Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online LIVE at noon Eastern to answer your questions, review your swing videos and help you improve your game. Sorry about those I couldn't get to today, I am off to Riviera to help with an article about Ricky Fowler's golf swing. Should be fun. Will see you guys next week. Have a good one! James Blake asks at 12:55: What's your views on the grip pressure of the right index finger (of a
right-handed golf). Should it be wrapped under the club like the other
fingers or like Ben Hogan (in Five Lessons) be short of off on the side
of the grip? Thanks. I am not a fan of thinking about grip pressure during the swing. I use the analogy of throwing a ball. To tight a grip and you can't produce speed, too loose and the ball flies out of your hand. The alignment of the index finger is critical. The middle knuckle should be on the side of the handle and not under it. Here is a picture of Charles Howell III's grip and an arrow showing the proper location of the index finger.

Z Steve asks at 12:40: I was watching the golf this weekend and the commentators were
talking about Robert Allenby's swing and they mentioned that he has a
body-release where Phil Mickelson has a hands-release.
What do they mean? What is the difference between the two and the pros and cons of each? Here is a picture of both Allenby and Mickelson (I obviously reversed the image) during the release to help you see the differences and I will explain below. Zz Mickelson "throws" his arms and his clubs past his body at impact. Allenby works his arms, hands and club through impact more as a unit. This is what the commentator was correctly describing when discussing the difference between the two swings. Look at the space between Mickelson's arms and the lack of space with Allenby. If you check out the club position you can see how Allenby's is still on an angle and Mickelson's is pointing at the target. The difference in technique is huge and would take more time than I have today to explain but the basic idea is that Mickelson uses his hands and arms more through the ball and Allenby uses his body more. It really has to suit the player, his desired ball flight, and his overall strengths and weaknesses as a player. I can tell you that most people of normal strength and athleticism are more likely to be successful with Mickelson's release than Allenby's. Ask me again next week and I will get into more detail. Grant asks at 12:37: Hi Brady,
It seems like I'm hitting too many shots off the toe and I'm not sure
what the real cause is and how to go about fixing it. My guess is that
I'm either coming out of posture or slightly bending my left arm and
narrowing my swing radius. I'm very frustrated by the loss of distance,
accuracy and poor contact. Any help or suggestions would be greatly
appreciated. Thanks. There are so many reasons to hit it off the toe that I can't tell you exactly what is up. I can tell you the most common error that creates this problem is losing your posture through impact from bent over to more upright. When this happens your hands become higher, the shaft get more vertical and it is very common to hit the toe of the club. I have gone over "tush line"  numerous times on the blog but it is very relevant for your specific problem. Go to my website at www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the video on "tush line". If you can get a video of your swing and send it in I can give you more specific advice. Eric asks at 12:30: I am glad I stumbled across this column today while looking for some
tips to a problem I am having with - you guessed it - my driver. Had a
long explanation but for brevity - my playing partner and girlfriend is
a D1 golfer, with another D1 sister, and another on the Futures tour. I
have a lot of... compe- erm inspiration to improve my game. I went from
a 110 to an 85 last summer, but am barely outdriving my girlfriend on a
good day, and never coming close to her professional sister.
That being said I have used a Medicus driver, I have used various
drills and tips from online and I purchased the Golf Instruction Manual
by DK Books and all have been tremendous aids in developing a
consistent swing. After many weeks of narrowing the issue that creates
my power loss as well as my slice I feel it is related to improper
timing of the hand rotation through impact (the "doorknob" movement). I
have been using a drill of half-swings, 3/4 swings, and full swings
focusing on the timing of this movement and have improved my irons
substantially, but when I try to use the drill with my driver it falls
apart at the full swing even while I am using a mental cadence to keep
tempo. I feel as if I am slapping at the ball with my driver and not
getting my hands and the grip in front of the ball through impact.
Is there another drill you could recommend to work on this problem specifically for the longer clubs?
Again this column is a godsend and I look forward to hearing from you.
I would love to be able to give you a video for reference, but the
camera I have available is not quite up to the task of capturing that
many frames per second :-( Eric, it is always difficult to give specific advice without seeing the swing but here is what I can tell you. Stop worrying about your tempo for starters. I'll give you an analogy. If your car has poor alignment and you let go of the wheel going 5 mph it will go off the road just as certainly as it would if you were going 50 mph. In other words, you need to fix the lines of your golf swing to get the ball going more at the target. When it comes to speed or distance, as seems to be your issue, it has to do with imparting all of your energy into the golf ball at impact. To do this the club must be attacking on the proper path, the face must be square at impact and your body should have moved in the direction of the target during the downswing. This seems obvious I know but it is how you should approach your distance issue. Is the face at an angle at impact that gives you the most violent head-on collision with the ball? Is the club swinging on a path that isn't producing a glancing blow? Has your weight moved into your front foot on the downswing like a pitcher stepping towards home or a boxer stepping into a punch? These are the place to check for power leaks. Send in your swing regardless of the video quality and I will help you get things going.Nick Perry asks at 12:10: Brady - Thanks for taking my question. I really enjoy the column and
find it to be a great way to keep my mind on golf, regardless of the
freezing temperatures outside. My swing has come a long way over the
past couple years (20 handicap at the end of last season) and while I'm
hitting it longer and straighter than ever, I can't seem to
consistently nail my distances. For example I'll hit my 7 Iron
anywhere from 140 to 160 yards. My typical miss is short and right of
my target. Can you take a look at my swing and help me pinpoint the
problem(s)? I believe I'm seeing some issues with my transition from
backswing to downswing, as well as my weight transfer. Thanks again for
your help. Thanks for the video, Nick. You have several good things going for you with this swing and a few things that need some work. Your weak shot to the right is the result of an inability to release the club properly through impact. This is caused by an erratic swing path on the downswing that produces mishits, especially on the toe of the clubface. I want you to start with the address and takeaway. In your setup your right arm is extremely "hard" and extended out away from the body. I would prefer to see it softer, closer to your body, and in a starting position that enables the club to begin back on the proper path. Once the address position has been adjusted, your hands and arms should come back closer to your body and allow you to get the club up into a better position at the top of the swing. This will fix the current problem with your transition, get the club tracking on a better path into impact and allow you to release the club properly. I have included a picture of Davis Love III at set-up and in the takeaway that will help you see the proper location of the right arm at address. In the photo on the left you can clearly see his left arm to the right of his right arm with the right arm bent. In the photo on the right his hands have stayed inside the vertical yellow line I drew in the address. In your address position your right arm is to the right of your left arm and your hands move well away from your body on the backswing. Once you have made these changes send me the new swing. Get me a swing from the target view and one from directly face on and I will tell you what is next. Dl3 Ben asks at 11:50: Brady,
Here is my swing. I'm currently a 2.8 and somedays actually play like
it. Other days I wonder how I ever broke 80. Can't figure out how to be
more consistent. These aren't ideal but I didn't have an opportunity to shoot one at the range while hitting a ball. Here's the deal Ben. I am not sure of your age or when you got started playing the game but if my assumptions are correct you look like you started sometime during the 80's. The reason I say this is because of your address position. Your right knee is kicked in, arms very straight and you have an excessive amount of right side tilt as a result. The problem with this address position is that it encourages the club to move inside very quickly during the takeaway and generally produces a position at the top with the club well across the line, especially with the driver. While you can play great golf from this position it will lead to the occasional nasty hook and block. The other issue with this address position is that it drives your head farther from the target in the address than is advantageous, making it impossible to get any lateral motion into your takeaway with your upper body. This not only creates the backswing problems I mentioned before, but makes it impossible for you to move your upper body to the target on the downswing. As a result, your head moves down and back through impact, making your hands over active while restricting your right side from getting completely around to the finish. In the long run this can be hard on your lower back. I would love to see you set up in a more neutral starting position and allow your head and upper body to move slightly away from the target during the takeaway. This will give you the chance to move the opposite direction on the start of the downswing making your swing more athletic, your lines with your head more level, and help you start the ball more at the target while removing stress from your back. I have included a picture of Anthony Kim in the address and halfway back with a circle around his head to show you the proper movement. Check out his how soft his arms look in the address and the lack of kick in to his right knee. BTW, for all those reading this answer I am giving Ben advice that may not be good for you if you aren't an accomplished ball striker. So proceed with caution. Ak Carlo asks at 11:30: Hey Brady,
I started playing golf two months ago and picked up my driver for
the first time last week. I seem to be hitting it either quite
violently to the left or give it a big big slice. I have a video up on
YouTube, it's not the best of drives I shot but it gives you an idea of
what I'm doing.
My shorter irons (6 onwards) are pretty steady and my swing looks
good there judging by the video analysis stuff I use. The swing plane
etc. are good, I just can't seem to translate it to the driver. Here are my videos: Hope to get some comments,
Carlo Your swing looks good for playing only two months. There is so much to get confused about when learning how to swing the club. I want you to stay focused on three critical things as long as you play the game. In order of importance clubface is first, swing path is second, and your body's action or "pivot" is third. If everything you work on with your golf swing is to improve these elements you will be on your way. When it comes to the slice, you are dealing with a clubface position that is open and a swing path that is cutting across the ball from the outside. I have several pictures of grip types on my website that can help you get your hands on the club properly. Check them out at www.redgoat.smugmug.com. When it comes to swingpath think of standing at home plate and trying to start your ball to the right of the pitcher. This will help you get the club attacking the ball more from the inside. Using your body or "pivot" better will take the most time. Just try to remain as athletic as possible with your knees flexed and your body ready to move. On the video you seem to flexible and swing the club with no inhibitions, something I really like. When you get the ball starting right of the target and turning to the left send in the swing again and we will go from there.

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