Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady this time, be sure to check back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live! Sorry I didn't get to everyone, I tried! Send in your videos and questions next week and I will do my best to get to everyone. Have a great week. Tim asks at 6:35: Brady, I love what you're doing here on the blog. Every week I check this out because I love the pics you put up of AK!!!
Can you check out my two swings I have posted and give me some advice on how to clean up some stuff. Biggest issue is in my downswing.My arms get away from my body and I lose some lag because of this I think. I'd also like to clean up the backswing a little bit. I want to get it shorter and compact like AK. It amazes me how he can keep every club in his bag, including his driver, short of parallel but still smash it! I really would like to ingrain this into my swing, maybe with your help I can! thanks so much for taking the time to help me out. Thank you for the kind words. AK is an amazing talent and easily one of the toughest competitors I have ever seen. I am one of the all-time great trash talkers and love to mess with my students to challenge their mental toughness. AK is one of only 3 players I have ever seen who got better the more I talked. I only wish he respected his talent more, a topic for a discussion another day. Let’s talk about your golf swing. While I like a great deal about it, I don’t like that your head stays in place during the backswing. This means you are rotating too much around yourself going back, taking your arms and the club too deep at the top. This will force an inevitable shift to a steeper plane with your arms further away from you coming down. If you moved more laterally going back, you could use the last few frames of the backswing and the beginning of the downswing to go in the direction of the target without spinning your upper body open. This would allow your arms to stay closer to your body without getting trapped because you could keep your upper body closed to the target longer coming down. In your current swing, your head moves well beyond it’s original position from address during the downswing forcing you to dive behind the ball at and beyond impact. If you study the swing of AK on my website you will see this never happens in his golf swing. He is able to move laterally coming down and even though he moves a bit beyond his address location at impact he NEVER goes back with his head through the ball. If you added some more lateral motion in both directions during your swing the club would track better on the plane and your swing would become shorter. One last thing, your shoulders are open at address, get squared up! Here are a couple of pics to help you. Akmove Akhead Steve asks at 6:20: As a teacher, how much do you adapt your instruction based on the swing a pupil currently utilizes? A Jim Furyk swing and a Matt Kuchar swing are quite different but they both get the club on plane at impact with excellent results. About a year ago, I saw the Jim Hardy DVD set on the one plane swing and it absolutely fascinated and made sense to me. I self taught myself this swing and it has worked quite well. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out and now hit the ball farther, am much more consistent, and I have dropped my handicap from 16 to 9 in a short amount of time. I wouldn’t mind taking a few lessons from a good teaching professional to help me tweak the swing I have. However, my experience has been that many have specific notions on how the golf swing should be. My question is should a good teaching professional be proficient in teaching multiple types of swings or do I need to find one that focuses on a one plane type of swing? Sounds like you have had success on your own Steve, I would proceed with caution when it comes to golf lessons. While every great teacher should be able to adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of their students, it is difficult to imagine any instructor who would be proficient at teaching multiple types of methods to their students. If you are looking to base your golf swing on a specific swing methodology you should go directly to the source. In other words, I would find a “one-plane” teacher if I wanted to learn a “one-plane” golf swing. As an instructor, I am going to tell you what I think you need to do to improve taking all the factors into consideration. This may or may not work within the method you have chosen. I know I would never teach anything I didn’t completely understand and believe in so if a student asked me teach them a methodology I was opposed to I would let them know I wasn’t interested.   Nick asks at 6:00: I have a question about the transition move and the takeaway. I have read about a couple things about this matter in forums/websites and was curious about your opinion on them as well as what you prescribe to your students. The first method, which i think is the more commonly used takeaway, is rotating around a stable lower body while still allowing the hips to turn a few degrees and then initiating the downswing via the legs compressing into the ground with the arms following or trailing. The second method is using a somewhat early wrist hinge in the takeaway and try to maintain this flat wrist throughout the entire swing. The downswing is initiated by a diagonal drop from the arms with the lower body just serving as stable base. The third method I have read about involves getting one's lower body in the impact position during the backswing. In other words, the lower body is rotating towards the intended target while the upper body is rotating in the opposite direction with a wide takeaway. There is no real pause at the top of the backswing. Rather the arms/hands/club keep moving and move closer towards the body on the downswing. Maybe float loading is the correct term? I'm not sure if calling these "methods" is correct, but I would like to hear your opinions on these and a comparison of what you like to see in your students. Thank you. While the descriptions aren’t necessarily how I would describe the sequence the first and third are ok, the second is awful. There is no movement pattern in any sport that starts with the arms and not the body. I don’t care if it’s hitting a ball or puck with a stick, racquet, or bat, or throwing an object. While some sports require more or less movement, the arms never lead. The third sequence is potentially the most powerful and athletic, but the lower body doesn’t need to be rotating away from the upper during the backswing. Instead, it can move in the direction of the target first to initiate the downswing and then rotate more through impact. The problem being if the lower body rotates too much too soon the right arm gets stuck behind the right hip in a less than advantageous position. Hope this has answered some of your questions.   davedmail@hotmail.com asks at 5:47: Hello Brady, I sent in a question last week regarding the backswing, transition and release. My camera is not working right now so wondered if you could describe the sequence from takeaway through transition through impact as you believe it to happen...especially the transition and release of the club. The best players on tour (ball strikers) seem to return the clubshaft on plane from address better than most-how do they accomplish this (good amatuers w single digit hdcp seem to always have the shaft more upright). I'll try to get a vidoe in soon. thanks... Thanks for the question Dave. I think returning the shaft on the original shaft plane at impact is a common misconception. There is little doubt that most amateurs are too upright when compared to their original starting position. This is due mostly to a change in their posture from set-up to impact most often in an attempt to compensate for a downswing that is overly steep. When it comes to Tour players there is less of a jump vertically from address, but some shift more than others. This can be explained fairly easily when you look at the height of the hands in the address position. If two players arrive at the exact same height at impact but start at different heights in address you can see where one “seems to have” stayed more on their original angle than the other. It is less important to start on a specific spot than it is to end there. To answer your question about the sequence I would need to know a great deal more about the player, the problems, and the goal. For example, I would encourage a recreational player who is not in the greatest shape struggling with a slice to rotate his hips much earlier and more aggressively than the younger, more flexible tour player. To give you the entire sequence for all possible combinations would take all day, but I am more than happy to discuss a specific player or problem that you have in mind.     Scottandros asks at 5:30: Im wondering if you can help.... I feel like I have a pretty good golf swing but don't get as much out of it as I should in terms of distance. I feel like I struggle with my weight transfer and also making and maintaining a good wristcock.
Any suggestions you have would be great! Thanks, Andy Thanks for the video Andy. If you always evaluate your golf swing with the priorities being clubface, path, and finally pivot it is hard to go wrong. Let’s deal with the clubface first. It is difficult to determine based upon the video you shot if the grip is to blame for a portion of your closed clubface, but it is a good place to look. There is no question that your lead wrist (right) is bowed making the clubface significantly more closed than I would like to see it. I would also check your grip to make sure it isn’t too strong as this will contribute to the problem. Once the grip is more neutral, I would focus on getting the right thumb, your glove hand’s thumb, under the handle at the top of the backswing. Not only will this make the face square if the grip is good but it will also had some much needed hinge (wristcock) to your backswing. The next step would be to improve your posture in the address position. You currently stand too far from the ball with the weigth back in your heels. This makes you shift your body in the direction of the ball through impact making it impossible to keep your tush in contact with the line it began against at set-up. This may seem insignificant at first but you will discover it is much easier to hit the ball solidly if you don’t crash into it with your body during the downswing. Here is a picture of the proper posture at address and impact. Rosw       Jan Lernfelt asks at 5:15: Hi Brady, it’s always great fun to read the blog on Tuesdays. Trying to improve my technique during the winter break here in Sweden. I’ve attached two videos, one down the line and one from the front view. First down the line: I’ve had a problem of coming a little bit from the outside for a couple of years now. I play off a 1 hcp and I can handle the out-to-in swing but I am having real difficulties of hitting a draw when I need to. I guess I have been playing with a pull-fade for some time now and want to get rid of it. Want to start the ball on line and I really want to be neutral in my swing in all positions (setup, grip, back swing, transition, down swing, finish etc..). From what I can see, I change swing plane at the top and while that sometimes can be a good thing, this time it's the wrong shift. From a decent on plane backswing to "coming over the top" and hitting it slightly from the outside starting with the transition on the downswing. I've tried dipping my right shoulder under me, and “forcing” my arms to drop down in a flatter plane but still I get this forward tilt of my body towards the ball in the transition making it impossible to come from the inside. Is this the cause of the outside swingpath? Also it looks as if I start the downswing with my upper body instead of starting the downswing with the lower body in the transition. How can I overcome this? What do you think about the motion other than that? Sometimes when I look at it I feel as if I rotate my entire body around my spine more than I should and that I should rotate my shoulders on a more upright plane instead… comparing to some pros my right arm is really tight against my body in the start of the backswing where theirs is going more away from the body in the Jtakeaway…getting really confused, here, pls help.
Regarding the front view (filmed in a different training facility, naturally lots of them in Sweden)… I don't know, there's something that looks really wrong at the top, either it's the pivot or the turn, or the transition... my head is tilted almost as if I’ve turned my entire body against the target… I just can't put my finger on it! Any ideas? Thanks for the videos and questions Jan. I think your analysis of your swing is pretty good. Overall, the motion is very functional and should produce consistent if not spectacular results. Your statement about your right arm and it’s proximity to the body during the swing was insightful. Your right arm is close to your body going back, too far away from it coming down. Just like your loop is a bit backwards from on plane to over it in the transition, your arm moves from narrow to wider and should do the opposite. With a couple of subtle changes you could really improve your ability to move the ball in both directions and improve your consistency and power as well. I would encourage you to get the club working more up during the takeaway, with your right arm further from your body. This wider, more upright backswing will give you the opportunity to get shallower and narrower on the downswing. It seems like a daunting task but in all honesty you could make the changes with little negative impact on your ability to score. It is difficult to walk you through this with a short answer in a blog but if you understand the concept I am sure you can make progress on your own. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see the idea. Sergio  
Grant asks at 5:00:
Hi Brady, great forum and blog. I hope you can help me as I’m lost. As you can see, the club is moving in too quickly, my shoulder turn is too level and I drop my right shoulder severally on the downswing and get stuck on my back foot. My shaft plane also exits way too high. I’ve tried some stack & tilt moves, but it feels very unnatural to me. I almost feel like I need to get my arms moving up quicker on the backswing and delay the shoulder and hip turn to keep the arms from getting inside too quickly. Please help or I might need to move to the tennis courts. Grant Your assessment of your golf swing is very accurate. I agree that the shoulder turn is way too flat, the arms and club are in too quickly, the weight is buried on the back foot through impact and the club’s exit is too high. I also think you are looking in the right place when it comes to fixing the issue, it’s in the early rotation of your body, specifically your hips that you must make a change. I would love to see you move laterally with your entire body to initiate the backswing, replacing the early rotation of your hips with a lateral shift away from the target. This will automatically make your arms and club travel down the target line and more up than the in and around move you currently have. With the right hip further back your left shoulder will rotate more under and allow the arms and club to work up as they finish the backswing rather than back. With your weight in the right thigh going back you can make a positive shift in the direction of the target as you start the downswing greatly improving your chances of hitting the ball more solidly. I will include a couple of pictures to help you get the idea. When you are watching golf on TV look at the swings of Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas, their pivot should be your model. Slide

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