Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed him, he'll be back next Tuesday at noon on Golf.com  Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Sorry I couldn't answer everything but I am needed on the lesson tee. See everyone next week on the Tuesday Instruction Blog....  John asks at 1:03: WTF do
you think Tiger's next move will be....swing mechanics wise? Me and my
buddies are thinking he'll get back to basics and sort out his
grip/Aim/Posture/Ball Pos/tempo/balance/etc.
I have no idea where Tiger is going to go with his swing. I can tell you that in the next issue of GOLF MAGAZINE we take a hard look at his mechanics and statistics with the driver and offer a diagnosis and treatment (for the driver). It was written by some strange dude with a red goatee and his long-time editor. If I were Tiger, I'd check it out ;) Tiger is a savvy competitor. He will seek out advice, look at his past success and figure out where to go next. I have no doubt he will be winning again sooner than later. Marc asks at 12:55: Given the state of golf right now. Who are your picks for the last three majors of this year?
Mine are:
US Open = Tim Clark
British Open (sorry I mean the "Open Championship") = Ernie Els
PGA Champ = Phil Mickelson As always your insights are strong, Marc. I really like your US Open pick. Clark has been a force for a while and could easily contend on that golf course. If you like the "horses for courses" philosophy I would also add Dustin Johnson to the short list at Pebble. I have been saying for weeks now that Adam Scott was swinging the club much better and his posture looked great at address. He is also on my short list for Pebble and could easily contend at St. Andrews. I will hold off a bit on The Open Championship and PGA until we get closer to the events.
David asks at 12:45: Enjoy
your column each week, and I gain great insight via your comments. Regarding the backswing: if the clubhead begins back reasonably well
(is on plane or very slightly above it), but then halfway back the shaft
flattens to much...what is your suggestion on the best way to work on
this? I'm assuming my wrists don't hinge up correctly and that this
would get the clubhead too far behind the hands, creating issues for
consistency in ball-striking.
Good question, David. Yes, getting too flat at the halfway-back spot can cause several problems that include getting in a laid-off position at the top or tipping the club back across the line and into a steeper position coming down. In both cases the club isn't working on a path that allows it to shallow out naturally as the club begins the downswing which makes good ball-striking quite challenging. If the takeaway isn't too far outside your hands when the club is parallel to the ground then you should be able to keep the club working up properly by "feeling like" you are keeping the hands under the shaft as you work towards the top of the backswing. If this still doesn't work, then keep the upper left arm and chest more together in the takeaway so it is easier for you to keep the clubshaft more upright as you work to the top of the backswing. Hopefully, I will have my old computer back up next week so I can post some pictures to help you visualize the difference. If you check out my swing site at www.redgoat.smugmug.com you will see several examples of takeaways that work under the Redgoat Fundamentals section. Steve asks at 12:35: Thanks for the great advice you hand out on this blog.
After a round I was having a drink with my golf partners and we were
talking about how long the pros are and how it would be great to have a
wedge into most par 4s.
And then it struck me, I drive the ball around 260-270 and pretty
straight. So that usually leaves with me a wedge into around 5 of the
par 4s and all of the par 5s (if I don't go for them in 2) on my home
course. So that is around nine holes that I usually have a wedge shot into
in regulation. But it doesn't make much difference, because I will
still miss 2-3 greens with a wedge, hit 4-5 outside 20 feet and maybe
hit 2-3 of them inside 20 feet. So out of an average of 9 wedge shots I
am only giving myself 2-3 realistic birdie chances.
Now I don't expect to hit every wedge approach inside 10 feet but I
would like to get to a level where I am able to hit 80 percent of them inside
20 feet at least. So I have decided to dedicate 2010 to my wedge game.
What are the keys to developing a solid wedge swing? I never try to
swing harder than 80 percent with a wedge yet I still chunk them on occasion
when the pressure is on.
Please be as detailed as possible. I am one of those guys who likes
to know exactly where my club/plane should be at each position in the
swing. I will give you some important info about the wedges, but I need to see your swing with a wedge from both sides before I can go into detail about the technique. Here are a few details: Stuart Appleby is currently 73rd on Tour from 100-125 yards averaging around 19'+ from the hole. That means he is above average from that distance. If you achieved your goal of 80 percent inside 20' you would be better than he is from that distance. The simple fact is people have an unrealistic expectation about how close they are going to hit a wedge which makes them have a POOR PLAN about where to aim as they hit them. If you aimed at the center of the green from that distance and completely ignored the hole location you would improve not only your number of greens in regulation, but your proximity to the hole would get closer as well. This is the critical part of good wedge play which is having a good PLAN of where to aim. From a technical standpoint I can tell you that the best wedge players hit the ball significantly lower than the recreational player from the same distances. This has changed a bit now with the restrictions for Tour players in groove technology but it is still a huge difference. They hit the wedges lower because they don't hit them as hard, lean to their front foot more through impact and have a SHALLOWER angle of attack. This helps them move their body better during impact and into release, minimizing the need for excessive hand and wrist action which lowers the ball flight and increases consistency. Send in your swing and I will tell you how to proceed from a swing standpoint.
JP asks at 12:26: Thanks for all the help. Here is an update.
Thanks, JP
Currently working on: Tush Line/Posture, Keeping elbow tucked on backswing. Better rotation on downswing, less sliding.
Current ball flight issues: Starting to fade a little with the
better downswing plane. Hitting a lot of 6-7 yard pushes that go pretty
high, like the face is open.
On the iron video, the face is at a really awkward (closed?) position at impact, what is wrong here?
Are my hands/wrists not working correctly on the downswing?
Also the front foot pivot you talked about last week I didn't quite
understand, what I took from that is I need to get the weight on the
back foot better on the backswing?
Here is the driver swing that you requested. iron (weird impact - clubhead) Thanks for the video, JP. I couldn't really see the weird contact or face position on the video, but if you see the face severely closed just after impact on video it is usually caused by hitting the ball toward the heel of the club. This will spin the toe past the heel violently, causing the face to look closed. This is also the source of people feeling like they are losing their grip as they make contact. The poor contact causes the club to spin in your hands, not the other way around. You are correct that when I mentioned front-foot pivoting last week I wanted you to get more weight into your back foot and specifically your heel at the top of the swing. This will greatly improve your work with the Tush line, something that still needs attention based upon the driver swing you have just sent in. The lack of space for your arms and club coming into impact caused by moving your lower body closer to the ball during the swing is making it difficult for you to release the driver properly. This is the source of the pushes you are experiencing. Keep working on that tush line with the driver. It should be on the top of your priority list. 3-wood off the tee asks at 12:20: I have my
backswing much more on plane and I am hitting the best irons of my life,
but in doing so have lost what has always been my best club, my driver, to high leaky fades or worse, hooks! In changing my swing, I have
pushed the grip end of the club farther down into my fingers (but I
never had it in the palm) so that I have a longer left thumb. What do
you recommend as far as short or long left thumb? Any recommendations?
Can the grip be TOO far into my fingers?
Yes, the grip can be too in the fingers which would make the clubface more closed during the swing. This can obviously lead to hooks but doesn't make sense for your other miss of high fades. When players tend to be more successful with the irons than the driver it is often the set-up that is causing the problem. The driver set-up should be taken with a wider stance and an obvious amount of tilt away from the target with your upper body. This will help insure a shallower angle of attack and make it easier to hit the longer club. The iron is both narrower and less tilted, facilitating a more ball-then-turf contact that is not conducive to hitting the driver well. Chris asks at 12:13: Brady, I
am a 5-handicap who has recently developed a "hosel rocket" problem. My
weight distribution feels good and I have even begun to sit down into
my stance a little more in an effort to keep my weight off my toes.
However, by sitting down into my stance, my ball flight has become
inconsistent and I fight both pulls and pushes. I've asked a few pros
what the problem could be and they look at my swing, tell me how smooth
it looks and say that they have no idea why I'm shanking it. Is there
something I can work on (maybe one swing thought) that will help me get
rid of these awful shanks? Thanks so much for any help!!!
The dreaded "chili pepper" toward Lee Janzen? No fun! Without seeing your golf swing I can't tell you exactly what is going on but I can give you some great advice! Hit the TOE! I know this sounds sarcastic but it is actually true. As a 5, you are a very good player with a strong sense of how to make slight adjustments. If you hit several shots, slowly at first, where you make contact on the toe of the club you will begin to feel some different things. This may seem like strange advice but I can tell you from teaching many lessons to those shanking it that it works. From a technical standpoint there are four major ways you can shank it. The good news is you can only do three of them at once. They are starting too close to the ball, getting too close to the ball during the swing (moving into the toes), coming excessively from the inside, and finally coming excessively from the outside. Because you can't come from the inside and outside on the same swing only three are possible at once. I would start checking the items off the list beginning with your distance from the ball. If you can send in some video of your swing so I can give you more specific advice.

Matt asks at 12:05: I have
started to hit my irons and driver well lately, but I am not taking
advantage of them by having too many putts. I know my putting stroke is
pretty good, but is there a good way to develop a better feel for
putting. I feel that distance control is crucial to lowering scores,
especially eliminating three-putting or worse.
I couldn't agree with you more that distance control is the key to good putting. Good distance control helps prevent three-putts while making it possible for you to hit the ball on the proper line. Most people don't read a putt with an idea about how fast the ball will be entering the hole when calibrating the amount of break to play. If you are like Nicklaus used to be and want to have the ball going slowly as it enters, you should allow for more break than a player like Watson who hit the ball more firmly into the back of the hole. Establishing a putting philosophy when it comes to speed will help you read the greens more consistently.
I encourage my students to practice with one ball before a round of golf because it helps them focus more on the putt they are hitting and gets them into a mindset of performance. If you pick the putt on the green with the most break possible and try to have the ball enter the hole on the highest possible line so it falls into the top of the cup you will begin to develop the control over the distance you are looking for.

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