Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at noon Eastern time to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video for Brady, submit it now in the comments section below! Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. This was a busy week on the blog. Sorry I didn't get to everyone. Please resubmit early next week so I can answer everyone. Thanks again. Jason asks at 1:55: Hey Brady, thanks for the blog. I look forward to reading it every week. I was given a set of lessons with a particular instructor. He's having me keep my weight 100% on my front foot throughout the swing, which feels really awkward but has helped keep my hands in front of the clubhead at impact resulting in much better contact than what I was getting before. What drills can I do to make a proper weight shift and still get in a good position at impact to keep my hands in front of the club head? Thanks! I am going to try to be open-minded here and assume the reason he is having you do this is because you were swaying terribly going back and the “feel” of 100% of your weight on your front foot is making the pivot function properly. However, if this isn’t the case and he really wants that much weight forward, your future isn’t going to be very bright. Have a conversation with him about where the ideal spot is for your weight during the swing and why he is having you pivot this way. If he tells you that is the way he teaches everyone then my advice is to have him help you with your short game and leave the full swing to someone else. Remember, one size and one method doesn’t fit everyone.  Eric M. asks at 1:34: Had been playing with very solid ball-striking golf recently until last 2.5 rounds when I got the shanks. What is a general drill or swing thought to work out of those and get swing back? Thanks Brady! There are several things that can cause a shank. Standing too close to the ball, getting too close to the ball during the swing, attacking from too far outside the proper path, attacking from too far inside the proper path, a clubface that is too closed at impact and a clubface that is too open at impact. You can see this isn’t the most clear-cut issue. I will tell you that when you look at the shape of your more solid shots, the depth of the divot, the address position and your balance, the picture becomes much clearer. I would recommend you try something a bit silly. When on the range, try to hit the ball off the tip of the toe of the club. When you are able to catch this part of the club several times you will most likely have fixed the variable that has become screwed up. If this doesn’t work, send me some video and I will give you the specific fix. Good luck! Nick asks at 1:15: I have been trying to incorporate rolling over the instep of my right foot (right-handed player) as I come into impact as opposed to getting up on my toes. My problem is that this tends to get me to sling the club down the line and more toward right field. I prefer to have the club in front of my sternum as much as possible during my pivot and the clubface fairly square to my swing plane. I do not like letting the club outrace my body to my finish.
I do not have a video at the moment, but hopefully I can upload one next week. Do you have any suggestions or just more information regarding this topic for me to incorporate the rolling of the right foot without disrupting my natural pivot motion? I would really prefer to have this rolling move as opposed to the heel lifting because this move can really hurt my driver swings when I tend to over rotate my hips too fast. I think you have isolated an important part of your swing but might be working at it in the wrong way. I agree that the right heel shouldn’t come off the ground too early on the downswing as it is a sign that the right hip has moved out toward the target line in a place that blocks the right arm from moving down on plane. To control the right heel you need to load your left quad (front of your upper leg) harder and longer on the downswing. This will keep your hips from spinning open too quickly and keep your right heel down without thinking about it. Move the weight onto the quad as you begin your downswing and try to keep it there longer and you will see the heel stay down. Here are a couple of pics to help you get the idea. Rightheel Steve asks at 1:00: What do you recommend in setup for wedges? For a regular shot should one swing at 80%? My trajectory seems too high to make my distances consistent. The set-up for wedges hit at nearly full distances should be just like any other iron shot. The ball position is still played under the low point on the target side of your sternum. The whole percentage of power thing has never really worked for me. If the player is swinging consistently, hitting the sweet spot of the club, and ending up in balance than that is what matters. If swinging harder makes this difficult than the swing should slow down and the mechanics worked on so the speed can be turned up again. If your trajectory is too high than there are several places to look. As much as I hate to change or blame equipment, it should be checked. If the shaft is too light or soft, the head is designed for a high handicapper or the ball is spinning too much the trajectory can be too high. Once that has been ruled out, you have to look at where the shaft is or isn’t leaning at impact. If the shaft is leaning forward and your low point is in front of the ball you should be able to control the trajectory if the equipment is right. If you are hanging too far behind the ball and the shaft is leaning backwards at impact, there is no amount of money you can spend to keep the ball flight down.  JohnnyH asks at 12:45: Brady, thanks for doing this. You're one of the more insightful golf minds around. Here's my question: whenever I try to fully rotate my body to the target, or think about doing that, I tend to come over the top, sort of out to in. I think this is because of opening up the upper body too soon. Also, I've never learned to roll my forearms over in the through swing. I guess I"m more shut-faced, body swinger. I've gotten to a 4 handicap like this, but do you think I need to learn the proper release to get to the next level? Many thanks I will try to live up to the high praise; thanks, Johnny. It really comes down to how effective you are as a ballstriker and if you are continuing to improve. I always ask players at your handicap level if they have continued to improve over the last couple of years or if you have hit a flat spot. If the ballstriking continues to get better, there is no need to completely change your clubface position, pivot, and release. You may start down a dark hole and never come out. If you aren’t getting better and feel the swing is the issue, then proceed with caution and work at the change slowly. As you already know, it is difficult to release the club like Ernie Els if your clubface looks like Paul Azinger’s. I agree with you that if your upper body rotates too much too soon you will likely come over the top. However, if your body stays back and the face is closed your hands will be more active through impact and the closed clubface will be released hard. This is not a good scenario. I would love to see the swing to let you know how to proceed and which areas need to be tweaked to get you closer to neutral. Keep me informed. Todd asks at 12:39: I tend to hit behind the ball. Too many fat shots that don't get to the green. What's the solution? Thank you. Hitting behind the ball is the result of two factors. The bottom of your arc will always be slightly on the target side of your sternum or under your left pec. When this part of your body is behind the ball at impact, the bottom of your swing will be behind the ball and you will either hit the ground first creating a fat shot or miss the ground and hit the ball on the upswing creating a thin shot. The consequence of this position with the body is that the club will NOT be leaning slightly forward (handle in front of clubhead) but will be in the opposite alignment with the shaft leaning backwards. Moving the weight in the direction of the target will get the bottom of the arc in front of the ball and give the club a chance to be in the proper leaning forward position at impact. Get these two factors under control and you will see huge improvement. Kermit asks at 12:13: I have been a fan for a long time and really look forward to your weekly live chats. I was wondering if you could look at the link below and see what you think. I have been having trouble with hooks and pull hooks and would love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKZB_nB2mCQ Thanks for the kind words about the blog. Overall I think the swing is very good. The address is solid. The club comes back a bit inside, but it doesn’t cross the line at the top so I wouldn’t mess with it much. The face looks square going up and at the top with the club working down very close to on-plane. If anything on the downswing, the club is a bit steep and the face a bit closed. It is obvious you are fighting the hook as we look at the swing during and after impact. The club exits on a very vertical angle with your left arm fighting to stay higher than the right. This is a classic anti-hook release. To improve your ball-striking and get rid of the hook I would like to see you do a couple of things. First, the club needs to be a bit shallower coming down with the face completely square. The good news is when you get the club a bit more behind you on the downswing the face will naturally open from where it currently is. From a shallower angle of attack you can get your entire body moving more up and around at and immediately after impact. This is particularly important for the right side of your body and your head. Check out the exit of your club and the picture of Darren Clarke and Annika to see the difference. I would love to see you practice allowing your eyes to come off the ball and move toward the target a la Annika, Duval, Allenby, Clarke, Durant, Warren, etc. This will help your swing sync up through impact as your body, arms and club work together. Check out the pics and go to work. Kermit1 Kermit release Todd asks at 12:00: One of my swing faults is over swinging. I just can't stop at the top and throw my weight off and it gets ugly from there. Do you have any drills or swing thoughts to help this? Thanks! Many people struggle with controlling the length of their backswing. The ironic thing is to get control of the “overswing” going back you need to think of starting the downswing sooner. If you begin moving your weight back in the direction of the target well before your arms have swung the club up to parallel at the top, then your backswing will stop in time. In other words, the length of your backswing has nothing to do with you trying to stop it and everything to do with starting the downswing earlier. Not only will this change in direction control the length going back, it will help you create more load in the shaft as it resists the change in direction and lags behind the hands coming down. If you struggle hitting your iron shots crisp and lack distance overall, making your transition from backswing to downswing more dynamic can produce amazing results. Check out the swings of Tommy Armour III and Anthony Kim on my website for some visual cues.  

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