Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. Thanks to everyone for your questions. We will see you again next week on the Tuesday Instruction Blog. Have a great week!Ed asks at 12:55:I'm a
single-digit handicap, but my swing path is too much inside-out. I tend
to hang back on my right side and swing my arms, causing thin shots,
blocks, or snap hooks. As such I can't get a long iron into the air (no
compression). I'm trying to get my weight shifted onto my left side on
the downswing to straighten everything out, but it's difficult. Any
suggestions/drills I could try?
Ed, you have what I call the "good players' miss." This issue of coming excessively from the inside, hanging back, hitting thin shots, blocks, and hooks is the domain of the good player. You have learned how to attack from the proper angle where most recreational players are coming in too steep, but you have overdone it. If you were on my lesson tee I would get you the proper feeling quickly by taking a stick and holding it low just above your hands pointing outside your left foot in the address position. I would have you hit one while I held the stick there, moving it out of the way just before impact. Because you would be fearful of your hands hitting the stick you would get more over your left foot at impact and swing your arms and club more left as you move to the finish. This works really well on the first swing and loses its effectiveness as you do it more because you know I won't let your hands hit the stick. The point is that because you are a good player once you get the feeling of where you need to go as you strike the ball it is easier to do on your own. If I can get a player to make a profound change in their motion without giving you advice about specific body parts but instead give you a general idea and new feel we are on our way. If I were in your shoes right now, I would try to hit some low, left-to-right shots with a 7-iron for a few dozen balls on the range. This will help reshape your lines coming down to a more neutral attack and help you get your full swing back on track without thinking about too many details. Once you can hit the low cut, go back to hitting normal shots and you should be able to feel a change and see a difference in your misses. If you get a chance send me your swing on video so I can give you some more individual advice. JP asks at 12:45:Brady.... Continued thanks for the help!! Look for some clarification... in simpler terms...lol..
What is a diagonal weight shift? (See your comment below)
What should be the position of the hips at impact? (somewhat open, definitely not parallel to the target line??)
"When you start the downswing your weight should be moving parallel
to the target line, not diagonally between the ball and the target
line. If the weight moves diagonally, the right hip (left handed
player) fails to rotate properly and buries the club inside."Check out the answer I just gave to the question below and you will get a better understanding, I hope, of how the diagonal happens. To answer the question about the hips at impact they should be somewhat open. How much depends upon your flexibility and the type of shot shape you are trying to create. I would tell you many golfers worry way too much about getting their hips open more than they should. A little bit can go a long way...
Matt asks at 12:30:

is the best way to maintain the Tush Line, and spine angle through
impact? I know I see photos of pro golfers and their legs are different
at impact because of the hips rotating more than the shoulders through
impact, but they are able to maintain that spine angle. I have issues
with this because I am plagued with a few topped shots per round, telling
me that I am coming up out of my swing early and my tush is getting
closer to the ball.
Also, do you recommend a flared left foot at address like Ben Hogan
emphasized, or square to the target. I play with pretty square to the
target line, both feet. I am curious if it would be easier to maintain
a tush line with a flared left foot or not. Let's deal with your feet first. The important thing at address is that your feet are in a position that enables you to move athletically and create enough rotation in the body both going back and coming through. The problem with putting one foot square and flaring the other is that it helps one half of the swing and hurts the other. Here is an example taking the Hogan illustration you mentioned. If your left foot is flared and your right is straight you've have made it more difficult to rotate on the backswing than on the forward swing. This is generally not a good idea for the recreational golfer who lacks rotation going back and spins the upper body to start the downswing. When it comes to both flared or both straight it depends upon your flexibility. If you are like most players a little flare with both feet will help you achieve enough rotation on the backswing and the downswing. If you look at the pictures I just put up of Anthony Kim in the address position with an iron and a driver you will see his feet are pointing very straight. This works well for him because he is in extremely good physical condition, strong and flexible, and doesn't need any help rotating. I have discussed the Tush Line many times in blog and posted numerous pictures. If you go back and look at past blogs you can read my descriptions of how the specifics work and check out the illustrations I provided. I will give you these general ideas about how it works. Always keep in mind that your weight will go where it ISN'T during the swing. In other words, if you start in your heels you will attempt to find balance as you swing and move to your toes. Many people try to fix the Tush line by starting and staying in the heels. This is a sure fire way to fail because your weight will move more to the front of your shoes as you swing taking you off the line. To make sure you keep the line going back the weight should start more towards the front of your shoes and move into the back heel as you make the backswing. This will insure that you keep the line to the top of the swing. If you lose the line coming down you have a different issue. The hips are pointed to the right of the target if you have turned properly at the top of the swing. If they start the downswing and move in the direction they are pointed, you will come away from the line. Here is the trick, they can stay turned, shift or bump to the target, and still move PARALLEL to the target line. This means they aren't getting closer to the target line even though they are maintaining some turn as they shift. Once you understand WHEN you are losing the line, you will be able to start improving it.
Sam asks at 12:15: I am a
high school golfer, who has been struggling with my driver. I normally
miss right with my driver, and left with my irons. My normal driver
shot goes 250 yards, but normal nine iron goes 150. How can i get more
distance with my driver? i don't mind long and crooked, i only mind
short and crooked.
I need a bit more information from you, Sam, to really be able to help you out, preferably a video, but I will give you a couple of ideas. The 9-iron distance you mention is very long when compared to your driver distance. This combined with your lack of control off the tee leads me to believe the clubface has become very closed. This would explain your combination of long short-irons and wild, short drives. When the short irons are going a long way in many cases you are hitting them with less loft then they were designed with. This makes them fly farther. Unfortunately, when you hit a driver with less loft it goes shorter and reduces the amount of backspin, replacing it with sidespin. This is why the driver goes both shorter and more wild.
I would suggest you take a good look at your grip and make sure your hands are on the club properly. If they are, take a hard look at the position of your left wrist at the top of the backswing, if it is bowed excessively it can be the source of your clubface problems. You can go to my site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the "fundamentals" section with the title "grip types" to see a bunch of pictures. Send in some video if you can so I can be more specific... Ben asks at 12:05: Sorry for
no video, swing is going through adjustments. Just had a set-up
question, which is most of the battle anyway. Do you agree with the
Reverse K set up for the driver and playing the ball inside the left
heel/just below the shirt logo? Was watching the Golf Channel last night and
Michael Breed recommended a 60/40 weight distribution but opposite on the
halves. So 60 front/40 back on the lower body and (theoretically) 60
back/40 front for the upper body. I know you like a swing that covers
the ball a la Lee Westwood, so I was wondering if you think this set-up
could accomplish that goal? My thought was that it would accomplish two
things with a driver which is, helping the tilt on the back swing and
helping the shift on the downswing if done correctly.
Good questions, Ben. Let me take these in order. The ball should be played under the left armpit for the driver. This helps to ensure that the club has reached the bottom of the arc before making contact with the ball, a must for making good contact and reducing backspin. The width of your stance may or may not get the ball inside the left heel, which is why I don't like to use that as a reference. I don't agree with the 60/40 weight thing. With the ball more forward in the stance, the feet farther apart and the shoulders remaining square to the target line, there will be some tilt away from the target. This tilt is advantageous and will be helpful with the driver. I don't see a need to feel more weight in one foot to achieve the proper address position. Here are a couple of pics to help visualize. 
Tilt2 Doug asks at 12:00: Last week
I sent in some videos, and you told me that my main flaw was losing
power from my left foot as I started my downswing. In other words, I
shift my weight back off my left foot somewhat as I take the club back,
but it doesn't all come back to the left foot by the time I'm swinging
down. You showed me some pics of Anthony Kim and how his hands don't
even drop down until his weight is back on his left foot. After
re-watching my videos, I see exactly what you're talking about, but
it's really hard to get a feeling for. Any drills or thoughts on what I
can work on to fix this? Thanks!
I am glad you understand what you need to work on, Doug. Sometimes when you are working with a player, you need to first teach them WHAT to do differently with their swing, then teach them WHEN to do it. This is the difficult part of learning to change elements of your technique that occur during the transition from backswing to downswing. Now that you understand that your weight must get more into your right foot before it can work to the left, the WHEN of this move becomes critical. The fact is that regardless of the length of your backswing or the speed of your motion you must start your weight back to the target before your arms and club. This is the proper sequence and is a must if you are to be successful.
As you may or may not know, I am not a big fan of drills. However, I am a big fan of doing things very slowly and in different sections when you are learning. I am a big believer that if you can't do it slow, you will never do it fast. Take all the speed out of your swing and learn by trial and error when it feels most athletic to get the weight going to the target. This will take many swings and plenty of time so be patient with yourself.

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