Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online today from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, come back next week for another episode of Ask Brady Riggs Live! Thanks to everyone for your videos, questions, and comments. It was a great blog today. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone this week. Please get your questions in early next week so I can help you out. Mark Sanderson asks at 1:25: I absolutely love your column every week. I would appreciate your comments on my golf swing. I have a link to my face-on driver swing below. (Sorry I don't have a down-the-line video.) My typical mis-hits are to the right with a push-fade (not a typically left-to-right slice). Two things I notice: 1) I have a lot of movement forward with my head (toward the target) on the downswing, 2) I also seem to lift up a bit at impact with my head. Could these 2 issues be contributing to my mis-hits to the right?
Thanks in advance for your help!

Thanks for the kind words about the blog, Mark. I couldn’t agree more about your head movement being the issue, but it goes bad in the address. You create so much right-side tilt and bend away from the target before you move the club, your body has no choice but to try to find balance immediately in the takeaway. As a result, your head moves in the direction of the target as you begin your swing. This leans your head and upper body too far toward the target in what many used to call a “reverse pivot.” Your head tries in vain to get back behind the ball at impact, which gives you the “up” you mentioned in your question and has the consequence of opening the clubface. When you combine the open clubface with your head in front of its original position at impact you get the classic push slice. Start with your head more centered over your tailbone. This will create less right-side tilt and allow you to MOVE BACK AWAY from the target during the backswing. Yes, this means your head should move during the swing (don’t tell the S&T/Foley crowd). When you are back away from your original position at the top you can allow yourself to move (step into the throw or hit from other sports) toward the target as you start your downswing with going past your original position. This will give you more power and allow you to release the club PAST your body enabling you to hit the fairway. Check out the pics of the drive I posted to the question below and look at your head at address and the top. GET TO WORK! Check out the tree in the background to see how much your head moves. Really obvious in the video. Driverstart Reversepivot Val asks at 1:00: Can you talk a bit about head position at impact? Should my head be on top of the ball with short irons and behind it with driver/wood. How do you keep your head back in the swing when needed? There is no one position the head should be in when making contact with the short irons or driver. With that said, there are better spots than others. What we see with a large percentage of Tour players and successful amateurs is the head behind its original position with the Driver and at or in front of its original position with the short irons. There are multiple reasons for this but here are the main ideas. First, the width of the stance is much wider with the driver than the short irons. This creates more right side tilt at address with the driver and makes it much easier to maintain the tilt through impact. The tilt helps the contact with the driver as it enables the low point of the swing to be slightly behind the ball allowing the clubhead to work through a flat spot or slightly up during impact. The short irons are different because the stance is narrower, creating less right-side tilt and the ball should be struck before the club reaches the low point. The change from the driver in the address position makes it much easier for the head to move in the direction of the target during impact. Keeping your head back during the swing isn’t as complicated as you may think. If the head moves off the ball and away from the target on the backswing, there is no need to get MORE behind it during impact. Thanks to the Stack and Tilt folks, we have a whole new generation of players who try to keep there head stationery going back (some who even move toward the target). This gives the player very little choice through impact with the driver but to dive behind the ball. The head should NEVER move away from the target during impact as it forces your right arm to straighten too early and mandates excessively active hands when you need them least. Here are a couple of pictures that will help you. Foximpactiron Foximpactdriver Deacon asks at 12:38: I understand that your weight moves back and through, but would you mind describing briefly where and generally how much the weight shifts in the feet during the swing? Is it correct that you should never let your weight move to the outside of the right foot on the backswing? From address, should your weight move from the balls of your feet to your inner right foot or right heel? There is a great deal of room for individual preference when it comes to this subject. In most cases the player will get the best results with the weight starting in the balls of the feet at address, working toward the right heel going back to the top, ball of the left foot in the transition and into the left heel at impact. This is the general idea—leaving out some details along the way—and it should help you get the idea. It isn’t a great idea to get the weight to the outside of the right foot going back under any circumstances as it gives you no leverage. I’m not a big fan of keeping the weight on the inside of the foot either as it can restrict the proper turn and movement during the swing. A good rule of thumb to follow is to maintain the feeling of athleticism during the swing. There shouldn’t be a time during the swing where you don’t feel like you can move dynamically as you would in any other sport. Anything contrived on the outside or inside of the foot isn’t athletic and shouldn’t be part of your program. Daniel asks at 12:20: Hi Wayne! I've been trying to improve keeping my tush line. I still feel that my approach is way too vertical and I'm too handsy through the ball. My two-next-step plan to improve was changing my takeaway so it doesn't go so underneath the plane (which may cause the loop at the top) and keep working on the tush line stuff so I'm able to move my weight toward my left heel and rolling my right foot more inwards instead of popping up so much chasing the ball, but I want to know your opinion. I want to turn teaching pro and need to improve my long game dramatically, but I feel that I need to go in the right direction and work things in the proper order.
Sorry that I'm only able to send a target line view. Thank you very much!

  Not sure who Wayne is, but I will help anyway. I think you are doing a pretty solid job with the Tush Line and your takeaway. I agree that you are shifting to a steeper-than-desirable plane in the transition, making it difficult to hit the longer clubs in your bag. A shallower angle of attack will make hitting the less-lofted clubs much easier and produce more consistent misses that stay on the golf course. Many good players fail to focus on hitting the inside-back quadrant of the ball with the face rotating through impact. Instead, they are trying to hit the back of the ball with the face square. This is only an effective strategy on the shortest of putts. It often produces steep transitions when the mindset isn’t correct. Here are a couple of pictures to help you out beginning with your delivery position. Steep Kangdeliv Matt asks at 12:05: I'm having some trouble understanding how to keep my weight on my left side while chipping and pitching. I'm not sure if I'm leaning too far to the left but I'm not able to turn back and through smoothly. With my weight equally balanced, I have no problem turning my shoulders and hips back and through easily, but when setting up on my left to ensure a downward stroke I invariably lose the same smooth body turn. Do you have any suggestions on how to stay left without hindering my body turn? Should I concentrate on leaning my lower legs from my knee down toward the target instead of my whole body? Should you feel at least some pressure on your right foot in the backswing? Thanks so much for your help. The amount of weight you need to begin on the left side isn’t that significant. As you have experienced, leaning the upper body to the left makes it very difficult to make a comfortable motion. Instead, your left hip can push over slightly toward the target to get a bit of weight onto the front foot. I would encourage you to check out the chipping video I did during the Breaking 80 Series as it has some good examples of the address position and overall lack of movement during the chipping motion. Michael asks at 12:00: Brady - just wanted to thank you for your advice. I've been working on the 6 step program you recommended a while back in the article "How To Break 80" and this weekend I not only managed to break 80 - I smashed right through it, shooting 75! (I'd broken 80 before on shorter par 70 and 71 courses, but not on a challenging track with a 131 slope.)
Just to demonstrate how my stats in those essential categories compared with your recommendations (in parentheses): GIR 150 yds and in - 60% (48.4%); fairways hit - 64.2% (62.5%); scrambling - 50% (30.1%); putting from 4-8 feet - 66% with no 3-putts! (58.1%); scoring averages - par 3's (2.67), par 5's (5.75), par 4's (4.1). So only the par 5's tripped me up a bit.
So just goes to show when you get it all going at once, not only are scores in the 70s possible, but now I'm looking to break par! That is very exciting to hear. Your Par 3 scoring average is very low, it will be hard to keep that going. You are correct about the par 5s, they can come down considerably. Keep up the good work.

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