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! Hope you enjoyed the blog, I will answer the remaining questions later tonight. Check back into the blog tomorrow morning.....
Mark Jones asks 12:50:
I am a 7 handicap and my former instructor advised me that my swing mechanics were fine but to improve my handicap I now need to better my timing. How does one work on and improve our timing?
I have no idea what your former instructor is talking about. If there are ball striking issues then address them in order of importance: clubface first, path then pivot. If ballstriking isn’t the issue and it’s scrambling, up and down percentage, putts per round, putts per green in regulation, etc. You need some specific data as to where you are losing shots. Start keeping track of your statistics and you will be able to diagnose the area of your game that needs the most attention. In my opinion, telling a student to work on rhythm, timing, or tempo is lazy and completely ineffective. Send in some video so I can give you specific advice.
Paul asks at 1:20:
Hello Brady, I have a question about connectivity, am I getting trapped at the top of my swing, where my arms are behind my body. Should I try to keep my arms in front of my chest or should I work on acceletrating my arms (right elbow) in front of my body during my downswing and keep my right shoulder back? The elbow should be in front of your hip coming into impact, correct?
Those are very insightful questions to ask Paul. I don’t see an issue with the top of your backswing. In a perfect world I would prefer the right elbow to be down in front of the right hip approaching impact. I would also like to see more space between the hands, arms and body after impact. You are currently very jammed in the frames all around impact. Working on the right elbow down in front can be very frustrating and difficult but it is worth it. The best advice I have for you is to study the pictures below and begin to pose impact and delivery pictures copying the positions. This will begin to give you the feel you need to make the changes. Feel free to ask any questions you may have.
Barrett asks at 1:10:
Only played 2x last year but will play a lot more this year. Any tips on how to get my short game back up to speed, especially chipping and pitching?
The obvious answer here is to practice and play significantly more. On the practice side start with the most simple of chips using a pitching wedge from several paces off the green and get the feel for the amount of carry and roll the club is producing. Try to land on a specific target and see how much roll out (flat green with normal speed) is being produced. Once you have the contact and landing spot under control add different clubs with both more and less loft aiming for the same landing spot using the same type of stroke. This will help you reconcile the amount of roll each club is getting from the same landing spot using the same technique. It is far easier to use one technique and change the club you are choosing then changing the shot with the same club.
When it comes to putting start about 3 feet from the hole on a straight putt with little break and work on getting the ball to enter the hole at the correct speed. The ball shouldn’t hit the dirt on the far side of the hole but should fall down into the plastic on the side or bottom of the cup. Once you are consistent with the 3 footer add distance and break working on the speed the ball enters the hole.
When you are playing choose the most simple chip or pitch shot utilizing the full length of the green. In other words, get the ball on the ground as fast as possible to avoid the big mistake. Focus on the speed of your putts entering the hole and less on your stroke to establish some feel and touch.
If you approach the short game with this mentality you will make steady progress towards the goal.
Kris asks at 12:45:
Thanks for the great answer 2 weeks ago. (Un)Fortunately I didn't have to try out the turning the hips not swaying because I got out to the actual grass course and I no longer pull the ball. Weird. Anyway, I have 2 quickies this week (and hope to get a video to show you next week):
1) Why do the pros always seem to hit their irons so much farther on a tee than off? Off fairway they see to hit their mid-short irons just slightly longer than me, but when teeing off they'll hit short irons into 200+ par 3s time after time regardless of the wind.
2) I spent time the other day hitting nothing but driver and 4i at the range (my 2 worst clubs), and about 1/2 way through my bucket I started stripping my driver dead straight every time. The odd thing is that I've started stepping out of my stance backwards after the shot. Backwards as in away from where the ball was sitting, not away from the target. Is this representing some terrible flaw? If not, I don't care b/c it seems to work great (well, 250 yards isn't great, but straight sure is compared to my usual wildness). Thanks a lot!
P.S. I started doing Nick Faldo's tip of fully hinging the wrists then doing the swing and it worked great for my 4i. Was a great day at the range :)
Thanks for the feedback Kris.
When it comes to distances with irons from the tee or ground I don’t see the same phenomenon. In fact, when the ball is on a tee some players hit the ball shorter because the ball makes contact to far up the face where there is less mass behind it. I never tee the ball up on Par 3’s for this very reason but instead give myself a very good lie figuring this is how I practice hitting iron shots and it will give me my normal distances.
When it comes to stepping back away from the ball I’m not sure when during the swing you are doing this but it is obviously unusual. It sounds like one of those things that works well on the range when you have been hitting the same club for 15 minutes straight and “feeling it” but won’t work all that well under the gun on the golf course. I don’t think it is necessarily representing some terrible flaw but I wouldn’t advise you to continue the practice unless the results on the course are amazing. Send in some more video so we can keep up the progress.
James asks at 12:35:
My question is with regards to shaping a shot. I am right handed and would like to know what the arms and body need to do to draw the ball.
I play the ball left to right back to center very well and regularly but would like to have the ball come right to left back to center especially when i need shape around the green.
James, it is less a question of what the arms and body do and more a question of what the clubface and path are doing. If you are trying to hit shots that start right of the target and come back to the left the path must be slightly from the inside, the face must be closed to the path and open to the target line. In other words, the body arms are only important in this equation relative to how they impact the face and path. With that said it is very difficult to create the impact conditions you desire with the body spinning from the top of the backswing as it tends to prevent the weight from moving to the front foot properly and takes the club off the desired track. The arms are generally being moved by the body during the swing and have little ability to “save” or “fix” the problems the pivot creates on their own. Without seeing your swing it is impossible for me to tell you the specific reasons you are unable to create a right to left shot shape. Send in your swing so I can get you on the right track.
JP asks at 12:25:
It been a while since I posted, thanks for continuing to do the blog, it's great reading even when I don't post!!
Face on - I notice that I lack wristcock a lot of times and I'm not sure why, my practice swing doesn't look like this at all!!
7I - I did notice I was losing the tush a little coming down. To me the swing plane was a little under coming down.
SW - This was a sand wedge. I like this swing quite a bit. Much better than the other 2.
Why do I lose the wristcock so easily? On the last 2 videos I was purposely trying to create more, not sure of the best way to do that??
In my swing, how can I keep from getting under plane?? (It gets really under with the driver)
The other thing I am working on is getting the right wrist flat at impact.
Does bending the right wrist too much at impact cause the club to continue to track in to out and cause a shank? (I am thinking this causes my periodic shanks because when my wrist stays flat I hit it much better)
Any other thoughts you have are appreciated.
Thanks for sending in the videos JP, very helpful. I would like to see you create more depth early in the swing by keeping your hands and arms closer to the body during the takeaway. When the club works out and away from the body during the takeaway the normal fix for a good player is to loop or reroute the club back to the desired track during the transition. This can often produce a downswing path that is excessively inside and when combined with the loss of the tush line produce a shank. I don’t see the hinge as a big issue at this point and wouldn’t be surprised if the improvement in the takeaway doesn’t create a little more than you currently have. I would still like to see less slide towards the target in the lower body during the downswing as it makes it difficult for you to keep your left wrist bent and subsequently right wrist flat at impact. When the hips turn properly through contact the left shoulder will be closer to the ball, left arm will remain more bent and the wrists can maintain their proper impact alignments.
Daniel asks at 12:00:
I'm having problems with my takeaway and it's a major source of frustration every time I see myself on video. I think i'm just lifting my arms and twisting my wrists but I can't fix it. I'm confused on how the wrists and hands move in the swing. Could you explain please? Some teachers say to get the club 'light' early and some say to sweep the club away to keep width. In light of my problems what should my 'feel' be during the takeaway.
Here is my swing:
Thanks for sending in the video Daniel. “Feel” is a very difficult thing to convey to a student. When I am teaching someone the takeaway the best approach is to get someone into the right “positions” and have them describe how it feels to be there. When done in this order the student is learning their feel from the proper mechanics instead of mechanics from feel.
With that said I can’t place you there over the internet so here is what I would suggest. When you take your address position you will notice 2 specific bends in your left wrist that must be maintained during the takeaway if you are to improve. The first is the angle from the back of the left hand to the forearm. This will vary slightly based on the relative position of the left hand on the club but you should have some bend present. The next is angle between the very base of your thumb as it extends into the top of your hand vs the forearm. If you pull your thumb towards your forearm you will notice a little depression or “human snuff box”. When you take the club away you need to maintain these two bends in the left wrist as the club works back to parallel to the ground. If you maintain them and keep the clubhead outside your hands slightly you will have the club positioned properly. One last thing to help you is to maintain the connection between the upper left arm and chest during the takeaway. This should be the source of your movement and powers the arms and club away from the ball. Here are a few pictures to help you get the idea.