Tuesday, January 26, 2010

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 next week's chat!Thanks to everyone for your questions this week. I want to see some more videos so get them in next week. Remember, I will put you to the top of the order if you send in your video. Joey T asks at 1:20:Brady,
About 15 years ago I tore the tendons in my ring finger on my left
hand. Stupidly, I did not have my finger surgically repaired. Now, that
finger is permanently locked in a 90 degree position at the middle
knuckle. In other words, I cannot extend my ring finger beyond the
middle knuckle.This does not really impact me in everyday life, other than being able
to do some cool pub tricks. It does, however, impact my grip of the
golf club. I am 6'1, right handed and prefer a slightly strong grip.
Due to my bunk finger and in order to keep enough pressure with my left
hand, I am forced to hold it a bit more in my left palm than otherwise
might be recommended. The result is that when I grip the club with my
left hand, there is a significant space between the thumb and pointer
finger so that I can wrap my fingers around the grip. Which, as I am
told, that space between the pointer finger and thumb is not what you
necessarily want when you have a fairly strong grip. Ultimately, I
believe this makes any of my misses to be pulls.
On the contrary, if I use a strong grip and put it a bit more into my
fingers so that the space between the pointer finger and thumb is
closed, I cannot square the face at impact and ultimately hit high,
weak fades or worse (hosel rockets). Moreover, I simply feel like I
cannot get enough pressure on the club when I do this. Thus, I prefer
to keep to club in more of the palm of my left hand with a significant
gap between the pointer finger and thumb. My question is: Should I keep that style grip and what can I do to help prevent the pull from this grip?How did you know I like a challenge, Joey? Nice move with the finger by the way. Note to self, if I tear the tendons in my finger go to the doctor and get it fixed.I am going to help you put this issue to bed. Stop worrying about the space between your index finger and the thumb. That space is far less harmful to your swing than trying to close the gap and subsequently feeling weak. Many players who play professionally have that gap in differing amounts, including yours truly. I feel the same way you do if I try to close that gap completely: less power and poor contact. When it comes to the pull we have to figure out where that is coming from. Is it purely a path issue with the club attacking from outside the desired line? If that is the case we have to get your shoulders more rotated at the top and keep then more closed coming down. If it isn't the path and it is the clubface position that is slightly closed as a result of the stronger grip then we need to get the face more open without changing the grip. You can achieve this with a slight cup in the left wrist at the top of the backswing. I really need to see it if I am going to pinpoint the issue. If you can, send me a swing from the target line view, a face-on view and a close-up of your grip. Put them up on Youtube and give us the link. I promise to get you on the right track...I am curious about the pub trick as well...Have a good one.

Mikey asks at 1:15:How can I gain 15 extra yards on my drive without losing my balance trying to overswing?I have no idea what you are currently doing without some more info but I will give you these ideas. Make sure you have a good address position with your shoulders tilted slightly away from the target (left shoulder higher than the right) and your knees flexed and bouncy. If you get your body in this ready position to start you have every chance to produce more clubhead speed. If you can get your swing on video and send it in I can give you more specific advice.Joe asks at 1:10:Hello Brady,
I just wanted to start off by saying thank you and that the redgoat
galleries have been very informative. I've recorded my swing, but looks
I am too late in getting it in this week, maybe next week. I don't have
a handicap, but if I did I'd say it would be between 18-22. I'm 6'3,
210 lbs. and think I should be hitting the ball much farther. I hit my 8-iron about 135 yards. My practice swings feel great and powerful, but
when I try to hit the ball with more force I struggle with inconsistent
contact. It's as if I have to slow my swing down to make sure I make
flush contact and that doesn't always work. My mis-hits are fat, or low
burners slicing away, or even shanks sometimes. Do you have any advice
on what I could start working on to improve these areas? Hopefully I
will be able to post a video on here soon, as I know that is the
quickest way for you to help with my swing.Thanks for the kind words about the galleries, it was really fun putting them together. You are right when it comes to the video, get it in as soon as you can and I will give you some specific advice to get you going. I will tell you that I hate the fact that you have to swing easier to hit the ball OK, that shouldn't be happening. I want you to be able to go after it. If you can't, something is going on from a technical standpoint that needs to be adjusted.There were several questions today about contact with the irons, the transition, and the turn. These are obviously issues many people are struggling with. I would advise you that you should always work on your swing in this order. Clubface position first, swing path second, and pivot last. While the pivot and the swing path can have an effect on each other, the clubface must be worked on by itself. Use the Redgoat galleries to help you understand the clubface positions. Check out the "Grip Types" section to familiarize yourself with the combinations. If the face is square move onto the swing path and then finally the pivot that we discussed here today.It may seem like the swing is complicated, but it really isn't. Get the face square, the club on the proper path and move like an athlete. If you always work on these three things, you will never be off-track.Matt asks at 1:05:What would you consider a full turn. I think I am making a full shoulder
turn, but when I observe my hands they are lower than what I see in
photos of the pros. I believe this has led me to try
to over-swing. What feeling should there be that would indicate the full
extent of a full backswing? Is it shoulder turn, hand position, or a
stretch of the muscles in the back?Matt, check out the answer I gave earlier in the blog regarding turn going back as it answers your question as well. I will tell you that not all players will look the same when they turn ENOUGH. In other words, body type, flexibility and strength will change the "look" of a good turn at the top. Keep in mind that the ball doesn't lie. Let that guide you in what you are working on. Sandy Guerard asks at 1:00:Brady, I am having a terrible time not losing the hinge in my wrists. So
irons are high and no power. Also I hit a lot of irons fat. As clubs
get longer contact is better. All suggestions are appreciated. Sandy, check out the question I just answered regarding hitting the irons more solid as it relates directly to your issue. BTW, the reason the long clubs are easier for you to hit is the weight doesn't need to move as far across to the target with the driver as it does with all the other clubs. Carlos asks at 12:45:Brady,
I'm having trouble slicing. I was watching a web clip that said you slice because you are likely turning your shoulders and the club at
the same time and as the clubhead has 16 feet to turn from the
top to impact and the shoulders only have 1 foot, then turning them at
the same time always will lead to a slice. So how do you match up
these two circles - shoulders and clubhead--so that they match and you
hit it straight? I'm so confusedHere's the deal, Carlos. Most people aren't able to separate the rotation of the hips and shoulders very well on the downswing. As a result, if they try to get the hips too open at impact their shoulders will also become open, leading to an outside-in path and a poor release. I want you to understand that you don't need a ton of hip rotation through impact to hit the ball hard and straight. What you do need is to get the hips and shoulders moving in the direction of the target to start the downswing so the club can stay behind you and attack the ball from the proper, more inside, swing path. I would much rather see a player with their shoulders and hips relatively square at impact because they can release the club much easier. Look at the swing of Kenny Perry in the Febuary Golf Magazine and you will see very little hip rotation. Hip rotation, especially for the guy with average flexibility and strength, is extremely over-rated. If you are looking for a feel, try to get the sense that the club is passing you through impact instead of you dragging it across the ball with your body. The difference in power and accuracy you can achieve when getting the club past you can be amazing. Charles asks at 12:35:Hi Brady,
I hope you can give me some tip to correct my lack of ball-first
contact with my irons. I am 5’ 11, 260lbs. and I know I’m plenty
strong enough to get more distance with my irons. I believe right now
my 7-iron goes no farther than 130 yards. Any good balls that I hit are
made by sweeping the ball off the turf. Most are shanked by hitting
the ground first. And at times I notice the dreaded distance-robbing
reverse pivot. I’ve been trying to learn this game for the past three
years. Help!This is a typical problem I see everyday on the range. The problem is the bottom of your swing is not in front of the ball at impact, it is behind it. This causes the combination of chunked shots when it goes really bad and no divots when you hit it decently. So how do you get the bottom of your swing in front of the ball? You have to move! When I show a student a Tour player's swing from the face-on view they can see that the professional's left shoulder is closer to the target at impact than it was in the address position. When you look at an amateur who is struggling with the contact on their irons, the left shoulder is actually behind it's original position at impact. Making this happen for your swing begins with your backswing. The turn for most amateurs should be tight, with very little movement away from the target. This makes it easier to get the weight going to the target coming down so you can be past your starting position at impact. Start with some short shots to get the feeling of moving to the target and make it bigger as you see the divot out in front of the ball. It literally is that simple. Scotty asks at 12:20:Hey Brady,
I've always struggled with the transition to downswing and was hoping
for some guidance on the correct movement. From what I understand, at
the top of the backswing (before completion) your hips bump forward
slightly laterally to shift your weight forward and then your arms drop
in front of you as your hips unwind. Is this correct? Is the arm drop
an active move or passive coming from the shift forward? Any swing
thoughts or drills would be appreciated.Check out the response I just gave regarding the "slot" and you will get the idea about the transition. Just remember to treat golf like a sport and make it an athletic motion. Don't worry about the positions of the club, get your sequence down and you will see instant results.Steve Chester asks at 12:06:Can't find where to ask the question. Hope this works. When you drop
the club in the slot is it at the beginning of the downswing. Also, is
it a purposeful move or does it happen gradually on the way down? What
starts the transition from backswing to downswing? Thank you.Let me see if I can clear up this confusion for you. Here is a simple statement that you need to wrap your brain around. The backswing ends when the downswing begins. The swing shouldn't be in two parts, backswing and downswing, it should be a fluid athletic motion. The slot isn't something you can find with your hands, arms or club. If you have turned properly going back and get your weight going to the target, the club will work down into the "slot" naturally. Moving the weight is that lateral bump you have heard about. It is in every sport from throwing a pitch to kicking a ball. Moving the weight should always happen before the arms and club come to the ball. Weight first, arms and club next. Work in the proper sequence and you will find the slot.John Kim asks at 12:00:Is there any easy way we can assume that we made enough shoulder turn without sway while we have backswing ?Watching the ball-flight is a good start. If you are hitting shots that are starting slightly right of the target and drawing then the club is coming into the ball on a good path. It is hard to achieve this shot shape without a good shoulder turn. If you are cutting it, taking deep divots, or hitting big slices then chances are you aren't getting enough shoulder turn. From a technical standpoint, if you try to get your right hip to turn inside your right heel the shoulder turn will improve instantly.

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