Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to fix your faults and analyze your swing videos. Thanks for joining me for the Christmas edition of the Tuesday Instruction Blog. See everyone next week for the last blog of 2010. Ted Reidinger asks at 12:55: I can hit a 3 iron 200+ yrds. but I cannot hit a fairway wood from the fairway. I've tried 5 wood and 3 wood but usually top the ball and it rolls 50 to 100 yds at best. I got rid of them and use the 3 iron for my second shot on par 5s. I am 69yrs young and average 250yds off the tee. Any suggestions for better fairway wood shots? This is a more common problem than you may think. The easy solution is to get closer to the ball in the address position. Many players stand too far from the ball with the fairway woods, especially the hybrids, making it very likely they will top the shot. Moving closer makes it easier to find the bottom of the arc on the ground and helps the contact improve considerably. Byron Nelson said you can't stand too close to the ball, I am not sure this is completely true but it is great advice for hitting the fairway woods.
Mark Mcleod asks at 12:40: Hi Brady - thanks for the tips two weeks ago about losing my "tush line" The move from the top is subconscious for me to the point where I need a drill to reinforce the movement you suggest. Can you think of an appropriate drill? The move doesn't initially feel as forceful as driving the legs, but I assume with practice the rotational element of the hips will pay dividends later.
Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9mUpOZ5r90 Thanks again for the video Mark. Anytime you change your swing, specifically your pivot, it won't feel nearly as powerful in the beginning as your old move. This is why most people don't get better. They aren't willing to suffer through the process of making a change because the short term results are poor. The key to fixing your specific issue is to understand exactly how it is supposed to work and do it very slowly to relearn the proper pattern. Try this to help you get the feel of the proper pivot coming down and through impact. With no club in your hands take your stance with your tush about 2 inches from a wall. During your backswing allow your left cheek (for you lefties out there) to sit back and make contact with the wall while you complete your turn going back. At the top of the swing your left cheek should be making contact with the wall. As you begin the downswing and your weight moves towards your front foot, both cheeks should be making contact with the wall until your left elbow nears your left hip. As you move into impact your left cheek will leave the wall BUT your right cheek should take its place. At impact, both of your legs should be straightening, that's right BOTH of them, and your right cheek should be pushed back against the wall. Once you learn the proper pattern you can begin to hit shots very slowly, preferably with a 7 iron off a tee, to begin the process of retraining your pattern. This should progress slowly into bigger swings with more speed. Keep in mind every time you swing the club incorrectly it will take significantly longer to improve. Get the technique started and send in some new video so I can see the progress. Stuart Kellogg asks at 12:25: Brady, I have a tempo problem. Too often my downswing is much too fast...as if I'm afraid someone's gonna steal the ball from the tee. Nothing I've tried as helped consistently keep my tempo on target. Suggestions? Poor tempo is more of sequence problem than a speed problem. I rarely if ever even mention the word tempo on the lesson tee becasue if you swing the club in the proper sequence the proper speed will take care of itself. The focus should be on getting your weight to move a beat ahead of your arms when you swing the club. In other words, your weight should move into the right side (specifically the right quad) to trigger the movement of the arms and club away from the ball. This isn't to say their should be a sway to the right but a slight "step down" of weight before the arms and club get going. Before the arms and club begin their movement down to the ball the weight should once again "step" into the left foot. When the swing works in this sequence, the hands and arms are always trailing the movement of the body rather than the body trailing the hands and arms. Good tempo is just good sequence, take your mind out of your hands and get your body leading the way and you won't worry about tempo any longer. firstname.lastname@example.org asks at 12:12: I have a habit of cutting off my follow through by bending the left elbow just after impact and inhibiting the 'full extension' of my arms. Any drills to help me keep my arms connected and to improve my release? There are several reasons the left arm will bend too early after impact inhibiting your extension. If you look at the previous question the player lacked extension because he was compensating for a ball going well left of the target and the proper release of the club would have made the problem worse. This is a common mistake people make when looking at the extension and the release. If you aren't dealing with the issue in the beginning, the grip in his case, you can't get the issue resolved. One of the most common causes of a lack of extension is a poor swing path. When the club is attacking on a path that is too steep and/or excessively outside the arms,hands, and club are too far away from your body as your downswing begins and getting closer to your body through impact. When you move your arms closer to your body coming through they run out of room through impact and shorten, leading to the chicken wing you are describing. The best solution is to make sure the grip and clubface are in a fairly neutral position during the swing with the club attacking the ball on the proper swing path. With the club, arms and hands closer to the body as the downswing begins they can move out away during and after impact. When combined with a square clubface position that can be released aggressively you have the making of a powerful and fully look after impact. Jordan Volk asks at 12:00: I always read your blog and enjoy your tips. I am interested in what faults you see in my swing, and what tips or drills you can give me. I tried to submit video last week, but there was a problem with the youtube link. Hopefully I fixed it. Below are two videos of a down the line and face view with a 7 iron. I am a 14 handicap and feel that my ball striking is holding me back from getting to single digit. Some days I feel like my swing is on plane, and other days I really struggle. I hit the ball far enough to play from the tips, but lack consistency. My miss is normally a pull hook. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70sUFxQk_Ss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DdDHjEcG24Y Thanks for resending the video Jordan. You are obviously a strong guy with a great deal of clubhead speed. What is interesting is that you could hit the ball significantly farther if your extension through impact improved. The problem is your lack of clubface control makes it impossible to release the club aggresively because your miss is already a pull hook. The problems with the clubface and subsequent lack of extension all begin with your grip. Your right hand is too far under the handle making the grip too strong and the clubface closed. Here is a picture to help you see the proper alignment of the hands.