Ask Brady Riggs Live! Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Will Fix Your Faults
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!
Welcome to the Tuesday Blog Ask Brady Live! Should be a fantastic week at Olympic. It is a great venue that will test all aspects of the game.
What are some drills to fix the across the line position at the top of the backswing?
The across the line position at the top usually begins with a faulty address position and/or takeaway. If the player is excessively far from the ball the arms and specifically the club tends to get inside immediately during the takeaway. This makes the club get too flat halfway back and the momentum of lifting the club up from behind you during the backswing almost always causes it to get across at the top. There are other reasons why this can happen that include a right elbow that has gotten too far from the body or the incorrect swiveling of the right wrist at the top. Once the address position and takeaway get on track the simple fix to the problem at the top is to feel as if you can slap yourself in the right ear with the palm of your right hand at the top. If you put your hand in this position there is no way to get the club across the line. Like all adjustments to your golf swing this is best achieved with extremely slow practice that may include stopping at the top of the swing to check the position of the hand before beginning the downswing. I am a big believer in the idea that if you can’t do it slowly you will never do it with speed. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.
Why do you advocate players having both feet flat on the ground? Most swings I see have the right heel slightly raised before impact.
I never knew that I advocated that. There are some players who allow their right foot to come slightly off the ground at impact and others who don’t. There are players whose foot comes off the ground less with the irons and more with the driver. I am not a big fan of the right foot working too much out towards the toes at impact but keeping it flat on the ground is a bit overdone in my opinion.
Brady..... When viewing a video of a swing down the line, how to you determine if the club is on plane in the downswing.
The general rule of thumb is that the club should be covering the right forearm as you are about halfway through the downswing. This is dependent upon several things include the height of the camera, the position of the camera relative to the target line, the shape of the shot the player is hitting and the length of the club(wedge vs driver). There is an acceptable window above and below the forearm that is dependent upon the factors mentioned above and the amount of pivot vs hands the player chooses to use in their swing. This is a discussion that would take several hours to be complete so use the forearm as a reverence point. Here are a couple of pictures to show you the spot.
I tend to use my arms too much in my swing because I lack confidence in the hip turn. Do you have any drills to help develope a good hip turn?
Contrary to current teaching methodologies there is nothing wrong with using the arms during the golf swing. Much of today’s teaching de-emphasizes the use of the arms and puts too much focus on the pivot during the swing. The fact is the best players in the world over the last 50 years have used a blend of arms, body and hands during the swing. With that said there is nothing wrong with improving your hip turn during the backswing. Players that try to restrict the turn to produce more “X-Factor” are heading down a dark path. There is absolutely no advantage to minimizing hip turn during the backswing. The right hip should turn towards the target almost immediately during the backswing. A line drawn down from the outside of the right hip and thigh from the face-on view is a great place to asses the rotation during the backswing. While there can be some minimal lateral motion at the beginning of the backswing there should be noticeable space between the hip and the vertical line drawn at address by the time you reach the top of the backswing. Additionally, it is perfectly reasonable to allow your right leg to straighten from its’ address position although I prefer for it to maintain some flex to the top of the backswing. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see the concept.
Mike asks at 1:15:
I feel like I'm never on plane. What is the best advice you can give me to fix this issue? Thanks in advance.
You haven’t given me much to go on here Mike. I have no idea how it isn’t on plane making it nearly impossible to tell you where to begin. The best advice I can give you is to take some video and send it in so we save a lot of time and energy. Otherwise I am completely guessing as to what the problems are.
Steve asks at 1:00:
I just wanted to thank you on the advice you have given me and the many other readers of this blog. You have not only helped me to improve my game, but have helped me enjoy the golf experience more. I have a question of a different type; regarding golf courses. What is your opinion, as a golfer, on some of the newer courses built in the last 20 years of so versus the older, classic courses especially in the Midwest and East? I have been able to play many newer resort type courses and other TPC type courses and, frankly, I find many of them so “tricked” out, that they lose much of the "fun” quotient. How many times do I have to play a par 4 or 5 with water bordering the entire hole and the fairway sloping toward the water; or par 3’s with peninsula greens; or holes with man-made waterfalls? I am lucky enough to play at a club with a Donald Ross designed course (built in 1915) in the Midwest and find these types of parkland courses quite challenging, but also more fair. And courses by Ross, Herbert Strong, A. W. Tillinghast and others of that generation have a tradition and a classic feel and nature about them that make them more enjoyable, at least in my opinion. I am in my late fifties and a 10 handicap, so while I am certainly not a great golfer, I play well enough to know my way around a golf course. And many of the newer course designs seem to be more focused on the PGA level players than folks like me.
Steve, thanks for the kind words about the blog. I couldn’t agree more with you about modern day golf course architecture. Golf shouldn’t be the equivalent of going to the dentist. It should be fun. Ross, Tillinghast, Mackenzie, etc. knew how to build courses that were challenging but fair to every level of player. If you haven’t made the trek already I highly recommend going to Bandon Dunes. There is no man-made trickery there. The golf courses are extremely playable, challenging, breathtaking and unique. The Trumpifying of golf courses is obscene and does nothing to keep people in the game. Great point Steve.
Mark asks at 12:20:
I’ve been toying with different methods of switching between a fade and draw (grip/stance/clubface/swing path/tempo & timing adjustments), and wanted to know what is generally the best way for consistency sake. How do you personally adjust for basic draw/fades? How do you teach it to a student that has a good basic swing? I’m mainly talking about the Driver – I don’t like toying with the irons because I always get into trouble trying to draw it unless I’m on a tee. But does your instruction change for a Driver vs. mid iron?
Thanks for the question Mark. Most people have a defined shot shape they bring with them to the golf course. For the vast majority of amateurs it is very difficult to hit one consistent shot shape let alone two. If the player is a very low handicapper or Professional then we will work on the opposite shot shape with the driver by adjusting their normal mechanics usually beginning with the address position. It is important for all players to understand that a proper draw should be hit with the face open to the target line and slightly closed to the inside path. This will help the ball start right of the target line and come back. The opposite is true for the fade. Many really good players aren’t aware of the conditions needed at impact to create their desired ballflight making it very difficult to get the desired results. The ball position will also have a significant impact on the conditions for both shot shapes. It is very difficult to hit a ball that starts right of the target and draws with the ball too far forward in the stance as it is to hit the proper fade with the ball too far back. The adjustments to the irons are slightly different only because the ball is hit with a descending blow with the irons changing the conditions at impact.
John Torrey asks at 12:00:
When I've got a short shot around the green, I have a tendency to skip the ball across the green instead of getting that nice up and down arc. What can I do to help get a smooth connection and elevated chip?
Most of the problems I see with chipping and pitching in amateurs stems from the address position. They have either been over coached to have the weight and hands too far forward causing the leading edge to dig into the ground during impact or aren’t aware of any change at address and start with the weight and hands too far back. To be successful around the greens you need to be able to bottom the club out in the correct place and use the bounce of the club properly. Bottoming out in the right place requires the weight to be slightly forward at impact with the hands leading the clubhead. This is easily accomplished by adjusting your address position accordingly so you don’t have to move a great deal during the motion. Utilizing the bounce of the club requires a slight opening of the club, especially for the wedges, at address and maintaining it during the swing. When the address position isn’t correct the contact is very difficult to get right and the tension and uncertainty over the result will make the motion rigid and choppy. Once the set-up is cleaned up the focus should be on allowing the weight of the club to advance the ball to the landing spot. In other words, allowing the weight and momentum of the swinging club to advance the ball to the hole instead of your muscles forcing it will give you the best results.