Golf 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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.