Tuesday, October 19, 2010

  Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon EST to help fix your swing. He's here every Tuesday to answer your questions and improve your game.  Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. I look forward to seeing everyone next week on the blog. Remember you can visit my site at www.bradyriggs.com Evan asks at 1:00: I have been trying to get myself to release the club. I think that I am turning my body too fast to be able to release. Should I be trying to slow my body turn and try to let arms and club move past my body during the swing? I am not sure what is a good approach to get myself to release the club. That's a very good way to think of it, Evan. The club should pass your body through impact. There is no speed in the swing when your hips, arms, hands, and club are all moving together as you make contact. In fact, moving your body, arms, and hands together is a good way to hit in-between wedges because it is an easy way to control your distances. Stephan asks at 12:40: Brady, look forward to this time each week. What do you recommend during the off-season so I can come out firing next spring? Here is a weird one, Stephan. I am convinced that you can make significant changes in your golf swing without hitting golf balls. Slow, specific practice inside can really pay off when you get back to playing again in the spring, IF, what you are working on is correct. I can't tell you specifically what to work on without seeing the swing, but you can make strides practicing your swing inside during the offseason. Lance asks at 12:30: I am a 2 handicap, and a very straight hitter, but I would like more distance. I carry it about 240 and an average drive is around 255. It seems to me that I lift up too much. I hit the ball extremely high with my driver, and I don’t feel like I compress the golf ball. I don't take a lot of divots and my miss is thin off the heel. Here are a couple views of my swing. Any feedback would be great appreciated. Love the blog and look forward to it every week.

Lance UNLV PGM Student Thanks for the video, Lance. Your description of your ball flight makes perfect sense based upon the position of your body through impact. There are two significant issues you need to work on to improve your ballstriking. From the face-on view, your upper body moves away from the target a little too much on the backswing. As a result, your head is too far away from your starting position at impact. This produces an excessive amount of right-side tilt, which can force your the clubs too far to the inside, leading to thin shots and overactive hands producing the occasional snap hook. The excessive tilt is also the cause of your higher than desired ball flight. From the target-line view, your tush line is the issue. This is also caused by the excessive right side tilt and lack of "stacking" of upper body on top of the lower body during the motion. I would strongly suggest that you get your tush on the line during the swing. This starts with a set-up position with the weight more in the balls of your feet instead of your heels. With your weight starting in the heels, you have nowhere to go but in the direction of your toes. This is why you lose the tush line during your swing. If you check out the picture of Camilo Villegas I posted below, you can see the angle of his lower leg at address. This shows the weight more toward the balls of the feet, something that would really help you. Send in your swing when you have made some changes so I can give you more feedback.
Nate asks at 12:12:
Greetings, Brady. In previous posts you've mentioned that in good players' swings the right (rear) leg tends to stretch or straighten through impact; à la Rory Mcilroy:

Can you explain why this happens? What are some of the keys to getting great leg/footwork? My action tends to resemble Phil Mickelson's in that my rear leg remains bent and dives inward after impact. Also, my left (forward) leg has a lot of bend in it during and after impact.

Also, what are some good checkpoints to make sure I am standing the proper distance from the ball at address? I think I tend to stand too far away and address the ball on the toe of the club. Nate, you found some great examples of good and bad lower body work in the golf swing. In McIlroy's swing, the legs work against the ground during the swing using it for leverage and a platform for power and consistency. In Mickelson's move, the lower body in unstable, erratic and inefficient as it slides and shifts during the swing. This places the responsibility of hitting a good shot squarely on Phil's talented hands through impact. McIlroy's right leg works from bent to straight during impact as he works away from the ground with his body while his arms extend out of his shoulder sockets. The body's action is similar to a basketball player going up for a rebound or a ski-jumper launching off the 90 meter hill. To achieve this type of lower-body movement the hips must remain above the knees, ankles, and feet during the swing with a minimum of lower body rotation going back and a minimum of slide on the downswing. This keeps the legs in line from hips to feet and enables the upper body to remain "stacked" up on top of the lower body. This isn't a stack-and-tilt move where the weight stays on the front foot going back. Instead, the weight is allowed to move into the right on the backswing, reducing some hip rotation that can lead to a slide on the downswing. It sounds like you share Mickelson's lower-body action because the weight is moving out of your back heel too soon during the downswing, leading to a slide of the hips to the target and a loss of the tush line at impact. The trail leg bends and moves in to the target line because it doesn't have enough weight in it as you begin the downswing. This leads to an excessive amount of slide in the hips, which keeps your front leg bent at and well after impact. One of the issues is that you need to have enough flexibility to limit some of the lower-body rotation on the backswing to use your legs like McIlroy through impact. If the flexibility is there, the weight should move laterally a bit going back to load up the rear heel at the top of the swing. The downswing should be started with a slight amount of squat in the legs as the hips move toward the target enough to get your left hip over your left foot. From there impact is a straightening of both legs as the hips are rotating around toward the target. This is the move you showed in the video of McIlroy and one we see in countless great players. When it comes to distance from the ball, here is a quick picture to help you out. Villegassetup

Keith asks at 12:00:
Here's a grip question: what do you think about the (relatively) strong left hand ('v' pointing to shoulder) / (relatively) weak right hand ('v' pointing to right side of chin/cheek) grip?
I picked this up from Tom Watson's new DVD, and it seems to be helping me from having an open clubface. I used to have my right hand where the 'v's were parallel with my left hand, and I still use the old grip on my wedge and sand shots.
Part of me worries that it may be masking other swing problems I need to address. Should I worry? There are all types of different grips that can be effective. The measure of the success of your grip is the consistency and power of your shots. I would recommend that you use one grip for all of your clubs. It is hard enough to work on one set of mechanics let alone 14. Send in a video of your swing so I can give you more specific advice.

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