Tuesday, June 08, 2010

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 the questions and comments. I wish I could answer all the questions but I am off to the practice tee. Please submit your questions early next week and remember that videos always go to the front of the line. Special thanks to the guys at JC Video for their great software that enables me to post pictures on the blog. Robin asks at 1:00:I'm an
11.9 handicap, trying to get to single digits. I can keep up with my
single-digit friends in driving, but I always seem to need 1-2 more
clubs than them on par 3s or approach shots. I'm not short, 7-iron is
150-155, but I don't think I'm getting all I could out of my irons. I
also hit them very high. Are their drills or exercises I can do to work
on hitting down/trapping the ball more? Should I play the ball back in
my stance more for irons (I currently play it below the logo on my left
chest for mid-long irons, a ball or two back for short irons/wedges)?
Many thanks.
It sounds like the ball position is correct so I wouldn't be inclined to move it farther back. I rarely look at equipment as a source of a problem but if your driving the ball as far as your friends and not hitting the irons with them I would check the clubs, specifically the shafts. If you go to a Project X shaft, for example, they are made to flight the shorter irons lower and the longer irons a bit higher. They seem to accomplish this quite well and might be a good place for you to start tinkering. The other possibility from a technical standpoint is that your upper body is hanging back behind the ball excessively with your irons. While staying back behind the ball with the driver is a good thing, it is counterproductive to hitting solid, penetrating iron shots. This wouldn't affect the driver distance negatively because you don't need the club to go DOWN after impact with a driver from the tee. However, when the ball is played from the turf, the bottom of the swing needs to be in front of the ball. This can't be achieved by hanging behind it, making it possible to make the same swing with the driver and irons and have one of them effective and the other poor. I would check out the shafts and see if changing them helps. Then I would get out the camera and see the location of your head at impact with the iron compared to address. If you are behind your original position at address you need to fix it. BTW, I am not telling you to go purchase new irons or shafts, just go out and hit a few with a Project X and see if there is a difference. Noah asks at 12:45:I recently
took a lesson and discovered I swing narrow-wide-narrow going back and
thru instead of the desired wide-narrow-wide. Any swing thoughts I can
work on to obtain this more desired motion? I also tend to “quit” on
the follow-through and my body/head gets too far in front of the ball
into impact. Hooks often are a result. My follow-through is a reverse-C
causing lower back pain. I want to get more extension while keeping my
head back, but have a hard time avoiding the reverse-C position when
attempting the move. Any help there would also be appreciated.
There is quite a bit going on there, Noah. The best approach to any series of issues with your golf swing is to begin at the beginning, in your address position. Without a video of your swing, I wouldn't want to get too far into details, but I can tell you that everything you are doing will be affected by how you start. For example, if you are bent over a great deal at set-up than you will naturally have more hinge in the takeaway, contributing to your narrow/wide/narrow problem. The bent-over start will also make you become more upright with your posture during impact, contributing to your reverse C. These issues can be resolved in the address rather than working them out during your swing, so I really need to see it before moving forward. If you can get the swing up next week linked to YouTube I will give you some specific advice.Justin asks at 12:34:I am a
low -andicap golfer and am trying to make my swing more neutral. The
first place I am starting with is the clubface in the backswing and at
the top.
At the halfway back point in the swing, when the club is parallel to
the ground, should the toe be pointing straight up at 12 'o clock, or
should it be pointing more at 1'o clock (when viewed down the line)?
I found this swing anaylsis and I am trying to get into the position that Adam Scott is in at 0:55
into the video. There his clubface looks like it is at 1'o clock.The position of the clubface at the first parallel is affected by the strength of your grip, the amount of "in" your left arm has during the takeaway, and the flatness of your left wrist relative to the set-up position. For all of these reasons, you will see different positions to the leading edge during the takeaway, all of which are very playable and neutral depending upon the elements I described. Here is a picture of Anthony Kim and Sean O'Hair, both with neutral clubface positions in different takeaway locations. Neutral face

Ben K asks at 12:30:
your blog every week.
My last round I was chunking a lot of my shots from 100 yards and in.
My normal swing has an inside-out draw tendency. This great for my long
game but seems to hurt my short game.
Mid-round I was desperate for a band-aid fix to help me stop chunking
my pitches and I found one.
I tried purposefully coming from out-to-in (not with my shoulders in
an OTT--over the top--move but more with my clubhead) so that the club was cutting
cross the ball hitting the outside right first. This immediately stopped
me from chunking it, as I would always catch the ball first. I hit some
solid shots like this and it worked really well.
So do I carry on doing this or is it a band-aid approach that could
get my game into trouble?You have made an adjustment back to a more neutral path for the time being, but it could get ugly. I love the fact that you tried to do the opposite of your mistake to change things up. That is a great instinct and a highly effective way to get into the clubhouse during a round. The problem is that eventually you will be OTT and then that will need to be adjusted. During your honeymoon period with the change you just made, you will have success but know that this won't last. The long-term solution is to work on attacking on a more neutral plane all the time. This will prevent you from hitting such deep valleys between the peaks in your game. This can be done by finding a good teacher, using video, or paying attention to your divots, contact, and ball-flight to keep things from getting away from you.
abc states at 12:27: This is
Thanks! Marc asks at 12:20: Could you
please describe the changes that Justin Rose has made to his swing with
his new coach Sean Foley? To me, his old Leadbetter swing looked a lot
steeper at the top and now his arms look a bit flatter at the top. But I
am no golf coach and would love to hear what you think.
I think your eye is right on, Marc. The takeaway is less inside than it was before with the club now going through his hands at the first parallel position in the backswing. The club went in before, making the next move for the shaft up into a more vertical spot. The club is now flatter at the halfway-back spot that before, allowing his arms to be less deep at the top and the club more aligned parallel to the target line. This makes it easier for the club to be shallower in the transition, requiring less fall to the inside on the downswing. The overall result is a club that is on plane earlier and longer on the downswing, making Rose's misses more effective and his ball-striking more consistent.
Sam asks at 12:13: Thanks for
doing the blog. I have trouble controlling distances consistently on
pitches from 30 yards and in. I am trying to break from the low 80s to the
high 70s, and this the most obvious weak spot in my game. Do you
have any drill to get this distances right?
There is a simple yet highly effective practice routine you can use to really help. Hit a pitch around 10 yards away and then try to hit that ball with the next shot. Continue to alternate the ball you are trying to hit with the ball you just hit until you reach 40 yards and then do it again. There are multiple reasons this drill is effective: from focusing on a small target, adjusting to a different target on every shot, and using your eyes and not a laser to determine how far you need to go. This drill will help you practice your feel for distance, something that only gets better with time spent.
Del asks at 12:03: Thanks for
all the help on the blog. I am having trouble chunking or chili-dipping my pitches and chips. I am playing the ball back with my hands
ahead and still can't seem to hit the ball crisply consistently, hitting
the ground first. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help
The reason you are chunking your short shots is because the wrong part of the club is hitting the ground. When you push your hands forward and get the ball back in your stance, the "leading edge" of the club will be the first part of the clubhead to make contact with the turf. This makes the club DIG into the ground causing the chunk or chili-dip. You need to learn how to hit the ground with the entire width of the sole of the club in order to fix this problem. It begins with your set-up position. Push the ball more forward in the stance so the shaft is leaning only a bit forward. Allow the clubface to lay back or open slightly so the leading edge of the club is off the ground and get the shaft more upright so the toe of the club is sitting more on the ground than the heel. These adjustments will really help eliminate the chunk and get the back of the flange of the club to contact the ground. The final adjustment is to allow the club to track on plane and let the clubface rotate "open" and "closed" during the motion. This will enable you to release the club like you would during a full shot, a completely different strategy than what you have been doing.

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