Archive: January 2012

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January 31, 2012

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

Posted at 9:40 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf 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 have a question or video link for Brady, be sure to check back next week for an all-new edition! Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Ask Brady Live! Thanks to all for your questions and especially the videos. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone, please send your unanswered questions in again next week so I can help you improve. Have a great week.

Mark asks at 1:20:

Hello Brady again - Just following up from last week as I couldn't get my comments in on time.

Here are the relevant video links:

Chair and headcover drill:
Face-on Driver:
Free Swing DTL Driver:

I'm thinking I'm close to maintaining the tush line (the chair drill reinforces the move best with me), however I'm looking for confirmation from you and would appreciate any other comments on anything else you notice.

I think the tush line issue is improving. To get it completely resolved the right hip needs to get farther from the ball at impact by rotating more sharply. Their isn’t a great deal of lateral slide in the lower body during the downswing but there could still be more rotation.  The improvement in the rotation of your hips will help your tush maintain the line and your upper body will move through the ball much easier. When the upper body and head hang back behind the ball the left arm will extend too early during impact.  Fixing the issue with hips will help your be behind its original position, just not as far behind, and your left arm will maintain some bend during impact. I have included a couple of pictures to help you get the idea. Sorry they are righthanded but you get the idea.


Cam asks at 12:45:

I just wanted to see if you had any thoughts on my motion, or ideas about what I should be working on.

What I think I'm doing wrong:
I'm coming too far inside and consequently crossing the line at the top of my swing. I think that my legs are collapsing and my right foot is coming off the ground sooner than it should. In addition, I feel like I'm holding it off and not fully releasing at impact. 
I included several angles with both irons and driver.

The takeaway is a bit inside, club across at the top. The posture is a bit too upright at address forcing you to drop down with your upper body towards the ball during the takeaway. I agree that your lower body is running out in front of you during the downswing making the swing out of sync and inconsistent. I would love to see the posture improve at address and the backswing get on track but the lack of correct sequencing during impact is the big issue. I have included a picture of your delivery position compared to where I would like to see you. Hit short, slow shots working on getting your arms down in front of you during delivery to get the swing synced up properly. Don’t pick up the pace of the swing until you have gotten a very good feel on the shorter slower shots. Check out the pictures and send in some new video when you get a chance.


Kermit Murphy asks at 12:20:

Thanks so much for taking time out of your day to help ordinary golfers like myself. I always look forward to reading your comments on Tuesdays. I have included a video below and would love to know your thoughts on how to improve. In the first two swings the ball goes hard left which is normally my miss. I also have a few lingering questions. How should I improve my pivot? Am I on the right track with my takeaway rehearsals? Why does the ball go left? Why does my follow thru look so weird? Sorry to overload you with questions. Thanks again. Kermit

Thanks for the kind words Kermit. Looking at the videos it is obvious you are no ordinary golfer but one that can swing the club quite well. The lefts that you are complaining about are caused by the body hanging too far back behind the ball at impact making the hands overwork. I like the takeaway rehearsal as it appears you are trying to keep the hands inside the clubhead longer to prevent the club from working too far inside too quickly. The follow through and finish look weird because your upper body and head have to “chase” down the target line awkwardly to catch up to the arms and club that have gone through without you. This is what I would like to see you try. While I think your takeaway rehearsal is helpful I would like to see your hips be less active in the beginning of your backswing. The hips are overactive dragging the club too far inside during the takeaway. The real issue with the hips is the effect it has on your upper body, specifically your head. With the hips quieter in the beginning your club will work more up instead of in and your head will move away from the target, just not as much as before. This will put your lower body in a better position at the top of the swing and make it much easier for you to rotate from head to hips properly through impact. When the upper body isn’t hanging back as much during and after contact your hands will be less involved preventing the left miss you are currently struggling with. At impact, your head can be slightly behind its original location at address with the driver. It was well behind in the video you sent in making the chase of your upper body after impact inevitable. Send in the new videos when you make some changes. Here are a couple of pictures to get you on track.



Easak asks at 12:00:

I was hoping to get your thoughts on how I can improve my swing. My most common misses are pushes, hooks, and thin shots. I noticed when I pause my swing right before impact that I have completely cast the club so I was wondering if you could address that as well as any other faults you see. Thanks so much for your help.

Here's a link to my swing:

Thank you for sending in your video. The single most important aspect of the golf swing is the set-up. This is true regardless of the level of player and very relevant for your swing. The pushes, hooks and thin shots will continue to be an issue unless you move in closer to the ball at address and improve your posture. You are currently standing too far from the ball with the weight too far in your heels. As a result the arms are hanging too far away from your body when you begin making it probable that the swing will be too flat, which it is. On the downswing you will move your body back into a position of more leverage, forcing the tush well off the line it began against. Your head moves several inches back away from the target line as your upper body becomes vertical at impact. The combination of the poor address position and posture start the dominoes falling. Here is a picture of a better address position for you to try to emulate.


January 30, 2012

Top 100 Teachers: Should you get buff to play better golf?

Posted at 2:22 PM by

Former pencil-necked geek Rory McIlroy showed up looking buff at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and talked about fitness routines with new buddy and fellow gym rat Tiger Woods. Should you think about hitting the gym to lower your scores? We asked Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers to find out.



"The golf swing is predicated on the entire body working in a coordinated way. Therefore it can’t be just one part. In most cases golfers total flexibility is a highly desired quality to be improved." --Paul Marchand, Shadow Hawk Golf Club, Richland, Texas

"The most important part of the body for golfers to improve is their core to protect their backs and lengthen career spans." --Kellie Stenzel, Sebonak Golf Club, Southampton, N.Y.



"The ability to lift a couple of hundred of pounds will not necessarily transfer to the golf course." --Ted Sheftic, Ted Sheftic Learning Center, New Oxford, Pa.

"Not necessarily, it could interfere with a good shoulder turn." --Peter Krause, Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head, S.C.



"When you work the upper body as much as he did, the small carriage legs could not withstand the load." --Nancy Quarcelino, Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf, Spring Hill, Tenn.

"Yes, and look what it got him: more injuries." --Steve Bosdosh, The Members Club at Four Streams, Beallsville, Md. 




"I've been told that Lee Westwood can bench press more than anyone."  --Ed Ibarguen, Duke University Golf Club, Durham, N.C.


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

January 24, 2012

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

Posted at 8:29 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, come back next week for another editor of Ask Brady Live!

Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. We will be back at it next week so get those videos in early so I can be sure to get to them. Should be another great week here is Southern California. Thanks again to Mark and JC Video for all their help and support.

David asks at 2:30:

I am a plus handicap but am getting the club behind my hands halfway into the downswing, thus coming too inside out. It also seems that my right shoulder moves toward the ball just a bit early in the downswing compared to most tour players. Without a video to send, any thoughts/feedback?
Thanks so much!

The scenario you are describing is a bit strange. Usually when the right shoulder moves out toward the ball too early in the downswing, the hands are thrown out in the same direction and the club ends up too far outside the proper path. I would love to see a video of your swing so I don’t lead you down the wrong path. Let me know if you can make that happen…

Jerry asks at 2:05:

Hello Brady. Someone told me to stick my butt out for a better turn. Can you get into it better and any drills to make it work? Thank you for the time you take to help the weekend warriors.

Thank you for following the blog, Jerry. I have absolutely no idea why someone told you that. Were they trying to help your hips turn? Shoulders? Core? Not sure. Most “weekend warriors” would be well served to allow their hips to turn freely during the backswing. Trying to restrict your lower body’s rotation and crank your upper body against it should be left for those very flexible and/or playing on television. If your weight is fairly balanced in both feet at address and your knees feel flexed and relatively bouncy, you are most likely in a decent starting position. Sticking your butt out will only help the amusement level of your playing partners in addition to their wallets. Once the set-up is better, the most simple advice I can give you is to try to “moon” the target with your tush during the backswing. This will help your hip turn freely and encourage the club to attack the ball on a more inside track. When you do this properly, your weight will move back into your right heel at the top of the swing. There are many swing methodologies out there that would have you start with the weight more on your front foot and leave it there during the backswing while you allow your head to remain centered or move slightly to the target. Don’t do that. Turn your tush, stay bent over which will allow your head to move slightly off the ball (I will be tarred and feathered, for sure) and you will hit it better. Here are a couple of pictures of great players committing the two “fatal flaws” of turning their hips and moving their head. Let me know how it goes….


Matt asks at 1:45:

Here's my swing, please let me know what you think. I know of two problems personally, my clubhead is too behind my hands in the backswing, and my head drops down and a bit back in the downswing. Sorry for the video seeming patchy, I had to edit it because it's from a video lesson I do with my local pro, and he comments on the videos. So I had to cut and paste the swing together at some points, I do not have those hitches in my swing. Of course the swings are in slower speed than normal. I am just looking for guidance on my stance, posture, grip, ball position, swing path, things like that. Thanks.


Thanks for sending in the videos, Matt. It looks like the professional doing the lesson gave you some indication of where you could begin. While there are things to improve upon in your golf swing, it does appear the club is attacking the ball from a fairly good place in the video you submitted. The ball appears to be well back in your stance and your weight is sitting well back in your heels. When the ball is too far back and your weight sits in the heels, it is almost inevitable that you will take the club too far to the inside during the takeaway. This usually forces the club across the line at the top of the swing, triggering a transition that is too steep. Steep in this case basically means an extension of the club is pointing well inside the target line when your hands are just below your right shoulder on the downswing. The save for this is to slide your lower body to the target as it buys more time for the club to drop onto a more playable path. As a result, your upper body will get stuck through impact and hang back behind the ball excessively making it difficult to rotate properly through impact. This is the cause of your lack of extension and inability to finish the swing in a more traditionally balanced position.

Hey, you asked!!!!

So, here is the deal. It may seem like a daunting task, but you may read into my critique the fact that it all starts with the set-up. When you improve the starting position, your takeaway will improve as will the top and so on. Get the ball more forward in your stance and move your heels back away from the ball so your knees can bend over your toes. Once this is adjusted you will be on your way to making a better and more productive golf swing. The takeaway will need a bit more work to get on track but if you focus on maintaining the bends present in your left wrist from address to the top of your swing you will be well on your way. Get some video to me in the next couple of weeks so I can check on your progress. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize the changes.


Nate asks at 1:20:

Hello Brady. I'll keep it short and simple; how does my swing look to you?

I know it is hard to tell much with a single camera angle and without high quality video or slow motion, but any thoughts would be appreciated. My miss is pretty consistent: a straight push to the right (w/ a slight right-to-left bias). I am thinking perhaps I have the ball too far back in the stance and am not getting around to square at impact.

Here is a "caddy view" to complement the down the line angle:

Thanks for sending in the video. There are many that would love to have not only your golf swing but your consistent miss. Overall I think the swing is quite good. There are a few things that could be changed to make the swing more dynamic and consistent. Your grip is a bit on the strong side and the clubface appears closed at the top of the swing as a result. While many great players have played with this combination, it can be problematic for some and is often the source of the “right-to-left bias” you mentioned. The other issue has to do with the (lack) of participation of your lower body during the swing. Your stance is too wide, making a dynamic lower body move nearly impossible. I would also like to see your weight get more up onto the balls of your feet at address. Your weight is sitting back too much in your heel, making it very difficult to move properly during the swing. This will give you the “feel” of more bounce in your legs and encourage you to use the body more actively during the swing. The combination of a more neutral grip and livelier lower body will be uncomfortable and challenging to be sure. How much you should change things should be determined by your comfort level and the changes in ball flight that occur. Let me know how it goes….

Jack Stein asks at 1:00:

Morning, I am a low single-digit index. However, at the top I cross the line, my left wrist cups too much and my right elbow gets behind me -- ouch -- I then come from the inside too much and too shallow. I have learned to hit the ball from this position; however, I would love to cure it. When I put the club to the top in a good position, I am able to swing with no re-route and my right elbow comes in front and I hit the ball better. Help? Please. Thanks, Jack Stein 

It sounds like you have a good idea about what you need to do with your golf swing. As a low single-digit player you face a unique challenge when changing the shape of your backswing. While the across the line position at the top creates its own set of issues you are able to deal with it and play well. When you make the changes to the backswing the results immediately become inconsistent, especially on the golf course. If you are certain you want to make the change, you need to adjust the way you practice and the expectations you have when playing. Take some time away from the course under competitive settings so you can remove the “result” component of the game from the equation. Work with the feedback of either your coach or a camera so you can continue to ingrain the changes you are making. Like any swing change you will have some ups and downs along the way but if you stay away from “results” based practice and play you will have a better chance of making it stick.

January 23, 2012

Bill Clinton's golf swing: Big move, but big trouble too

Posted at 3:53 PM by Brady Riggs

How would I describe former President Bill Clinton’s golf swing, as seen at last week’s Humana Challenge in Palm Springs? Entertaining and dangerous. Seriously, I don’t know what those people were thinking when they stood in front of or to the side of him at that tournament. I would be behind all of the celebrities, or next to the flag –- those are the only safe places.

Here’s a video of Clinton in action in Palm Springs.

Let’s start with the good stuff. At 65, Clinton still has a lot of flexibility left, and he creates some decent speed with his swing. He’s a big guy who still has some athleticism; he doesn’t look like an old man out there. See the way he gets off his back foot? He’s really swinging at it and not leaving anything in the bag. It’s an aggressive move.

Unfortunately, it’s not a good move from a technical standpoint. His grip is too weak and his left shoulder is open, so he is set up to hit the ball right. He also doesn’t keep his balance through the swing. At the end, he staggers around a little, so the swing feels a little incomplete. From where he starts, Clinton doesn’t have much of a chance to do anything with the ball. In fact, everything he does is to compensate for the right-side miss he sets up for. If he fixed his grip, he’d do a lot better very quickly.

Clinton and President Barack Obama played golf together last fall, and afterward Clinton said he shot 92 and lost “by a shot or two.” That sounds about right to me. Back in 2008 I analyzed Obama’s swing, and everything about Obama’s swing looks more solid than Clinton's. That said, Obama doesn’t swing the club as aggressively as Clinton. His swing is more conservative and flat-footed. Clinton has a bigger swing with a wider range of motion, but that weak grip doesn’t give him much of a chance. Obama won’t hit it as far as Clinton, but Clinton is more likely to find trouble.

Both of them have better swings than most of what I see on the driving range every day, and it’s great for golf that presidents and former presidents love the game. (George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush are both avid players as well.) But if you ever find yourself watching a president at a celebrity pro-am, remember to stand back, way back.


This story was produced for 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.

Top 100 Teachers Poll: What to expect from Tiger in 2012

Posted at 11:15 AM by

The 2011 season ended in a ‘24’-style cliffhanger with Tiger winning the Chevron. Back playing this week, will Tiger continue his winning way in 2012? Can he still break Jack’s record? Did former coach and current biographer Hank Haney breach Tiger’s trust. We asked our Top 100 Teachers for the real story. Here's what they said:




"I would absolutely bet more if I had it." --David Glenz, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, N.J

"No, but that is only because I would never bet that amount on anything. I still think he has a shot at it." --Dom DiJulia, Dom DiJulia School of Golf, New Hope, Pa.  

"I would bet my house on Tiger breaking Jack's record 18 majors. When Tiger is done he will own 24 majors." --Mike Adams, Hamilton Farm Golf Club, Gladstone, N.J.



"If it’s all about golf, then don't teachers share their knowledge to help others become better? If it’s not about golf then its weak." --Jim Murphy, Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land, Texas 

"He is being selfishly opportunistic. His ego is far beyond his teaching knowledge." --David Glenz, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, N.J

"Not unless he wants to lose all credibility and make some tabloid $$$." --Joe Hallet, PGA Center for Learning and Performance, Port St. Lucie, Fla. 

"Hank's claim that the book covers part of golf history has validity but we'll have to see how far he will all depend on the content for me." –-Dom DiJulia, Dom DiJulia School of Golf, New Hope, Pa.

"Why not? I can't wait to read it." --Steve Bosdosh, The Members Club at Four Streams, Beallsville, Md.    

"I would have to think that Tiger did more for Hank's career than Hank did for Tiger's. Pretty sure the Golf Channel wouldn't do a Haney Project if Hank was teaching me instead of Tiger." --Jason Carbone, Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.     

"Why would an instructor write a book about any student? The intimacy of a relationship that long and well-known should remain private. I compare it to a spouse writing a book about their well-known partner following a divorce." –-David Wright, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club‎, Mission Viejo, Calif.

"Yes, unless he's allergic to making a ton money." --Tom Stickney, Big Horn Golf Club, Palm Desert, Calif.




"He can still control his trajectory and distance at an elite level." –-Jason Carbone, Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J. 

"I don't see him as having a dominate part of his game at this time." --Ed Ibarguen, Duke University Golf Club, Durham, N.C.



This story was produced for 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.


January 17, 2012

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

Posted at 9:40 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, come back next week for another editor of Ask Brady Live!

Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live! Thanks to everyone for your patience. I tried to get to as many questions as possible. Time to get some sleep here on the west coast as it is nearing 1 a.m. If I didn't get to your issue, please resubmit the question next week and I will be sure to get you some help. Thanks again to all for your participation and I will see you on the lesson tee at Woodley Lakes GC in beautiful Van Nuys, CA.

Lefty asks at 2:00:

Hi Brady, thanks as always for doing this. I've finally sorted out my backswing (moving my left butt cheek to the target in a twisting fashion -- I'm a lefty), and I love the idea of stepping onto my right foot to start the swing but sometimes that move gets me too far over, i.e., not enough separation between lower and upper halves. Any tips?

Glad to do it. It sounds like you have found a good key to sort out the "tush line" during the backswing. I assume when you say the "step onto the right foot is getting you too far over," you are referring to your upper body. Try to keep your chest and head facing away from the target and behind the ball as you begin the transition with your lower body. This will help you get the separation you are looking for that will produce more power and prevent you from going too far. You can visualize a little more tilt with your upper body away from the target at impact as it will help you move the swing into the right direction. Let me know how it goes.

Kris asks at 1:45:

Snow day today, so actually get to ask a question for the first time in awhile! I made a big swing change at the end of last season, and over the course of two weeks all my irons added about 20 yards (4i from 175 to 200, 7i from 145 to 170, 55° from 80 to 100) and go much lower and straighter (went from a sweeper to a digger). But I did find that my driver didn't improve at all! It's still lucky to go 250 with roll (barely longer than my 3 metal). Help me out. What exactly are a few of the general differences between a driver swing and an iron swing? My old swing led to a really high ball flight with the driver, but rarely any significant distance (not to mention a regular slice), but my new swing gives me a straight stinger (occasionally pulled left--NOT a hook) that goes a similar distance because my course has long fairways that don't allow for much roll. I put the ball about level with my forward foot. How do I get my new swing to hit up on the ball? Any general driver tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for all the weekly tips, love reading them every Tuesday!

P.S. my factor has gone from 28 to a 9 in two seasons, and at the end of last year I was only hitting 4/8/SW and shooting mid-70s, so if I can stop losing strokes with my bad driver, it would really help me out!

I think you are looking in the right place when you mention hitting up on the driver as a solution. The steeper angle of attack that has worked with the irons won’t do much for the distance of your driver. The ball position as you have described it seems to be fine and instinct to avoid hitting down is correct. Try to remember two key elements when hitting the driver. First, your head must be at or behind it’s original position at impact with the driver, while this isn’t mandatory with the irons. The bottom of the arc is out in front of the ball with the irons making it perfectly reasonable to move in the direction of the target. This is obviously not the case with the driver. In addition to staying “behind” the ball you need to make sure you have some right-side tilt during impact. This will not only help your head stay behind the ball but will encourage the club to work slightly up during impact. Please keep in mind when hitting the driver that you will have more success in eliminating your slice if the stance is slightly closed. Without getting into too much detail, the forward ball position combined with the ascending clubhead will conspire to make the ball go left of the target. There have been countless champions through the decades that have their stance slightly closed with the driver and slightly open with the irons. Let me know how it goes.

Steve asks at 1:30:

I am 57 years old, 5'10  and weigh about 215 lbs and have always been fairly athletic. I have lifted weights most of my life and am very broad in the shoulders and chest. It has always been more comfortable for me to bend over a bit more at address and have a flatter swing. On my backswing, the club crosses my bicep. I am a 10 handicap and a decent ball striker and very happy with that since I don't have a ton of time to practice. I took a lesson a short time ago and the instructor wanted me to change to a more upright stance and out-and-up swing. I can hit the ball pretty well that way, but it just seems more natural to swing flatter and more around my body. Does or should your body shape have any influence on your golf swing?

Without going into a long diatribe about body types and swing shapes the simple answer is yes, the swing is most definitely influenced by the body type. I would go back to your more natural backswing shape that was both effective and comfortable, leaving the more out-and-upright version behind. As a rule, I wouldn’t make such a significant change to your technique unless you were having significant issues with your ballstriking.

Michael P asks at 1:10:

I have a over-the-top swing that leaves my divots pointing way left of the target. I have had this issue for years and I can't seem to shake it. When I am on the range, if I stop my swing at the very top to check my setup, then continue with my swing, I don't have the over-the-top swing. This only happens when I am on the course and when I do a swing at the range where I don't pause at the top. Do you have tips or drills I can work on to fix my over-the-top or outside in swing?

This is one of those issues that I wish you were on my lesson tee for 5 minutes. The slow swings and stopped swings are great ways to feel and ingrain the proper path into impact. When the speed picks up you lose your ability to control the order and speed of the rotation of your body. The best thing you can do is work in the speed you are having success with the swing changes. If you are at a speed that produces the same over-the-top move then you must slow down or nothing is going to change.

Casey asks at 1:00:

The hip is OK. Just need to go to some PT, no surgery.

Have you read The Talent Code? I remember you hammering away a very slow reps to make a change stick, but I didn't believe it or want to hear it (thick-headed). But over the last few weeks I've noticed my swing falls apart very quickly, like the changes I made do not stick at all. Then I picked up the book and started reading it, and began to understand why -- I wasn't engraining the changes and it was impossible for me to go full speed. I could on the range with a ton of hard work and headaches but I couldn't bring it to the course.

Anyway, like numerous times before, I've realized that you gave me very good advice about doing the slow reps to engrain. Thank you for pointing this out. I wish I understood this and realized why it was important months ago.

Here is an update video. It's amazing how if I just get my takeaway and setup right the rest kind of falls into place.

Thanks again,

DTL - first swing at 1:04 (sorry I was stretching and making slow reps)

Glad to hear about your hip. It sounds like you are learning a great deal about how to get better. The Talent Code is a very good read. Casey, the fact is you learn things that are important when you are ready to learn them. One of my mentors in teaching, Ben Doyle, had two great things he used to stay that have stuck with me over the years. The first was that the chick has to peck at the egg a thousand times to break it and get out; in other words, sometimes it takes a great deal of repetition and effort to make a change. The other thing he always used to ask me was, Can I make the motion “slower and heavier”? He wanted me to stop over-accelerating, slow down, relax, and feel the weight of the club be moved by my pivot. Those are lessons I learned over time and they have stuck with me for the last 20-something years. I agree about getting the takeaway working first and the benefits that go with it. The swing looks really good and I like how you are practicing very purposefully. This is going to be a big year for you, Casey.

Kevin asks at 12:35:

Thanks for sharing your wise insights with us each week. I have a question about straightening and bracing against the left leg at impact. How does one do this without lifting up a bit. If you start the swing in an athletic position, with the knees slightly bent, and then the left leg straightens at impact, wouldn't that naturally cause the body and head to lift a bit, resulting in a thin shot? Do you have any drills to help perform the correct lower body motion with the legs (particularly the left leg) while staying down?

Thanks for the kind words and the great question. The funny thing is the left leg can be straightening through impact and the head can be lower than it was at address. This is possible because the left hip is farther from the ball at impact through rotation than it began and the upper body has right-side tilt. This allows the left arm to be extended, left shoulder higher than address, right arm more bent than at address, right wrist bent backwards, hands forward, etc. The most important thing to understand is that impact and address are completely different. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize.


Mark R asks at 12:15:

Great job, makes my Tuesdays. Equipment question if you don't mind? Would a heavier driver (greater than 75 grams), stiff shaft help slow down my incorrect fast transition. Or would an X-stiff light weight shaft (less than 65 grams) help cure the tempo of my transition? I understand swing speed is critical and every swing is different, just wondering your thoughts as you see the best swings and equipment perform up close. Thank you, sir.

Equipment issues are always best sorted out on the range with multiple options in clubs, balls, etc. and with the use of technology to measure ball speed, spin rates, launch angle, etc. The simple answer to your question is without seeing you hit balls with the above mentioned equipment present I would be guessing. I don’t like guessing much. The final thing I would tell you is that I have never been a big fan of trying to fix issues with your swing through equipment changes. There are better ways to improve the sequence and timing of your transition than changing drivers although I’m sure an equipment expert would have a different opinion.

Chuck Spanburg asks at 12:00:

I pull most of my irons to the left. HELP PLEASE!

There can be multiple reasons why your iron shots are heading left of the target. Here are a couple possible scenarios: The most common cause of the pull is the clubface being closed. This can happen for a variety of reasons from a grip that is too strong, a left wrist that is bowed excessively during the swing, the body hanging back behind the ball too much at impact causing the hands to flip the face shut or the ball being played too far forward in the stance. While you might think the closed face will cause an excessive draw or a hook, the shorter irons won’t curve very much making the clubface a strong possibility. The other likely culprit is the path. If the club is attacking the ball from too far outside a neutral path, the ball can start left of the target if the face isn’t open to the path. In other words, if everything is pointing left (path and clubface) the ball will go there. The first step to fixing the issue is to make sure the grip isn’t excessively strong and the ball isn’t too far forward in the stance. Get the grip and ball position in a fairly neutral spot at address and try to start the ball right of the target. The combination of these three things should help considerably. If they don’t, your body is hanging back too much and you need to get your upper body moving more towards the target on the downswing.

January 16, 2012

Top 100 Teachers Poll: What to expect from Phil Mickelson in 2012

Posted at 10:26 PM by

A trim and fit Phil Mickelson starts his season this week in Palm Springs. We asked Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers what to expect from Mickelson this season after his uneven 2011. Here's what they said:



"Three or more if he fixes his putter problems." --Todd Sones, Whitedeer Run Golf Club, Vernon Hills, Ill.

"Zero. You have to putt well to win a major." --Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Coast, Calif.







"He has too many putting teachers who contradict each other. Pelz and Stockton don’t teach the putting stroke the same way." --Brad Redding, Grande Dunes Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

"He has a putting stroke that everything has to be timed perfectly, very small margin of error." --Todd Sones, Whitedeer Run Golf Club, Vernon Hills, Ill.

"Even if he did, he'd still make more putts than the average Tour player." --Steve Bosdosh, Four Streams Golf Academy in Beallsville, Md.

"He doesn't have the yips, but he hits his short putts way too hard. That is why he gets so many violent lip-outs." --Eric Johnson, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.

"If you really understood the true yips, absolutely not." --David Glenz, Crystal Springs Resort, Hamburg, N.J

"Yes, but with the driver." --Peter Krause, Hank Haney International Junior Golf Academy, Hilton Head, S.C.


"He will if you count the Champions tour." --Eric Johnson, Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.

"If Tiger had played another sport he would have reached 50." --Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Golf Club, Newport Coast, Calif. 

"I know he has enough talent to get to 50 but I worry about how his arthritic condition will affect his ability to play and practice to the extent he would need." --Jason Carbone, Baltusrol Golf Club, Springfield, N.J.


This story was produced for 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.

January 10, 2012

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

Posted at 10:09 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, he'll be back next Tuesday on!

Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments and videos. I will see you next week on Tuesday at noon! Go Packers!!!

Bill asks at 2:00:

Happy New Year! Was working on my tush line issues from before and have since fixed my backswing from going too much inside, I just can't seen to get the tush line fixed going forward. It's ok going back from what I can see, but I seem to hang back and flip it still. If I rotate from the top I feel like I am swinging a mile to the outside and will pull or slice it. Any help would be greatly appreciated since I have been fighting with the tush line fix.

Thank you very much!

Thanks for the question, Bill. I would love to see the swing to give you specific advice as there may be multiple things causing your problem. Here is a video dealing with this specific issue. Let me know how it works out. 

Joe asks at 1:45:

One of my favorite golfers and swings used to be Payne Stewart. I would be interested if you have ever analyzed his swing and what your thoughts were. I always thought he had a great swing.

Stewart had a terrific swing. It was long and smooth with some idiosyncrasies. The grip was strong, face was closed, legs were very active, arm swing vertical, finish high, etc. There would be many teachers who would say the swing didn’t work into their particular model and it would have been better had he changed it. It’s just another example of how greatness is unique and not created with a copy machine. I did some breakdowns of his swing in a magazine about a decade ago. I will try to find it and post the pictures next week. Thanks for the question.

Eric asks at 1:20:

Thank you for helping all golfers get better. We all have heard the term "swing from the ground up." Does this term not apply to the modern player who appears to gain all of their power from core rotation vs. Ben Hogan's swing (where all parts contribute to his powerful swing)? Does the modern player still utilize the fast rotation of the hips like Tiger's swing in 2000 or is the core the focus? Do you recommend the "squat" for all shots full SW through driver?

Some great questions, Eric. The saying “swing from the ground up” means different things to different people. There are some teachers who feel all movement during the swing begins from the feet working into the ground. In this model the weight moving into the right foot initiates the backswing and the “step” onto the left foot begins the downswing. There are other teachers who think the feet are anchored into the ground and the body stretches, coils, or turns against them during the backswing. I have seen so many different types of golf swings work over the years that I am convinced there isn’t one method that is best for everyone. I would also tell you that Hogan’s swing isn’t very dissimilar to the “modern players” you mention. The basic idea from my perspective is to help each player find their own keys that help them play their best golf. We could go into swing theory for hours and not make anyone better because it isn’t specific advice for their game.

Mark asks at 1:15:

Brady..... I am pushing the driver. What are a few things to look at to avoid this?

The best place to start is the address position. If the ball is too far back in your stance with the driver it is likely that you will lose shots right of the target. Rather than going into a long rant about the D plane, just move the ball more forward in your stance and you will see an immediate change in the initial direction of the shot.

Caleb asks at 12:45:

My misses are a block or hook. I tend to hit my irons a grove or two thin. I know that on the downswing my head pulls back, my hips, come toward the ball, and the shaft comes in very vertical. Is any of this caused by my setup and backswing? Or do I need to work on my pivot?

The scenario you describe is a classic loss of the “Tush Line” through impact. This is a line drawn vertically down to the ground at the back of your backside at address. If your address position and pivot are working properly, you will maintain your connection to the line from address to several frames past impact. When and how you lose contact with the line is significant to fixing the problem. For example, if you lose contact with the line immediately during the takeaway, it is likely your weight is sitting too far in your heels at address. In an attempt to find balance, your weight will move more toward your toes during the takeaway, pulling your tush off the line. Creating an address position that is neutral and athletic will go a long way to fixing the problem. I have attached a couple of pictures to show you the proper posture in the address. For more info on the tush line check out this video:


The lane

Kevin asks at 12:30:

I love the blog each week. Last year I got a new set of clubs, which I love. I am a low-handicap golfer and hit the ball pretty well. However, I have noticed recently that on all of my irons I consistently hit the ball off-center, a quarter of inch of so, toward the heel. I have a feeling that the clubs may not have been fitted properly when I purchased them. Rather than going through the process of getting re-fitted and my clubs possibly re-shafted, is there any way possible to make a minor adjustment in either my setup or swing to move the impact position of the ball more in the center of the clubface? Thanks in advance for your help!

The last thing you should do is change your swing to adjust for golf clubs that aren’t fit properly for you. If this is a problem that began with the new clubs I would get them checked out. Screwing around with your swing to fix an equipment issue will not serve you well in the long term.

Casey asks at 12:00:

Happy 2012! I wanted to post some update videos and ask you about some pain I've been having in my left leg. (I've already went to the doctor too and they ordered an MRI.) My left hip and ankle have been hurting a little (mild pain but it's there) and I think it's a combination of practicing and the gym that are contributing to this. I think my mechanics are mainly to blame, because I previously slid my lower body too much and rolled my foot over (which you pointed out, thank you), and I am really trying to clean that up now.

Could you recommend any kind of left leg/left foot action that puts less stress on the hip, ankle and knee over the long term? Part of the problem is I need to putt and play more which is my 2012 resolution, but I'd love to get your take because I'm sure you understand these things as good as anyone.

Thank you,
PS: sorry the ugly belt is still here. Saving $ for my plane ticket to Cali for a real lesson.

Thanks for the videos, Casey. There is obviously some roll in your left foot through the hitting area, but it is fairly insignificant. There is nothing in the action of your left leg during the swing that would lead me to believe the swing is causing your issues. With that said, if you are having pain in the area caused by working out, making a full speed swing and posting up on your left leg will certainly not help. I try to get my players to keep the left foot flat at impact with the weight working toward the heel into the finish. I have included two pictures of a flat left foot at impact that will give you a model to work from. The amount of foot flare you have at address is determined by your level of flexibility. Let me know what you find out from the MRI.


January 03, 2012

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

Posted at 9:47 AM by Brady Riggs

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

Welcome to the 2012 edition of Ask Brady Live! Special thanks to all the folks at for making last year so fantastic. Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Next week I have a new method of blogging that will speed up the response time to your posts dramatically. I am hoping beginning next week that I will be able to get to everyone's questions during the blog. Have a great start to your 2012 season.

Golfer3407 asks at 1:45:

how stop hitting fat shots? left shoulder shoots up on downswing.

The left shoulder should work up on the downswing. The cause of hitting fat shots is the bottom of the arc being behind the ball. The basic idea about bottoming out correctly is you need to get your left shoulder closer to the target at impact than it was at address so the club can hit the ground after it hits the ball. This shift towards the target should occur to start the downswing and fix your issue. A great way to practice this is to use a trick Ben Doyle showed me 20 plus years ago. Go into a bunker and draw a line in the sand perpendicular to the target line where your club would sit at address. Without a ball make some swings where you take out the front of the line and the sand in front of it. You will begin to feel how the weight needs to work to get the bottom of the swing in the right place. This works best in firmer sand as it is easier to move your body. Give it a try.

Kermit Murphy asks at 1:00:

Thanks so much for all of your time and effort. I really enjoy your weekly blog. I have attached a video below and wanted to see what you would change. The first swing really looks bad and very laid off. Is this becasue the left arm is working away from me during the takeawy? Any other thoughts on my takeaway? I would also love to hear what you have to say about my face on view. My pivot does not look right, almost looks like my left hip gets closer to the target at the top of the swing. I really strugle with low left shots.
Thanks again for your help. Kemritm

Thanks for the video. I always watch the swing before I read your question as it gives me a fresh perspective. When viewing your swing I thought the grip was strong, the weight way too far back in your heels at address, the club was laid off at the top and you would have a tendency to lose shots left. This isn’t too far from what you were thinking. The clubface would be the place to start. I would have you weaken the left hand on the club to help get the clubface square. The strong grip isn’t a problem for many players, but in your case it isn’t helping the low left issue. The posture really needs to improve. Your weight is sitting well back in your heels at address causing you to lose the Tush Line with both the iron and the driver. This change in posture during your swing makes it very difficult to make solid contact and rotate through the ball properly. I agree with you that the pivot needs work. If you look at the pictures I posted earlier of Hogan and AK at the top you will see AK has his legs in a completely different position than you do. I would like to see your knees more apart at address and your hip less active during the takeaway. The legs should be significantly more quiet during your backswing and serve more as a stabilizing force. This will keep your left hip from working immediately in the direction of the target and help get your arms and body working together instead of in segments. Send in some new video and let me know how the changes are coming along.

Tom asks at 12:40:

Have you ever done a comparison of Anthony Kim's swing to Hogan? They seem similar but with AK being more 1-plane. About the same height too.

Also, as an addition to my earlier question, how does AK get that final burst of speed into and through impact once the legs have done their part?

Their pivots are very different on the backswing. Hogan has more of a front foot pivot even though his head moves slightly off the ball. AK works much more behind the ball during the backswing and his on top of the right leg post at the top of the swing. If you are working off a stack and tilt model AK wouldn’t be your guy. I think both pivots are excellent and effective for different types of players based on athleticism, flexibility, and desired ball flight. That is AK and Hogan’s pivot…….Here is a picture of Hogan and AK at the top so you can see the differences in their body positions.


Tom asks at 12:20:

Assuming a golfer has successfully lagged the club and is approaching impact, what muscles or body motion do you recommend them focusing on to get the needed burst of acceleration? I get great distance (260+ and I'm 5'9) but must be using my lower back too much as it often gets sore when I try to finish strong. I finish in balance but rarely with full shoulder rotation.

I’m not quite sure what you mean when you say “using your lower back to much”. The left leg should be straightening through impact and acting as a post to hit against. Once both arms have become straight after impact you should allow your right side to straighten and release to the finish. When you try to stay bent over too long after impact it can be very hard on your lower back. I would recommend that you look at the pictures of Annika if you are more flexible and Darren Clarke if you are less flexible and incorporate the same look into your swing.

Finish wrap around

Todd asks at 12:00:

Hello, my biggest issue with my swing is that I OVER swing. I have been trying for a long time to stop my backswing at either halfway or three quarters of full will little success. Do you have any tips or drills to help me shorten my back swing and avoid the dreaded reverse "C"? Thanks

The fact that you said you are trying to “stop” your backswing tells me a great deal about why you are struggling with this issue. Instead of trying to stop your backswing, you need to focus on when you are starting your downswing. The starting of the downswing really is the end of the backswing. The downswing begins with weight moving in the direction of the target, hopefully from the ground up. If you “wait” to move the weight your arms will keep going back and the swing will become long. The longer swing isn’t necessarily a bad thing for some players, but it is difficult for to create the proper sequence of motion when the club gets well back past parallel. To fix this issue you need to get your weight moving towards the target much sooner during the backswing. Think of stepping towards the target when your left arm is parallel to the ground during the backswing. The swing will feel unbelievably short but when you look at it on video it will be considerably longer than you thought. I have a sequence of Tommy Armour III that will help you see when the weight is moving back to the target. The reason the swing is short isn’t because he tried to stop the backswing but the result of starting the weight very early towards the target. Focus on the difference between pictures 4 and 5.


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