Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon Eastern 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!
I hope everyone enjoyed the blog today. It is 1:00am here in Southern California so I am calling it a night. I will be out at Riviera this week for the NCAA Men's Div. I Championships. If you happen to be out there please stop by and say hello. See you next week.
Back at it after Riviera...
Hard to answer I know, but; US Amateur is in my backyard next year (and the second course for qualifying is my home course)and would love to qualify. Currently a 9 have been as low as 2. Hard part - kids, job, etc so limited playing and practice time to get my handicap and game down. Any thoughts on how to implement a plan to try and qualify?
Let me relay a story I heard about 10 years ago that may or may not be 100% true. A man is talking to his head professional in Texas about ten years ago. He is explaining to the pro that at 44 years old he has sold his business and is now independently wealthy to the point of not working the rest of his life. He is already nearly a scratch player and is telling the pro that for the next 6 years all he is going to do every day is hit balls, work on his short game and play golf in an attempt to get ready for the Senior Tour. The pro tells the man that in a strange coincidence there was another guy 44 years old in the restaurant who is also going to spend the next 6 years practicing and playing every day in an attempt to get ready for the Senior Tour. He asked the man if he would like to meet him to which he was more than happy to do. When he walked into the restaurant he was introduced to the other 44 year old, Tom Kite.
Here is what you are up against: for the next year there are hundreds of better than scratch college players who will be spending every single day from now until the qualifier practicing and playing. They will be worked out by highly skilled trainers in the most cutting edge strength and flexibility programs. They will have access to fitting centers at Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist, Ping, Cleveland and Cobra golf companies to get the most state of the art equipment fit for them. They will be working with some of the finest golf instructors in the country on refining there technique. They have access to sports psychologists and nutritionists in addition to peers who are constantly challenging them to improve. In addition to these collegiate players there are a large group of fantastic junior golfers equally well prepared and players past college age who either never turned pro but were fully capable of playing on the highest levels or failed as Touring professionals and regained their amateur status.
So, if you take an honest assessment of where you are as a 9 at this particular moment and factor in your ability to practice considering you have a family, a job and a life you may come to the conclusion I would about your chances. The fact is there is nothing wrong with pursuing your dream but be realistic and honest about your chances. Work at it knowing the odds are beyond long against you playing at that level and enjoy the process of improving to whatever level you achieve. Sorry to rain on your parade but I am a big believer in honesty.
Greg Warfel asks:
I used to hang my drives out to the right with no turn over back to the left. Now I've fixed that and have the nice draw I have been working years to get. The problem is now when I mishit the ball I turn over too much and the ball snap hooks to the left. Is there anything I can work on on the range to fix that? This is a whole new issue for me and I have no clue how to fix it.
I have a player competing in the NCAA Championships this week with the exact same issue. With it being the week of the tournament the fix is to work on hitting slight fades on the range to get the feeling of the club attacking more into the back of the ball with the clubface less closed to the path. This is a tournament site adjustment that is completely non-technical so it doesn’t get him thinking too much. If we were on the range without a competition at hand we would work on the specific technical issues that are creating the problem and get more in depth. The fact is without seeing the swing I would have you try to change the shape of your shots through the feel of how the club is working through impact. This can be achieved with a slight set-up change by putting the ball closer to you and further forward in the stance. If this doesn’t get the ball under control I would suggest you send in your swing so I can give you more specific technical advice.
Shannon asks at 1:05:
Hi Brady! What's the best drill that you can work on to eliminate "the flip" and get more lag at impact? Would it be beneficial to feel like I'm hitting the ball with my left hand and just forget about the right hand in the downswing. Thank you!
I am not a big fan of hitting shots with one hand. I think you can make more progress much quicker by understanding a few things about impact and working on short, slow shots that specifically focus on them. People struggle with impact when they try to help the ball into the air by sliding the club under the back of the ball. In many cases they add to the problem by trying to hit the ball straight by making the club track straight down the target line. The fact is the club needs to be working both down and out during impact if you are going to improve lag and subsequently your impact alignments. The first step is to understand what you are trying to do. Once you have wrapped your head around this there are several things that make it significantly easier. For starters, a significantly amount of weight must be in your front leg and foot at impact to achieve the downward strike on the ball. There are some that would have you start with the weight there so you wouldn’t have to move it during the swing, I wouldn’t be one of them. I would rather you move the weight in the direction of the target to start the downswing as it is more athletic and ingrains the proper sequence of motion. That isn’t to say the head or hips should sway away from the target during the backswing but should stay fairly stable.
The drill is fairly simple. Hit shot that are very short, 10-20 yards with an 8 iron. Start in the position you would like to be at impact with the weight forward, hands ahead of the clubhead and the club approaching the inside back quadrant of the ball. Go back to normal address before taking the club back and make a very slow, short swing where you try to achieve the same impact position you were posing in when hitting the ball. As the impact improves make the length of the swing longer and the speed faster until the swing is full. If you lose the impact alignments you are going too fast and too long. Work on the little shot until you own it. If you can send me video of both your normal full swing and your little shot I can give you more specific advice.
Brian asks at 12:40:
Actually I'm a 8-10 hdcp. With such a good game, I still manage to screw up my sandtrap shots around the green and fairway bunkers. I have hit some good shots from both areas before, so I'm not totally lost how to do it. Hoping you could send me some tips to help me with this part of the game. Get more consistent and gain some confidence when these shots come up. Thank you!!
There are significant differences between a fairway bunker and greenside bunker when it comes to technique. The fairway bunker isn’t very different from a normal shot from the fairway. Choking down on the handle and quieting down the legs are normal adjustments to make from a fairway bunker. This will limit the distance your shot will carry opposed to a normal lie so taking an extra club is a good idea. The greenside bunker is completely different. The idea that helps most people understand the shot better is that the ball flies out of the bunker on the sand it sits on. If that sand exits the bunker so to will your ball. The setup adjustments are fairly simple: the weight is more on the front foot than normal with the upper body tilted to the right slightly, the feet are pointed slightly left of the target, the hands are closer to the sand with the shaft flatter and the clubface is “open” or laid back at address to allow the back of the flange or bounce of the club to skip through the sand. Utilizing the bounce of the club is the key to success. It should be practiced on the grass by taking the same set-up as you would from the sand and making full swings. You should be able to swing as hard as possible and hit the ground aggressively with the clubhead without taking a divot. The only way to achieve this is to use the bounce of the club and have it skip off the ground. Here is a picture of the set up from a greenside bunker to help you.
JP asks at 12:15:
Here is a down the line. I am trying to work on tush line and leg work. Let me know how everything looks and what I need to work on to continue to improve. The ball striking was pretty good this round, my tendency was a slight pull with about a 7 or 8 yard draw with the irons.
[ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im00IT8WD4U ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im00IT8WD4U
By the way, I helped out my driver drop kicking problem by teeing the ball much lower. (a small part of the small is above the top of the face, in the past, the entire was above the face) This came to mind after you told someone to hit the driver off the deck in a blog a couple of weeks back to fix an inside out swing. I didn't go to that extreme, but the low tee forces me to come in steeper . With the high tee, the club has to get low pretty far back in order to hit up on it. The high tee also seems to make for very wayward drives and it seems tough to keep the wrist flat at impact if you are hitting up on it that much. I don't seem to hit it quite as far or high, but far more accurate. This was a tough thing to do psychologically, but I am no longer drop kicking it and I am much more consistentent and my misses are minor as long as I don't come out of the shot. I am curious if you agree with the things I said about the driver.
Thanks for sending in the video JP. It is very interesting how you have improved the Driver contact with the tee height. I have used the lower tee height on tighter holes that require a fade for years as it keeps the club attacking on a bit steeper angle. Nice work.
When it comes to the swing you have sent in I would like to see more depth during the takeaway and at the top with your arm swing. While it is difficult to see where the clubface is at the top and during the downswing the combination of a face closed to the swingpath is certainly there. The other issue with the more vertical arm swing is the need to reroute both the arms and club to the inside during the downswing. This can often drive the club below plane coming down and create the excessively inside approach at impact. Keeping the upper right arm closer to the body during the takeaway with the hands tighter to the left leg is a good start. This will get the arms and club more “in” early so you won’t have to get the “in” during the transition. Here are a couple of pictures for you to see the difference.
Eric asks at 12:00:
Love reading the blog. I wanted to ask your opinion. In my backswing, I let the club get flat towards the top. I've noticed that I seem to get the club back on plane coming down, but I figure this quirk in my swing could be causing some inconsistency (mostly with driver).
Right now I hit a cut-fade most consistently. My main miss is when I don't square the club face, the shot will leak too far right. I'm generally happy with my ball flight as it's predictable and has good distance and I'm hitting a lot of greens. I've found what I would need to do to keep the club on plane looking in a mirror, but can't decide if I want to fully commit to the change. Do you see any major advantages if I can change my backswing to be more on plane or should I just refine what I already do?
Thanks for sending in your swing Eric. You have brought up some very important questions when it comes to making a swing change. How much do you want to gamble with a swing change when you are fairly happy with your ball flight and are already a good ballstriker? You need to take into consideration what your goals are as a player, the amount of time you will be able to commit to practice and your budget associated with finding a Professional instructor who can help you with the process. If your goal is to become a low singe digit player who can be competitive in amateur events I would encourage you to make a change. The clubface is very fanned open during the takeaway as you roll the club inside. The flat arm swing can lead to inconsistency with your contact and when combined with the open face a definite inability to keep the ball flight down or move it from right to left. Start by working on the takeaway and you will see positive changes to the rest of the backswing happening without much effort. Here are a couple of pictures to get you started.