Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from 4 to 5 p.m. EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question for Brady come back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask Brady 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 and I'll see you next week. Eric asks at 5:30 p.m. Brady: I have a problem I have been struggling with for years. On the range I hit my driver well, but when I get on the tee box, especially under any kind of pressure, I tense up and hit straight pulls left or a weak slice right. What is the best thing to thing about before and during your swing? My mechanics aren't the problem, it's my head. I want to play more tournaments, but my confidence keeps me from doing well. C'mon Eric, let's get you playing. The most important thing you can do is develop a rock solid routine to help you relax under pressure. This must be planned out, practiced, and finally ingrained so it happens without thought. Once you have the routine, you need to suck it up and challenge yourself. Gamble, talk trash, play tournaments and put yourself under the gun so you can get comfortable being UNcomfortable. Tom asks at 5:15 p.m. Hi Brady, I recently damaged a disc in my lower back and can no longer maintain anything other than a very upright posture. I'm going to have to get longer shafts to compensate, but even once that's fixed I'm still destined to swing on a very steep plane. Are there any swing tips you can give to someone who's used to more shallow angles of attack? The swings I've tried so far have all resulted in...well, it hasn't been pretty. Thank you so much! Look at the swing of Rocco Mediate. He is tall at address but swings shallow enough and hits a slight draw. He is a great player for you to model your swing after. Travis asks at 5 p.m. Hi Brady, I've lowered my handicap from a 16 to a 10 in the past year. Right now, I'm fighting hooks and slices in equal measure. In particular, really fighting fat shallow divots. Below are YouTube videos of my swing:
Two things that are really difficult for me to do are: (a) Keeping my head behind the ball at impact (from a face-on view) and (b) clearing my left hip and knee to the left during the downswing and through impact (from a down the line view). What are the easiest things I can do to achieve positions (a) and (b)? Thanks! I looked at the videos, and here's the deal, Travis. We need to get your set-up under control if you are going to improve. Your strong grip makes the face closed, your excessive distance from the ball sucks the club too far inside during the takeaway, and you're misaligned with your lines and tilt. Fixing this is the priority. The legs get wild because if they didn't drive aggressively to the target you would hit a smother hook. Your head would get behind the ball better if your tilt improved at address. It all comes back to the start. I actually like your club and overall motion during the swing. Once the set-up improves you could be dangerous. Nick asks at 4:55 p.m. Mr. Riggs I used to have a 1.4 handicap but I do not know what it is now since I haven't been able to play much, but when I hit a lot of my pitch shots -- no matter what club -- I seem to catch it off the top fairly often. I have been told that I stand to close to the ball on my pitch shots and was wondering if that is the cause catching my pitch shots off the toe. I also have trouble flighting my wedges. I hit them an okay distance 110 GW (52 degrees), 95 SW (56 degrees) but they go sky high. I would much rather see the ball have a lower trajectory and hit them farther, rather than hit it an acceptable distance but sky high. Could you give me tips on how to better control my ball flight with my wedges? The toe shots with the pitches are usually caused by a loop to a steeper angle of attack coming down. This gets the clubhead lined up on the target line too soon, forcing the club to work left thru impact while the contact goes straight to the toe. Flighting the wedges lower requires two things. First you need to be attacking on a shallower path to allow the clubface to rotate thru impact normally (a similar issue to your pitch shots). When the path is shallower, your right side, specifically your chest and shoulder, can drive the club through impact and around to a more chopped-off finish position. This will really bring the trajectory down and help you control not only the height, but the distances as well. Tim asks at 4:47 p.m. Hey Brady, I'm making great progress with the advice you give on here every week so I'm back for some more of the Kool-Aid. I was watching some new swings of our man AK and noticed a few things that I'd love to incorporate into my own golf swing. First, his left arm at the top of his backswing seems to be much lower then most of the Tour pros out there. I like this look because he seems to be very connected. Is he swinging the club deep behind him to get into this position? Second, AK's clubshaft is always pointing to the left of his target at the top of his backswing, I know this is mainly because he's already starting his transition but when I'm at that same position my clubshaft is pointing more to the target or even right of it (across the line). Could you shed some light on how I can model AK's backswing? By the way, I loved your recent article in Golf Magazine. here's the vid of AK at the WGC matchplay that im referring to and a video of me working on keeping the cup in my left wrist.
The club points left at the top for AK and any other player swinging on a neutral plane if the shaft is short of parallel. If you get the club to parallel it should be lined up in your hands, past parallel to the right of your hands. This doesn't mean it had to be there, but that is neutral. If you maintain the quarter turn of your left arm at the top and limit the amount of hinge in your left wrist you will be lined up. Casey asks at 4:37 p.m. Hey Brady. Just wanted to say thank you for all the tips. I've started making good progress on my swing with all the advice you've given me here. And I really don't think I would have been working on the right things if it wasn't for your suggestions. Thanks a lot. Wow! Very cool to hear, Casey. Every time I see your post it gets my attention because you share your name with my brother. Keep it up... Nate asks at 4:32 p.m.
Hello Brady. I am a somewhat tall player (6'2") and I've been working on getting a solid address position (posture, ball position, etc.) Do you see anything I need to work on with my address position or swing in general? My misses with the longer clubs tend to be straight pushes or slight hooks (10-15 yards).
Also, even though I have a neutral grip my club face is somewhat closed at the top and I can't get it square for some reason. Any thoughts on why that is? Thanks! When the grip is neutral but the face is closed you need to look at the position of your left wrist at the top of the swing. If your wrist becomes bowed you will have a closed clubface. This looks to be the case in your swing. I would also encourage you to get your weight off your heels and more toward the front of your shoes.You are sitting back at address and stuck on your heels at impact because of your address. This will make the hands over work and lead to a hook. Dave asks at 4:29 p.m. Dave here reading your blog as always! Tips on squaring the clubface last time definitely helped. I've worked on my grip and already eliminated/lessened my misses to the right. Now I'm working on swing path to try and go more in-to-out as opposed to my usual chop across the ball. The latest swing thought that's really helped is keeping my back to the target for a split second at the start of the downswing so that I don't unwind and lose the coil too soon. It's seemed to help get the club coming in a bit shallower and straighter down the line. Any thoughts or tips to help this process further would be appreciated!! Sounds like you are on the right track. I would also encourage you to get more into your front foot with your weight as you keep your back at the target. This will help the path get more on track. Luke asks at 4:23 p.m. Luke said... Brady, please clarify for me...what initiates the downswing? I thought it was the unwinding of the hips, but I recently saw the hands should drop. Don't they drop as part of the sequence? Thanks, always a great read on Tuesdays. The arms don't drop before the body moves in the direction of the target. While this may be a "feel" someone will use to get their overly fast body to slow down, it isn't a reality! I would also be weary of "clearing" the hips too early as it will make getting your right arm down in front of your right hip very challenging. Jesse asks at 4:17 p.m. Mr. Riggs, I just recently broke 80 for the first time. This is great but like any golfer I want to continue to get better and break goals. Do you have any tips to help me break 75? Thanks The Golf Magazine April cover story "How to Break 80: A 6-Week Plan" will definitely apply to getting under 75. I would make sure you are getting the most out of those areas first. The next steps are in areas I work with my competitive players and professionals. These would include the elements in the breaking 80 article, plus... 1.) Developing accurate carry and roll-out distances for all of your clubs. This changes month to month and with the roll outs day to day. When at a tournament site you should be calibrating your carry and roll-out numbers in the beginning of the week during the practice rounds. 2.) Fitness and more specifically maintaining your golf health should also become an area of focus. This could be done with a golf-specific program like my buddy Michael Pauldine develops. There are many other elements that I could go into, but you get the point. Stay tuned because in a couple of weeks during the Nabisco Championship I will be doing a week long blog from the tournament. I will be showing how I prepare my student US Amateur Champion Danielle Kang for a Major. It should be really informative. Nick asks at 4:10 p.m. Mr. Riggs, What is more important in the backswing? Depth (cannot see right arm as much from a face-on view at the top of the backswing) or width (good extension of the arms away from shoulders, still can see right arm at the top from face-on view)? How do these factors affect one's extension through the ball after impact? If one's arms are more bent (triangle formed between arms has become more like a pentagon shape and more bent at elbows) as opposed to extended (maintain triangle shape between arms) at post-impact, could it be attributed to a lack of width or too much depth in the backswing? Or is that related to your balance conditions in your feet? For example, if i had a lot of pressure on my toes coming into impact, I would think that the space between my arms and the ball would decrease and therefore, create a position with the arms lacking proper extension at post impact. Finally, do you have any drills for folks having trouble achieving proper extension post impact?
Thanks for your time,
Nick Depth and width both play a role in getting the club attacking on the correct path. Regardless of how funky your backswing is your downswing can still work -- it just makes it tougher when you have to compensate for crap you did going up. A lack of depth will make it more likely you will come in above plane. A lack of width will make it more likely you will lose some angle coming down and forfeit speed. Every negative going up can be adjusted for but you better know what you are doing. The bend in both arms is fine. Many players worry about a straight lead arm and screw themselves up by getting tight. Soft arms are always better and will give you more speed as they become taut coming down. They get stretched between the body going toward the target and the weight of the club trying to go back. Good extension comes from a good path, proper sequence of motion, maintaining your distance from the ball, and the thought of "throwing" your arms and club out of your shoulder sockets through impact. Since the path is a must, the backswing needs to be functional so make sure your extension problems aren't from a bad backswing. Pete asks at 4 p.m. Hello Brady,
I have been following this post for the past several weeks and decided to write in. I can’t seem to hold the angle of the club coming into the ball. I have an early release that leads to snap hooks and low pulls. I went to the overlap grip from the interlock and shortened my backswing but the changes have not made much of a difference. Is there a drill for holding the release and keeping the club more square to the line? Thanks for taking a look at the enclosed video. Pete
Pete, the problem lies more with your address position than the early release on the downswing. You are making adjustments in your set-up that are great for someone trying to eliminate a slice and promote a draw. Unfortunately, you are fighting the opposite problem, so you're only making things worse. You need to make some changes before you take the club away that will change your ballflight before you change your swing. The grip is way too strong and causes the clubface to become closed during the backswing. At the top, the leading edge of the club should be angled roughly 45* to the ground. Yours is running parallel to the horizon. Regardless of whether you are interlocked or overlapped, it needs to become more neutral. This will level out your shoulders and help your hands become more centered. These subtle adjustments WILL change your ballflight. This is where you should begin. Make these changes and send me some new video ASAP.