Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you still have a question or video for Brady, come back next Tuesday for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live. Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. If I didn't get to you today please ask your question again next week. The weather is getting pretty great here in Southern California. Hope everyone is able to get out and play this week. Have a good one. Mark asks at 3:20: Always the highlight of my week to read the blog and advice as this is my year to improve the game. (I just got fitted and purchased new irons). Do you have any drills or swing thoughts for coming too much from the inside? I've been told my right side drops too much and then the club is way too inside to out. This causes a hook/draw if I time it right with my hands or a severe block to the right. Thanks so much in advance for any help.
Mark (7.4 index) Thanks for the kind words, Mark. If you look at the answer I gave to the previous question about getting below plane, I think it will help you. Understanding why a problem is happening is the best way to improve the issue. It sounds like you know what the problem is, but the “why” is critical to you overcoming it. The roll of the body during the downswing is to maintain the proper geometry of the club’s attack when it comes to clubface, path, and angle of attack, while providing power and teamwork with the hands and arms. When you lose your body on the downswing, you can lose everything. Here is another picture that should help you see how things can go wrong. AKBESS John asks at 3:00: I have an issue with getting laid off at the top of my swing. My downswing plane is then pointing well outside of the ball and I tend to hit a slight pull draw or fade. Should I work on getting my hands lower? I take the club outside and away from my body in my initial takeaway which is a move I added to keep from taking it too far inside. Can an overly done outside takeaway result in getting laid off and off plane in the downswing? Everytime I try to hit the ball from the inside, I get really far underplane. I don't understand how to swing down the elbow plane and still attack from the inside. Please help! Absolutely the outside takeaway can be overdone and create a laid-off position at the top of the swing. When the club is laid off and the hands are a bit high, it is very difficult to attack on any path other than steep and outside. This will lead to your pull-draw/fade combination of misses. Getting under plane is another issue altogether. In most cases a player gets under plane when their body loses its lane (tush comes off line and body gets more upright). Maintaining the Tush line and keeping the forward bend of the body through impact is an excellent way to get the club back up on top of the plane approaching impact. I would encourage you to work on neutral lines during the backswing and maintaining your body’s lane on the downswing to improve your consistency and overall ballstriking. Here are a couple of pictures to help you get the visual. DKneutral The lane Dave asks at 2:54: Getting ready to leave work early today (to play golf) so I won't be able to catch your responses this week. Just wanted to say hello and thanks again for your insight thus far this year. Tips have definitely helped improve my game. Working to eliminate those one or two big numbers per round and start breaking 80 more often. I'll report next week and let you know how today goes. Thanks for checking in Dave. Look forward to hearing of your success.  
  Tim asks at 2:40: Love reading the blog. My question is how the hell does Bubba Watson hit a 7 iron 220 yards out of a bunker? I understand the concepts of being delofted at impact and swing speed but I still don't understand how he gets that much distance from that club. I would be impressed by 220 with a 7i from the fairway. Is Bubba just swinging harder and much more delofted than other pros and us amateurs? I deloft at address and I believe I stay that way at impact, however I hit the ball 45 yards shorter. Is there a way to learn to be more delofted, if that's the reason for his distance? Thanks for doing this every week. The simple answer to your question is the guy is a freak. Bubba has more speed than everyone else which is why he hits the ball harder. De-lofting the club at address offers no guarantee of being de-lofted at impact. Impact and address shouldn’t be at the same spot and it is easier to create more lag and a more forward-leaning shaft at impact if you start from a more centered hands position. I would rather see you work on hitting the ball more solidly in the center of the clubface while you attack on the proper plane than worry too much about de-lofting the club at impact. More speed without more precision is often a recipe for disaster. Steve asks at 2:32: My question is about club choice for chipping around the green. I am a 10 handicapper and have a decent short game, though there is certainly room for improvement. I have always used my 56 degree wedge for chipping. If I want to hit a low running chip, I just move the handle more forward and play the ball farther back in my stance. If I want to pop it up in the air, I move the handle back and the ball more forward. I have friends who are better golfers than me who use a variety of clubs for chipping, from 6 irons through their wedges. I have limited practice time, so I find it easier just to work with the one club. Maybe I am just being lazy. Is it better to get the feel for using multiple clubs depending on the type of shot to be hit? If you look at my response to the question below you will see I answer most of your issues. I would also encourage you to watch the Break 80 video as it answers some of your specific questions and gives some visuals of how to proceed. I wouldn’t say it is a case of being lazy but not having the right technique. In the long run you would be more effective around the green if you were able to have more choices and weapons in your arsenal. J from the UK asks at 2:18: You helped me with my swing a few months back and I have a video update for you below. You had some positives about my leg action, but I was swinging too inside on the way back and a bit steep on the way down (OTT).

I'd appreciate an comments you have. I'm swinging it the best so far this year and have my high draw back from my teens. I think I'm close to swinging up and down the same plane (you may remember I came OTT a bit before). When admiring the swings of players like Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy, I notice that that they really do drop the club from the inside producing lots of lag. Whenever I try to do this (starting from the ground up of course) I cannot square the face and leave it open. How do you get the feeling of dropping the club down with lag and turning though the ball. I heard the phrase "covering the ball" once when a analyst commented on Sergio's swing—is there such a thing and what is it exactly?
I struggle with my sequencing a bit (making sure I start with the lower body) and my short game is poor. I have tried playing around with lower lofted clubs for chip shots rather than just grabbing my SW or LW. I either hit them too far, or (when trying to take a bit off) decelerate and duff it. Do you have any short game tips to share in relation to the choice of shot?
Love what you do. There are still some frames that can improve. The club is a bit inside going back and steeper than ideal on the downswing. The camera angles in all the videos could be a bit more lined up between the toes and the target line and a bit farther away. I understand that is difficult at times based upon space. It is hard to imagine you coming too far below plane based upon these pictures, but I do understand you struggling with the face position. As the club “lays down” more behind a player coming down, the clubface WILL become more open. Covering the ball through impact is a phrase we use to help a player get the feel of maintaining the forward bend of their upper body as their hips open during impact. This prevents the arms and club from moving too far out away from the body during impact and into the release, while making it easier to square up the clubface. If a player loses the forward bend, the club has a tendency to drop below plane with the face open making the hands play too active a roll during impact to save the shot. When it comes to the short game, it sounds like you aren’t using the true loft of the club when choosing something other than your most lofted wedges. In many cases, the ball gets too far back in the stance, the weight too far forward, the shaft leaning too far ahead of the ball and the clubface gets de-lofted dramatically. This makes the ball jump off the face with less lofted clubs and land too “hot” to control once it hits the green. The most lofted wedges are the only clubs that can be hit with any measure of control when hitting chips and short pitches with this technique. I would encourage you to check out the Break 80 video I did on chipping and pitching as it addresses this issue specifically. I would love to see a face-on shot of you hitting some pitches and chips to give you some more specifics. Stephen asks at 2:07: Is there an ideal trajectory for scoring clubs? I know it can vary based on conditions, but I typically hit them very high and feel my distance control would be a lot more consistent with a better ball flight. Thoughts? There are two important elements to distance control with the shorter clubs. The first issue is controlling the distances the ball will fly in the air. This is obviously done with a great deal of practice, but the importance of trajectory control can’t be underestimated. Obviously wind and other course and weather conditions will have a profound effect on the distance a ball will travel. Controlling the height of the shot is critical to managing the changing conditions. The second element works hand in hand with trajectory control, especially with the wedges, and that is spin. Once the carry distance is reliable, the spin on the ball becomes another factor on getting pin high. If the trajectory is lower, more spin is usually required to keep the ball from releasing too far. If the trajectory is high, too much spin can bring the ball back too far making it impossible to rely on. The combination of control over carry distance and control over spin should be the priority as your ability to hit consistently solid shots becomes the norm. Bill asks at 2:00: I'm working on not coming over the top which leads to a cupped wrist and impact and pull shots. I've tried your suggestions to attack the inner quadrant of the ball to get the feeling of an in to out swing. However, this method for me leads to even more severe pulls, especially with the driver. I think i'm not clearing the hips soon enough which causes me to come around to in. My question is there a thought or swing key that might help with the hip turn/timing that might achieve the inner quadrant attack? Fortunately there is more than one way to fix the problem. Clearing the hips earlier and more aggressively usually increases the difficulty of attacking from the inside. Without seeing the swing in its current state I can’t offer you specifics about what you need to do. Keep in mind that your lead hip MUST be closer to the target at impact than it was at address. If you spin the hips without sliding first toward the target, your arms will have no route to the ball as your body will be in the way. For this reason, most players coming over the top are helped by starting the downswing with more lateral slide to the target. The slide keeps the shoulders from spinning open too early, helps the club stay back behind the body longer, makes the right hip stay away from the target line opening up a route to the ball from the inside, and makes it easier to bottom out the swing in front of the ball with the irons. The driver is also served well by this move with the wider stance preventing the club from descending too much at impact. STEP toward the target to start the downswing instead of spinning open and the club will stay behind you and come more from the inside.  

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