Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today from noon to 1 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Check back next Tuesday at noon for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live! Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone, please repost your question next week so I help you out. Get them in early. The Lombardi Trophy is going back to its rightful home! Nick asks at 1:25: What is the proper release angle of the shaft compared to the shoulder line during the follow through? Should it be similar to the shoulder line or more vertical compared to the shoulder line? Are there any advantages or disadvantages? Or does it just indicate what type of shot the player has hit or does it relate to the flaws the player has in their control of the club after impact? Great question, Nick. There are several elements that go into the “exit” of the club and its relative position to the ground and left shoulder. Generally speaking, right-to-left players tend to exit higher and closer to the left shoulder than left-to-right players, players with higher ball-flights have higher exits than those with lower ball-flights, and longer clubs tend to exit higher than shorter clubs.  The other issue is with the amount of hip rotation and forward body-tilt. If a player rotates their hips aggressively through the ball and stays bent over, the club will exit lower than a player who has more lateral hip slide and stands more upright during impact. The basic idea is that it needs to match what you are trying to do with your shape of shot, trajectory, and pivot. Good players will exit anywhere between just above the left shoulder and just above the left hip. Here are a couple of pictures to help. Exits Daniel asks at 1:15: Hey Brady! Simple question, are professional players born or made and how much can hard work replace a lack of talent? Sometimes the technical work looks to me like a loss of time since it looks like Tour players seem to be good since they were born and they can do pretty much what they want with their swings because they were gifted. Like an instinct of playing great golf naturally. Although they need a lot of work to raise their potential. To put it in other words, do you need to be gifted with the natural talent to get to play on tour, for example? And how far can you get as a 100% worker? Thanks Great players come from every direction, Daniel. Calvin Peete and Larry Nelson picked up golf in their twenties and won money titles, PGA Tour events, and Major Championships. Tiger was swinging the club well and playing good golf before most of us could tie our shoes. Bruce Lietzke never practiced and went fishing for months at a time and won millions. Tom Kite worked day and night on his technique, so did Faldo, Hogan, Vijay, etc. There is no formula, no equation of talent and hard work that gets someone on Tour regardless of what the book Outliers may say. I played with guys when I was a junior who were so good they were can’t-miss prospects, they missed. Scott McCarron couldn’t make the UCLA starting line-up but has been on Tour for over a decade. I know this doesn’t answer your question, but in a way that’s how it works, it is different for everyone. Talent only gets your foot in the door. Clairatt asks at 1:00: I have a couple of bizarre anomalies in my game. 1. I consistently slice with the driver (though placing tees outside and behind the ball indicate that I do not swing out-to-in), yet with my irons I tend to pull left, not really a draw, just straight left about 10 o' clock relative to the target. 2. I hit my 7 iron about 155 and my 8 iron about 160. All other clubs have normal distance spacing. Why do you have to be so special? The distance difference between the 7 iron and 8 irons has to be an equipment issue. Check the lofts with those clubs because something is jacked up. When it comes to the slice with the driver, read the beginning of the blog where I discuss the importance of clubface over path. The dead pull with the irons you are hitting can be a number of things. I have seen players have the clubface open with the driver and closed with the irons, I have seen the grip weak with one and strong with the other. Without seeing the swing I can’t give you specifics other than to tell you work on things in the proper order, clubface, path, pivot. Peyton asks at 12:55: I have attached a video of my driver swing. Months earlier I asked you for advice on my swing and you told me to work on my tush line and that my swing plane was too far inside on the backswing. I still tend to leave it a little left with my driver (block / push)... Based on the video, should I still be working on those 2 areas or is there something else you see? Thanks for all your help!!!!!

The tush line still needs work. You are doing a better job on the backswing but still crashing into the ball with your lower body on the downswing. The clubshaft is still too flat going back as your right arm works away from your body during the takeaway. I would continue to work on both of those issues until they are cleaned up. The swing is very good in many places, but these issues will haunt you if you don’t get them fixed. Stephen asks at 12:30: When your back is to the target, should the shoulder line point at the ball?
Sometimes I hear on TV that a player has great footwork, what does that mean? I thought we were to remain relatively stable. The answer to your first question is no, the shoulder line shouldn’t point at the ball. The shoulder line will get closer as the club is shorter and if the player’s shoulder turn on a more vertical plane, but pointing at the ball isn’t necessary. I hear the comment about great footwork on TV also, usually with a player who I think has terrible footwork. Some commentators love when the front foot has buckled to the outside of the shoe at impact, I hate it. Here are a couple of pictures of the “shoulder line” and footwork that should help.   Footwork Shoulderplane2 Tom asks at 12:15:  I recently found an article about "new ball flight laws." It says that the clubface influences the start of ball flight and the path affects the draw or fade. Is this true? The discussion about "what affects the ball and when" has been going on since the first golf lesson was given. Let me give you a couple practical examples of the interaction between the two. For years on the range I have been showing students that no matter how much I swing the club from the inside into impact I can still get the ball to start left if I close the face enough. This works for the opposite direction as well when it comes to an open clubface and outside path. The point being that clubface position has a significantly more influential effect of the initial direction of the shot than path. Here is a scenario that happens every day on the lesson tee. A student shows up hitting your basic everyday slice. The grip is weak, clubface is wide open and the path is well outside-in to compensate for the ball that always goes to the right. As a teacher I have a choice to make, do I fix the clubface first or the path? If I fix the path and get the club attacking on-plane and don’t fix the face where is the ball going? More in the direction they have been trying to avoid (right), not very motivational for the student. If I fix the face and do nothing to the path where is that ball going? With the face square and the path still outside the ball will go well left. This is good for several reasons; the ball goes significantly farther because the face is square, the ball is going in the opposite direction it was going when we started, the student will naturally want to swing more from the inside to get the ball going more to the right. This is in addition to the fact that the stronger grip will put the shoulders in a position less open to the target line than before. The face is always the place to start with students because it has the greatest influence on the ball. If you have read this blog for any amount of time you have probably seen my mantra of face, path, and then pivot. It has been this way for a long time….   davedmail@hotmail.com asks at 12:00 Good day...always enjoy reading your input. My question regards the the position of the club/shaft in the backswing and the amount and timing of the transition and release...My club shaft tends to get flat in the backswing (although the 1st 2 ft looks good). It seems this has the clubhead too far behind my hands at the top, requiring a lot of correction/timing...? 2nd: watching Tour swings there is an amazing amount of fwd transition...do the forearms release/rotate the whole way down to keep the clubhead from getting to left behind? What is the easiest way to get this amt of transition happening at the correct time (and not too soon)? Thank you. The questions you are asking are typical when a student gets to the lesson tee. More often than not students are confused, misinformed, frustrated, and looking in the wrong place. Dave, the fact is that your address position will dictate more about the takeaway than any other fundamental. The takeaway will determine the position of the clubshaft as it approaches the top of the backswing, the position at the top will have a huge influence on how well the club will track on the plane during the downswing, and so on. The “forward transition” I think you are referring to doesn’t happen all the way down. The rotation of the body has a much larger role in getting the club back to the ball than the hands and arms, but they still play their part. The idea is that if you get the club in a sound position at the top of the swing and understand the sequence of motion coming down (body leading the arms and club) it is significantly more simple than you might think. If you have the chance to send in some video I would be happy to tell you where to start.

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