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. Submit a question or video link to Brady in the Comments section below.Thanks to everyone for your questions this week. Next week is big here on the blog as we announce a very interesting article in the June issue of Golf Magazine. Make sure you drop by and check it out. Have a great week.....Mike Richardson asks at 1:15:Hi Brady,
Great blog, you've really helped my game. One thing though, you have
never really mentioned much about post impact. You talk about hitting
the inside back of the ball with a closing face, but do you have any
post impact positions rather like your "tush line"? Thanks.
Thanks for the kind words, Mike. I have very specific ideas about what should be happening post-impact. They vary a bit based upon the desired ball-flight of my player, their flexibility and where they are in their development as a technician. I will tell you that I don't want my players with their head down and their body back behind the ball for very long. I want to see the eyes chase the ball out very quickly after impact, the right side of the trunk working toward a vertical position that takes the pressure off the back and the right shoulder at least to the right foot asap working towards the finish. There are some specific pictures and alignments I can show you when the new computer is up and running next week. Randy asks at 1:08:I emailed
you a few months back about my 13-year-old son and your thoughts on me
continuing to teach him or needing to go to some pro. Well, I have
another question that you can give me insight to, I hope. That same son
recently fell and broke his wrist (it wasn't a severe break, but a
break nonetheless). He will get his cast off this week and we are
taking a trip back east to my Dad's in North Carolina next week. We
planned on playing golf back there. I wonder if you have any idea on if
there is any chance of that in a typical recovery mode that he would be
able to play on that trip.
I wouldn't know, Randy. This sounds like a question for his orthopedist and physical therapist. I would tell you that wrist issues can be persistent if not dealt with properly, having had an issue myself in college. Make sure when he does start back to take it slow with some putts and short chips first, then iron shots off a tee to minimize the amount of interaction with the ground in the beginning. There will be some fear about hitting the ground and swinging full speed in the beginning that are very normal so have that expectation. At the very least, maybe he can hit some chips around the green and putt on your trip. Ben asks at 12:55:It seems
my biggest issue as I have been looking at my game recently is lag
putting and simple chipping and pitching. I typically shoot in the high
70s/low 80s and hit 9-11 GIR a round. I usually have 2 or 3 three-putts
and hardly ever get up-and-down and that's usually because I make a 7-10
footer. I can't seem to get a feel for distance on lag putts and
standard chips. Any advice on how to approach lag putting or what I can
do in my stroke to get more consistent speed. Also with chips. It seems
like an area where I lose 5 to 7 shots a round and it's holding my game
back.
Let's start with your chipping. There are two parts to hitting good pitch and chip shots. The first is your plan. Your plan evaluates the type of lie you have, where on the green you want your ball to land, which club will get the ball to land in that spot and roll the correct amount to the hole, and which side of the cup you want to putt from. It should always work exactly in that order. Most people who struggle with chips and pitches grab the club first, usually one with way too much loft, and go up the shot with no clue where they are going to land the ball, how much it will roll or what side of the hole to putt from. If this sounds like your process, it must be fixed. Once the plan is good you are left with execution. If you hit the shot like you intended and it doesn't come off close to the hole, your plan wasn't very good. If you hit the shot poorly and it doesn't land where you wanted, your execution was bad. Once the shot has been hit you will know if your plan and execution were on target. If you miss it, you know where you need to focus your attention. From a technical standpoint the execution is easiest if you use a club with enough loft to fly one big step onto the putting surface and roll the rest of the way to the hole. For this reason you may chip with any club from 7-iron to your most lofted wedge and pitch with all of your wedges from 48 to 60 degrees. The lag putting relates to the chipping in terms of plan when you think about where you want to leave the ball for your next putt. Just like chipping, most people are most comfortable hitting short putts that are slightly uphill and breaking towards them, ie. right to left for a right-handed player. For this reason you should be trying to leave the ball on the side of the hole that makes the short putt the most comfortable. Make sure you have this part of the plan in mind when you are reading your putt and you will knock off many of the three-putts that are currently hurting your score. Matt W. asks at 12:45:Brady, I
hope your computer is fixed! I asked you last week about what you think
about the early head rotation in the downswing of players like Duval
and Sorenstam. You said that you do this as well and I would like to
know the "how to's" of doing it. When I try it is seems that I hit the
ball lower, thinner, and to the right more. Do you turn your head so
far that you don't see the ball in your line of sight? Thanks for you
advice.
I will have it up next week, Matt. I will tell you that how early your eyes rotate out is completely up to you. There are varying amounts of head rotation that work, from extremely early like Annika and Joe Durant to during impact like Robert Allenby and Darren Clarke. The idea is that rotating the head allows the upper body to keep going during and past impact, reducing the amount of hang back at impact. This helps the hands stay under control, eliminates the flip and can make your ball-striking significantly more consistent. I will put up those pictures next week, remind me again....John asks at 12:35:I was
fitted for irons this past weekend. During the process I noticed my
shaft angle at impact was higher than at my address position. The
fitter said I should be 2 to 3 degrees upright with my irons. Can this
be corrected with a little hard work or with the custom fit?
P.S. When I miss usually it is to the left with 6-iron and under.This is one of those issues that drives me crazy. First, the shaft angle moving higher during impact from address is completely normal. This is usually between 2 and 5 degrees on video and doesn't need to be adjusted. If you are like most people the toe of the golf club is airborne at address. As a result of impact conditions your hands rise slightly at impact making the sole of the golf club flat on the ground. The problem with club fitters is that they want to try to improve your ball-flight by changing the golf club rather than having you make improvements in your golf swing. Unless you have an unusual body type, excessively tall, short, long arms, short arms, etc., you should be playing with clubs that are fairly close to standard. A change in lie angle of 2-3 degrees is substantial unless your body fits into one of the above categories. Considering the fact that your miss is already left, I would be very skeptical that you need to change your lie angle more upright by several degrees. This will make the heel of the club dig more into the ground, causing the clubface to close and the ball to go more LEFT. I think the vast majority of club fittings are poor, and the results and recommendations are useless at best. I am not saying this is the case with yours but I have my doubts. Unless you meet the strange body type category, get a standard lie angle and go work on improving your golf swing. I think your skepticism was right on.
Tim asks at 12:26:Recently
I have developed an unpredictable or occasional tendency to slice my
irons, especially wedges: the ball comes off the face sharply, going
almost 90 degrees right of my intended target-line. I have focused on
keeping the face closed at address with a neutral or slightly weak
grip, to no avail.
Any help would be greatly appreciated,
This sounds more like a shank than a slice, Tim. If you are hitting the hosel of the golf club with your wedges, there are several things to check to get you back on track. Make sure you have your hands on the golf club correctly and don't exaggerate the clubface position at address. A weak grip and closed clubface at address is not going to get things cleaned up, chances are this is making the problem worse. Once you have your hands on the club properly and the clubface square, you have three specific issues to get under control. First, make sure you aren't standing too close to the ball as this will make contact with the hosel more likely. Second, keep the distance from the ball you started with a constant during the swing. If you get closer to the ball with your body during the swing, you make hitting the hosel more likely. Finally, you need to check the path the club is swinging on during the swing. If the club is attacking on either an excessively inside or outside path you are likely to hit the hosel. The most common is the outside attack, so check that first. If you get the chance to send in some video of you hitting the wedge I can give you more specific advice. Tom asks at 12:14:Hi Brady, I've always read that at impact, the weight should be toward the left heel, but is it on the instep or outside?You see the left foot in many different positions among Tour players during impact. Tiger's left foot has been airborne with the driver for years, Johnny Miller's was rolled to the outside and many great young players are on the toes of their front foot. What this means is that there isn't an exact spot the weight must be in during impact to hit great golf shots. With that said, there is a best spot, and that is working the weight into the left heel during impact. That doesn't necessarily mean it must already be in the heel with the toes of the foot airborne, but the weight should be going in that direction with the foot remaining fairly flat on the ground and not rolled to the outside. As the rotation of the hips continues into the finish, it isn't unusual to see the foot roll a bit more to the outside than it was at address. This is particularly true if the player isn't very flexible and starts with the front foot perpendicular to the target line at address. For this reason it is beneficial for the vast majority of players to start with both feet flared out slightly at address as it makes rotation much easier during the golf swing. I would focus on keeping the foot flat with the weight working into the heel. A bit of weight toward the outside is better than the inside, but don't let that foot roll to the outside of the shoe. If it is, flare the foot and focus on getting the weight straight back toward the heel during impact to fix the problem. John asks at 12:06:

Brady,
A couple weeks ago I asked about the bottom hand coming off the club
for Phil and Vijay, you said to ask again when you can post photos?
Also, I am right handed and many times after impact I let go of the
club with my right hand, what is this usually a result of? (I assume
it's something different than what Phil and Vijay experience with the
hand nearly coming of.)Thanks for asking this again. I am still unable to post photos, but my new computer will be here this week. HOORAY! The right hand letting go after impact isn't a big deal if the right index finger and thumb maintain contact with the handle. The right index finger is critical to consistent contact as it drives the sweet spot of the club down the proper path into the inside back portion of the golf ball. There are several reasons why the right hand will let go during impact. The most obvious is if the grip is faulty and unable to maintain its alignments with the handle and left hand as the torque and collision of impact occurs. The second is poor contact. If you don't hit the center of the clubface, the vibration of impact can knock your club out of your right hand, causing you to lose control of the golf club. If you are seeing the right hand come off on your bad shots I would check your grip first and then work on improving your swing path and clubface alignment to improve your consistency of contact at impact. If you are hitting the ball well and this is happening, I wouldn't worry much about it.
Travis asks at 12:00: I was
wondering what your take on the amount of practice time vs. playing
golf, and what to focus on during practice is. I can currently get to
the driving range about twice a week and play 18 once. However I could
take those driving range sessions and go to a local nine-hole par-3
course instead. For a person trying to improve his golf game, what would
you recommend? Also, I currently have some trouble slicing the ball
later in my rounds and feel that while practicing eliminating my slice
tendency should be the focus of my full swing. How much short game vs.
long game time is ideal? I generally have about 1 – 1 ½ hours to
practice at the range.
This is a very good question, Travis. The fact is that how much time you give to each part of your game and exactly how you practice those specific areas is critical to your improvement. There has to be a good mix or balance of time spent in the practice area and on the golf course. If you are going to improve you need to know the areas of your game that need the most work. This is best done on the golf course during tournament conditions, or at the very least playing under some degree of pressure to test your game. Once you are aware of the problems, you need to tailor your practice sessions around improving your weaknesses and maintaining your strengths. Unfortunately, most people don't like to practice the things they aren't good at, so don't make that mistake. Keep this in mind. If you are having technical issues with your golf swing then you MUST resolve those problems before you take a balanced approach to your practice sessions. This doesn't mean you should ignore your short game, if you are struggling with your golf swing, but it does mean you should spend the majority of your time fixing the technical issues so you can get back to working on the game as a whole. If you are slicing the ball in the junk several times a round and making big mistakes with your swing, no amount of putting practice will get you where you want to be.

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