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

Brady-riggs-78x73 Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your questions
and analyze your swing videos. Here's what he had to say...  Robin asks at 4:34:Thanks for
the advice every week. I took your advice on ballooning my irons and
upgraded from game-improvement clubs (PING G10) to more of a players
club (Mizuno MP-57) with Project X shafts, and my ball flight has come
down and I've gained about 5 yards on most of my iron shots. As I adjust
to the new irons I've been struggling to hit full shots with my short
irons and wedges. My shots end up short and right. I believe it is
because I'm not fully pivoting and end up swinging with my arms, not my
body. I've tried focusing on keeping my shirt sleeve tucked between my
left arm and body the way Justin Rose has been doing lately for his
putts, and it seems to help. Do you have any other tips for maintaining a
good rhythm and connection, especially when hitting full wedges and
short irons?
I'm glad to hear that the clubs have helped. On the full shots you need to make sure your right side is getting completely through to the finish. This will help you get the weight over the front foot and encourage the clubface to rotate properly through impact. On the golf course you are always better off making a good practice swing focused on a solid finish position before every shot. This seems obvious but it really important.

Karm asks at 4:13:hanks for
all the help via the blog. i cant seem to get rid of a dropkick i have
with my driver and the occassional iron shot. it feels like i am
getting stuck on the downswing. its getting embarassing and costing me
numerous shots per round. any help would be very much appreciated.
The dropkick happens because your club is finding the bottom of the arc behind the ball. While this is obvious the "why" can be confusing. There are two main causes of this problem. The first is that the club is attacking on a path that is excessively from the inside, forcing the club into the ground before impact. This can often be the result of excessive right side bend on the downswing away from the target which makes attacking the club on the proper path impossible. The other problem is less typical but can happen. A common mistake for players suffering from the dropkick is to put the ball too far back in the stance. When this happens any forward movement to the target (usually a good thing) becomes strange and the player actually moves away from the target and more in the back foot through impact. This forces the club into the ground early, the very problem the ball back was supposed to fix.Start with the ball position and make sure it is in a neutral position. To fix the excessive right side bend through impact focus on finishing with the right shoulder closer to the target than the left foot. This will help you get through the ball better and improve the contact. Bob asks at 4:00:
Brady.... Here is my son, he is almost 8. I am about a 5
handicap and he learns by watching me, I have not given him hardly any
advice. I is hitting the ball pretty good. What advice, if any, should
be given at this point?
He seems to be swinging the club pretty good already. I would tell you only a couple of things. First, try to get a club in his hands that fits him a bit better. That club looks too long and heavy for him at this point. Second, make sure he hits balls with athletic shoes on, those flip flops aren't helping his balance and could lead to some habits you don't want. Finally, tell him he can swing hard as long as he can hold his finish position. That is a must as kids begin to learn the game. Here is a picture of a great finish he can copy. Villegas Read more:
JP asks at 3:47:Here is
the latest and greatest. I think I need some more hip turn on the
downswing. Do you agree and how could I achieve that?
JP, thanks for the video. I am not happy with where your tush and legs are relative to where they began. It still looks like the left heel isn't getting enough weight at the top of the swing and then the left thigh is out of it's lane coming down. I would like to see you maintain your tush line and leg positions rather than focus more on the hips. Here is a picture that might help you see the difference.  Foxleft Read more: asks at 3:35:I'm having
trouble putting some things together in my head so maybe you can help
me out. PGA pro's all seem to hit these nice low, tight wedges that
skip and stop. I'm amazed at how low they really hit them. They also
don't take super sized divots which I would assume is because they come
in shallow with the bounce working for them. Now, I would think that
hitting it low involves getting the hands forward to deloft. But I find
that doing that causes massive divots since the leading edge is now
coming in sharper and find that chunking really comes into play. I've
also tried closing the clubface but then it just goes left and further
gets the leading edge coming in first. So how does one utilize the
bounce which needs an open club face, but keeps the hands ahead and not
shank, slice, sky a wedge shot. Do they have more bounce on the wedges?
Whats going on there?
This is a great question that has been asked of me by many students over the years. You actually have it worked out fairly well to be honest. Yes, the club must attack on a MUCH SHALLOWER angle than you might think. The part you are struggling with is the clubface. It needs to be slightly open in the address position rotate back and through as it would in a normal shot. Most people make the mistake of trying to keep the clubface square to the ball during the motion with the club attacking straight down the target line. Instead, the clubface must be square to the plane which means it rotates away from the ball back and through and the club must attack from inside the target line. This allows the face to stay in contact with the ball a bit longer creating more spin and check when it hits the green. I try to get my really good players to feel as if the hands and club never get higher than the hips during this swing, instead traveling more around instead of up and down. One trick that really helps with the bounce of the club is to start with the shaft slightly upright and the face slightly open. This makes the heel of the club come off the ground further insuring you avoid sticking the leading edge into the turf. Here is a great picture of Jonathan Byrd hitting that shot.  Byrd Bill Johnson asks at 3:20:How
would you recommend playing a shot (right handed player) from a short
iron distance with the ball above your feet, severe hazard left and with
woods to the right.
Normally I would play out the right and allow for the draw, but since
blocked out I am at a loss.
Is a long punch shot in order? Can you discuss the mechanics
involved?In most sidehill situations you would like to ride the slope as much as possible. However, as you have illustrated this isn't a possibility with the trees to the right. To fight the right to left slope and hit a "holding" shot against it you have to make a couple of adjustments. First, you need to put the ball back slightly in the stance to help guard against the tendency for the ball to go left. Remember that if you make a mistake right is still better than left is this specific situation so don't get crazy with any of the changes. Next the clubface must be dealt with during impact and into the release. The natural left created from the slope must be accounted for by "holding off" the clubface. To do this the left arm must stay higher than the right into what becomes a "punch" finish. This will be a shorter follow-through than normal with the left arm "feeling" like it is in a "chicken wing" position. While this seems strange, it is the only way to start the ball more on line without it moving to the left in the air.As with any new "shot" you are going to play make sure you are successful with in on the practice range before putting it into action on the course.
Travis asks at 3:10:My 8 year
old niece is getting interested in golf. She has come to the driving
range a few times now, and I was interested in any advice you might have
on the best way to go about helping her learn the game while keeping
her interested in golf.
Make sure she has fun is the first priority. There is some great equipment you can get her started with made by US Kids Golf. No need to buy an entire set, they sell clubs one at a time and make it easy to find the club for her height. The thing I did with my own kids at an early age was show them video of Annika Sorenstam hitting a ball, start to finish. I asked them to pay attention to her finish position and try to copy it in the house. On the range, I only encouraged them to set up correctly then try to get to Annika's finish. The results were amazing. I can tell you having a great model to copy without the interruption of an adult barking instructions is the single best way to teach a young person how to swing a golf club. Start her out on the range and then close to the hole on the green so she can feel the joy of knocking it in the hole. When she progresses take her to the 3 par and then on to the big stuff once she has become proficient at each level. There is no need to rush, just keep on encouraging her and don't stay at the course for more than an hour. Any longer and it will go downhill quickly. Chris Johnson asks at 3:00: Hello Mr. Brady your tips are very helpful I hope you answer this one. My
downswing is coming down from the outside and cutting across the ball.They say
you should start the downsing by droppin the arms how do you get that feel.
Could you please give some drills or tips to start the downsing more with the
body and not pulling my shoulders.

Good question Chris. In about 90% of players that come across the ball
the clubface is in an open position on the downswing. The motivation to start
the ball left of the target is very high because the ball always curves to the
right. For this reason make sure your grip is in a neutral position in address
and your left wrist isn't excessively cupped or bent at the top of the
backswing. This will get the face issue taken care of and allow you to proceed
with the transition.
The start of the downswing is confusing to players on every level. The
problem with the "over the top" move you are describing is that the
left leg isn't taking and keeping enough of the weight as the downswing begins.
From a technical standpoint, the quad muscle of the left leg should be
"engaged" for several beats as the downswing begins. This prevents
the shoulders from spinning open which forces the club outside. The leg has
more weight in it after the downswing begins than it did before the backswing
was finished, meaning that there is a shift of weight to the target without a
spin of the body as you start down.

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