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

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at noon to answer your questions
and analyze your swing videos. Thanks to everyone for your comments and videos. Special thanks to Mark and Co. at JC Video for all their help with their fantastic software, it brings the blog to life. See everyone next week... Tim asks at 1:12:

I just want to start off by saying thanks for all the great
instructional advice. It's all very helpful. I have a question about
Anthony Kim's backswing. I've tried very hard the past two years trying to
emulate his motion. For one we have the same body type and build, and
for two it looks so simple and low maintenance. What I'm hoping for is if
you can explain how he gets the club so short and compact (clubshaft
pointing to the left when short of parallel) without getting flat and
across the line. I see he gets his hands fairly deep and behind him in
his backswing, when I do this I'm super flat and usually across the
line. I like feeling as though my arms and body are working very closely
together rather then feeling like my hands are very high at the top of
the backswing. I would love to have the same motion as he does and with
your help maybe I can :) Thanks again for your time week after week. Here are a couple videos of my swing.

Thanks for the kind words about the blog. I think your motion is fairly sound, I like the sharp change of direction. The reason you are long and across when trying to get deeper is you lack the proper left forearm rotation needed to get the club pointing properly at the top. Here is a simple way to feel the correct amount. When standing straight up and down and not holding a club, hold your left arm out in front of you fully extended with your thumb pointing up. Rotate your entire arm from the shoulder down as a unit to get the thumb pointing to 3:00. This is a quarter turn of the arm and all that is needed to get the club in line at the top of the swing. You can repeat this motion with a club and then eventually bent over in your normal starting position. Some players never get enough rotation and as a result achieve a position at the top that is across the line. Some players have excessive rotation early and lose what they had to get the club across. If you want to shape your swing like AK, the proper amount of left-arm rotation should be slowly happening during the backswing and get to the quarter turn as your hands near shoulder height. Here is a couple of pictures to help... Quarterturn
John asks at 12:54: Can you
give me some advice on getting on a better plane in the downswing?
Also, I don't hit the ball very far and am wondering where I'm losing
Please comment on anything that you don't like.

Thanks for the video, John. There are two specific things you can work on that would not only help you with your lines and angles during the swing but would greatly improve your distance. First, your clubface is closed at the top of the swing, restricting your ability to release properly during impact and into the finish. The grip appears to be fairly neutral so the problem lies in the excessively flat-to-bowed left wrist position and the overly flat arms swing. The second issue is your lack of weight shift during the backswing into the right side. You basically swing the club with your body in the same place going back and coming through. If you use throwing as an analogy, the weight moves back into your rear foot then forward into your front foot. Imagine throwing without moving your weight and you can see just how much potential power you are missing. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize. Akmove
Brendan asks at 12:42: Brady, I
have a club championship tournament this weekend and thanks in large
part to your tips on swing path my game is rounding into shape.
My most glaring concern is my sand wedge. Normally I hit my 55-degree
wedge about 100 yards but sometimes it feels as if the face slides
right under the ball and it only goes 70 yards. Nothing kills a great
drive like a 70 yard sw.
Any ideas on what could cause this result or any tips on how to fix
it? Glad to hear you are getting better. Losing yardage with the wedge usually happens when the clubface stays too open during the release, making the ball slide up the face and greatly reducing the distance. The best thing you can do in the short term is to try to hit the wedges with a bit of a draw. This will help you get the toe of the club through during impact, making it easy to hit the ball a consistent distance.
Michael Paige asks at 12:30:
I have heard a lot of instructors talk about not getting laid
off at the top of the backswing and how bad it is.
But when I was looking at this swing of CH3 on youtube, I noticed
that at the start of the downswing he immediately lays off the club.

Why does he do this? Is this a fault or am I missing something here? There is no fault here at all in this video of Charles Howell III. The clubshaft is naturally shallowing out as his body leads the downswing. This action to the club is seen in a large number of great players and is different than being laid off at the top. The critical alignment of the club in the transition is that it is pointing at or outside the target line when the hands are at shoulder height. Where the club is at the top isn't nearly as important as where it is in the transition. The problem with being laid off is that it can make the transition too steep and get the arms too far away from the body. Here are a couple of pictures to help illustrate the top and transition difference. Howell  Howell2
Mike asks at 12:20: Brady...
At what point should someone play x-stiff in a driver. I see many of
the shorter Tour players use x-stiff. I normally hit drives around 270 -
290 and play a stiff shaft.
There are so many different combinations of weight, length, materials, loft, etc. that make a driver fit properly it is difficult to tell you exactly when and what to change to. I have several professionals I work with who hit the ball extremely far that still use a stiff shaft. If there is one club you should have fit by a professional fitter and constantly update, it is your driver. Gary asks at 12:08: Thanks
for the great blog, I look forward to it every Tues.
Do you have any good drills/thoughts/methods to practice the correct
way of starting the downswing?
I have been trying a drill where as you swing back you draw your left
foot next to your right so at the top of the swing both feet are close
together. Then you start your downswing by re-planting your left foot in
its original position.
It seems to be helping my weight shift but I am not sure what my arms
are supposed to be doing at the time I am planting my left foot in the
Was wondering if you had anything like it that you use with your
students. Thanks for the feedback about the blog. I use something similar to help people get the idea when it comes to the proper sequence to start the downswing. Take your normal address position and then slide your front foot next to your back foot. when the arms near the top of the swing step with the front foot to the target to lead the downswing. I like this particular method because it requires only one step during the swing. Remember that it is always easier to work on a specific part of the swing going slower than normal. The arms should always come after your weight moves to the target. Think of it like stepping into a throw in baseball or hitting a pitch. When you move your weight is up to the individual. Some players like Tommy Armour III get the weight going when the arms have barely reached parallel to the ground. This keeps the backswing very short. Others like John Daly wait until the club is well past parallel to get the weight moving. In either case the sequence is the same, weight before arms and club.
Kevin asks at 12:00: Brady.....
I liked the picture you posted a few weeks back of the face on view of Els showing the release/arms crossing. That's a position I really lack
and have started hitting everything much more solid from a 50-yard shot
to a driver. That really isn't a position that's natural... it seems
like you really have to put some effort into getting in that position,
would you agree?
It is natural for some, unnatural for others. The thing I will tell you Kevin is that if the club is attacking on the proper swing path and the clubface isn't closed, the release becomes very natural out of necessity. Here is the picture you referenced one more time: Elsrelease

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