Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday to answer swing questions and analyze swing videos. Check back next Tuesday if you have a question or video. Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Instruction Blog. What an amazing Masters Tournament last weekend. Feel free to leave your comments about all things related to playing the game. Let's get the blog going... Rod asks at 6:40: What did you think of Tiger's swing at Augusta? It seems like he's not releasing the club like he used to and his scores were somewhat inconsistent. Do you think he will eventually be better with this new swing like he says? Tiger hit the ball better than he has in quite a while. Of course, he has hit the ball pretty bad for over a year so maybe it was about time. Here’s a scenario for you: Imagine you had climbed to the top of the highest peak and decided you wanted to find another way up the mountain. You head down to the bottom and embark on a new journey. You hit impasses and setbacks along the way but eventually you can see the same peak you were on before from where you were standing. The problem is there are other people ahead of you on the way up and you're too beat up to make it yourself. It’s a long way around the bend to say that he can’t do it better than he did before. How many Majors would he have won had he left things alone with Butch? Or stayed with Haney? We will never know. Tim asks at 6:20:

Brady, Working on cleaning up the backswing and making progress. Thanks to you I'm on the right path. I was hoping you could give me some insight on the transition and on how I can get the clubface more square or open during my backswing. I know these two are related.
Here are a couple vids: Driver, down-the-line

5-iron, down-the-line

5-iron, face-on

Thanks for the videos, Tim. I agree that it is looking much better. If you added a bit more lateral motion to your body away from the ball, it would help you in several ways. First, it would allow the club to come a bit straighter back longer, which would prevent it from working across the line at the top of the backswing. With the club lined up better at the top, the face will be less closed because the left wrist won’t be over-rotated and bowed as it currently is positioned. With the weight more on the right side at the top, your body will have an easier time rotating around toward the target on the downswing. In your current swing, the weight is stuck on your front foot going back, making it impossible for you to get out of the way on the downswing. As the club lines up better at the top and your hips are free to rotate through impact, you will see a huge improvement in the ballstriking.
Casey asks at 5:50: Face-on

Down-the-line

I think I've made a lot of progress (massive credit goes to you for helping me work on the right things). Going forward, I think I need to improve my setup by getting less weight on my left side and also groove my takeaway, but I really wanted to get your suggestions for things I should be working on.
Also, I wanted to know if you have any tips for things you can do during the week when you can't make it to the range or course to practice. Any books, exercises, etc. you recommend?
Thank you very much for all the great tips. I think the overall shape of your swing, especially from down the line, is excellent. The next area of focus for you should be to eliminate any unnecessary movement in your swing especially in the vertical direction. I would like to see you maintain your levels more throughout your golf swing. Specifically, your head is dropping down quite a bit during the swing and moving down and back during impact. If you can quiet down the body and make all of your movements more subtle you will find your ability to hit solid shots on a more consistent basis will improve. You have done a great deal of the hard work to make the swing better and you are now left with some minor details. Let me know what is happening with the misses and good shots in terms of contact and shape of shot so I can be a bit more specific. Dave asks at 5:35: Just got back from an awesome trip to Disney and played two of the courses there. I had an amazing time and struck the ball really well. I struggled a bit on the greens as I'm used to what we deal with here in PA. Another part I struggled and continue to struggle with is the long irons. I have a 3 hybrid which I have no problem with, but what tips can you give to making consistent contact with a 4- and 5-iron, beyond getting hybrids to replace them? There is obviously a higher degree of difficulty when hitting the longer irons vs the hybrids. That is why so many Tour players use the hybrids. The issue with the longer irons is they expose weaknesses in your swing you may get away with when hitting the shorter irons or the driver from the tee. The simple fact is everything has to be better when hitting the longer irons. When the swing is a bit steep the shorter irons are very effective but the longer irons are very challenging. When the swing is a bit flatter the driver is very playable but the long irons become tough to hit solid. The plane must be solid, the clubface alignment and release must match up well and your weight must have moved into the front foot properly to produce the correct bottom to the arc. The idea is there are no tricks, you just need to swing the club better.   Tripp Steinbeck asks at 5:25: I am a dedicated reader and first-time poster. Please take a look at my videos and offer any suggestions you can think of. I am struggling with consistency with my irons and slice with my driver.
Thank you
Tripp S. Raleigh, NC

Thanks for following the blog! You have a very common problem shared by so many avid golfers. The overall shape of your swing is a bit backwards. Your club works in behind your hands during the takeaway and never makes it back there for the rest of the swing. What comes in during the takeaway almost always comes out and over during the transition. Your arms and club are too far out away from your body during the downswing as you are tracking above the plane. This makes the club come back in and close to you during the release, killing your ability to get around to a full finish. The overall in, up and over, outside, and jammed shape of your swing needs to be reversed. If the clubhead stayed outside your hands during the takeaway and worked up more vertically the momentum of the club would want to work more behind you during the downswing. This would get the club tracking into the ball more from the inside, allowing the club to release properly and free up your arms to extend away from you after impact and up into a proper finish. Here are some pictures to help you see the difference. Clarkeup Extension Bob Hues asks at 5:13: I am having a problem with toe hits with my irons. I am 6'2 and have adjusted my irons 2 degrees up. What could be the cause? A lot of people say an out-to-in swing or standing too far from the ball. Thanks for your help. There are numerous reasons you can make contact with the toe of the club. The easiest is standing too far from the ball, one of the most complicated is a steep transition that is compensated for by standing up and leaning to the right during impact. If you have been on a lie board and see the lie angle is too flat, it may be that you are suffering from the steep angle of attack issue. When your spine becomes more upright through impact, your hands will lift off up and the shaft angle will become MUCH more vertical than address. This brings the toe of the club closer to you, making contact on that part of the club a near certainty. Changing the lie angle won’t fix the problem, the swing needs to improve. It may sound crazy, but a great way to shallow out your transition is to hit some drives off your knees. If you are suffering from the problem I described you won’t be able to make contact with the ball as the clubhead will hit the ground way behind the ball. If you can get the contact right off your knees, you will have fixed the shape of your downswing. Bill asks at 5:00: Hey Brady, In your opinion do you think a 8-10 handicapper should replace the 3-iron with a hybrid? The vast majority of the time I would say yes. If you look in the bags on the  Champions Tour, LPGA Tour, and more frequently the PGA Tour you will see more bags with hybrids than without. If it’s good enough for them….  
 

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