Archive: November 2011

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November 29, 2011

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

Posted at 10:21 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, be sure to check back next week for an all-new edition.

Thanks for your participation in the blog. Sorry I didn't get to eveyone. Please ask your questions again next Tuesday. Have a great week.

Casey asks at 1:00:

I wanted to give you an update video of the swing. I strengthened my grip a little and am still working on my backswing and covering the ball on the down swing. I also want to let my head rotate earlier as you said I just have too much stuff in my head to focus on that now. Could you please talk about covering the ball? I think AK does it really well and I think that helps his release of the club to be more square for longer instead of flippy, do you agree?

Thanks as always for the help. Sorry I am still wearing my ugly belt. I haven't been able to shop yet :)


Face on:

I agree, the belt is still ugly.

The backswing is looking pretty solid. I think allowing your head to work out sooner is part of covering the ball. Your chest needs to get “over” your left foot more at impact. This happens with a combination of rotation and lateral motion on the downswing. When you look at your left foot at impact it is rolled outside excessively. When you cover the ball properly the foot remains flat.

You have to work your way into the proper position at impact by hitting a combination of short shots and extremely slow motion swings to learn where you are going. Hit some short shots that travel 20-40 yards with your 8 or 7 iron and focus on a very flat left foot at impact. To do this you will need to get your upper body more over the top of the foot and sync up the movement of your hands, arms, and weight. Once you have the short ones down you move on to longer swings at very slow speed trying to feel the same keys you were focusing on with the short shots. Here is a picture of where you need to be.


Ryan Stewart asks 12:40:

Could you please take a look and help me get a better backswing position? Also, does my lower body movement on the downswing need to be tightened up?

Love the blog.


The left arm is a little over rotated as you approach the top of the backswing. This gets the club too laid off at the top. Try to keep your hands more under the club at the top of the swing as it will make attacking on the proper path much easier on the downswing. The face on view needs a little work as well. Your head never move away from the target going back (some love this, I don’t) and inevitably is past its’ original position at impact. While this isn’t the end of the world with the shortest clubs, it stinks for the longer stuff. Your lower body is also too far beyond where it should be at impact. The slide of the lower body on the downswing to the target is often caused by the head being out of position. Allow your head to move off the ball more going back and the club will be easier to line up at the top because your turn will improve dramatically. From the better position at the top the lower body will have an easier time rotating approaching impact, getting your hands more out in front of the clubhead, a must for great ball-striking.

Patrick asks at 12:20:

I tried to submit some videos a few weeks back but looks like I had some technical difficulties, so hopefully we can try again. This year I really struggled with a case of the blocks, especially off the tee costing me a couple of strokes per round. I tend to think my right elbow gets a hair stuck behind me on my downswing, not allowing me a full release of the club. I also have a tendency to get the club a bit shut at the top, although i find that the weaker I grip the club the more flippy I get with my hands. I have taken a few lessons, but most instructors tell me it looks pretty good and I just need to complete my turn and try to hit it more from the inside, which makes no sense to me considering I miss right.

Down the line:

Face on:

Hope this works.

They worked this time. You can definitely make the swing better. I wouldn’t weaken the grip either as it looks pretty weak already. The closed clubface is the result of turning your left hand under during the takeaway. When the back of your left hand turns towards the ground the face will get closed. This also takes the club too far to the inside during the takeaway which gets the club across the line at the top of the swing. This will get the club stuck too far inside during the downswing leading to the blocks you describe. You need to get the clubface under control by fixing the takeaway. This will get the club more up and laid off at the top of the backswing, a huge key to fixing your stuck position on the downswing. Once the clubface is square and the path is cleaned up you can start to rotate through impact more efficiently. Your body remains down and inactive way to long during and after impact. Check out the picture for a visual of where you should be headed.


Patrick asks at 12:00:

Brady! I have a vicious slice that sometimes makes me hit most of my irons the same distance. I have been told to try and get more inside on the golf ball but now I am duffing balls bad. Can I be going too far inside now? Any fix?

While there are various strategies for fixing slices, attacking the path first is my least favorite. If the ball is going right because you are slicing it your instincts will tell you to aim more left and swing more left. This is logical and actually can help improve the result somewhat, although the ball will still curve and you will never fix it. It is illogical to swing more from the inside if the ball is going to the right as that would make the ball start in the direction it is already going. The clubface has a significantly more profound influence over the ball than the path. As a result, the clubface should be fixed first for two reasons. First, if the face is more influential the open clubface is the source of the problem. Second, if the clubface becomes square to the path and the path is too much from the outside the ball will go well LEFT of the target. This will be a great motivator for swinging the club more from the inside to start the ball more right.

With all that said getting the clubface square is the priority. Start with the grip by making sure it is positioned between neutral and strong on the handle. The second priority is making sure the left wrist is flat at the top of the swing. This will further strengthen the position of the clubface and get you going in the right direction. Here are a couple of pictures to help.


November 22, 2011

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

Posted at 11:22 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, be sure to check back next Tuesday for an all-new edition.

Thank you for participating is this weeks blog. I will see everyone next week. Enjoy your holiday.....

Luke asks at 2:00:

Wish I had video but think my question won't need it. On the downswing, I have been focusing on firing my right hip to start the downswing. Unfortunately, when I do this, I feel I am turning my right hip closer to the ball and this is making me come over the top.

Would it make more sense to start the downswing with a focus on turning the left hip and pulling it away from the target and allowing the right hip to stay the same distance away from the ball at address?

I have been trying to watch youtube videos of the pros and try to figure this out but have not had much luck. Love the blog. Thanks for your help!

Thanks for the question Luke. Before there is any rotation on the downswing there should be some lateral motion. If the first move down is rotation it is likely you will come over the top. Unlike your shoulders your hips can’t work independently of each-other. When one hip moves, so will the other. Determining which hip you focus on is up to you. I will tell you that driving your right down and around is a thought that has worked for me over the years. However, make sure you get enough lateral motion first or you will not be happy with the results.


Rick asks at 1:30:

I have had problems with my hip turn on the downswing. I tend to swing the club to the top, but my hips will move towards the ball, creating a very bad impact. I play off a 6 handicap, but I know I would be more consistent with a better impact.

If I am understanding you correctly your hips and tush work in towards the ball at impact closing down the space that was present at address. This is a very common problem even among good players. The first step is to check your address position. Make sure your weight is starting towards the front of your shoes in the balls of your feet. If the weight starts in your heels you will search for balance in your swing by pushing your weight towards your toes. This will take your hips towards the ball and create a lack of space for your arms as you attack on the downswing. With the weight already towards the balls of your feet at address there is no need to move closer to the ball to find balance. Your weight can work into the back heel during the backswing keeping enough space from the ball for your right arm to work down in front of you.

Dave asks at 1:05:

hello Brady...thanks for all the help. quick question regarding release: what role do the forearms play in the release of the club and what time during the downswing does the release occur? and the same question related to putting?

I wish I had a few hours to answer this question. Let’s start with putting. The release of the putter and the action of the forearms has everything to do with the style of putting used. If you are a “blocker” like Mickelson used to be there is little to know release of the putter through impact. The face stays very square to the plane and putter shaft remains vertical to the ground after impact. There is absolutely no rotation in the forearms during impact and into the finish. On the other hand if you are a player who likes to “release” the putter head during the stroke everything changes. The putter passes your hands after impact, the stroke has more arc in it, the putter face rotates along the arc and the forearms have a proportionally amount of rotation to them. It all depends upon the style of stroke.

The full swing is much more complicated. When dealing with the release you have more factors to account for. The strength or weakness in their position on the grip, the clubface position during the swing (open or closed), the desired ballflight of the shot, the amount and timing of the body rotation during impact, the trajectory of the shot, the angle of attack, the path, etc. With so many elements needing to be accounted for it is easy to see how difficult it is to answer your question. Yes, the forearms play a role in the release of the club, but when and how much depends upon a great many factors.

Nick asks at 12:45:

I was wondering how much time do you spend working on shotmaking with your students (draws, fades, low push fades, high draws etc.)? I see a lot of pros at the tournaments mostly hitting their stock shot. For example, I've never never seen guys like Jonathan Byrd or Charles Howell III hit any other shot besides their draw shots. Even Mcilroy or Mcdowell also fall into this list of mostly hitting their high draws. Are most tour level greens and fairways designed so that folks can get away with hitting one type of shot? Are the distances that the pros are hitting from the tee that far so that they can essentially flyover the slight dogleg holes instead of shaping the ball to match the fairway design (pull fades on those dog leg rights)? I guess the final point is do you think that shaping the ball has lost its importance in golf due to the new tech and the marketing focus on distance rather than control?

I think you have touched on some very interesting points Nick. Power and technology have changed the game sufficiently enough over the last decade or so that working the ball is a lost art. The last player who played a game of precision, control and true shotmaking that won major championships was Nick Faldo. Those days are long gone. I still work with my players on hitting shots instead of just making swings. While the need for those shots has decreased, the information and knowledge about the swing gained from learning how to hit them is invaluable.

Matt asks at 12:30:

As always thanks for you analysis and insight. I have a question about flighting wedges. I tend to hit my wedges straight up in the air. I get good distance and they will hold greens but this is more so to trajectory than it is to spin. This becomes particularly troublesome in the wind. I was wondering if you could offer some insights into ways to control the trajectory of wedge shots as I would like to be able to have more options on how to attack greens with my wedge game.

Trajectory control is critical to creating opportunities for birdies with the wedges. There are several simple adjustments that will help you flight the ball lower. In address push the ball back in the stance and start with a little more weight on the front foot. This adjustment will lower the ball flight by itself but can be problematic if you don’t adjust for the steeper angle of attack it will create. Try to picture the shot taking off in a long banquet hall and never hitting the ceiling. The backswing will be a bit shorter with the weight forward by the key is attacking more from the inside while your right shoulder stays HIGHER through impact. That may sound confusing by the more inside attack is critical with the change in address position and the right shoulder needs to “stay on top” of the ball as you come through impact. This will prevent the clubhead from passing your hands and create the lower trajectory you are looking for. The finish will be a bit shorter proportionally than the backswing which is fine. Make sure you keep your right shoulder going through impact and you will hit the more penetrating wedge shot you are looking for.

November 21, 2011

Don't Get Too Excited About Tiger's Play Down Under

Posted at 10:37 PM by Brady Riggs

Tiger-brady-blogTiger Woods played great in his clinching singles match against Aaron Baddeley at last week’s Presidents Cup. He played so great that it’s tempting to pronounce that Tiger has returned from his slump and will soon retake his rightful place as the world’s No. 1 golfer. However, we just don’t have enough evidence to say that yet.

Don’t get me wrong. Tiger is going in the right direction. He played well on a difficult Royal Melbourne course, and except for one round he was excellent at the Australian Open the week before. I’ve been hearing that he’s been having a lot of 36-hole and 54-hole practice days, and that’s just what he needs to get in tournament form. If Tiger is healthy and playing often, he’ll be good with whatever swing he uses -- he can’t help it -- but we shouldn’t read too much into how Tiger played at the Presidents Cup and the Australian Open.

The first reason is that the Presidents Cup is a match-play event. Remember how he dusted Francesco Molinari at the 2010 Ryder Cup? That didn’t mark the beginning of Tiger’s comeback. In fact, things got worse the following year. If I were picking someone to play one match, I’d choose Tiger 100 times before I picked another guy. With his six USGA amateur match-play titles (three U.S. Junior Amateurs and three U.S. Amateurs), he might be the best match-play golfer in history. In match play, Tiger is always going to find a way to compete no matter how he’s striking the ball.

The other reason not to overreact to Tiger’s play in Australia is that the tournaments weren’t that important. Let’s be honest. The Presidents Cup is nothing like the Ryder Cup, which inspires so much passion and bad blood. The Presidents Cup is exactly what it was intended to be, an exhibition of sportsmanship to promote the game globally. That’s admirable, but as a gauge of where Tiger’s game is, the Presidents Cup is pretty meaningless.

We all know that Tiger keeps score with major championships, and until we see him execute his new swing under major pressure, we won’t know if the changes have worked. The true test is whether he can rely on his swing under the pressure of a major on Sunday. Sure, he looks a lot more comfortable with his swing changes now, but they haven’t been tested by fire yet. I don’t think we can make any judgments based on a couple of decent rounds in Australia.

If you’re a Tiger fan like I am, there were reasons for optimism last week. For one, he looked healthy and he was moving around the course better. I thought his short game looked better. The putting wasn’t totally there -- I saw him miss an important putt low that he would have made a much better run at before -- but these things will come in time. He also looks like he’s having fun. It was telling to see Tiger and Mickelson yukking it up. In the past, Tiger wouldn’t let his guard down like that, at least not publicly. It’s nice to see Tiger animated and enjoying the team camaraderie.

So when will we know if Tiger is back? Everything we know about Tiger tells us he’s focused on April 2012. It ought to be fun to watch. Everybody loves a comeback story, but this one hasn’t really started yet.

(Photo: Brandon Malone/Reuters)

This column originally appeared in Golf Magazine's weekly Front9 app. To keep up with the latest golf news, get great tips from the Top 100 Teachers in America, and weekly Rules Guy columns, download the Front9 app at the Apple iTunes store. A lifetime subscription is $2.99.

November 15, 2011

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

Posted at 11:22 AM by Brady Riggs

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, be sure to check back next Tuesday for an all-new edition. Leave your questions in the comments section below.

Thanks to everyone for following Ask Brady Live! Get those video cameras and smart phones out and send me some swings to analyze next week. See you then...

Jim asks at 1:50:

Love the blog and read it weekly. You really give great advice to people.
I don't have a video to post but my play last year I really lost my lag and even on good contact didn't take a divot. All my shots were sky high including the driver. It was very easy to thin the ball. I would hit the ball straight or block it. Any tips to fix this?

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. High and thin is usually very straight forward. Try to get more of you over your front foot at impact. When your upper body hangs back behind the ball the bottom of your arc will be there as well. This means any divot you take will be before contact and in most cases the club will be traveling more up during impact. This will produce thin shots and increase the loft on all of your clubs forcing the shots up in the air. When the body moves over the front foot correctly during the downswing the bottom of the arc will be in front of the ball with the hands leading the clubshaft. The divot will be taken out in front with the club descending into impact. The ball flight will come down and it will go much farther. Give it a try and I am sure you will get the results you are looking for.

Casey asks at 1:15:

I saw comments were a little light so I wanted to post again. I have an update video of my swing and was hoping to get your thoughts. I think my back swing plane improved in this but I wanted to know what your think and also if you could offer any suggestions on how to practice so I can actually keep this backswing (assuming its good enough). I often make changes that are good in my swing but it is really tough to get them to stick. (ps, what I usually am doing with my hands after a shot are signals so I know how I hit it). Thank you!

Also, any chance I could you would comment on what Tiger is doing in his swing? I remember you thought it wasn't the right move for him originally I am just curious if you think its headed in a better direction now?

Glad you sent in the improvements Casey, it does look better. I have to know, does that belt really match the shirt? That may be a little too coordinated…..just saying.

I am glad you sent in the face on view because it offered some insight into what I thought I was seeing down the line. After seeing your grip from the face on view it makes sense why the clubface appears to be a bit open on the downswing. I would like to see your left hand get in a bit stronger position at address. I can see way too much of your left thumb on the forward side of the handle at address. It should be positioned more on top and to the trailing side to facilitate a more square clubface position during the swing. I agree with you that the shape of your backswing is quite good right now. There is room for improvement on the downswing when it comes to the clubface position that is currently open and a slightly steeper angle of attack than I would like to see. As you continue to progress as a technician your head can do a better job of moving out with the contact of the ball during impact and into the finish. In my opinion, your head stay down too long making your arms track around you too much as you work towards the finish. Let your eyes follow the ball out and you will see more consistency in the strike at impact and improve your long-term physical health.

Except for the belt I really like what you are doing.

Brett asks at 1:15:

I have an odd situation. I just turned 40 and am playing better than I ever have. Not complaining about that--I'm shooting two or three over on 9-hole rounds with my son. And I shot a 79 three weeks ago.

The problem is, the more I play, the worse my game gets. I now play once a month (if I'm lucky) and never go to the range. I used to play weekly and practice three or four times a week. What gives?

Maybe I am older and wiser? I do know that I spend time thinking about a good golf swing instead of banging balls.

Chances are you are tinkering less and playing the game more. I have had a similar experience in my own game. As a teacher and a student of the game you can only imagine how many times I have changed my swing. Over the last few years I have left it alone for various reasons from a lack of time, injury, etc. As a result my consistency has never been better and my focus is on playing the game instead of getting lost in my swing. It sounds like you are having the same experience.

A mentor of mine used to say he just needed to keep things oiled up instead of working at it too hard. Once the mechanical aspects of your golf swing are good and you trust your technique you SHOULD focus more on the actual playing of the game. You are getting older and wiser to be sure, but chances are you have a pretty solid swing that just needs to be oiled up occasionally.

Jim asks at 12:55:

As always, thank you so much for sharing your valuable time and insight with all of us each week, this information is so very helpful!

I have been working the past year, trying to gain a more upright swing plane. Previously, my path has been very flat, that came down deeply from the inside, creating large sweeping draws (averaging 30 yards with my driver) but no divot after the ball. Here are two videos, a front view and a down the line view - I would be grateful for any thoughts you have, as I continue striving to improve this swing plane. Currently I am trying to get my arms a little higher at the top.


Thanks for sending in the videos Jim. I have a couple thoughts for you about the swing. I agree that if you got your arms and thus the club up a bit higher at the top of the backswing you will have the potential for more power. However, there is no guarantee that it will be easier for you to attack on plane and bottom out in front of the ball with the irons with the club higher. The issue for you is the reroute in the transition to an angle that is below plane. This can happen with a shorter, flatter backswing or a longer more upright backswing. To improve the angle of attack you need to get your body open to the target much earlier in the downswing. When your trunk rotates back around to the target your shoulders will pull your arms and hands out towards the target line. This moves the club out to the plane and prevents it from dropping too far to the inside. Think of your left shoulder and left knee ad the leaders of the downswing and have them rotate back to the target as soon as possible. The height and length of the backswing is important but it won’t get you on plane by itself. Get the body rotating sooner and the club will track much better into the ball.

Ben asks at 12:35:

I wrote in a few weeks ago and I know you advised that changing this swing (DTL):

(Face On):

to something more on plane would be difficult but I have no problem commiting to that. I would like to keep my hands and club handle more in front of me throughout the swing - from face on I would like to see my hands away from my head instead of so deep, but I am having trouble getting the movement down. I know to shorten the swing I can begin the downswing sooner, but I think other issues need to be addressed before I can call that a fix. Can I accomplish what I want by turning my shoulders on a steeper angle? If so, is the feeling I need to go more "up" to the sky with my right shoulder and down with my left during the takeaway? And then at halfway back go more up and under my chest with the left arm? If not what would you recommend?

Is there a certain amount of elevation with the arms that needs to occur to keep the club more in front? Thanks so much for your guidance.

Thanks for sending the video. I agree with almost everything you are trying to do with the swing. I agree that your arms get too deep too early. I think the face is a bit closed and I would like to see you maintain a bit more bend in the left wrist going back as it will help the face and get the shaft working more upright. I agree that your shoulders are too flat going back, the thoughts you have to fix it are very effective. A couple of great models for you to follow would be Darren Clarke and Nick Faldo. In both of their swings the club works up in front of them with the shaft more vertical and the left wrist in a neutral position. I think you are on the right track, hit the books and study.

Lars asks at 12:00:

Can you please give me an advice for my swing. What can I improve to become a better player. My bad shots are push hooks . (Driver) Is my club at the top to much across the line, or even to closed at the top?

Thank you in advance.

kind regards

Thanks for sending in the videos Lars. If you looked at a static picture of yourself at the top of the backswing it would be hard to define it as across the line. With that said, I still agree with you. The thing static pictures can’t show you is the momentum of where the club is going from frame to frame. When you watch the top of the swing in the first video you can see how the club continues to work closer to your head as it is finishing the backswing. The second clip would do the exact same thing had you not shortened the length going back. The real issue here is the fact that your club need to fall more parallel to the target line as it finishes going to the top instead of working towards your head. It is likely that this only gets worse as you use the Driver. The problem with the momentum working in this direction is it causes the transition to be steep. This is seen in your picture as your hands are slightly lower than your right shoulder coming down. When the club is steep in this frame you have to drop the club behind you as you approach the delivery position (hands around hip high). This drop to the inside is critical to saving the shot. The problem with it is the club can end up attacking excessively from inside with the driver leading to blocks and hooks. I would like to see you try to work the club more behind you as it approaches the top so it falls parallel to the target line instead of across towards your head. When you do this the shaft will point at or outside the ball in the transition picture as opposed to where you are in this picture.


Marius Filmalter: How Sergio Got His Groove Back

Posted at 12:07 AM by Marius Filmalter

Sergio-garcia-claw-grip-marius-blog-postAs the year winds down, I get to spend more time at home in Dallas. During this time, I work with some local pros and touring pros who fly in to see me. This is time well-spent, as I can give my players a more in-depth analysis of their putting strokes, and I have the time to make sure that the changes are being made effectively. I also get to work and play with the members of my home course, Old American Golf Club in north Dallas. A few members asked me about Sergio Garcia’s recent success with the claw grip, and I’m sure many of you are wondering if the claw is right for you.

In a previous post, I discussed the role of the grip in your putting stroke. Unfortunately, there is no perfect grip. My research shows little to no correlation between great putters and a specific putting grip. To improve your putting immediately, make sure your shoulders and forearms are square to the intended target line. If you’re lined up square to the target line, you’ll have the best chance to be square at impact with whatever grip you use.

One of my most successful students who tried the claw grip was Mark O’Meara. 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 2004, he won the Dubai Desert Classic against a very strong field, including Tiger Woods.

Sergio switched to the claw approximately a year ago in Dubai. When you make drastic changes like this, sometimes you don’t feel comfortable with the change or you don’t think the improvement you’re seeing is enough of a pay-off for making the change. In Sergio’s case, he persevered with the claw. He stated in an interview that even though he made good putts with a regular grip, he hit fewer bad ones with the claw. His putting stats might suggest otherwise, but Sergio knows what to look for in a putting stroke. At the Byron Nelson Championship in May, Sergio said, "If the way I putt is with confidence, even if I miss them, I can still live with that.”

After showing some flashes of brilliance through the year, he only came into winning form recently, with back-to-back victories in Europe at the Castello Masters and the Andalucia Masters. What’s the moral of the story? Sometimes it takes a while to get results with big changes. Don’t give up!

Tip: When using the claw grip, make sure the grip pressure in your right hand is very light. Also, for arc putters, ensure that the right elbow (for a right-handed player) is tucked in next to your core. A floating right elbow will make the stroke arms-y, instead of engaging the core muscles, and can lead to a straight-back, or even outside-the-line takeaway on the backstroke.

[PHOTO: Sergio Garcia at the Qatar Masters in February. EPA]

November 08, 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 Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, be sure to check back next week for an all-new edition.

Thanks to everyone for your questions and vids. See you next week on Tuesday for another edition of Ask Brady Live.

Ryan Stewart asks at 1:20:

My question deals with playing shots into the wind. The course I play has numerous holes that play back into the wind with forced carries over marsh by the green. How do I play shots that can be flighted lower to fight the wind, but still carry a good distance and not rely on rolling something onto the green?

There comes a point where you can only carry a ball so far into the wind. If you hit it high the wind knocks it down and if you hit it lower to fight the wind it won’t carry enough. The adjustments to hit the ball lower include teeing the ball down, playing the ball back, swinging slower, leaning the shaft more at impact, placing more weight on the front foot, finishing lower, etc. These all help the ball fly lower. With the longer clubs, especially the driver, these same adjustments will make the ball carry less. I would work with all of these adjustments to see which combination helps you maintain as much carry distance as possible while not losing distance by hitting it too high. Mess around with it and let me know what happens.

Dan asks at 1:00:

I've got what seems like a simple question, I think... How many different swings does one have to build? I'm talking Tee to Green (full swings). I guess the answer might be different depending on the skill level, but I'm not sure. It seems to me that there are at least 2 - the drive and the iron - sweep vs descending. But what about the fairway wood? I've always treated that more like an iron - slightly descending. And do you have a different swing for draw vs fade? For my irons, I usually try the in to out vs. out to in for this affect. I used to do the same for the Driver, but recently changed that based on an instruction video here. I'm now using the same swing (a draw swing), and slightly opening the face for a power fade, while adjusting my aim. I really like this idea, because I don't need to master two swings and it works well for me. I tried to apply it to my iron game, but I'm losing control and not making good contact on my fade, which is what I prefer to play.
(by the way, this is something that often bugs me when looking at pros swing sequences - they often don't say if the pro is playing a draw or fade or if there is a difference for that pro)
ps - Thanks for all the great tips here. This has become my favorite blog.

Thanks for the question and kind words about the blog. It’s my favorite too! I agree about your comments about the swing sequences of professionals. The writer should discuss the ball flight of the player mentioned. However, often times the sequence is taken without the writer present making it impossible to know what happened to the specific shot.

As you have discovered there are multiple ways to shape your shots. Some players use the methodology you are currently employing and change their set-up position. This allows them to make their normal swing and change the shape of their shot without in-swing adjustments. Others prefer to change something subtle in their motion to produce a fade or draw and find it more comfortable and manageable than changing their set-up. The fact is either can work, it’s up to the player.

When it comes to different swings for different clubs I would tell you that the change in the length of the club and it’s effect on your address position should change the angle of attack all by itself.

Glenn asks at 12:35:

I have a question about chipping. The ground in my area is very compacted due to a lack of rain (Dallas, Texas). The courses generally overwater the greens and this soaks the areas around the greens making it difficult to chip. Any tips on chipping/pitching the ball off of this type of lie?

When playing from tight, sometimes wet lies it is highly difficult to use your most lofted wedges as they have a tendency to dig into the ground. If you can chip or pitch with a less lofted club in these situations based upon carry distance and the amount of green you have to work with it is a more consistent and safer approach. If the situation makes it necessary to use a more lofted club there are a couple of things you can do to help. You want to get the bottom of the sole of the club bouncing off of the ground instead of the leading edge of the club digging into it. To do this the hands should be placed only slightly in front of the clubhead at address with the weight only slightly onto the front foot. The club should have an arc to it as it would during a full swing attacking the ball from inside the target line and on plane instead of straight back and straight through. The clubface should be allowed to rotate with the plane with no attempt to keep the face “square” to the ball throughout the motion. The biggest problem players have with this scenario is pressing the hands too far forward at address the tying to keep the face square and the club tracking “down the line” during the motion. The chunk or chili-dip is caused by this faulty approach. Set up correctly and allow the club to work on plane with the face rotating properly and the sole of the club will do it’s job and skip through impact producing solid contact. Keep the leading edge from digging and you will have it.

Francis asks at 12:30:

Greetings from the UK. I'm a long time reader, first time poster. My handicap is currently 12 but I'm committed to getting into single figures. Would really appreciate it if you could take a look at my vids and let me know anything you think I should be working on. I think I may have some set up issues but would also be keen to hear of anything you can see that needs work. My bad shot at the minute tends to be a push or a push fade.

Keep up the good work!

Thanks for the videos Francis. I appreciate the kind words about the blog. There are three very specific areas of the swing I want you to focus on. The first is your grip. The handle of the club is placed too much in the palm of your right hand instead of more in the fingers as it should be. As a result, your right thumb is running down the trailing side of the grip instead of the leading side. Look at the picture of the grip I have attached and try your best to get your hands to look the same. With your right hand positioned as it currently is the clubface tends to be closed during the swing, your wrists are unable to hinge properly, and the release through impact is compromised. Once the grip has been fixed I want you to improve your posture in the address position. Your weight is sitting back too far in your heels making your shoulders round to much at address. This makes it very difficult to turn properly during the backswing which is the final issue for you to focus on. Your hips move laterally away from the target instead of rotating during the backswing. With better posture at address you should begin the backswing with your tush turning to face the target. This will make it significantly easier to get the proper rotation out of your body during the backswing. The change in grip, posture, and turn are critical if you are to progress into the player you can be. Make the changes and send in some new video as soon as you can.



Dave asks at 12:00:


Good day Brady,
Thanks for all the great input you provide in this forum! My question deals w the downswing path (or plane). As my club works down the clubhead ends up getting slightly under the plane leading to too much of an inside approach. without being able to get you a video here are a few characteristics of my swing which may help you: the takeaway is fine w the club up the plane, halfway back i do get a lil too much rotation of the left arm so the shaft is a bit flat (not flatter than the shaft line at address though), the club is parallel at the top and the grip is fine, i maintain the tush line throughout the swing and get a transition to occur in a reasonable sequence. however all the divots are at the target vs the slightly left i used to get and the ball flight is weaker. any ideas as to what i beed to work on to get the club back on the correct, less insde attack? thank you

Like so many problems in the golf swing you need to find the spot in the swing where things started to go wrong. Attacking too much from the inside is usually caused the result of a transition that is too steep. The steep transition requires the player to drive the club back down to the plane approaching impact, something very difficult to do consistently. The steep transition has it’s roots in a backswing that usually works from slightly flat in the halfway back position (a place you mentioned in your swing) to slightly across the line at the top. This is the normal progression in the swing that leads to the steep transition and below plane attack. To get this on track you need to get the club working more up approaching the top of the backswing and encourage the clubhead to move away from your head and the target line as it finishes going up. This will get the club on plane in the transition, the key to attacking on the proper path.

November 02, 2011

Poll: Can Yani Tseng compete at the PGA Tour level?

Posted at 9:46 AM by

En route to her 11th victory of the year, Yani Tseng revealed that she is not opposed to playing a PGA Tour event "if the opportunity presents itself." Both Annika and Michelle Wie took on the challenge—neither ever made a cut. But could golf's most dominant figure hang with the boys? We polled the Top 100 Teachers to find out.

If she opts to play, can Yani Tseng be competitive playing in a PGA Tour event?


19% Yes
81% No 

"I really don’t think it matters. What does it prove if she can make a cut or not? The ladies playing in a men’s event is so overdone, she should focus on the LPGA." – Don Hurter

"I think she could possibly make the cut, but not compete on a regular basis, so my answer would be no." – Kip Puterbaugh

"Yes, she can be competitive. Will she make the cut? I would hope so. It will happen eventually if the PGA tour keeps inviting women to play." - Nancy Quarcelino 

"Given the past performances of Annika and Michelle, the answer will be no. The lack of overall distance makes it very difficult for women to compete with men at the highest level. However, on a men's short length course, there is always a possibility for Yani to score well." - Ed Ibarguen

"Why would she want to? She is currently the best player in the world. If she plays against the guys and fails she throws the women's tour back 30 years. Annika and Michele Wie justified that the LPGA was inferior to the PGA Tour with their failure. Let her dominate and let them speculate how she would do against the guys. Just making the cut isn't a victory. If she were good enough to compete then she would do for the LPGA Tour what Billie Jean King did for women's tennis. Huge gamble, I don't think it is a good bet. The LPGA is struggling to find sponsors and a failure could kill any potential deals. They have lost a ton of tournaments, and viewers to the Senior Tour. A challenge of the 5 best players on the LPGA Playing the 5 best on the Champions Tour from the same tees is the match they need to make." - Mike Adams 

"Yes, but it has to be the right course." – Mike Perpich

"No, I don't think she would be competitive. However, her personality and style of play would be a good fit and a better combination than Annika and Michelle." - Brian Mogg 

"As much as I would like to see her succeed, I think no due to the length of courses and all the pressure of competing and trying to make the cut, which I doubt she ever even considers in an LPGA event." – John Elliott, Jr.


November 01, 2011

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

Posted at 9:36 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, be sure to check back next week for an all-new edition!!

Thanks to everyone for your videos and questions. See you next Tuesday!!!

Jan asks at 1:20:

Trying to up my swing-speed a bit since I think I'm not using the DGS300-shafts to their full potential. Normally I have a pretty calm tempo but swing speed around 86 mph w a 6-iron. The DGS300 IS a heavy shaft and I feel I'm a bit short on the distance side compared to when I was playing Project X 5.5s (could be a spin issue as well but I think after viewing my swing videos that I look rather slow...

Trying to increase that. Also trying not to take the club too much inside during takeaway, having some difficulties with this. When I try to take the club back more 'on plane' it feels as if I really start too much outside in.

Your general comments on the swing and feedback please, video included (I pulled that shot quite a bit, mainly because of the fact that I tried to hit it harder, :-)).

Good to hear from you again. Getting the club a bit more outside in the takeaway should be accomplished while the upper left arm is staying attached to your chest. If you disconnect the upper left arm AND try to get the club more outside you will be taking it too far out. I would encourage you to focus on this connection while the clubhead is staying outside your hands to encourage the club to get more vertical and in front of you during the backswing. This will remove the need to come back down over the backswing track as I was describing earlier in the blog and help the club stay behind you more coming down. The pull you hit here would be a shot I would expect to see if you don’t reshape the tracks your club is working in during the backswing and downswing.

Dani asks at 1:05:

Hi Brady! I have a neutral grip and a flat position of the left wrist at the top, yet the club face pointing to the sky in transition. I think causes my lack of rotation through the impact area. The thing is, I don't understand how is it possible that matching a neutral grip with a flat left wrist I get in such a shut position at the beginning of my downswing. Thank you very much from Spain.

When you have a neutral grip you will only have a “square” looking clubface at the top of the swing if you maintain the amount of bend in the left wrist present at address during the backswing. In other words, the clubface will appear closed if the left wrist goes to flat. The reason for this is the left wrist is in an impact condition at the top when it is flat, in an address condition when bent. As you have discovered the dynamics of the transition generally make the left wrist become “flatter” than they were at the top. This makes the slightly bent left wrist become flat and the flat left wrist become bowed. As with so many elements of the golf swing, this isn’t the case for every player but a good rule of thumb when looking at the majority of golf swings. If you are seeing the clubface shut in the transition I would encourage you to play with the left wrist slightly bent at the top, as it was in the address. The wrist will flatten as the downswing begins putting into an impact condition without forcing the clubface closed.


Ben asks at 12:40:

Here is a face-on view and a down the line view of my 7 Iron swing.

I need some help with my swing plane and tightening things up, yes? When I try to take the club more 'up' I have pain in my lower right rib cage - I dont have health issues and I am fairly flexible, which makes me think my mechanics are just wrong. Help?

Thanks for the videos Ben. I wish I knew a bit more about what your ball flight issues. The swing you have sent shows every indication that it would be effective. If I was to tell you the things that are a bit off from neutral I would start with the takeaway. The club is coming back too much on the inside with the face turned down to the ground in a closed position. This takes the hands and arms too deep behind you at halfway back and the club “looks” like it needs more up in it at this point. The depth of your arm swing at the top requires a loop over the backswing track to find the plane which you do successfully. The problem with this loop is it can make the downswing too steep, something you fight against properly by sliding the lower body to the target and driving your head back through impact. With all that said there is no reason you can’t play really well with this pattern, many have in the past. Changing it can be risky and make you play worse, especially in the short term. You have to weigh the risks and proceed with caution.

Joel asks at 12:25:

I hit the ball thin a lot, and I would like to stop doing so. I know that I play the ball pretty far forward, but even when I move it back, I still tend to hit it thin, and then I hit it even lower than I usually do (that's another one of my problems: hitting it low). I've attached a couple of videos. Please help. Thanks!

Thanks for sending in your videos. There are a couple of things that you need to do that will help you begin to release the club properly through impact. The thin contact and low ball flight are both results of other issues and can’t be fixed on their own. The biggest issue you have right now is your grip. Your right hand is sitting too much on the side of the handle with your right thumb running down the back of the grip. The handle should be placed more into the fingers of the right hand with the right index finger on the trailing side of the club and the thumb across to the other side. With your grip in it’s current position the clubface is extremely closed during the swing. As a result, if you hit the ball solidly the lack of loft in the clubface produced from the grip makes the ball fly too low. To prevent the inevitable hook from occurring due to the clubface position you restrict the extension in your left arm through impact. This leads to the thin contact you are experiencing. The grip change will produce some shots that go well right as you get used to it. However, the square clubface will produce more height and force you to release the club properly over time.


Casey asks at 12:00:

Well Brady, looks like our boy AK is turning the corner over in Asia. Maybe I spoke too soon!

Could you please comment on my swing? I think I am getting it too laid off at the top and my guess is that is leading to my inconsistent ball striking. Some days I hit it like a champ and others its pretty rough. I've been working on my takeaway and body movement and I think those are better, but from there I think I need to get it less flat and laid off, but I'd like to get your thoughts if possible. The video has two swings DTL and face on. Thank you!!

I agree that the club is getting a little laid off at the top of the backswing. When you work on your swing it is usually best to go back a few steps before you actually see the problem to figure out why it happened. In your case, the shoulder turn is getting too flat halfway up on the backswing. This is the reason why the club isn’t lining up properly at the top of the backswing. If you watch your head from the face on view as you approach the top of the backswing you will see it moves further away from the target. The lateral head movement is good until you are about halfway back. If it keeps working away from the target as you approach the top your shoulder turn will become too flat. Watch the videos of AK and you will see his head stops the lateral drift when his left arm is parallel to the ground on the backswing and starts back towards the target. This prevents the shoulders from getting too flat and lines the club up over the hands at the top of the swing.

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