AK is no different than many powerful players when it comes to accuracy. With increased clubhead speed comes more power when you hit it well and more power away from the fairway when you don’t. When a player with AK’s power misses a shot it will always be more wild than the proportional miss of a Fred Funk. I think AK’s mechanics are excellent for the most part and are a good model to copy if you have the physical attributes of strength and flexibility. I think the lack of sufficient practice time, injuries, and overall rust under tournament conditions are all contributing factors to his lack of accuracy from the tee. He has played some solid rounds since his return, it remains to be seen if he can reach the superstardom that we all think is possible.

John asks at 1:10:

Appreciate any advice on the attached down the line video. I very much understand intellectually the tush line concept but cannot seem to execute it - my head moves so far back away from the ball and I was wondering if you might be able to suggest "why" this is happening . . . so I can get at the root cause to try and correct. I can take swings where I am "sure" my head does not move and the camera says otherwise. Much appreciated Brady!

Thanks for the video John. I couldn’t agree more that your lack of posture during the swing is the major issue. When you lose the “tush line” and stand up during the downswing your body doesn’t rotate properly as you are making contact. When the body isn’t working properly the hands have to overwork and play to active a role. This can lead to numerous misses including hooks and even the occasional shank. If I had you on the lesson tee the first thing I would fix is your legs and tush in the address position. Your hips are positioned too far behind your ankles making a shift towards the ball with your tush a certainty. You need to push your hips out over the ball while keeping your knees out over your toes. This may sound a bit confusing but the idea is to get your hips directly over your ankles so there is no need to shift off the line during the swing. Once the set-up has been fixed you will see an immediate improvement in your ability to maintain contact with the line.

Chances are this won’t completely fix your issue. I would have you make slow and short swings focusing on maintaining contact with the line your tush and head begin against. This is an incremental process that eventually becomes the full swing technique, but it takes time. You can put your head against a door jam at home, take your address position and make some “swings” without a club where you focus on maintaining contact with the wall until after impact. You can use the same drill with your tush against the wall and begin to get a feel for what is different than your normal swing. Keep in mind, you can’t make changes in your swing at full speed and full length. You have to slow it down and shorten it up to get there. Send in some new video when you get a chance so I can see how you are progressing.

Posture

Stevey O’Brian asks at 12:40:

Brady, I have the Driver yips. Ok I said it, I admit it. Over the past 3 years the occasional snipe, low and left, has become a major problem in my golf game. It doesn't happen on the range, I can hit driver over and over again and I can't replicate the issue. But it's happening 70% of the time I attempt to hit driver during a round. I assume it's 100% mental, do you have any suggested drills or strategies to excise the demons? I was an 8, now a 14 about to sell my sticks on E-Bay.

It’s going to be ok Stevey. You aren’t the first player to have this issue and won’t be the last. The good news is it can most certainly be fixed. Without seeing your swing I can’t tell you the specifics of why this is happening but I can help you with some strategies for moving forward. The biggest issue has to do with where your focus is when you are hitting the driver. Often times players struggle with the driver yips because they are anticipating impact. This makes your hands “fire” or grab the handle on the downswing and the results can be quite bad. The road to fixing this issue begins with your focus shifting to the flight of the ball and your finish position. I would suggest you abandon the thoughts of staying down and keeping your eye on the ball at impact and replace it with allowing your eyes to work out towards the target well before impact. This will change your motivation as you are attacking the ball from ball focused to target focused. With your eyes working out earlier you won’t be able to anticipate the contact and your hands will play a more passive role. Combine this with a commitment to hold the finish position and you will have a new formula to fixing your yips.

Bill asks at 12:15:

Attached are a few recent swings for review/comment.
I've been struggling with what i think is an overly long backswing and more importantly a flippy release. My right hand seems to overpower my left at the bottom of the swing, something i've been trying to correct forever. Is there a technique you can suggest that puts the hands in a better release position?

Thanks,
Bill


Thanks for the videos Bill. The grip is a bit weak in the left hand. While this might not seem like a big deal it effects your impact position and release in a profound way. If your body were to rotate open at a more normal rate (it is currently quite slow through the ball) and your hands got out in front at impact there is no way the clubface would square up properly. Think of the relationship between body rotation and hand action at impact as a balancing act. The more rotation you have the less the hands will be involved and vice versa. As a result, you are wise to keep the body rotation down to a minimum with the left hand grip positioned as it is. The hands have to pick up the slack through impact as a result which is why you see and feel the flippiness at impact. If you took the opposite example of a Paul Azinger or David Duval you would begin to see the relationship in a different way. They both play(ed) with strong left hand grips requiring a great deal of body rotatioin through impact to keep the hands from overworking. If the body was as passive as yours with the grip they were using you would see some impressive hooks. The key to improving your entire motion, specifically your impact position, lies with your grip. Make the left hand stronger so your body will have to move better through impact. This will give you a chance to get your hands leading the clubhead at impact and change the way you strike the ball.

Aman Misra asks at 12:00:

Dear Mr Riggs, greetings from Kolkata, India.
I hit the ball too low, i.e my trajectory or ball flight is very low. What can I do to improve my height over the ball?
Particularly with my long irons and woods.

You can start in the address position. Make sure the ball isn't positioned too far back in your stance as this will make it very difficult to get the ball in the air. The ball should be positioned forward of center in your stance with every ball played on the ground. It should be even more forward of center with the driver. To encourage a bit more height you need to create some right side tilt (right handed players) at address. If the shoulders are too level at set-up you are going to have very little chance to get the ball taking off at a normal height. Here is a picture to help you. Rightsidetilt


October 18, 2011

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

Posted at 10:12 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to answer your swing questions. If you have a question for Brady, take a video of your swing, upload it to YouTube and send him a link to it next Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time at Golf.com.

Thanks to everyone for your participation today. See you next week!!

Isaac asks at 1:30:

Hey Brady, I've been following the blog for a while and am a big fan. I have been struggling with blocks out to the right and hooks if I try to save the shot with my hands. I believe this is happening because my downswing is too far underplane/shallow. Do you have any drills or tips to help make a more on-plane downswing? Thanks so much for your help.

Glad you enjoy the blog. It is very possible that you are below plane and that is contributing to the blocks. The other thing you need to check is if you have slid too far toward the target at impact. If your hips and/or your head get out too far past their original position at impact you will really struggle with the blocks. While this is a major issue in and of itself, it will also prevent the club from getting up onto the proper plane coming into impact and keep it pinned under the plane. The key here is to get your hips rotating open instead of sliding toward the target. This should help your head stay back behind its original position until after the ball has been hit. The earlier rotation of your hips will encourage your upper body to rotate around to the target as well, forcing the club more out in front of you and more up onto the proper angle coming down.

Vince asks at 1:05:

What are some drills I can do to improve my impact position?

First read the response I gave earlier in the blog about hitting from wet turf and the specifics of impact. The way to make this better is through a series of small swings. You should begin by taking your normal address position and then pose your impact position without making a backswing. When you are there you should notice that your left wrist is flat, right wrist bent backwards, the handle should be ahead of the clubhead, weight on your front foot, right heel lifted slightly. From this “impact position” make a short backswing and try to hit the ball about 20 yards getting back to your posed position. When you are effective at this, you can modify it by starting at normal address, posing impact, then going back to normal address and hitting another very short shot about 20 yards getting back to your posed impact position. The swing will continue a bit past impact, usually about as far as you took it back. The swing should continue to grow in both length and speed until you are achieving a similar impact position to your original posed start. When things get sloppy as you get bigger, which is inevitable, go back down a notch in speed and length to where you are successful. This is the ONLY way to make the impact alignments better. Start slow and short, work on the specifics, and get bigger slowly.

Barrett asks at 12:45:

I am looking to get more hip turn in my swing, a la Snead. Any suggestions?

I think that more hip turn is generally a very good idea for all but the most flexible players. It is amazing how many people, instructors included, still believe it is more powerful to prevent the hips from turning back and crank the shoulders against them. This is completely ineffective for the vast majority of players as they are unable to get enough rotation with the shoulders without some help from the hips. I remember Nick Faldo talking about why he was playing so well at the U.S. Open when it was held at Bethpage Black. The course was the longest in the history of the Open, which made his performance all the more unexpected. He said he was allowing his hips to rotate much more freely going back, as he was unable to create enough power when he restricted their turn. This was an adjustment he made as he got older, but was he was still in significantly better shape the most of us are. You can flare both of your feet slightly open at address. This is an excellent way of encouraging more hip rotation. The in-swing adjustment is to try to show the target your tush at the top of the backswing. When combined with the flare of your back foot you will get the turn you need.

Dave asks at 12:30:

Hi Brady. I live in the great northeast and the golf season is (sadly) winding down rapidly. What exercises, stretches, drills do you recommend to improve my game during the winter and so that I'm ready to go when the spring rolls around?

Hopefully you have the opportunity to practice indoors during the winter months. If this is the case, you should view this time of year as the best chance for you to improve the technical aspects of your game. With little or no concern for where the ball is going, it is much easier to focus on the specific elements of your swing that need improvement. This should always be done with a professional instructor either in person or by sending video to him/her of your swing and asking for direction. In terms of exercises and stretches, there are several places you can turn for direction. I send my players to a golf specific biomechanical expert at Fit2Peak Golf. Check out his website or find him via facebook. He is fantastic.

Dan asks at 12:00:

What adjustments do you make for wet conditions? I tend to hit fat when the ground is wet. I think that reveals that I'm not hitting the ball first, so I'm working on that. Do you have any tips or drills to help with that? Also, when the ground is pretty wet, do you adjust to intentionally hit a bit thin? Or any other adjustments? Is there a difference in adjustments between the long clubs and short clubs?

I would agree with you that you aren’t hitting the ball first. When the ground is wet ,you shouldn’t be making any specific adjustments to your swing. If you are swinging properly the wet conditions shouldn’t have too significant of an effect on the shots. However, wet rough can make it very difficult for the club to get through the grass, taking some distance off the shots. There are some that would say the small amount of water between the ball and club can make the ball jump from the fairway, but I’m not a believer because the purpose of the grooves on the clubface takes care of that.

To get the ball hit before the ground there must be 2 specific elements. First, the shaft must be leaning forward at impact, as it creates the proper amount of down to the strike. If the clubhead passes your hands before impact, there is no way for you to go ball then turf. The second element isn’t critical to hitting the ball first, but it must be combined with it to avoid coming in too steep at impact. The club must be attacking the inside/back portion of the ball. Without this critical element, the club will be off the proper track and the contact will be dreadful. The reason my mortgage is paid from teaching every month is because many people don’t understand that the club can’t come into the ball from directly behind it with the face square. It must come into the inside/back portion of the ball with the face closing.

 

 

October 17, 2011

Poll: Will 2012 be Fowler's breakout year?

Posted at 5:09 PM by Golf.com

Shortly after Rickie Fowler's first professional victory in Korea, we polled the Golf Magazine Top 100 Teachers in America to get their take on where Fowler's future is headed.

Will 2012 be Rickie Fowler’s breakout year on the PGA Tour? 

RickiePoll

63.6% Yes
36.4% No

“Rickie Fowler is about to explode! Far too much talent to stay contained. He got a taste in Korea and this will jump start great things to come.” – Tom Patri 

“It takes even the best players a year or two to become familiar with the golf courses and the travel but he's ready now.” – TJ Tomasi 

"No, he will get his first win in '12 and move his career forward with further improvement but no huge breakout" - Brian Mogg

“One win is nice but it's going to take more than that to make it a break out year in 2012.” – Jane Frost 

“I believe that Rickie Fowler has the juice to take his game to the next level. In order for him to have a breakout year, though, he needs to drive the ball better. Last year he finished 157th in driving accuracy hitting only 56% of the fairways and only 64% of the greens in regulation, making scoring difficult. It is hard to hit greens from the trees and rough. He has the talent to be a dominant player, a future star on the tour. When he gets his ball striking under control, look for him to win majors.” - Mike Adams

“The win by Rickie in Korea might make one think he is ready to ‘breakout’ but I believe he's still a year away. Love to see him do it as the fans like him, but his missed cut at the McLadrey indicates a bit more time might be necessary.” - Gary Wiren 

“My money is on Tom Lewis who won after 3 events on the European Tour.” - Don Hurter

“Tough to break out much from what Rickie has already done. Might be most popular player on tour. Will he win? Most definitely. The kid is great!” – Jim McLean

October 11, 2011

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

Posted at 11:14 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was today at noon Eastern to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Brady will be back next Tuesday so get your swing videos on YouTube so he can take a look.

Thanks for joining me in the blog. Hope you enjoyed the pictures, look forward to seeing you next week.

Vatin C. asks at 1:00:

I've been having this problem for as long as I can remember. Basically during the takeaway my left shoulder moves out and drops down a bit and, as a result, my left elbow kinda points in front of me and my backswing plane looks flat. Any tips and drills I can use to get out of this problem? My practice swing looks better in this regard. Is it tension or incorrect sequence? Had tried keeping head cover under my left pit but didn't quite work out.

Try to maintain the connection between your upper left arm and chest during the takeaway with your hands staying inside the clubhead. This will keep the clubshaft working more up instead of around and help the plane improve. Here are some pictures that will really help.

Clarketake
Clarkeup

J asks at 12:20::

I wonder whether you could explain some of your key setup fundamentals for me, primarily with the irons. I've heard of the "reverse K" being a good starting point but would enjoy hearing some specifics. Should the head stay behind the ball at address etc. and what does that allow the body/club to do more efficiently...?

I've been trying to emulate Rory's setup position and notice that, even with the shorter irons, his left should is significantly higher than his right. See here:

I've never given it too much thought before now, assuming that my spine angle would be correct courtesy of my right hand being lower on the club.

Whenever you speak in generalities about mechanics you are doing a bit of a disservice to the individual player. If you look at a player like David Duval in his prime and critiqued his address position, it wouldn’t be something you would recommend. This would also be the case for Hubert Green, Fuzzy Zoeller, Lee Trevino, etc. There are very few players who don’t have some minor individual variances in their address positions. With that said, there are a few things I like to see when working with my players that are fairly standard across the board. Your head should be slightly behind the ball with the irons because the ball is under the logo on the left chest and your right hand is placed lower on the club producing some tilt in the shoulders. From the down-the-line view your knees should be slightly over the toes with the weight in the balls of the feet. With the proper posture, your arms should be hanging down either perpendicular to the ground or slightly out away from the body, depending upon the length of your club, your height and your physical characteristics. From the down-the-line camera position, a friend should be able to see a little of your upper left arm (right-handed player) as this would indicate your shoulders are square and the grip is correct. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see what I am describing.

Villegassetup
Address
Quietlegs
 

Charles Hill asks at 12:00:

How can I stop "throwing" the club off the top when I start my downswing? What trigger should I use or feel to start the downswing to prevent this?

This is a very common mistake amateurs make in an effort to add more power. The key is to change the sequence of motion in the transition from backswing to downswing. When done properly, your body should move in the direction of the target before your arms and club have completed the backswing. This change of direction is the key to creating the seemingly “effortless” power you see on television every week. Your arms and hands remain relaxed in the transition and are “moved” by your body. This is completely different than moving the club with your hands before your body has had a chance to do anything. Work on the change of direction and you will fix this issue.

 


October 10, 2011

Tiger Woods should add events to 'slacker' schedule

Posted at 6:31 PM by Brady Riggs

Oct9-tiger-woods-t3_372x248 Last week I thought a healthy and rested Tiger Woods might do something special at the Frys.com Open at CordeValle. In the end, Tiger probably gets a C+ or B- for his T30 finish, nothing that will get his fans or his doubters too encouraged. He was a little erratic, which is not surprising considering he hadn't played a competitive round since August.

Every time Tiger doesn't play well he blames his putting, but a look at the stats tells another story. His putting was fine -- he was in ninth in putting average -- but the rest of his game was pretty blah. Twenty-second in driving distance isn't great against that field. He didn't hit a ton of greens (43rd in greens in regulation), and outside of his putting his short game was iffy at best (50th in scrambling from the rough; 62nd in sand-save percentage).

I'm sure the most important thing for Tiger was that he felt healthy, but it's amazing how much we've lowered our expectations. Think about it for a minute. Tiger Woods just finished 30th in a Fall Series event, and we think that's pretty good. Even he appears pleased about it. Two years ago, that would have been unthinkable. Tiger used to look at second place like a set of steak knives, and now he's happy with playing a little better every day. He's just not the same guy he used to be, which is why he can't keep playing the schedule he used to play.

We can argue all day about swing theory and Sean Foley vs. Hank Haney vs. Butch Harmon, but no one could seriously say that Tiger doesn't need to play more. Tiger talks about his need for "reps," but except for the Frys.com Open he's not inclined to add any more tournaments to his schedule. It's inexplicable. If you need the reps, then play. He's in desperate need of tournament experience, but he still wants to keep the boutique schedule he maintained when he was on top of the game. Play Disney. Play every event you can. The truth is that Tiger needs his competitive edge back, and he's not going to find it at his private club or his backyard practice course.

I teach a lot of junior golfers, and they all go through a process. First, they shoot in the 80s, then the 70s, then they start breaking par, and then I'll get a call, "I'm in the lead, Brady." We all know what happens next: they fall on their face and shoot 78. Everybody does, because it takes time to learn how to play under pressure and how to win. I'm not sure Tiger remembers how to do that anymore. He needs to build himself back. He needs to feel what it's like to get in contention, to sleep with the lead and to play under pressure on Sunday. He's acting like he can just show up at Augusta in April and do all those things again, but he won't be able to unless he's replicated all those experiences in competition. Just imagine what the buzz will be like around Tiger the next time he's leading a major. He needs to get reacquainted with that feeling, but he's not playing enough to be sharp enough to win major championships right now.

One thing that was made very clear last week is how important Tiger is to our game. I work at a public course in Southern California, and we're hurting. We used to have two- or three-hour delays, and now hardly anybody is here hitting balls. Our rounds are down 40 percent. I know it's mostly due to the economy, but when Tiger is playing you can feel the increase in interest. It's palpable. I mean, someone throws a hot dog at him and it's bigger news than Keegan Bradley winning the PGA Championship. Tiger gets people excited about golf, and that's why almost everybody in the game is pulling for his comeback. In many cases our livelihoods depend on it.

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs is director of instruction at Woodley Lakes Golf Club in Van Nuys, Calif.

This story originally appeared in the Golf Magazine Front9 App. To download the weekly app, visit the Apple iTunes store.

(Photo: Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

October 04, 2011

Get ready to fist-pump, Tiger fans!

Posted at 3:16 PM by Brady Riggs

Tigersback_brady Tiger Woods returns to the PGA Tour this week and for once it’s not a moment too soon.

In the last couple years, Tiger has been repeatedly sidelined by scandal, injuries, marital problems -- we all know the list -- and each time he returned it felt like he was rushing back from something. The 2010 Masters. The 2011 Players Championship. The 2011 PGA Championship. When he returns this week at the Frys.com Open at CordeValle in Northern California, he’ll be coming back on his own timetable.

The dust has finally settled, and I expect Tiger to play well. Everything points toward a good week for Tiger. He’s now had plenty of time to work with new swing coach Sean Foley. If it’s going to work with Foley, then we should start to see it this week. I know it was only a practice round, but that 62 he shot last week at Medalist is a auspicious. The caddie change is good for him too. His relationship with Steve Williams obviously had gotten stale, and Joe LaCava, an experienced caddie whom Tiger knows and respects, is the perfect replacement.

The venue is a great place for him as well. No disrespect to the Frys.com Open, but Tiger won’t have to deal with the pressure of a major this week. Nor will he dominate the media coverage. This isn’t northern Wisconsin; the Bay Area has a lot of other things going on. Tiger should be swinging more comfortably than he has in a long time.

I’ll be watching three things extra-closely this week that should show if Tiger’s on the right path.

1. His driver: I want to see him going at the ball hard and not losing tee shots to the right

2. His health: He should be as healthy as he’s ever going to be. He turns 36 this December -- can you believe that? -- and it never gets any easier coming back from injury. Basically, he’s learning to deal with things that basically hurt all the time.

3. His short game: If he’s going to come back, it’s crucial he look comfortable on and around the greens. We always talk about Phil Mickelson’s brilliance in the short game -- and Mickelson is spectacular -- but when Tiger is on his game no one comes close to his chipping and pitching.

I’m not predicting a win. There’s going to be some rust -- how could there not be -- but I expect him to play well, as well as we’ve seen in a long time. (The Masters is a special case because he’ll always be able to compete on that course.) He’s going to hit some loose shots -- that’s inevitable with a hard swing. The important thing is that he misses correctly. At the height of his game, Tiger could make birdies and pars with his short game from places no one thought possible. His problem this year is that he’s been missing in the wrong places, places where he couldn’t recover from.

It is strange to see Tiger at a Fall Series event. In a lot of ways, it feels like 1996 all over again. His critics in the media and the public aren’t giving him a free pass anymore. Tiger knows a lot of people are writing him off, and I think he feels he has a lot to prove. Even I’ve been skeptical based on what I saw earlier in the year. But this is the perfect scenario: new swing, new caddie, easy tournament. He’s going out there to get his game back. Those of us who’ve watched him since his junior golf days want to see signs that he’s going in the right direction and some flashes of the old Tiger Woods. I don’t want to see him hitting houses, making poor chips, and missing four-footers. If that happens again, it’s time to start really worrying.

[Photo credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/The Augusta Chronicle/ZUMAPRESS.com]

 

This story originally appeared in the Golf Magazine Front9 App. To download the weekly app, visit the Apple iTunes store.

Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Answers Your Swing Questions

Posted at 9:31 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday at noon Eastern to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. He'll be back on Golf.com next Tuesday at noon. Take your videos and upload then to YouTube for Brady's analysis next week!

Jim asks at 1:00:

Thank you for sharing your time and insights to help us improve our games! I am working very hard on integrating a more "upright" swing plane and this video shows my progress. Before making this change, my plane was much flatter and my arms were barely past my shoulders, and I hit sweeping draws. From this new position I am am struggling for a correct downswing plane. I would be grateful for any advice.......Thank you!!!!!!

Thank you for following the blog. I always look forward to Tuesday morning. The thing you need to determine at this point is if the club is attacking on the same excessively inside angle it was before when you were hitting the sweeping draws or if you have overcorrected and are now coming down too steep. There are several indicators that can help. If you are taking a deep divot that is pointing to the left, chances are you have made the swing too steep. If there is no divot at all, it is likely you are too inside. If the ball is starting way right of the target and coming back, the path is too much from the inside and vice versa if it is going left immediately. There are times when the face position at impact can make this issue a bit confusing, but these are good indicators. When you know what the path issue is you need to work away from the problem until you have overcorrected again. This is how changing the swing works. You make too big of an adjustment one way and then bring it back until you find the middle ground. If you are fortunate enough to have video, you want to see the shaft bisect your right forearm (right-handed players) on the downswing. Here is a picture to give you a model.

If you can send in some video I will be able to give you more specific advice.

Forearm

 Kevin asks at 12:30:

I have been studying tour swings for a number of years and have a question about the clubface setup of some tour players that has always perplexed me. I noticed that some do NOT setup with the ball in middle of the clubface. For example, Fuzzy Zoeller always sets up with the ball opposite the hosel, while Fred Couples does just the opposite, setting up with the ball drastically off the toe. Do you have any idea why some tour players do this? Is it to help avoid the dreaded toe and hosel strikes?

Thanks for the question, Kevin. The simple fact is that it really doesn’t matter where the club sits at address because impact and address aren’t the same. Fuzzy carried his hands very low at address which makes the toe pop up and the heel slide closer to the ball. Couples started with his hands higher than most, creating the exact opposite effect. In most cases, amateurs make these adjustments either unwittingly or to avoid a miss as you have described.

I do recommend to many of my players to sole the club so the ball is toward the toe with the driver. The reason for this is the club is elevated off the ground at impact, yet begins on the ground (for most players). When the club switches from address to impact height, it will move out away from the player, making it more likely to be the right distance from the ball if you start it on the ground and near the toe. This isn’t necessary with the irons because the club will not be airborne at impact (hopefully).

Here are a couple of pictures of Couples to help you see the differences between set-up and impact.

  Couples

Stephen asks at 12:10: 

Hey Brady, my game and knowledge of the game is always improving, but one thing I've strived for is a powerful trajectory. I recently played with someone who didn't have an exceptional swing, but he had such effortless power. The ball just exploded off his clubface and he got such height on the ball. Is it a wide backswing, angle of attack, perfect release or all of them? I was in such awe watching his ball versus my own I quickly lost confidence.....probably the way others did when Tiger was dominating.

It can be intimidating to play with someone who makes it look easy. The simple answer is it isn’t that simple. The “lines” have to be good first and foremost. What this means is the clubface needs to be aligned to match the path and the release of the club. The face can be slightly open or closed, but it has to match with the path that is either neutral, slightly steep or slightly shallow with a release that is either body-driven or hands-and-arms-dominated. Confusing, isn’t it? The idea is there are many combinations of “lines” that work, but they have to work in harmony to allow for the power to be produced through the proper sequence of motion. The sequence is where you will find the power, but you can’t work on it until the lines are effective. 

Patrick asks at 12:00:

First off, thanks for the blog - it's great info and has really helped me understand the swing better. I've been struggling with the thin blocks all season and have seen my index jump from a 1.9 to a 4.0. It's especially damaging on the drives, putting me out of play once a round or so. I think my issue is getting the clubhead inside a bit a takeaway and spinning out with my hips (you can see my front foot doing goofy things on the face on view). The odd thing is, the more outside I take the cluhead the more I hook it. I am at a loss and it seems like every lesson I take I am told that the swing looks good. Help!

Face on: http://m.youtube.com/?client=mv-google#/watch?v=f8dtIh477_A

Down the line: http://m.youtube.com/?client=mv-google#/watch?v=WKJjFFjz-x8

I can’t seem to play the videos. See if you can repost them.

 


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