Monday, January 11, 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 is online LIVE every Tuesday at noon EST 
to answer your questions, review your swing videos and offer up tips to
help you reach more fairways and sink more putts in 2010. Here are Brady's responses from Tuesday, Jan. 12.Thanks to everyone for your questions and videos. I think this was a great blog today and hope to see you guys in the weeks to come. Don' t be afraid to send in your golf swing via Youtube, it is the single best way for me to help you improve. Ben asks at 3:52:You are a great teacher—thanks for taking the time to manage this blog! My question is, would you advise a player to have a strait left leg at
impact or keep the knee bent and straiten it after impact? Thanks!Thanks for the kind words, Ben. I will tell you that your left leg should be straightenING through impact. That is to say it should be on its way to straight or just becoming straight at impact, not before. I strongly encourage players to work on this part of the swing because it greatly improves the release of the golf club through impact. Jason asks at 3:35:Hey Brady,
I've been trying to make some consistent contact with my driver. And I
have. Only it's with the upper part of the heel. I've tried moving back
a little but just can't seem to stop coming over the top. I don't think
I've ever made contact with the sweet spot. I have a couple of videos
but they are not of my driver, probably a 6 iron. I am 6'6" and have
had my clubs lengthened by 1 3/4". I'm also trying to get some more lag
in my swing. Thanks.

Thanks for the videos. Jason you have a very interesting golf swing. It looks like you are about 5'8" when you swing the club because you are SOOOO flat. When I have a student with your height I encourage them to get their arms up much higher than yours at the top of the swing. You are blessed with a huge arc that you aren't utilizing by swinging the club around yourself so much. I would encourage you to look at the backswings of Davis Love, Ernie Els, and even Nick Faldo to see what the shape of your swing should look like. It appears that you hit the ball quite well and move your body very efficiently during the swing. Hitting the ball solid means swinging the club on a more consistent path. To accomplish this, we have to reshape your swing. Your excessively flat and inside backswing leads to the inevitable up-and-over move at the top and forces the club to come down above plane. This loop should be reversed as you practice to give you the feeling of attacking the ball of a flatter and more inside path than you took the club up on. Do me a favor and go visit my website and look at Nick Faldo's swing in pictures. You will begin to get an idea of what you need to do to get your swing on track.You have a great deal of potential with your athleticism and size, we just need to add some better mechanics to the mix and you will be on your way.

snuiga00 asks at 3:20:Hey Brady,
I have been working on keeping my backswing to 90% in order to have
more control on the way down. I have also been working on breaking my
wrist at 9 o'clock to 90 degrees on the backswing to maintain a full
extension of my left arm, and keeping a good distance between my hands
from my head. I try to initiate my backswing with my chest and try to
feel a full turn before coming down.
I videotaped myself last weekend on the course and saw a lot of
different things I did not like. On the course I have been struggling
with pulling my drives (sometimes irons) to the left. This gets me in
trouble as I do not have a clear second shot to the green and end up
scrambling for bogey. I am not sure why I pull my driver. I thought it
was because I started my downswing with my upper body and not lower--in
turn causing a cast of my hands. Or I thought it could be from my hips
not being too passive on the downswing.
After viewing these videos I noticed that my backswing is too long,
I go beyond 90% but I don't do it by over-rotating; instead it looks
like my right arm collapses. I also noticed that I tend to tilt towards
the target while rotating backwards, I doubt this is correct. Instead of
shifting my weight with my lower body toward the target, I raise my
right heel and this causes me to lose my spine angle and makes it
difficult to rotate my hips forward.
Do you have any tips to correct these mistakes? Thanks.
Here is my video:

Thanks for the video. I agree with you that your right heel is up very early on the downswing, making it difficult for the club to attack from the inside because your right hip is blocking the correct path to the ball. I am more concerned about your lack of spine tilt away from the target at the top of the swing.Your upper body leans towards the target because your shoulders are rotating on an excessively flat angle. This is why your left shoulder drives your head up at the top of your backswing and is the cause of both your overswing and your lack of tilt. The poor position at the top of the swing takes weight out of your right foot too early coming down, forcing the right hip to move out to the ball and in the way or your arms and club. This is the series of events that causing your over the top move and subsequently your pulled shots. To fix this you need to keep the forward bend created in your upper body during the entire backswing. If you imagine a 90-year-old player who can't stand up straight and how his backswing would look and feel you will get the idea. If you stay bent over your shoulders should turn on an angle perpendicular to your spine, shortenting your swing and helping you maintain your lean away from the target. As as result, you will be able to get the right arm down in front of the right hip and attack the ball on a more inside path. Check out my swing site and look at the swings of Davis Love III and Hank Kuehne. Both swings are good illustrations of the type of pivot I would like to see you make. Mike asks at 3:10:I have a slight dip down move in my downswing with a driver. I began
incorporating that because it seems to give me more power. However, I'm
noticing that I'm not making consistent contact on the face of my
driver. Could my dip down move be the cause of my driver-face contact
inconsistency? Also, when I took the dip down move out of my swing, it
felt as if I was swinging with less power. What are your thoughts?When you speak of "dipping" I am assuming you are referring to your head. Rather than dipping I would encourage you to feel like you are jumping up through impact. To do this effectively you will need to squat during your transition. This will lower your center (core) and have the same effect of dropping your head down, but the explosiveness of snapping up through impact is a great way to increase clubhead speed. This is true in most of the longest drivers on Tour and is most obvious in Tiger's swing. Before you proceed keep this in mind, your mechanics better be sound before you start trying to increase your clubhead speed. As you mentioned, you're not hitting the center of the face with your dipping and this needs to be resolved. If your contact and ball-flight is consistent when you don't dip, try this feeling of jumping up through impact. Visualize the ski jumper on the 90 meter hill or the rebounder going up to grab the basketball. If you do this properly you can greatly increase your clubhead speed.Travis Wright asks at 3:00:In the last 5-6 years physical fitness has become such an important part
of the professional game. As an amateur trying to improve, what areas
in physical fitness would you recommend I focus on, and do you have any
particular exercises or routine that you would recommend to someone
looking to improve at golf?I couldn't agree more. All of my young players work on their fitness on a daily basis. Golf has actually become more of an athletic-skill rather that just a skill. This was true with Gary Player 30-40 years ago but really took hold with Faldo, Norman, and went to another level with Tiger (insert joke here). The basic idea, Travis, is that overall health and fitness is great for golf. The ultracompetitive young players I work with are heavily involved in ballistic core training specific for golf, but a solid level of fitness is required before hitting those heights. If you are already in good shape and looking for specific golf training, look up Paul Chek on the web and investigate his work. The Golf Biomechanics expert I send my students to is a big believer in his work and he gets fantastic results. Ben asks at 2:45:I enjoy reading your feedback and have recently checked out your
website and the fundamentals you teach. I notice that your main focus
is on the backswing and setup as well as the tush line. Do you have a
feeling that one should have when they start their downswing from the
correct top position or is the correct downswing a natural result of
the correct top position? It seems like you could either spin the hips
to early and never get your weight to the left or slide too much and end
up with a reverse C. What's the balance?Thanks for checking out the site. I would say that maintaining the tush line is a part of the package of solid mechanics I think are important during the swing. I always work in the order of clubface, path, and then pivot. The last two are closely related, but I try to get the pieces working as a whole. I agree with you that an early spin of the hips on the downswing makes it less likely that enough weight has moved to the front foot and an excessive slide of the hips makes it difficult to create enough rotation through impact. You have correctly defined the simplicity of the swing when it comes to diagnosing a problem. It is one of three things: too much, not enough or neutral. However, there is a rub here. How much did the player move laterally—if at all—going back? This will greatly affect the amount they need to move laterally coming down before they begin to rotate. How strong is the grip and thus how open or closed is the clubface and does the player want to hit the ball with a draw or a fade. Is the club in a poor position at the top that requires a quicker rotation of the hips to keep the club from getting excessively inside out or does the player need to go laterally to buy time for the club to "drop" inside?This is what makes the golf swing so interesting and difficult to master. Understanding how the pieces are put together is far more important that trying to perfect a single ingredient. Your words about the "balance" are the key. I can't tell you exactly how much lateral to "feel" unless I understand the rest of puzzle. I can tell you that you need some, and if you do it right your left shoulder will be closer to the target at impact than it was at address with your irons and right about where it began with the driver. Send me your swing so I can give you specific advice and thanks for the question. I think your description of balance is right on, I will probably steal it from you...Matt asks at 2:30:I posted my video in an earlier thread. My swing was the one were i
didn't get enough weight shift to my right in my backswing, this caused
me to have my weight fall backward in the backswing, also my head
would drop significantly downward. I am curious if this issue could
also be caused by lack of flexibility and a bad tush line. If so, are there any exercises or stretches you recommend that would improve
the flexibility in my backswing and sustainability of my tush line
through out the swing. ThanksThere is no question that poor flexibility can make it difficult to swing the club properly. However, take it from the king of the tight hamstrings that you can have good mechanics without great flexibility. This in no way means you shouldn't take the time to get your body in a better place. However, if you take care in the set-up to create good lines with your shoulders, hips, knees and feet and work the weight properly going back, you should be able to improve your mechanics. Marc asks at 2:10:Hi Brady,
What would be your advice on how to go about finding a golf coach? I
have been to a few over my golfing career and only ever found one coach
whom I felt was any good. With most instructors I get the feeling that
they are just trying to sell a package first (trying to get you to
come back as often as possible), and then help you to try get better
A lot of the coaches I have been to simply film your swing, then put
you next to Tiger Woods (or some other pro) and show you all the
positions you should be hitting, rather than working with what you
Because of this, I have become a DIY-type of guy. I have a camera
and tripod and film my own swing and check my tush-line, swing plane,
So what would your advice be on
a.) Finding a good/the right coach for yourself and how to get the most out of it?
b.) If you are going to "teach" yourself, what is the best way to go about it?
MarcThis is such a big issue, Marc, thanks for bringing it up. I couldn't agree more with you that the level of golf instruction out there in many cases is downright poor. In all walks of life there are people that are excellent, average and awful, and golf instruction is no exception. Here are a couple of the things I do know:The PGA of America is constantly trying to upgrade and improve upon the process of educating its teachers. I don't think the process is perfect by any means, but I am sure that anyone who has gone through it is very serious about their career. They have spent the time and definitely the money to indicate they are Golf Professionals. If a teacher is not a PGA member I wouldn't proceed. If a teacher isn't using some sort of video system they aren't serious about their profession. The systems are very affordable, easy to use, and indicate a level of dedication that is the minimum. Great teachers don't need the video, it is there for the students' benefit. And make no mistake, the student benefits greatly from video.There is a strong possibility that if you are currently videotaping your own swing and know enough to mention the tush line, swing plane, etc., then you may know more than many teachers out there. For this reason you need to find the person the best players in your area are going to see. Ask enough good players, especially the good juniors and college players and a name will keep popping up. This is a good place to start. Here are a couple of more thoughts. I agree that comparing a student to Tiger on video and saying this is what you are doing wrong won't help you unless the teacher offers you a plan of attack . I want the students to understand their own mechanics, why they need to make changes and how to go about it. Many teachers can tear a swing apart, the good ones can help you make sense of it and put it back together. Last thing, I don't offer packages. The worst thing I can imagine is a student coming back to me because they have paid in advance and have two lessons left but don't really want to be there. That is awful for the student and the teacher. I don't want any money up-front, my students pay as they go. This means I am always going through a tryout, and it's just the way I like it. Chris asks at 2:00:How do I take my beautiful range game to the course? When I go warm up
I hit driver and 7 iron pure but when I go to course it is all over the
fairway. Why is thisIt' s golf! That is the simple answer, it is a very difficult game that drives us all crazy. The good news is there is hope. You are experiencing a typical scenario almost all players experience in trying to transfer their practice game to the field. This happens in all sports not just golf. There are several things you can do to help you make the transition. First, establish a pre-shot routine that you use in both practice and on the course. Next, aim at specific targets and change clubs often when you warm up before playing. Finally, try to control your emotions and heart rate when you are playing as they will cause great inconsistency if not kept at an even level.The point here is that you need to make your practice as similar to the golf course as possible. Establishing a routine and getting used to aiming at specific targets will make you more comfortable on the golf course because you will have done it on the practice ground. Controlling your emotions and heart rate will keep you steady as you play. There is an entire field dedicated to sports psych. I am not a huge fan of most of it but I can tell you that these simple steps I have outlined are present with professionals and top amateurs alike. Kraig Furgeson asks at 1:45:I Brady, How do I reduce my spin rate and low my launch angle with
Driver. Please don’t tell me to change balls. I’m a 5 handicap and have
116+ mph swing. I swing a 9 degree Ping G-10, my shaft is X-S, 70
grams. The problem is that my spin off the drive is between 3,800 and
4,600 rpm. My launch angle is between 13 and 15 degrees. My ball flight tendency of
course is very, very high with a lot of back spin and is directionally
inconsistent 10 percent of the time. My misses are pulls, pull hooks and
high blocks to the right. I do struggle with a slight over-the-top, but
I’m working hard to fix it. What do I to get the spin rate down on the
driver below 3,000?I won't tell you to change balls because I am assuming you have done this already. Let me give you a personal anecdote. More that a few years ago I went down to The Kingdom in Carlsbad, Calif. This was the first of many subsequent trips I have taken to TaylorMade's facility that is the best of its kind when it comes to fitting golf equipment. I was put on the launch monitor and had numbers very similar to yours: extremely high spin rate with a high launch angle. After trying several different shafts with little success the head of the Tour department's fitting came in a watched me hit one drive. He made a phone call and ordered up a club to have ready for me after lunch. I met him on the range an hour later and found him working with Tom Lehman. Lehman was trying out some new irons and their discussion about the grind on each club was fascinating and way over my head. A staff member brought out my driver and the Tour fitter asked me to give it a try. Needless to say I was a bit nervous to hit a ball in front of the Ryder Cup captain and British Open champion. I made several excuses about not being warmed up and how I was full after lunch, took a deep breath, and hoped to get it airborne. Luck was on my side and I hit the best drive of the day, straight and long down the range. Lehman and company were impressed and encouraged me to hit another; I declined saying I was sure it was the driver for me and walked away feeling very lucky.I used that driver for almost five years. The reason the driver was so good was THE SHAFT was fit perfectly for me. I have no doubt that if you find the right combination of shaft flex, weight, and length you will reduce your spin rate. I am not a fitting specialist, so I send my students with these specific needs out to someone who does it for a living. I highly recommend you find the best in your area and see what they can do for you.Send in your driver swing to me from face on and target view so I can give you some specific advice on what is causing your pulls, hooks, and blocks. By the sound of your misses it sounds like you are under plane and hanging back on your rear foot through impact. However, I would be doing you a disservice if I tried to help your golf swing without more info. Bow asks at 1:30:My right shoulder is lower by about 1.5 inch than my left shoulder
because I used to lift heavy weights. During my backswing, my right
shoulder lifts up which keeps my swing on plane. However, on the
downswing, my right shoulder automatically drops down a lot. The
lifting and dropping of my right shoulder makes my shot inconsistent.
If I don't lift my right shoulder on the backswing, two things happen:
1.) the plane will be too flat; and 2.) I tend to bend my wrists much later
because my lower shoulder makes my right hands "longer" (my right hand
is closer to the ground than my left hand). What should I do?That is an interesting problem. This is one of those situations I like to deal with on the range so we can see what happens as we make adjustments. If anyone tells you they know exactly what will happen when every change is make they are lying. There is some trial and error that must go on when presented with a unique situation. Here's how I would proceed.I have a student with the exact same situation that you describe. He is a fantastic athlete and has been playing competitive golf for 25 years. When you look at him standing straight up and down you can clearly see the difference in the shoulder heights. Your description of your problem is just like you were describing my student. The issues he presented when we began were very similar to yours. His excessive shoulder tilt at address created by his anatomy was dragging the club inside on the backswing and very flat as it worked to the top. Like so many good players he would adjust and get the club up into a playable position that was well across the line. As he attacked the ball the club would end up excessively inside due to the across-the-line position at the top and his extremely low right shoulder. The result was a combination of block, hook and thin shots that would cost him several times a round.As I mentioned before, the fix was a bit of an experiment. We discovered that if he started in a more level address position with his shoulders the club would work up on a steeper angle and arrive at a better position at the top of the swing. To prevent his shoulder from driving down under the plane on the downswing, we worked on rotating his shoulders and specifically his eyes more level through impact. We used players like Annika, Duval, Joe Durant and even Darren Clarke as role models for the head rotation. This kept him from getting under plane coming down and greatly improved his ball striking. This is a combination that has worked with your specific problem in the past but it may not be what you need. If you could send in your swing via Youtube with a description of your ball-flight problems I could tell you if there are other issues that need to be addressed. Good luck.Ray asks at 1:20:I really enjoy and look forward to your posts each week. My question is
this, are the swing tips you give to be used for a one or two plane
swing? Do you agree that the golf swing is either a one or two plane
swing or do think there is a hybrid swing that may have a little of
each in it? Thanking you in advance..Ray

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