Ask the Top 100 Live: Kick the new year off right!

Happy 2010! It's a new year and with that comes a new chance to reach your golf goals. Want to finally lose that slice? Lower your handicap? Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon Eastern LIVE to answer your questions, review your swing videos and offer up tips to help you reach more fairways and sink more putts. Leave a question now to be first in line and check back Tuesday. My most sincere apologies to those I didn't get to. Heading out to the lesson tee as we speak. Get those questions in early next week so we can make sure to answer them. Thanks to everyone for starting out 2010 with a bang. See everyone on the blog next week! GO PACKERS! Christian asks at 1:30: Brady,
I've posted my swing twice before and you told me both times to get
my weight off my heels at address so I don't lose my tushline. I think
I finally listened this time :-). Other than that I see that my hips
are stalling and I am flipping through impact. Any advice for that? Do
you see anything else that I should be working on?
Face: http://www.swingacademy.com/videoPlayer.aspx?id=4943 DTL: http://www.swingacademy.com/videoPlayer.aspx?id=4951 Thanks,
ChristianHey Christian, good to see the swing again. BTW, I have no idea how you can swing in that weather, it is 78 today in Southern California and I am wearing a windbreaker! The tush line looks 100% better, nice job. The next piece of the puzzle is your swing path. The club is attacking on a path less inside than I would like to see. As a result, your club is exiting too far left after impact hurting your clubhead speed, slowing down the clubface rotation and creating a bit of a chicken wing with your left arm. The club needs to come more from behind you on the downswing so it can go more away from you after impact. This will help your extension for sure, and allow the clubface to rotate properly through impact producing a slight draw for your ball flight. Basically, your swing needs to be more around and less up and down. As you think of swinging more out through impact, your club will get more inside coming down and it will probably be a bit across the line at the top. That is all fine and can be adjusted if you over do it. Send in the new stuff as soon as you can and get some handwarmers in your pockets. BURRRRR!

Marc asks at 1:10: Hi Brady
I have seen a few different articles/teachers promoting a swing
where you start the actual swing with the club in the halfway back
position and then all you do to complete the backswing is turn your
shoulders to the top. It eliminates the entire takeaway from the ball
(and the problems that could arise from it). I have also seen quite a
few tour pros use similar versions of this drill on the range at tour
events.
I have tried it works quite well as it seems to always get you into
a good position at the top. I wonder why people and tour players don't
actually play this way the whole time.
What are your views on it and it's benefits?
Thanks
Marc It is a very interesting question. There is always skepticism when there is a new idea, and rightfully so. When you look at the negative effects of ideas like square to square, a reverse"C", the "X" factor, and most recently the Stack and Tilt on the average player it is always prudent to proceed with caution. The benefits of this idea are that it removes the errors often created in the takeway. It is a common teaching tool to help the student feel the proper alignments as he approaches the top of the swing, bypassing the issues of the takeaway.I have used this with many professional and top amateur players in my own teaching, but not as a swing for the golf course. The issue that I have with this theory is that it feels unathletic and static to me as a player. The natural flow of the swing from it's traditional starting position is easier for people to feel and reproduce if they have played the game for any period of time. The true test will be if someone is taught this idea from the beginning of their golf career. Then we will see if it is as effective as traditional swing styles. I will tell you this. The other day at the range I saw a middle aged man hitting full shots cross-handed or left hand low. I asked him how long he had been playing and he told me 6 months. He was hitting the ball very well and as we talked he told me everyone he knows was trying to change his grip but he didn't feel comfortable with the idea. When he told me he was frustrated because he couldn't shoot par yet I told him the last thing he should do is change his grip. He was nearly shooting even par after 6 months! I told him he was way ahead of anyone's progress for that amount of time and that he should just keep doing it his way. I always have felt that greatness is unique. Maybe we will see a player with the style you mention winning majors one day, time will tell. Ally asks at 12:45: Hi Brady,
I received an email from your colleague and she told me to post my
video here. As I said before I am a female junior golfer and I have
been playing for over 10 years. I would just like to hear your opinion
on my swing as well as any comments. Thanks!

That is a very solid and smooth looking swing Ally. I think the motion looks very good from start to finish. Here is what I would like you to work on. I am sure you have noticed that your head falls to to the ball during the backswing. As you work on your golf swing you always want to concentrate on the biggest issue that happens earliest in your swing. If you have seen any of this blog over the past several months you might have heard me mention the "Tush Line" and the importance of maintaining it. Basically the "tush line" is a line drawn perpendicular to the ground at the address position that is right on the back of your tush. In a swing with a great set-up and proper pivot, the tush keeps in contact with that line throughout. If you look at your "tush line" you will see that you lose contact with the line going back and it gets farther off coming down. This is important to fix because it helps you make more consistent contact and improves your clubhead speed because you will have better balance. Here's what I would like you to try. Start with your weight more towards the balls of your feet, not your heels, with your knees bent out over your toes. This will make you more athletic to start and give you the sense you are ready to move. Next, try to maintain some flex in your right leg as you take the club back and allow your weight ot move into the right heel at the top of your swing. This will keep your tush against the line and prevent your head and torso from falling over the ball. It seems like a small fix but it will take time and practice to get it right. Please send me a video of your progress so we can take the next step.Rusty Miller asks at 12:30: I get plenty of lag as my hands lead the club on the downswing, but I
tend to "hang on" too long and release late. What is a good drill for
encouraging a timely release and getting the right arm to "roll over"
the left just after impact? Thanks! I would encourage you to stop thinking, speaking, or focusing on lag during your swing. If you are moving your body properly and the club is swinging on the proper plane you should achieve plenty of lag. Hanging on too long is often caused by excessive tilt of the right side approaching impact. Ironically enough, this is also the source of tremendous lag. A great illustration of this is the swing of Brad Faxon, tons of lag, no speed and has great difficulty hitting the fairway. All of which is caused by excessive right side tilt during the downswing. If you need a visual go visit my swing site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com. I would like to see you focus on keeping your shoulders more level on the downswing while staying taller through impact. Allowing the head to drop down and behind the ball will only worsen your problems. With more level shoulders and a more upright upper body your club will release earlier and prevent you from holding on too long. Additionally, I an not a big fan of "rolling" the right over the left. If the release is correct your right arm will be extending out away from the body after impact and the palms will be facing eachother with the right hand in a "handshake" position when the club is parallel to the ground. If your grip is neutral or close to it this should create plenty of clubface rotation through impact. If you get the chance, send in your swing so I can get a look at it and offer some more specific advice. Steve asks at 12:15: Hi Brady, Could you take a look at my swing. My typical misses are
hooks, straight pushes and occasional shanks. I have been working on
improving my tilt away from the target at address. I suspect I have a
problem at transition where I drop my hands and get steep then under
the optimal plane. Any advice would be much appreciated.Thanks!

Thanks for the video Steve. I agree that your swing gets steep in the transition and requires some saving through impact. As you have discovered, this can be very difficult to achieve on a regular basis and is in need of some tweaking. However, I think your problems begin with your grip. Looking at the swing from the target line view it is obvious to see that your clubface is a bit closed throughout your motion. This can account for the hooks and shanks, and when it is combined with your steepening move in the transition is consistent with a block. When I looked closer at your hands at address it appears that your right hand is sitting too far under the handle in an excessively strong position. This should be cleaned up. You can see some different options on my swing site that will help you get the right hand in a better position. When it comes to the steepening of the club I will tell you a couple of things. First, your weight is in your heels in the address position causing you to lose your tush line during the swing. This is never good for the club during the transition and can be easily fixed with getting your knees out over your toes in the set-up. Next, your right hand grip does make it more difficult to get the club in the proper position on the downswing so some of your issue will be fixed with the grip change. The final piece of the puzzle is to get the club working in the exact opposite direction during the siwng. In other words, get the club working up on a steeper angle during the backswing so you can shallow out the shaft angle during the transition. As you do this something strange will happen, You will feel like you are making a huge loop, only to see on video that there is no change in either direction steeper or shallower. This is why you MUST try to exaggerate during your practice to get faster results. Send in the improvements when you can so we can take the next step.Richard asks at 12:08: Hello Brady,
I live in Europe, but I am a big fan of your blog. Now I decided,
that I ask you, if you have some goog advices for me. I have 2 videos
to Youtube uploaded.
My tendency is to pull the shots, and I am not satisfied with my
distance. I hit the 7 iron about 150 Yards, my driver about 250 Yards
in average. My Hcp is 4.
I appretiate your help, thank you! Richard

Thanks for the video, it is very clear. Your swing from the Target line view looks very good, All of your important lines are on the money. However, from the face on view there are some issues that explain your lack of distance and the tendency to hit pulls. Your pivot needs some attention. On the backswing your head is moving towards the target and reverses itself on the downswing and into impact. Think of a throwing motion in another sport and you can visualize the head moving back away from the target going back and then moving to the target as the throw is executed. Your swing has elements of a Stack and Tilt going back (a swing you know I can't stand if you are a fan of this blog). I have never seen an athletic motion made with the weight going in the direction that they advocate, or in the direction that your swing is moving. I would love to see your head move back away from the target going back and then slide back to the target as you start the downswing. This seems contrary to much of the swing advice I am sure you have read that encourages you to swing in a barrell or keep your head still. Do me a favor, go to my swing site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the sequence and video of a young Anthony Kim. You will see the amount of lateral motion that I want you to feel in your swing. If you don't achieve the same amount that is fine, but it needs to be going in the proper direction. Welcome to 2010! Let's get cracking... Noah asks at 12:00: Brady -
I look forward to your blog every Tuesday. I have a couple questions -
1) what is the best way to make swing changes stick during the offseason? (Chicago doesn't lend itself to year round golf)
2) any good drills/training aids that encourage an inside path down
to the ball while maintaining lag that also prevents overswinging (my
arms tend to continue to swing back after my shoulder turn stops
producing an across the line position)?
Thanks!!! Thanks for the kind words. I strongly encourage my students to practice within when they are without. In other words, it is important to work on the swing at home, the office, the gym, etc. when you can't get to the range or the course. Mirrors are a good place to start and a vidoe camera can play a huge role. Try to work on the larger, more general aspects of your swing. These include the set-up, proper turn on the backswing, good downswing path with extension through impact and a balanced complete finish. Don't introduce any new "magic" moves until you can get on the range and work on it with an actual golf ball. Usually an across the line top of backswing position creates an excessively inside approach on the downswing, but not always. If you are struggling to get on a more inside path and you are across at the top you have some interesting issues going on. I would like to see your swing while hitting a ball before I get too involved with your mechanics. I will tell you that some arm run on is normal after the turn finishes, but it should be combined with a strong move towards the target with your body. Remember that the backswing stops BECAUSE the downswing starts, make your swing a motion and not 2 parts and you will see immediate improvement.

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