Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon Eastern
to review your swing videos, answer questions and offer up tips to
lower your score. Be first in line by leaving a question in the
comments area below.
Thanks to all for your great questions today. Perhaps the most interesting session so far! I look forward to hearing from all of you in the weeks to come. Remember, if you post a link to your swing on You Tube I will put you to the top of the rotation. Have a great week and Go Packers! Stephen asks at 1:00: I am
trying to get my ballstriking form back by practicing with lots of half
swings. Is the L to L drill the best way to practice half swings? In
other words, swing arms to parallel going back with wrists fully hinged
and then do the same through the ball. Once I can strike the ball
solidly consistently I will add the full shoulder turn. Will my plan
Stephen, I have to tell you I can't stand the L to L drill. The early set of the wrists on the backswing is one of my least favorite styles as it removes the athleticism and movement I think makes great ballstrikers. Work on your swing in this order and you will improve. Clubface first with a good grip and the proper wrist positions throughout, swingpath next with the club approaching the inside/back quadrant of the ball while the face is rotating, pivot last with the body always leading the arms and hands going back and coming down.
I like the idea that you are working on your swing without it being full. I would recommend you take out the speed of your practice rather than the length of your swing. This will allow you to feel the proper sequence of motion, body first, without the blur of full speed.
If you stick to the three critical elements of face, path, and pivot you will get to where you want to be before you know it. Marc asks at 12:58: Brady, in your opinion (or to your knowledge), why have so many of Leadbetter's pupils left him? At one stage he coached most of the top 20 (Els, Charles Howell,
Baddeley, Rose, Tryon) but all of those guys have left him for other
coaches. The only big names he has left are Immelman (has done nothing
since his Masters win) and Wie (has won nothing big at all).
Faldo ended up leaving him as well (probably was nothing left for Faldo to learn though). Is he too technical now-a-days for a tour where every young player
has a textbook swing but doesn't know how to translate that into wins.
That's a very good question Marc. Here is my take. I think Leadbetter had some of the finest swingers of the club back in the day. I still love Faldo and Price and use their swings as an example of what to do in my teaching.
I think several things happened that have changed people's view of Leadbetter effectiveness over the past decade. First, there was Tiger. The shock wave he produced when he entered the scene caused people to focus more on Butch and eventually Haney and took the spotlight away from Lead. Second, the emphasis on technical prowess and control left the game when Tiger's power shocked the golf world. The need for more athleticism and power wasn't necessarily associated with Lead's teaching, fair or unfair.
When it comes to philosophy I am not a big fan of the early set of the wrists during the backswing. I strongly believe that a great golf swing should be an ATHLETIC motion using the body, arms and hands. When the swing begins with a set of the wrists while the body remains passive, the swing becomes contrived and less powerful. You don't see an early set of the wrists in the swings of Hogan, Nicklaus, Trevino, Watson, Norman, Tiger, or AK for that matter. If power is a critical component of today's game, which it unquestionably is if you look at how unimportant driving accuracy is to winning golf tournaments, then an early set is terribly ineffecitve. This has been an emphasis of Lead's teaching over the last decade and, in my opinion, a negative.
Let me also say that no teacher agrees completely with any other teacher. We all have different approaches and Leadbetter has certainly earned his respect and place in the history of the game by working with the worlds best players. But, I have the philosophy of giving my honest opinion when asked so there it is.
Thanks for the interesting question, keep them coming.

Chicago Mike asks at 12:45: I am a
long hitter that plays mostly Muni courses. My problem is I leave
myself half wedges & in betweeen shots as my approaches. I want to
learn to hit the low runner that most pro's have. The shot that comes
in low skips a lil & then stops. I have tried it & I can't do
it..Any Tips how to hit it?
As we say on the range when asked how to hit the one bounce checking shot, I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you. It is a trade secret! One of the most important aspects of hitting this shot properly is to have a good lie. If your muni is anything like the ones I grew up on that can be a challenge in itself. Here are some changes that will help. The trick here is to create enough acceleration through impact to impart backspin on the ball, while the swing remains short and crisp. The clubface should be slightly open in the address position as it allows you to hit the shot harder without hitting the ball further. Next, the feet are fairly close together with the weight leaning towards the left foot. The motion is crisp, with the sensation that the clubhead would be able to strike a match on the ground at impact. This creates the speed needed for backspin. Finally, the finish should be low and released. This means that the clubhead should pass your hands after impact, but the arm swing should be abbreviated. This keeps  the ball flight lower than normal.
This shot obviously takes some practice and must be done from a good lie. A great player once told me he tries to hit a low shot with the face open at address to produce this result. That is a good visual to use.Tim asks at 12:30: Over the
past year i have increased the distances on most of my clubs. I now hit
my pitching wedge consistently 145 yards. I have a gap wedge (52) that
i can hardly get past 100 yards. The harder i swing with my gap wedge
the higher the ball flight and still 100 yards. How can i add 10-15
yards to my gap and sand wedges?
Wow, that pitching wedge is going way too far. I wouldn't want to see your pitching wedge go past 125-130 at most. Have the loft checked on that club as it might be way too strong. As far as adding distance to the gap and sand wedges is concerned, you need to add a knockdown shot to your bag. As you have noticed, the shorter clubs will go higher and not necessarily further if you hit them harder. To add distance to the wedges, you must hit them lower. Since you have a solid distance hitting them normally, keep that technique for 100 yards and change it slightly for the times you need a couple more yards. Put the ball back about 3 balls worth in the stance, swing the club on a bit flatter approach and add a punched feel to impact that will shorten the follow through. This combination of set-up and swing changes will produce a lower shot that will fly between 5 and 10 yards further. Keep the approach flatter, or you will stick the club into the ground and not get the results you are looking for.Mike Bradley asks at 12:20: Question;
Often when I swing my left foot (Iam right handed)turns toward the
target line as my weight moves forward. In my finish I am facing past
the target line when I do this. Is this a problem and if so how do I
fix it? (I have an 8.4 index)
I am not sure I completely understand your question but here is my best guess. It sounds like your left foot is pivoting on the downswing so that it changes its position from the address. This happens because your body has begun the downswing by spinning open to the target instead of shifting or "bumping" laterally. This can hurt your ballstriking in two ways. First, when your weight doesn't shift properly, the bottom of the swing occurs behind the ball causing fat and thin contact. Second, the swing path becomes outside in due to the spin of the upper body. As a result, the ball can be hit off the hosel, pulled, and sliced. To fix the problem, the left foot should stay planted on the ground during the backswing. When the foot is pulled off, it is easy to replace it in the wrong location. The left foot should maintain its location and alignment to the finish, except for a slight roll to the outside.  Ryan asks at 12:00: I read your comments last week on a video review, regarding getting the left shoulder lower than the right (for RH'rs), which has been my issue for the last 2 years (flat shoulder plane).  It's a habit I can't seem to kick.  Do you have any surefire drills/tips/thoughts to help steepen the shoulder plane? The flat shoulder turn is a problem many players face and aren't aware of it. Even if you know it is an issue, it can be difficult to fix. When attacking this problem make sure you proceed with a bit of caution. If you steepen the turn and don't get your weight working into the back foot, you are creating a "stack and tilt" backswing, something I strongly discourage.
I am sure you have tried many thoughts to help you, but lets try the right shoulder. Thinking about the left shoulder going down can work, but the right shoulder is often more effective. Try to get the right shoulder working UP and BACK on the backswing. This is a great way to steepen the excessively flat turn and get the shoulders working properly. When looking at this on video, you shouldn't see your chin get popped up by your left shoulder. If your head stays on the same angle it started on, your sholders are working properly.

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