Archive: February 2012

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February 28, 2012

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

Posted at 9:21 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have question or video link for Brady, leave it in the comments section below!

Welcome to the Tuesday Blog Ask Brady Live! Looking forward to a great week here in Southern California as I begin a new adventure at Calabasas CC. I'm very excited to be working with a great staff at a fantastic club with the best practice facility in the area. Let's get the blog going......

We have had such a great response to the blog today that I will try to get to some more of your questions later tonight. Check back in tomorrow morning for a few more answers to your posts. Thanks again for a great blog.

Mike asks:

Few teachers I've followed can communicate as effectively as you. Knowing your stuff is one thing, but communicating to others is what separates great teachers. You have that skill.

My question is regarding the quarter turn of the left arm on the backswing. Should there be conscious rotation at some point during the b/s, say from when the left arm is parallel to the ground? Or should it begin from the start of the b/s? Or should I wait until I get to the top, and then make the 1/4 turn? And by the way, your 'wide-narrow-wide' tip changed my golf game immeasurably. The compression I get at impact, and the ball-flight/distance/accuracy has reached a level I've never had before, and I am a 1-handicap. Thanks a million.

I truly appreciate the kind words Mike. I’ll try not to let you down here. Very happy to hear of the success you had with the wide-narrow-wide idea. I have used that myself in the past and feel it is a great visual, especially when hitting irons. Let’s get to your question: The quarter turn idea can be a difficult one for many to grasp. There are numerous examples of creating the quarter turn at various spots during the backswing. It can be done immediately during the takeaway like Tiger under Haney or wait until the transition like Hal Sutton or Nick Price, the choice is yours. The important thing to keep in mind is it needs to be present when the hands are at shoulder height during the downswing. How it gets there is open to many different strategies. When you focus on it depends upon where your backswing is venturing off into a bad place. I would love to see your swing to give you some specific advice about how to proceed. I have included a couple of pictures to help show you a few different options. Good luck.  

Clarkedown
Quarterturn
Tigeroverrotated
Pricetransition

Adam asks:

I'm a 14 handicapper and my biggest weakness is that I cast the club too early. The result is usually pull hook with my shorter irons and a nasty fade to slice with my driver. In videos, I'm usually unhinging my wrists before my hands ever get back to the ball. How can I stop this? Thanks!

The best remedy for this is hitting a ton of short shots where you work on getting some forward lean in the shaft at impact. The great Ben Doyle called this chip, pitch, punch, swing. Hitting slow, short shots and holding the finish in the flat left wrist, bent right wrist position is challenging but it works. When taking the feelings to the full swing be sure to get your body to lead the arms, hands and club into impact. If the swing is out of sync and the arms are starting the downswing there is no way for you to be successful making this change. Start slow and short and build up the speed and length as you gain control and become consistent with the contact and your ability to maintain your impact alignments.

Leon asks at 1:55:

1. I've started shanking 50% of my greenside bunker shots; any quick fix? I'm a 12 handicap.

2. Is it harder to hit knockdowns with modern game improvement irons?

3. How do pros hit those low sand wedge shots from 30-50 yard? Do they just have better hands the rest of us schlubs?

Thanks for the questions Leon. Let’s see if we can knock these out for you. The issue from the sand is often a set-up problem. Make sure you are standing further from the ball at address, weight in your front foot and hands slightly lower and closer to the sand than you are comfortable. Many players don’t quite understand the difference between an open clubface and a clubface that is laid-back. An overly open clubface will expose the hosel, a laid-back clubface will enable the bounce of the club to work through the sand properly. Here are a couple of pictures to show you the proper set-up.

It can be a bit harder to hit knockdown shots with the modern game improvement irons because they are designed to get the ball up in the air. Make sure you are always taking an extra club when hitting a knockdown as the decreased swing speed will keep the ballfight down. Hitting the lower shot from 30-50 yards is difficult. It is much easier to accomplish with a good wedge and better golf ball but there are a couple of technical things you can do to help. The shaft MUST be leaning forward to accomplish this shot. The fact that the swing isn’t full makes a set-up position that is closer to impact in it’s alignments a must. Check out the pictures of Jonathan Byrd hitting this shot to give the visual.

Byrdlow
Sand

Casey asks at 1:45:

Could you please comment on what you consider the ideal ball position and foot/shoulder alignment for hitting driver? Should ball position be thought of relative to the feet or the shoulders? I would thing relative to the shoulders makes more sense because stance width varies for a lot of players, but I also don't trust my own opinion too much :).

I was getting mine too far forward I think (past my left foot instep) and my shoulders were getting too open at address. It was uncomfortable to get the ball back inside my left instep at first, but I think I am getting used to it again. Thanks as always for the help. Are you ever going to write a book?

Best,
Casey

Wedges and Irons DTL:

I think you should trust your opinion more often Casey, it’s usually right on. The ball position is one of the easier questions you have asked me. Ideally, the ball should be placed just before the low point with the balls on the ground and just after the low point with the Driver. I agree that using the feet is a clumsy way of creating the proper ball position. I prefer the logo on the left chest for right handed players. Under the logo for the balls on the ground and past the armpit for the driver. Is this an absolute for everyone all the time? Of course not! (I love asking myself questions btw) There is some definite flexibility when it comes to the location of the ball on the ground. The amount of lateral movement going back and coming down, the amount of right side tilt, the desired curve and trajectory of the shot, the lie, the phase of the moon all can have an impact on where you play the ball. However, if you keep it fairly close to the desired location you will be more consistent in the long run.

As for the book, I have already written a couple of them but haven’t published or released them. I think they would be better in DVD or App form so I am in a holding pattern at the moment. I am very cautions about releasing something for the sole purpose of making money. The last thing I want to be is a sell out, golfdom has plenty of those already for my taste.

Thanks as always Casey. Here are a couple of good set-up/impact pics.

Foximpactiron
Foximpactdriver

JB aks at 1:30:

For Shorter Golfers: Spine Angle/Tush Line - how important is it? I'm a short golfer (5'4"), a 7 handicap, and hit my clubs good distance (7 iron - 165 yds). In my natural downswing, I lose spine angle/tush-line a bit and my hands at impact are above the position they were at address. Using down-the-line videos, I have been trying everything to maintain spine angle and tush line on the downswing. I've tried all the tricks/drills (like putting butt on a chair or forcing right knee to target rather than out toward the ball, etc.). I just can't bring it to the course with any consistency. In fact, the results are horrific. Videos of Nicklaus, Norman, Donald, and many others show they lose tush-line and spine angle on the downswing. So, how important is it? Thanks

 

There will always be examples of some professionals breaking the “rules” of the golf swing. If you have ever seen Eamon Darcy or Thaworn WIRATCHANT swing a golf club you will know what I mean. In your example you cite Donald and Norman as examples of losing the Tush line, I disagree. I have attached a couple of pictures that show their still in contact with the line(in Donald's case very slightly off) at impact. I don’t have any tripod images of Nicklaus to post but I will look for them. There is nothing unusual or wrong with having your hands higher at impact than they were in the address position. In fact, the norm is to be 5* higher at impact so don’t worry about it. If you send in you swing on video I can give you the specific reason as to why you are unable to maintain contact. It may be an address issue, an issue with your pivot during the backswing or an improper action of the legs during the downswing. Send it in so I can get you squared away.

Normanvdonald

Ben asks at 1:00:

Working on getting the club on a better plane in the backswing. I need help with the second half, after the club reaches hands high:

Is there more arm elevation? Is it a hinging of the wrists? What am I looking to feel once I get the club to go "through" my hands at halfway back? Thanks!

Overall it looks pretty good. There is a bit too much depth early in the swing which drives the arms and club to a position at the top of the backswing where the only option coming down is to get a bit too steep. I would like to see the arms and club more up in front of you during the backswing to give you a chance to keep the club behind you more on the downswing. The steeper angle of attack on the downswing isn’t ideal and makes it difficult to be consistent with the driver. Here are a couple of pictures to show you the difference coming down and the change in backswing I would like to see.

Steep1
Foxytop
Forearm

CF asks at 12:40:

Thank you always for your great insights on here!

My question is: is parallel alignment to target as important as everybody says it is? What I mean is, it doesn't really matter how you stand to the ball as long as the face of the club is square to target and you swing it according to how you want the ball to fly there, right? It seems, with all this adjustability, each and every club could be bent and set to the same face angle progressively so that you could pretty much swing in the same style to get the desired results.

Thanks for the kind words CF. No, parallel alignment to the target is not as important as everyone says it is. The simple fact the matter is the ball could care less where your feet, knees, hips and shoulders are pointing in the address position. The only thing that matters to the ball is where the clubface is pointing at impact, the path the club was traveling on, the angle the club was attacking and the centeredness of contact. However, and this is a big however, players have significantly better results when they are consistent with their address position. It is much easier to work on the golf swing and improve performance when the setup is as close to neutral and square as possible. Are the best players in the world perfectly square at set up? Absolutely not! But they're pretty close.

There are some consistencies we see in the deviation from square with professionals in terms of their alignment. When hitting the shorter clubs the feet are often pointed slightly left of the target, when hitting the driver the feet tend to point right of the target. The logic behind this deviation has to do with the dynamics of angle of attack at impact and their influences on ball flight. Rather than getting into a lengthy discussion on the specifics of the D-Plane look at some pictures of tour players hitting shots with different clubs and you will often see the slight deviation from parallel.

Ryan Stewart asks at 12:30:

I've heard two different putting methods lately and I wanted to get your take on them. Some people advocate swinging the putter so that you strike the ball on the upswing to impart over-spin, and others prefer that the putter stays low past impact towards the target. Do you have a preference?

Thanks for the putting question Ryan. As with the full swing there are many different styles of putting that work. Straight-back straight through, arc, arc with some down the line, low and slow, hitting up, cross handed, belly, long putter, etc. The best advice I can give you is to establish a very neutral address position that allows the putter to swing without conscious manipulation during the stroke. If you set up properly and allow the putter and the momentum it creates to move the ball towards the hole you are well on your way.

LB asks at 12:00:

Hi Brady. I feel like I am not using my lower body properly in my golf swing, and I would love to get your feedback. Looking at myself on video, I feel that I am turning my hips too far around and not really creating the torque that I should in a golf swing. Any assistance you could provide would be great, and if you see anything else that needs work, definitely let me know. Thank you for the help!

Thanks for sending in the email. You could definitely benefit from an improvement in the function of the lower body, but not on the backswing. Creating resistance in the lower body during the backswing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It can significantly reduce your ability to create enough depth in the arms and club going back making it very difficult to attack the ball on the proper path and angle. This is particularly true if you aren’t flexible by nature. I would encourage you to keep the hip turn and work on improving your posture at address as you are currently too bent over with your shoulders point well left of your toe line. Once you have addressed your address position you should start to learn how to use your legs and hips properly during the downswing. The current function of your lower body through impact is doing nothing for you. The hips are lacking rotation, the legs are sagging and bending through the strike and aren’t proving any snap. I have attached a picture of you through impact and compared it to a player using the ground for leverage to help you see the difference.

Collapse
Quietlegs
Squeeze

 

February 21, 2012

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

Posted at 10:11 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have question or video link for Brady, leave it in the comments section below!

Welcome to the Tuesday Blog Ask Brady Live! Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. I appreciate those of you who have taken the time and effort to send in videos of your swing and "expose" yourself to criticism. See you guys next week......

Stevie asks at 1:50:

I received Jack's book for X-mas and have dedicated myself to hitting fades and draws on virtually every shot while practicing. It makes perfect sense to eliminate a directional miss and work the ball in the direction of the target. I can hit fade with every club on demand with an accurate judgement of exactly how far the ball is going fade, however I am struggling with maintaining a consistent amount of draw when I hit these shots. Is there any advice, or swing thought, or motion to emphasize pre swing to help. I have heard some talk about foot position in regards to a slightly closed stance, doing this however turns the draw into a high hook.

You are undertaking a very challenging task. Working the ball both directions on demand is a wonderful goal and can be very rewarding but……… it’s really difficult. It sounds like your naturally able to shape the ball from left to right with a great deal of control but the opposite direction is more challenging. This is completely normal and the reason many great players over the decades have stuck to one shape for the majority of their shots (some for all of their shots). From a playing standpoint I would encourage you to hit shots you have hit consistently well in practice before you try to execute them on the golf course. It sounds obvious but you need to put in a great deal of time experimenting on the range with your alignment, path, face position at impact, and release to dial in the correct mixture that gives you the shape you are looking for.

Nate asks at 1:30:

Hello Brady. You've given me swing advice before and today I have a question on proper leg and footwork. I've noticed that nearly every good golfer ends up in a position in which there is no gap between their thighs as viewed from 'down the line'. In other words, the inside of their knees seem like they are almost touching in the finishing position. Here are a few random examples...

http://youtu.be/oOIAAG9sRJ0

http://youtu.be/v7cr4kTLT7k

http://youtu.be/ksLG2MB-z0M

What is it about their lower body action (or swing, in general) that makes this happen and what could amateurs learn from it? I ask because in my finish position is not nearly so graceful and my right leg looks like it flares out. I'm wondering if I'm not clearing my lower body properly in the downswing because I also feel like my arms do not have enough space to swing freely; like my legs and hips are blocking them somewhat. I've narrowed my stance a bit and put weight more toward the balls of my feet like you mentioned before, but it doesn't seem to make much of a difference yet. Here is my latest swing...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b2kpRI8ph8

Great question Nate! Take a look at the answer I gave earlier to Alexandre regarding this specific issue. You are absolutely looking in the right place. It isn’t a good idea to work on the legs if the club sucks. In other words the priority should be on getting the clubface in a fairly square position and matching it with a path and angle of attack that produces some measure of consistency in ball flight. Once the club is under control you can go after the legs. The proper use of your feet, knees, hips and tush during the swing can take your ball striking to a much higher level. I am going to film a short segment on using the legs this week and have it ready for the blog next week to get you the specifics you need.  

davedmail@hotmail asks at 1:00:

I sent in a question a little bit back and you asked for a video. Unfortunately I cant get one as yet. The issue related to having the right shoulder not staying deep enough as the arms start down (in the dnswing)causing my hands to obviously get a little "out" and the clubhead a bit under the shaft plane and behind my hands halfway down. I am a plus hndcp golfer so i deal with this ok but dont hit the ball as well as when this part of my swing was better (and the club not behind my hands). W/O video, any possible thoughts as to the sequence error that is allowing the shoulder to go a bit soon (and the practice fix)?

Thanks for the follow up Dave. Without seeing the swing I am doing a bit of guessing as to what is causing the problem. I could be that you are overly deep early in the backswing with the location of your arms and club and the outward movement of your right shoulder is a natural reaction to find some balance as you begin the downswing. It is possible that you are out of sequence starting the downswing. If the feet and legs wait too long to engage in the transition the shoulders will move earlier than desired and the shoulder will come out towards the target line. I would like for you to check the backswing and make sure the problem isn’t starting by getting too much depth too soon. If that ins’t the issue you need to do some slow swings and isolate the transition from backswing to downswing to work on your sequence. Make sure you are getting some lateral motion in the lower body to start the downswing before your knees and hips begin rotating around to the target. How much lateral is very difficult to describe in text by without some there is no way to prevent the shoulder from moving out to the target line. Get me some video Dave!

Alexandre Laflamme asks at 12:20:

Big fan of the blog. I'm working on maintaining my tush line and I have the feeling that maintaining my spine angle through the the finish.
What's your thought about it?
Thanks!
DTL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvFJz_2O-OE&context=C338fd9dADOEgsToPDskLSr6eL_7H0OQwBRiJxGwwu
Face on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTW_0PWiJKo&feature=endscreen&NR=1

Thanks for sending in the videos Alexandre. I think you are doing exactly what you are trying to do. I would like to see you use your legs and work against the ground more through impact. If you look at the picture I have attached you can see your upper right leg is away from your left and the foot has detached from the ground too early. It is important to create some “squeeze” in your tush and push away from the ground in your legs through impact. This will greatly increase your clubhead speed and dramatically improve your impact alignments. It may sound strange but both legs should be “posting up” at impact. Here are a few more pictures of what it should look like. This is a difficult concept to grasp so take your time and look at as many videos and pictures as possible to get the idea.

Legs

Squeeze

Mikey asks at 12:00:

I currently have a shoulder plane that is too flat on the backswing, causing me to come in too shallow and hit it off the heel. Why are some drills that can help me steepen my shoulder plane? Thank you

Thanks for the question Mikey. An overly flat shoulder turn on the backswing can cause the downswing to be too shallow and make the contact towards the heel. However, as with so many issues in the golf swing an early mistake in one direction causes the exact opposite mistake later in the swing. A shoulder turn that is too flat on the backswing more often than not leads to the downswing becoming too steep. I mention this so that you're sure that you are dealing with the correct issue.

If the flat shoulder turn is truly the issue, there are couple things you can do to make it better. The first is to check your posture and make sure that you're not to bent over the address position. When the upper body has too much forward lean the normal reaction during the take away is to stand up. When you lose the bend and become more upright the shoulders will immediately turn flatter than desired. With the correct posture in place try to get the feel that the left shoulder is turning down while the right shoulder is working up and back. When done properly you will feel some scrunching in the love handle above your left hip. As a result, your body will remain more centered over the ball and the shoulders will no longer be turning flat.

A word of caution Mikey, if this is overdone your weight will be pinned in your front foot and your head will move towards the target during the backswing. I promise you will not enjoy hitting the driver from that position. If you get the opportunity to send in some video of your swing do it ASAP. Look forward to seeing it.

February 20, 2012

Brady Riggs: My 4 Keys to Win in Match Play

Posted at 11:08 PM by Brady Riggs

I received my education in match play when I was 18. I was an American Junior Golf Association All-American, and I was playing against Alton Duhon in a 36-hole match-play final. Duhon, who won the U.S. Senior Amateur in 1982, was 52 at the time and I was out-driving him on every hole by 30 yards, easy.  But he was tough, and he wore me out. He was so consistent, hitting every fairway. He gave me nothing and he made me pay for everything I got. I didn't play badly. I made more birdies than he did, but I made more bogeys, too. Duhon was 1 up after 18 and beat me, 3 and 2. Here's what I learned:

1. Never Give a Hole Away
No matter how bad you're behind, never surrender a hole. Even when it looks like you have no chance to win the hole, hang in there as long as you can. Make your opponent beat you. Make him putt that three-footer. It's harder to win a hole than people think, and if you make your opponent fight for everything he gets, you'll have the advantage in the long run. Plus, you never know what can happen. You can win holes you never thought you could win as surely as you can lose ones that looked like certain wins.

2. Play the Course, Not the Person
Don't let your opponent take you off your game. You can't change the way you play and still play well. Instead, focus on executing your regular game. The best match-play players are consistent, guys like Colin Montgomerie and Geoff Ogilvy who are in every fairway and on every green in regulation. When you're driving it in the fairway and hitting greens, you put a tremendous amount of pressure on your opponent.

3. Expect Your Opponent to Make Every Shot
This is another rule to help you stay focused on your own game. Whenever you're opponent is getting ready to shoot, just assume he is going to hole that bunker shot, or sink that 30-foot putt. When he does make that long putt on a crucial hole, you'll be prepared for it, and it won't take you off your game.

4. Don't Take Unnecessary Risks
You don't have to be super-conservative, but if you have a borderline play, err on the side of caution. You want to avoid risky shots because you don't want to hand over a hole. You're trying to make winning a hole as costly as you can for your opponent, and if you misfire going for a par 5 in two, you're giving away a freebie, something you can't afford.

February 14, 2012

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

Posted at 10:35 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs on Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady this time, check back next week for an all-new edition!

Thanks for following Ask Brady Live! If I didn't get to your question please resubmit it next week and get it in early so I can get to it. Hope everyone has a great week of practice and playing.

Jeff asks at 1:30:

What are your thoughts on the right elbow/arm in the downswing....Furyk traps his behind his body (Jim Hardy) and others get it in front of their right hip. It seems if I trap it behind my body more like Furyk it forces more turn and keeps the shaft steeper. If the right elbow leads the shaft tends to get too flat with a lot of upper body hang back and the face stays open. Just curious as to what you think.

Furyk is the extreme example of getting the right elbows stuck behind the right hip on the downswing. There are many other players that get the right elbow out in front of the right hip including Tiger Woods. My personal preference is to have the right elbow down in front of you in what is referred to as a “pitch” position. I disagree that the right elbow in front of the hip tends to get the shaft too flat or forces the upper body to hang back with the face open. When the right elbow collides or is trapped by the right hip the left wrist tends to break down too quickly and forces the club to flip through impact. When the right elbow is down in front of the hip the hands lead the club shaft into impact creating the proper wrist conditions of a flat left wrist and a bent right wrist. I've included a few pictures to show you the differences between those elbow positions you referenced. It is obvious that you can play Major Championship golf from either position, this is a preference of both player and coach.

Furyktiger

Casey asks at 1:00:

Could you please talk about the process of bringing a new swing to the course? I've changed my swing quiet a bit and my practice sessions have been a lot better but the course were sometimes be more hit and miss but now I think I'm on to something.

I've been trying really hard to practice like I play and play like I practice. By this, I mean I try to use fewer and more concise swing thoughts while practicing and I do the same on the course. I also try to not pay too much attention to ball flight. Instead, I try to focus on getting my setup and alignments right, then focusing on executing my feelings/thoughts with good tempo (both on the course and while practicing).

Would you say this is heading in the right direction? I ask mainly because I often hear people saying just to focus on target on the golf course, but I feel like I'm not ready to do that yet as. Thank you very much for the insight. Here is an update video too - I've practiced for 21 days and it's feeling great! I challenged myself to not miss a day in the next 3 years (because I'm afraid my myelin will deteriorate)!

Best,
Casey

Watching that video almost makes me feel bad that it was 80* last week in Los Angeles.

I think you are on the right track Casey. I have played golf for over 30 years and have never played well thinking about more than one thing in my swing or focusing exclusively on the target. When I have been at my best as a player the focus was on both the shape and trajectory of the shot I was trying to play. Trying to incorporate multiple changes to the swing and play is very difficult. This doesn’t mean you don’t need to go through some difficult times when making a change, it’s very normal.  It takes a great many reps to build the trust and the pathways necessary to have the change become thoughtless. It appears to me that you are getting closer to less thought about fewer keys in the swing, congrats.

Keep your expectations low and stick with the adjustments you have made and you will get there.

Still hate the belt BTW…

 

T asks at 12:45:

My question is about pitching and chipping. I see the PGA players mixing up there shots between shots that stick, that bounce once or twice and stop, and shots that release and roll 25 feet. How are they changing setup and swing to accomplish the different shot reaction? It all looks the same on TV but the results are drastic.

They have spent thousands of hours hitting all types of shots from various lies for decades. In a way it is that simple. Changing the face position, bounce, ball position, hinge, angle of attack, roll through impact, speed of swing, length of swing, acceleration, etc. will all affect the type of shot you are hitting. The best advice I can give you is to work on one shot at a time and build an arsenal of weapons that will give you options in every situation. Start with the most basic of shots like a chip and run. Use all the various clubs to figure out how much roll out you are getting with a LW vs a PW and so on.

Sam asks at 12:30:

Thanks as always for your time to help golf.com readers.

I've been experimenting lately with setting up open and hitting the outside of the ball with the driver to play a fade (almost an intentional slice). The past few weeks I've been finding the fairway alot as that ball fight is predictable, playable and doesn't hook with that setup. Others in my group, have said that playing the drive that way will adversely effect my iron game and swing. What is your expert opinion?

It sounds like you have made an adjustment that has produced a more effective and reliable ball flight. You wouldn’t be the first player that has tried to exaggerate the shape of their shots only to find the ball flying straighter than anticipated. There is absolutely no reason the adjustment shouldn’t work for the irons as well. In fact, most professionals you will see will be more open with the stance hitting an iron than the driver and attack on a slightly steeper angle. Here is a quick picture of Davis Love III hitting a driver vs. an iron for comparison.

Lovealignment

Michael asks at 12:00:

Hi Brady,

Thank you in advance for look at my swing, it is greatly appreciated. I just have a couple of questions regarding my address position and early extension. I used to stand very far from the ball, and when I had a lesson they moved me to my current address position. My only question regarding this is why do my hands sit so close to me at address when compared to PGA pros? I feel like I stand the correct distance to the ball, and I don’t lose the tush line going back (except when I don’t transfer my weight completely back to my right heel, yet I don’t have any lateral movement). I was also told that I have fast hips, more likely a slow upper body, most likely causing my early extension, making my bad shot a hook. What are some drills that I can do to feel like I’m covering the ball at impact or so that my downswing is in sync? I also tend to hit the ball high on the face, is this due to a steep angle of attack, caused from early extension? One more question, I’ve only been playing golf for 2 years, but is there anything else major that I have to focus/work on beside this early extension?

Here’s a video of my swing (Sorry my head is cut off in the first few- the last two swings you can see my whole body):

Thanks for sending in the video Michael. I think your set-up position is still a bit off. If you look at where your tush begins at address and where it is at impact you will notice it has moved towards the ball several inches. I would like to see you move your toes back away from the ball and allow your weight to sit in the balls of your feet. This should put the end of the handle in line with the front of your shoes at address and make it much easier for you to maintain the Tush line during the swing. I have attached a picture of the proper look so you can get a visual.

Villegassetup

 

The second issue I would work on is the flatness in the shaft as the club works from the takeaway to the top of the swing. When the club points well outside the target line on the way up to the top it well inevitably bounce across the line when you are finishing the backswing. As a result, there are several frames at the top of the swing where the only thing moving is the club across the line. There is no increase in potential power, no dynamic change of direction and no reason whatsoever to have so much excessive motion in the shaft. This will obviously lead to inconsistency but also create the steeper transition and angle of attack you were mentioning in your question. Get the shaft pointed more vertically immediately after takeaway and you will get rid of the excessive motion in the shaft at the top and make it much easier to get the club tracking properly as you begin the downswing. Here are a couple more pictures to help you.

Suttontake


February 07, 2012

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

Posted at 9:48 AM by Brady Riggs

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf 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.

Taiiilateral
Tashift

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.

Cupped
Topels
Zinger

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!

Kris

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.

Go Kings!

 

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.

February 06, 2012

Top 100 Teachers: Equipment Advice for Amateurs

Posted at 11:02 PM by Golf.com

For Golf Magazine's new ClubTest Driver Issue, we asked Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers what they thought about driver loft, the most important club in an amateur's bag, and what club they'd use in a one-club tournament. Here are the results:

Top100_1

Comments:

"The less clubhead speed you have the more loft that is needed." --Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, Calif.

"Loft is your friend. It helps you hit it straighter." --Jim Murphy, Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land, Texas

 

Top100_2

Comments:

"They use the putter 33-40 times, the driver only 12-14. What do you think?" --Steve Bosdosh, Four Streams Golf Academy in Beallsville, Md.

 

Top100_3

Comments:

"Loft helps you get the ball higher and softer, so if you have the correct bounce the lob wedges is the best out of sand." --Jim Murphy, Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land, Texas

 

Top100_4

Comments:

"The right putter will save them two shots, the right driver one shot, and correct irons and wedges another shot or two." --Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, Calif.

 

Top100_5

Comments:

"With the advancement of technology, most amateurs should replace their long irons with hybrids because they are easier to hit both in the rough and in the fairway." --Glenn Deck, Pelican Hill Resort, Newport Coast, Calif. 

"Hybrids are so much easier to hit than long irons so use them as much as you can." --Jim Murphy, Sugar Creek Country Club, Sugar Land, Texas   

"After the 6-iron, the rest are useless for the average golfer. Use the hybrids!" --Steve Bosdosh, Four Streams Golf Academy in Beallsville, Md.

 

Top100_6

Comments:

"I played 9 holes with a 5-iron and shot 39. 6 or 7 would work too." --Mike LaBauve, Kierland Golf Club, Scottsdale, Ariz.

"6-iron, I can hook it for distance as well as it high with a fade. I can hit chips around greens and am good with sand shots, it is very versatile and I've used it in one-club events." --Brian Mogg, Brian Mogg Performance Center, Orlando, Fla.

"A 6-iron, because I know how to make it go high or low, curve left or right." --John Elliott, St. Andrews Golf & Country Club, West Chicago, Ill.

"8-iron. I can hood/close it and hit it 200 yards and open it and lay it back and hit it 80. Then I putt by hitting on the leading edge." --T.J. Tomasi, PGA Center for Golf Learning and Performance, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

"5-hybrid: You can deloft it for a driver. You can putt with it, chip, hit out of a bunker and bump-an- run pitch shots, so you have the entire bag in one club." --Nancy Quarcelino, Nancy Quarcelino School of Golf, Spring Hill, Tenn.

--

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

 


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