Ask the Top 100 Live: Brady Riggs is here to fix your faults

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, he'll be back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask the Top 100 Live. Thanks to everyone for your comments questions and especially your videos. I will be back next week so get in your requests early. I am off to the lesson tee... Matt asks at 1:05: Brady, Several Tour pros such as Duval, Sorenstam, and Allenby swivel their
head at the beginning of the downswing so that at impact they appear to
be looking in front of the ball several feet. I was wondering what your
thoughts are on this and would you ever teach a student to do this?
Thanks.
I absolutely love this move. I do it myself and teach many of my students to do it as well. There is also some early head rotation in Darren Clarke, Henrik Stenson, Charles Warren, and a ton in Joe Durant. This really helps get rid of hanging back behind the ball and is much easier on the neck through impact. I would love to go into more detail with pictures but need my broken computer to be fixed. Hopefully this will be the case during next week's blog. Please ask this question again.  Sammy asks at 12:56: Brady--
Thanks for all your help to the golf.com online readers! You're certainly on the cutting edge of golf instruction.
Can you share with us your thoughts on divots. We've heard about Ben
Hogan's thin dollar-bill size divots. How can you make a longer divot
after the ball, that is, have the club stay low through impact? What do you
have to do in your swing/setup to have a longer, shallow divot? Flattery will get you everywhere, Sammy, thank you. Interestingly enough, I am a big fan of a very shallow divot, not necessarily a longer one. To get the divot to be longer in the ground after impact you need to have your hands WAY in front of the clubhead during and after impact. This requires more tilt away from the target which can be very bad on the lower back. The shallower divot comes from swinging the club on a slightly more inside path, leading to a more right-to-left ball flight. Yes, you can hit a fade with a shallow divot, but it isn't as easy.
JP asks at 12:53: Brady... Keep up the good work, I am really enjoying the blog.. it's great!!
I am hitting the ball really good right now. My backswing thoughts
are keeping the left elbow close to body and right wrist flat. (I'm left-handed.) On the downswing, shift weight and try to really get the hips
turning. I try to get my belt buckle facing the target at impact, at
least that's the feeling. On video, of course its nowhere near that.
Anyway, this has made my arms feel VERY passive on the downswing and I
hit it great on Sunday.
Is there any harm in trying to exaggerate the turning of the hips
and how do you feel about that passive arm comment? (I imagine this
should be improving my tush line also) That all sounds good to me, JP. Remember that "feel" is a very personal thing during the swing. If you and I were in exactly the same position at a certain part of the swing, it would feel different to both of us. For that reason, video is the best way to analyze where the swing actually is. I am very pleased with your progress over the last several months. Keep sending in the new stuff and we will get you where you want to be.
Brendan asks at 12:45:

Brady,
Besides standing on the other side of the ball, what swing advice do you have for this lefty?
My typical miss is a slice and like any 16 handicapper I struggle with consistency. My preferred ball flight is a draw. Here are my videos:

Thanks in advance for your great insight! Thanks for sending in the video. It is all about the set-up for you right now. We need to get you looking more neutral than you currently are. There is an excessive amount of left-side tilt away from the target at address. This continues throughout your golf swing and makes it very difficult for you to get the club working properly. Go to my swing site www.redgoat.smugmug.com and check out the pictures and videos of Anthony Kim to get an idea about where you should be. The swing has a great deal of potential, but I want to see the address position get better before we do anything else. Send in some new video when you get it fixed while hitting a ball and I will take you through the next step.
Dru asks at 12:30: I was
wondering if you could look at my swing and give me some advice. My
ball flight tends to "Fade". Not a slice but just a little left to
right movement. Here is a video I took off the tee during a round.

Dru, you are a shut-faced cutter. That isn't an insult BTW, so was Trevino, Duval, and a host of other great players. The deal is that your grip is extremely strong and the clubface is very closed or shut during your golf swing. As a result, all roads point to a strong draw or hook as a ball-flight. Yet, you hit a fade. This is what good players do to adjust and avoid a huge miss. They fight against one severe miss and hit the exact opposite shot. On the down side, there has been one common problem that shut-faced cutters experience and that is a bad back. Hopefully, this hasn't happened to you, YET! Your movement of your body during the swing is fantastic. This is the best element of your move and should be left alone for the most part. If you were on my lesson tee, I would ask you when was the last time you felt you had made progress with your game, specifically your ball-striking. This would help me find out if you had hit your potential with the swing you are currently using. I would also want to know about the condition of your back. If you weren't getting any better of late and were in any pain at all, I would encourage you to make some changes. If you were still improving and not in pain, we would proceed differently. If we were to get in there and fix it, I would start with making the grip more neutral, I would get your arms up at the top in a more standard position with your left wrist less bowed, and I would get you aiming parallel to the target line. Once the face was square and the top was good, the ball would go WAY RIGHT! From there we would work on a powerful release, something missing from your current swing, to get the ball flight we were looking for. This is obviously something that would take some time, $$$, and pain on your part. It wouldn't be an easy change and you would certainly play worse for a while. Proceed with some caution as you evaluate what to do. JR asks at 12:24: I like
the feel of a slightly open clubface at address. Are there any problems
that this could cause in my backswing? It gets a little laid-off at
the top but I feel comfortable with that, and I still get it on plane
coming down.
If it works, don't mess with it. I would recommend that if you prefer the face to be open that you take your grip with the face square and then forward-press slightly to achieve the desired position. It sounds like this is your method, based upon your laid-off position at the top. When you forward-press and open the face, your left arm rotates slightly in a clockwise direction while the inside of your right elbow tucks into your body. This makes it very easy to get the club laid off at the top. You can still start with the press and open face but avoid the laid-off spot by making sure your shoulder turn is a bit more steep and not too flat. Send in some video if you get the chance and I will give you more specific advice. Barry asks at 12:17: I am
confused about how strength plays a part in the normal golf swing. I've been told to hold the club like I am holding a bird, and swing easy. So where
does strength come into play?
Snead's holding the bird analogy has never worked for me. Think instead of throwing a baseball. If you hold on too tight, your wrist and arm will have no suppleness and you will lose all the whip in your motion that creates speed. If you hold onto the ball too lightly, it will fly out of your hand when you pull your arm back. If you hold the golf club like you would a ball when throwing it hard, you will have the right amount of grip pressure. When it comes to strength and its role, it is overrated. Hitting a golf ball has much more to do with technique and skill rather than strength. The club needs to be slung or whipped through impact rather than pulled or forced. Ask any Tour player how they hit a driver a bit farther than normal and they will all tell you they slow down. This helps them wind up and let go with more snap. Steve asks at 12:12: Any
advice on getting the right elbow more in front of you to prevent
blocks? Mine tends to get stuck on my side. Is that a bad thing? Seems
I can either start the downswing with my lower body, as we are taught,
and the right elbow gets stuck, or I can try and let the "arms lead"
starting down. (In reality, they don't, but that's what it feels like.)
The problem with the former is getting in front of it, the problem with
the latter is lack of power from not being able to rotate enough late.
Any thoughts?
The reason your right arm is stuck is because your lower body is moving in the wrong direction. Your lower body should lead the charge coming down, but if your tush gets closer to the ball than it was at address, you will have what is called collision between your right elbow and hip. If your tush stays back against the line, your right elbow will have the space to move in front of the hip even though your legs are ahead of your arms. Don't change your sequence of legs first, you have that correct, work on the position of your tush and the collision will go away. Matt asks at 12:00: OK,
things looking good except for one swing flaw that's killing me. My
backswing is good, the downswing is good, through impact is not good. I
cannot maintain a flat left wrist at impact, I am flipping it over. I
also cut my hands across the ball, that is right before impact I draw
my hands toward my left hip, and my left elbow will chicken wing. I
need a cure
You need to fix the path. If the club is attacking the ball from outside the proper path, your left wrist will break down every time. Remember to direct the clubhead into the inside/back quadrant of the ball with the face rotating through impact. If you try to hit the back of the ball with the face square like the majority of recreational golfers, you will lose the path and the left wrist will break down. Start with shorter shots, build up to bigger swings that are slower and eventually you will have it. Like I tell all my students, if you can't do it slow you can't do it full.

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