Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Will Fix Your Faults
Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at 1 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, leave it in the comments section below!
Thanks for joining me for the Tuesday Ask Brady Live! Send in your videos and question early next week! See you then......
Steve asks at 1:20:
I am a left handed person who was learned to play golf right handed. Back when I began playing play in my teens, many years ago (I am in my mid 50’s), left handed clubs were hard to come by, so I just started playing right handed. I am currently about a 10 handicap. My left side upper body wants to take over my swing which will result in a straight pull shot, maybe 30 yards left with a driver or fairway wood. I have fought this tendency by holding off my release just a bit which keeps the ball on a much straighter line. Even though that works most of the time, it seems more like a band aid than a solution. But when I want to bust a drive or try to hit that par 5 in two, that dreaded straight pull rears its ugly head. I believe I need to find a way to keep my upper body more in sync with my lower body. Any suggestions/drills would be greatly appreciated.
This is a very interesting question Steve because it seems backwards. Most people blame their dominant right side as a right handed player for coming over the top and hitting shots left of the target. The conventional thinking would be that your natural left handedness would prevent this from happening and help you keep the pull at bay without much difficulty. The fact that you mentioned your upper body as the problem area and not your arm or hand gives your argument more credibility. If the left side “spins” to begin the downswing in an attempt to create power the arms and club will move out and off the proper track forcing the club to attack the ball from more outside than desirable. It is also important to keep in mind that the cause of your pull can be more attributed to a closed clubface position than a poor path but let’s trust your instincts and deal with the spin of the upper body. The fix for this is to incorporate more lateral motion towards the target to begin your downswing rather than the rotation you are currently fighting. Move your left hip and upper body in the direction of the target and your arms will stay back away from the target line longer during the transition. This will keep the club behind you deeper into the downswing making it much easier for you to start the ball more right than you currently are seeing. I am sure you have seen the step drill as a way of practicing the proper sequence during the downswing. This is a good way for you to learn and ingrain the proper shift towards the target with your body to begin the downswing. Let me know how it goes and send in some video if you get a chance. Here are a couple of pictures of Tommy Armour III moving properly to start the downswing.
Jack Belknap asks at 1:55:
I play with a strong grip that may be as strong as Ed Fiori's which I know you've probably seen. My question is - should I try to achieve flatness to the back of my lead wrist at the top of the swing or should there be some bend to it? It seems like the flatness will close the face at the top while the bowing will put the face in a more open position. I see very little bowing from tour players but perhaps that is just because their grip is more neutral than strong. What do you think I should be trying to achieve relative to that lead wrist at the top of the swing? Thanks.
Funny you mention Ed Fiori. I played with him when I was 16 in the 1984 Insurance Youth Golf Classic in Jackson, Miss. It was the week after the PGA and the professionals joined our groups during the third round of the tournament. After seven holes I was -1 and working him over pretty easily making me wonder how the heck the guy was playing on the PGA Tour. A couple of hours later he had drummed me by 5 and I learned my lesson. Professional golf is all about turning 75 into 70 instead of the other way around (which is what I did). But I digress…
We need to get straight the whole bowed vs flat vs cupped thing at the top. I think when you mentioned bowed in your question you were referring to a cupped position instead. A bowed wrist is on the other side of flat where the knuckles of the hand are moved away from the top of the forearm while a cupped wrist has the knuckles moving towards the top of the forearm. If you combine a strong left hand grip with a flat left wrist at the top you will have what is described as a closed clubface position where the leading edge of the club is parallel to the horizon (or in that neighborhood). If the wrist actually becomes bowed, the clubface will be more closed and unplayable. When you said the face would be more open with a bowed position I believe you meant a cupped position which would make perfect sense. The slight bend in the left wrist associated with the cupped position will keep the leading edge closer to parallel to the outside of the left arm and not the horizon. This is considered to be square.
The playability of any of the combinations of wrist positions is variable. There are numerous PGA Tour players with strong grips that play with the left wrist flat at the top. There are many players that have a slight cup in the wrist with a strong grip and some have it with a more neutral grip. You rarely see the combination of a weak grip on tour with a cupped wrist at the top or a strong grip with the wrist bowed at the top. The reason these combinations are less likely is they put the clubface in a very difficult position to compensate for making consistency impossible.
In most cases, if the left hand grip is strong I would recommend the player maintain some cup in the left wrist at the top as it keeps the clubface from becoming too closed during the downswing. The closed face on the downswing makes it difficult to let go and release freely through impact. While there are obviously many exceptions to the rule, this is my preference.
Faldo and O'Hair slightly cupped and square.
Kris asks at 1:35:
Winter here (though mild this year and hopefully the snow will be gone early-last year played late May, but the year before was playing April 1), so I'm curious of any exercises I could be doing to help out my game (especially using free weights, which I have, whereas I do not have gym access). I'm pretty flexible already(hockey goalie), but any good trunk stretches couldn't go awry I'm sure. Thanks for all the great tips on here each week!
P.S. Best drill for putting distance control? Aim is fine, but average over 34 putts/rd and inconsistently blow it past the hole high or leave it low and short.
Thanks for your question Kris. It may surprise you living in So. California but I still play hockey every Tuesday night. Love the game.
There are countless programs available to help you maintain your flexibility and strength for golf. I have been using the P90X program for the last 2 years and find it to be amazing for maintaining my overall fitness. The fact that all the workouts can be done at home with no machines (free weights and a pull up bar is all you need) makes it very easy to deal with. I send all of my competitive players to Michael Pauldine of Fit2peak Golf. You can find plenty of information about him online and see his workouts on Youtube.
The best drill for working on your distance control with your putting (and chipping as well) is what I call the Leapfrog drill. Set up two tees about 3 feet apart 10 feet away from you. Take five balls and try to hit each put past the tees progressively farther away than the previous ball. When you are able to hit each putt past the tees a little farther than the putt before and keep all the balls within 3 feet of each other increase the distance to 15 feet and so on. The pressure will build with each putt as you get closer to achieving the goal. This is critical to making practice more beneficial to your actual performance rather than just whacking putts around the green with no consequence. I would also recommend that you gamble (small wagers are fine) as much as possible for the same reasons. Practice with consequences and you will be much better for it.
Don asks at 1:15:
For the last month I am struggling with pulling the ball. I am hitting it very solid with great ball flight, just left of my target. With wedges it is like 10-15 yds left and progressively further left as clubs get longer. I have been grinding on my alignment, but still missing left. Is there something else I should be looking at?
Without seeing the swing we are obviously guessing as to the cause of the pulls. There are a couple ‘usual suspects” when it comes to the ball flying left of the target. Alignment is a great place to start but it sounds like you have that covered. The on-course correction I would make would be to move the ball back slightly in the stance. This will help the ball start more right of the target and is always a better choice during a round than trying to change the swing. If neither of these adjustments (alignment and ball position) are having a benefit and fixing the issue then you need to begin looking at the clubface position and path of the club. Obviously a closed clubface position will make the ball go left of where you would like as would a path that is attacking more from the outside than desirable. Without getting into all of the possible combinations of face and path conditions that will produce balls flying left of the target being mindful of keeping a square face and a neutral path is always prudent. Try the ball position first and move on to the face and path if necessary.
Stephen asks at 1:00:
I currently play of a 3 handicap (UK) but was as low as 0.7. I have always tilted my head towards the target during my backswing (my left ear almost touches my left shoulder) which causes me to dip my left shoulder and have my head ahead of the ball - do you have any drills to try and stop me doing this. I feel it starts by not transferring my weight on my right side intially rather I more dip my left shoulder and my head follows. I have tried to start more with my head dipped away from the target but my head just tilts further towards the target during the backswing.
Eye dominance can play a significant role in head tilt during the golf swing. Left eye dominant players often have the tendency to tilt the left ear towards the ground during the takeaway as it allows them to “see” the ball more easily. While this can be a difficult issue to fix it is doable. Try to keep the length in the left side of your torso during the takeaway. In other words, keep the stretch of your left side from your hip to your shoulder and you will prevent the head from moving in the direction of the target as the turn will become flatter. While this may be contrary to many of the fads we see in today’s instruction, some lateral motion during the takeaway in the head has worked for generations of players.