Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at 5 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Leave your question or video for Brady in the comments section below. Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Next week will be exciting here on the blog as we have a couple of exciting announcements to make. Look forward to hearing from all of you then. Tim and Travis submit your questions again then and I will do them first. Have a great week.  Welcome to another addition of the Tuesday Instruction Blog. As always I will do my best to get to everyone's questions. Along the way I am sure to annoy those who believe there is only one way to swing a golf club. If I haven't done that, I consider the blog a failure. Let's get going.... Jim asks at 6:45: Hi Brady - I appreciate your frankness around different swing methods. Dean Wilson and Badds have both now moved on from stack and tilt. Is anyone still using it, or it has completely run its course? Are there any advantages that outweight the potential for back injury? OK, I’ll bite. If I don’t give the Stack and Tilt guys something to blog about they won’t know what to do with themselves. Yes, people are still using it. No, it hasn’t completely run its course, yet. No, there are no advantages to it. It is a “honeymoon” method. This means there is a period of time you are working on it where it is more effective than what you were using IF you were hanging too far back and below plane. The swing becomes more effective during the “honeymoon” because the swing has found a more neutral base and is functioning more as it should. What we have seen with stack and tilt is that once players eventually get where they were told to go it isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Weir, Badds, etc. are examples of this. Let the bashing in the stack and tilt forums begin.   Eric asks at 6:30: great blog. more of a theoretical question for you. Aside from "casting," what are the most common power leaks in amateur golf swings? I know I'm losing power somewhere, and would like to check where... There is generally a lack of solid contact with players losing distance. This begins with poor control over the combination of clubface and path leading to a glancing blow instead of a head-on collision. Once the clubface and path are cleaned up, people can improve their power by working on the proper sequence to begin the downswing. Moving weight before the arms and club is a fundamental that doesn’t go away regardless of what some theories may say. If you are losing power and have the clubface and path matching well this is the area to focus on.   Jermaine asks at 6:10: Here is my question from last week which you didn't have time to get round too.
Hi Brady, Addicted to the blog!
Here is a link to my swing, 4 iron down the line: I'd be really grateful for your comments on my swing. I tend to take the club back on the inside and then make an over the top move.
I'd also like your thoughts on the role of the right elbow in the golf swing. Should it be allowed to stray slightly away from the body at the top or be kept tight? I notice that Tiger's position at the top is somewhat different to say Rory McIlroy's.
I have been turning my elbows out and skywards (after reading Hogan's 5 fundamentals) and find that while my right elbow folds easier and stays more 'connected' I take the club back too much on the inside. Is there a hard and fast rule for the address position of the elbows?
I have since spent a bit of time on this and would like your thoghts on my swing generally. Here's the link: I recently posted this is a forum and a lot of people mentioned that I shouldn't worry too much about my long game, rather, focus on getting the ball in the hole. Do you have any general putting advice in terms of posture, ball position, grip pressure etc.
Thanks very much. Love what you do! The action of your lower body, specifically your legs, is fantastic. I agree that the club is too far inside in the takeaway leading to your steep position during the transition. I would love to see you maintain the cup in your left wrist during the takeaway and allow your right arm to fold naturally during the backswing. Your arms should be softer in the address position and during the takeaway to allow your club to work more up more quickly. This isn’t to suggest you artificially “hinge” your wrists in the start of the backswing, rather you maintain both the “cup” and vertical hinge already present in your left wrist in the address position as you move the club away from the ball. The word “connection” is fine when referring to the upper left arm and chest during the takeaway, but isn’t always a great strategy for the right arm at the top of the backswing. If the arm folds properly with the club working more “up” the plane your right arm will be soft and fairly close to your body at the top without “trying” so hard. When it comes to putting I would encourage you to have a philosophy and stick to it. There are great putters that have are SBST, ARC, and SBDTL. The mechanics for each are different and require knowledge of the entire stroke from set-up to finish for success. Don’t mix the techniques and you will begin to improve. Check out the swing of AK and these pictures to help you understand the backswing changes you need. Foxytop Dave asks at 5:55: Brady - Thanks for the blog, I've found it very helpful. Please help me understand the pivot a little more. I know that everybody's swing is different, but if I understand it correctly, you've advised some players that they are too rotational and need more lateral shift in both in the backswing and the downswing and with others you've advised them to shift (sway) less laterally and become more rotational. Am I correct that both elements (lateral and rotational) are necessary? If so, what's the optimal mix? Are there any ball flights (high, low, hooks, draws) or types of contact (e.g. fat, thin) that suggest too much/not enough lateral/rotational movement? Thanks, Dave. Love your question Dave, thank you. This is the reason I don’t believe in teaching a method, I believe in teaching players. I have some players I teach to pivot like DLIII with the right hip moving immediately back towards the target. This sharper hip rotation is critical to helping a player achieve a deeper position with the arms and hands at the top of the swing. This type of pivot will get the club attacking on a shallower angle the fastest and is great when working with players who struggle with steeper angles of attack, chunks, and a lack of consistency in their contact with the ground. These players are often but not always less flexible, over the age of 21, and in need of some immediate improvement. The more lateral hip motion in the backswing and steeper shoulder turn that is associated with it are usually but not always reserved for the more flexible, younger, athletic players who are capable of making this type of pivot work. This is a similar action to that of Villegas, AK, and my student US Women’s Amateur Champion Danielle Kang. These players generally have no problem attacking on a shallower angle and can, in fact, have problems coming into impact too flat. They require different approaches at address and in the transition but are both very effective in creating better players.   Thanks again for the question. Julia asks at 12:40: Hi Brady, Do you have any drills that will improve my putting? Thanks, Julia Here is a simple thing that will really help you understand how important the proper speed is when putting. Hit some putts from 3-4 feet from the hole with the purpose of having them enter the hole at different speeds. Some will crawl over the front of the hole, some will bounce off the dirt at the back of the hole, some will fall into the hole hitting the back plastic near the bottom of the cup. What you will notice is that when the speed is too slow, the ball will break away from the cup at the end and struggle to hold its line. When the ball is hit too hard the ball will tend to lip out of the hole unless it makes perfect contact with the center back of the dirt. When the speed is right, it will hold its line and go in even if it doesn’t enter the middle of the hole. This should always be your goal on the course and on the practice green. Work on your speed more than anything else and you will become a great putter. Trevor asks at 5:30 Hey Brady, I'm trying to adopt a neutral grip after struggling with consistecy with a strong grip. The backswing motion feels completely different to me with the change. Would you mind providing some guidance on how to perform a proper backswing? I'm wondering if I should focus on mimicing the club angle at address or focusing on my left wrist hinging up some other similar guidpoint. There are many different directions you can go in regarding the shape, width, hinge, and length of your backswing. Perhaps the most important thing you need to decide is the position of your lead wrist at the top. I have some students who swing the club best and feel most comfortable with the wrist flat, as it would be in the impact position. I have just as many students who like the feel of a bit of “cup” in the wrist, as it was in the address. Each position has its’ plusses and minuses. My recommendation on which to use would be determined by the ballflight problems you are currently experiencing and several other factors. If you could send in some video I will be more specific. Stephen asks at 5:15: What is the proper position of the upper right arm at the top of the backswing? I always thought to stay connected it should be tight to your right side, but that makes it impossible to have a full backswing. Thoughts? There are several positions the upper right arm can be in and be effective at the top of the backswing. Great golf can be played with the upper right arm well away from the body ala Nicklaus, Sutton, Couples, Daly, etc., and closer to the body like Hogan, AK, Byrd, and Trevino. I agree with you that keeping the arm tight to the side limits the length of the backswing and is a weaker, less-effective position for most amateurs. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see the differences. Armclose Armfar Eric asks at 5:05: Hey there! If there is any chance you could critique the swing I would greatly appreciate it. I shoot usually in the mid to upper 80's. Driving distance is typically my strength but not accurate enough. Irons are up and down. Great shows and then very poor. Help!!! Thanks very much!! I can’t get access to the video. Can you resend it again in You Tube or another format? Andrea asks at 5:00: Hi Brady, thanks for the golf blog. I love reading your analysis of our swings! I got your feedback on my swing a few months ago and was wondering if you have any more suggestions on what I should work on at the moment. I’ve tried to weaken my grip, have a more athletic set –up position with weight on the front of my foot. Here are some videos from my most recent range session. Is there anything in particular that you feel I need to work on? Thanks for the help, Andrea Glad to see the swing again. Your shoulders look open to your toe line which could be in part from the weaker top hand grip position. I would like to see you square them up. The club is tracking a bit too far inside during the takeaway. This takes the club behind you too quickly going up, forcing the arms and club to shift and come over as you begin the downswing. You compensate for what would be a steep angle of attack by driving your tush towards the ball to help the club drop back into a more inside track. Once you have fixed the address position, I would like to see two things get much better in the beginning of your swing. First, I want to see the clubhead stay outside your hands at the first parallel to the ground position and get your tush to work “behind” its original position in the set-up. If you watch the video of the 5 iron again you will see your head working towards the ball during the backswing. If you fix the takeaway and the direction your tush is working in during the backswing your head will go the opposite direction. Here are a couple of pictures to help you get going. Clarkeback

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