Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs answers your golf questions

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. Leave a question now to be first in line for this week's chat!Thanks to everyone for your questions and videos. I look forward to hearing from you next week. If you can get those videos in go for it. There is no better way for me to help you. Have a great week!Peter asks at 1:20: A basic question. Some top teachers say swing easily, especially as a
higher handicap, use no power and do not try to hit it strong. Some top
teachers say, that you should never ever hit it easy, the shot must be
firm and determinated, otherwise you never learn to hit properly. What
is your opinion? Might the advice change, for example based on the body
type? I am 6'1'', very very flexible and a relaxed very long sweeping
swing serves me the best, hardly leaving any divots. My friend is more
bulky and plays much better with short crispy swing and deep divots.
Who should change? You have answered your own question. It has to make sense for the player. For example, I am an aggressive player. I like to hit driver on holes I shouldn't, go for flags that I should aim away from and always take the opportunity for glory when it presents itself. I like to play that way and find conservative golf a yawn. If I am between clubs I am usually going to hit the shorter club harder. I have found this approach works best for me because it allows me to swing harder, which has always produced better shots than hitting it easier. On the other hand I have many professionals I teach that take the longer club and hit it easier. They prefer to smooth a 6-iron rather that bombing a 7-iron. They lay up on par 5s and never aim at sucker pins. They feel more comfortable playing that way and it works for them. That is what makes the game so great, there is no one way to play.I think that personality is more important when determining how hard a player should swing rather than body type. It has to make sense for the person. Another example of this is in the speed of play. Fast talkers, drivers and walkers generally play quickly and swing quickly. Slow talkers, drivers, and walkers usually play at a leisurely pace and don't swing that fast. The players personality will shape everything they do on the course. When it comes to high handicappers swinging easy to keep it in play, I think that is bunk. If the fundamentals are strong then the player should be able to swing with some authority, regardless of their skill level. I don't want any of my students to powder-puff it around the golf course because they are afraid it may not go where they want. I encourage all my students to let it go. I want them to play fearlessly and with joy so guiding it around isn't an option.

Peter Berberian asks at 1:15:Hey Brady, I am having a problem with on-course weight transfer. It's all good on the range. Any thoughts that might help? Most people know to work on their pre-shot routine. I want you to focus on your post-shot routine. On the range make sure you have a routine when your swing is finished, like Tiger's club twirl (a bit too flashy for me) or a nice posed finish. When you have a pattern on the range you can bring it to the course with you. Look at Hogan's finish as an example, classy and consistent. You may be wondering what this has to do with your weight shift? The fact is that if you focus on the finish, the weight shift will be there. It is always better to think about the finish when you are playing as it makes the swing WHOLE. If you think of the weight transfer it breaks up your motion and you won' t get the results you are after. Steve asks at 1:10:Brady, I found a copy of one of Harvey Penick's book at my local
library. In there he talks about a "magic move" in which bring your
right elbow into your right side.
What does he means by this? Is this really a magic move?
I was looking at some pros swings the other day on youtube. J.B.
Holmes, Tiger, Ernie, Phil, Furyk, etc. Every one of them has a
different backswing but they do all bring their right elbows into their
right sides like Harvey says.
Is this the common thing every Tour player does? As an amateur
should I worry less about having a perfect backswing and more about
getting my right elbow into my right side?I hate to break it to you but there is no magic move in the swing. You are correct that all of the players you mentioned have the right arm closer to the body coming down than going up. I can also show you hundreds of pictures of amateurs with their right arm closer and they don't hit it like professionals. I would completely agree with you that the backswing shouldn't be your only focus. You need to get the clubface in a square position and the swing on the proper path coming down. These are the true "secrets" of the golf swing. When combined with a good pivot that shifts the weight properly and creates some dynamic motion you have a solid golf swing. I think little tidbits and stories are fun and entertaining, but they don't replace solid fundamentals. Don't get lost in the parts of the swing, try to focus on the big picture and make sure you are always working on the Big 3; face, path and pivot. If you stick with the big stuff you can't help it, you will get better. Send me a video of your swing so I can get you thinking about the right stuff.Execute asks at 1:00:I heard an announcer say that he never has seen a good iron player
that had a vertical swing. I look at Fred Couples and Collin M. who I've
heard are some of the better iron players and their swings "look"
vertical. Is there any truth to that? What kind of lie angle is
considered vertical? 1 deg upright? 3 deg upright?
How does the more vertical or flat swing affect how the ball moves
whether it's left-to-right or up-and-down. Is it easier for a flat
swing to move the ball left and right or up and down?If the announcer is talking about the height of the arms at the top of the swing he has no idea what he is talking about. It sounds like something Johnny Miller would say.....You have mentioned Couples and Montgomerie, how about Hale Irwin, Bruce Lietzke, Tom Weiskopf and some guy named Nicklaus. There is no absolute when it comes to flat and vertical and the shape of shot that is created. The reason for this is some players make take it up vertically and reroute it shallow on the downswing, while some take it flatter going back and work very left through impact attacking on a steeper angle. If there is a tendency it would be that the more upright the backswing, the more likely the ball will work from left-to-right and vice versa. However, this is just a tendency and not an absolute.Tim asks at 12:48:You talk a lot about the proper setup for the full swing but how about
for putting. I know that everyone putts a little different but what are
some key points to setting up to a put. I putt okay but lack consistency
in my address when standing over a putt.Thanks for the putting question, we need more short game problems to fix in the blog. Here is the deal with putting. If I have a student who is a great putter and is a bit unusual with their address I leave them alone. I will study their fundamentals so I know how to fix them when they get jacked up, but I am smart enough to leave it alone if it works.On the other hand, if I am working with a junior, new player or experienced player who can't putt very well I like to see a couple of things.I really like the work Todd Sones has done in identifying some critical aspects of the address position when it comes to putting. I think we all get hung up on arcing vs straight-back-and-through and should let the stroke evolve naturally out of a great setup position. Here are a couple of things I look for. I want to see the eyes either over the ball or slightly inside towards the heel of the putter. I like to see both arms bent at the elbows with a line across the forearms parallel to the target line. I want no gaps or spaces in the hands as they come together on the grip, with the palms facing each other on the sides of the handle. I want the weight fairly even with only a slight increase in the forward foot. The butt end of the grip should align slightly in front of the zipper on your pants and the putter should be sitting very flat on the ground with only a small amount of toe raise allowed. The ball should be positioned slightly forward of center so that the shaft is running nearly perpendicular to the ground when the handle is in the proper position. I know this sounds like a lot of information but the setup is everything. In fact, I think that putter fitting is far more important than having your irons fit and most people putt with a putter that makes it more harder than it should be. If you are really interested in more information send in a video of your putting stroke from both sides with a close up of your grip. I think it would help you and really help everyone in the blog. Thanks again for your great question.Marc asks at 12:37:I have been looking at your redgoat.smugmug site as well as the old
stuff you had on the Inpractis site. I have been trying to shallow my
shaft in the transition. I have been practicing this using slower
swings.
To get myself to do it correctly, I feel like I have to consciously
bring my right elbow down in front of me. But I wonder if this is the
right approach or not.
With my normal swing, if I look at it face on on video, I can never see my right arm get below my left in the downswing. Here are some of the slow practice swings trying to shallow the club from the top:

I really like what you are doing, Marc. The transition looks really good and the fact that you are practicing with slow swings will make you get better much faster. Feel is a very personal thing. In other words, I can have two students look nearly identical during the takeaway but they are both feeling completely different things. This is what makes teaching so fun and rewarding because you have to find the right "feel" to help your students ingrain the proper mechanics. The correct transition move may "feel" like your right elbow is dropping in front of your body, that is great if it helps you achieve the desired result. Just remember that "feel" does change over time and what works today may not tomorrow. That is why video is such an important element in improving your golf swing. It gives feedback to your "feel" helping you understand what you are actually doing vs. what you think you are doing. If your desired ball flight is a slight fade you are working through impact and into the finish correctly. However, if you are trying to create more of a draw then your club is exiting too far left too quickly after impact. This can be adjusted by trying to "feel" (there's that word again) your right arm moving out and up over your right shoulder into the finish. Again, this all depends on the ball flight you are trying to create. Send me your swing again and please include a face-on clip and some more information about what you are struggling with on the golf course when it comes to ballstriking and what your goals are for the flight of your shots. Christian asks at 12:20:The last time I submitted a few weeks ago you suggested trying to
swing out through impact to get the club more inside in the down swing.
I have been working on this and have some new videos:

1. I think my swing path is getting better. Should I keep trying to get it coming down behind me more or is this about right?
2. It looks like I am starting to lose my tushline in the down swing
and through impact. I have also been falling forward every so often
(toward where the ball was) when I really get inside. Any suggestions
for this?
Do you see anything else I should be working on?
Thanks for your help,
Christian
BTW, I can't wait for spring. Hitting foam balls in the snow is no fun :-)I can only imagine about the snow. It is raining here in LA and we are all miserable. The good news is it will be 70 again in a couple of days. Now let's get to the swing.I agree that your swing is improving. The path looks much better coming down and the backswing looks bigger which I like. Stepping in the direction of the ball after impact is the result of two things. Your tush line is the first. Make sure that your weight is moving from the balls of the feet in the address position, to the right heel going back and then the left heel moving through. This will greatly help the loss of balance in the direction of the ball. The second fix is a bit more unusual. Your right shoulder needs to finish higher and more around. In other words, you need to feel like the right shoulder is pointing more at the target in the finish position similar to Tiger or Annika. This will further help your weight move in the proper direction, shape your shot from right to left and keep your lower back from becoming injured. Get some new video in as soon as you have made these changes. Hwang-jae asks at 12:07:How do you quit over rotating the hands? More specifically the left
hand. Or maybe this stems from another swing issue such as hanging back
or lack of weight shift? My divots are almost square, just a hint of
the inside path (pointing right) but you can see the toe turning down
aggressively because the toe side of the divot extends out longer than
the heel side of the divot. As a result of this my grip has drifted
weaker and weaker to the point I am losing distance, so I am trying to
use more of a neutral grip which I am hooking the ball with. I do not
know if this is related but is it OK to fully roll your feet into
impact? This happens because (by what some pro told me) I bump my hips
laterally too much so I was sliding, but I feel balanced, so how much
bump is too much? (I try to feel almost all my weight 90-10 on my left
side at impact while keeping the head back, when I practice I also bump
my hips until it can't and it naturally turns.) Shouldn't the bump be
limited naturally because I am preventing my head from sliding? I know
its a lot but I must know!!!!!
Thank you!There is quite a bit going on here. I think your instincts about your swing are correct. If your weight hangs back and your attacking the ball from the inside your hands can become overactive through impact producing a hook. Weakening the grip is a way to open the clubface more for sure, but it isn't going to fix the root of the problem and in the long run it won't make you a better player. With both feet rolled during impact your lower body is sliding excessively towards the target, causing your upper body to hang back. I would like to see you get your grip back to a neutral position and work on the proper pivot during the downswing. Your front foot can roll a bit after impact and into the finish, but you would be better off having it fairly flat at impact. If you aren't a flexible person, make sure you flare the foot out at the address position so it has a chance to be flat at impact. The basic idea here is that at impact your left side should be fairly straight up and down from your shoulder to your foot. If you achieve this impact alignment, your swing path won't be excessively inside-out. When the proper swing path is combined with a lack of hang back, your hands will be less active and the hook will go away. If you need a visual on this check out my swing site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com and look at the pictures of Anthony Kim from the face-on view. You will see a very "stacked up" look at impact with his left shoulder over his left foot. John Kim asks at 12:00:How can we find out if we have the right alignment of the club face to the ball (or the target) ?I am assuming you are speaking of the address position. The leading edge of the clubface should be perpendicular to the target line. If you put a club down in-between your feet and the ball pointing parallel to the target line you can use it as a reference to align the clubface. Make sure the leading edge, or the grooves on the clubface are perpendicular to the shaft on the ground. This will insure that you are starting with the face square. Good morning everyone, let get started!

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