Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. Leave your question or video for Brady in the comments section below! Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. Hope everyone enjoyed it. Look forward to seeing you next week. Jd asks at 2:00: i am having trouble getting setup to the ball properly with my wait getting out on my toes and hunching too far over the ball. do you have any tips to get a correct setup position consistently? There are two things you need to do in the address position that will really help. First you need to find and establish a neutral spine. This is to say you need to avoid to much slouch or too much arch. Here is a great way to find it. Sit on a hard surface with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. If you sit “up” on your “tush bones” you will feel the neutral position you need to create in the address position. The next step is to allow your upper body to bend over enough to get the weight onto the balls of your feet. This will feel like your knees are over your toes in a position similar to getting ready to dive into a swimming pool. The combination of a neutral spine and the weight positioned over your toes is where you need to be. Here is a picture that will get you going. Posture   Jon asks at 1:45: Brady... Do you think 'better players' try to hold the lag too long and get the club behind them when they really should be working on an earlier release/rotation? I don't try to hold the lag, but I am tired of see the shaft look like it's in a position to hit a baseball on the way down.... I don’t think “better players” try to hold the lag too long. I think the causes of the club getting behind them range from getting too far across the line at the top, sliding the lower body too far towards the target on the downswing, losing the tush line, and not maintaining their levels during the swing.

Terry asks at 1:20: Hi Brady Trying to break 90 but I have trouble hitting my iron shots solid - either I hit the ground or hit the ball thin. When I'm looking at the ball - what is my target impact point? Any help would be appreciated. Terry in Idaho
  There is a significant difference between tour players and amateurs when it comes to how the ball is struck when on the ground. Good players are able to move the bottom of their swing in front of the ball enabling them to hit the ball then the ground. Many amateurs, including some very good ones, often struggle hitting the ground before the ball or missing the ground completely. To get the bottom of the swing in front of the ball you must move your upper body closer to the target at impact than it was at address. This is the “stepping into the shot” or “transferring your weight” that you hear teachers talk about. The start of your downswing is the shift of your body in the direction of the target. This is the athletic move that you see when throwing a ball or hitting a ball with a bat or a racquet. Here are some pictures to help you see the difference between the body position from set up to impact. Dl3pivot   Keenan Jones asks at 1:00:   Brady, I really enjoy your blog thanks for your help. I have a real problem fanning the club open early in the backswing. The club goes to far inside and then it comes over the top, so the ball goes sharp to the left. What drills can I practice to fix it. Also I have an issue with hitting the ball thin. Again, any drills to help me out. The inside/open clubface combination on the takeaway is always a killer. The misses from this position are numerous and certainly include coming over the top and hitting the ball thin. Rather than dealing with the problems on the downswing let’s get the takeaway fixed. To keep the club from getting fanned open you need to focus on the right arm position. The right arms should stay “above” the left as you move the club away from the ball with the palm of your right hand pointing at the ball. This will keep the clubhead outside your hands and stop you from fanning the face open. When the club gets to parallel to the ground during the takeaway the clubhead should still be slightly outside your hands with the clubface parallel to the outside of your right arm. In other words, you should have everything in the basic position it was at address moved as a unit in the takeaway. One last thing to keep in mind is to keep the amount of connection between your upper left arm and chest at address a constant during the takeaway. Too many players allow the left arm to move out and off the chest in an attempt to keep the clubhead from getting inside. This creates other problems as the club moves past the takeaway so avoid that mistake! Here are a couple of pictures to help you see it. Neutral face Marcus asks at 12:35:   Most of my game is really improving (16.6 H'cap) but my driving is definitely the weak link. Recently I have taken to using a 3 iron off the tee all the time just to make sure I'm in play - I KNOW this is costing me distance and also know if I can unlock the driver I can go lower. Trouble is I'm very inconsistent with the big stick, one minute I Slice it the next I pull it - have tried a variety of set ups but ( unlike my irons ) when standing over the ball I have little confidence how the shot will turn out. I CAN hit a good drive but it is waaay too infrequent. Any tips for getting better in this department. Thanks for reading. Hang in there Marcus, there are many players that struggle with the driver. The deal is any problems with your technique will become more obvious and more penal with the big club. Pulls and slices are in the same family of misses. The basic idea is that you attack the ball on a path that is more outside to in than ideal with a face position that is at times square to the path and often open. Good ballstriking always begins with the grip. Make sure your hands are on the club properly and your grip isn’t too weak. Once the hands are checked move on to alignment. Most players struggling with your issue have their shoulders pointing left of their feet at address. Try to get your shoulders pointing at or slightly right of the target with your fee parallel to the target line. The combination of a better grip and solid address position gives you the best chance of attacking the ball on the proper path with your clubface square. Send in some video if you get a chance. Ben asks at 12:10: Brady, Love the blog and thanks for all your help. I couldn't get my video to upload. my problem is during my downswing my right houlder is dropping and not turning through the shot and it seems my arms and hands are at full extension at impact and it is just a flip at the ball. When I try to turn my right shoulder over my left foot at finish it is a huge pull/over the top shot. I know its hard to diagnose without video. Thanks again! I’ll do my best Ben. There are two common causes of the flip and they are quite different. The first is collision between your right elbow and hip on the downswing. When your tush moves in the direction of the ball approaching impact your right elbow can’t get down in front of your hip. This makes your arms go out and around your hip to get to the ball leading to your over the top shot. To compensate for this many good players will combine the loss of the tush line with a hip slide. This will help the club drop down to the inside but the right shoulder stops rotating through the shot. As a result, the right arm has to straighten too early for the club to reach the ball and you are left with a flip. The solution is to keep your tush back away from the ball approaching impact so your right arm can get down in front of you while it remains bent. The combination of your tush back and arm in front will get your hands more forward at impact. Here is a picture of a before and after to help you get the idea. Hillarycollide Hillaryimpact   Rdub asks at 12:00:   7 HDCP with a question in regards chipping. Every once in a while, when my chipping goes bad, I don't skull or chili dip...I double hit the ball. When looking at the rules of golf, I'd rather skull it. It happens mostly when I have to lay the blade open. But I've had times where I've double hit the ball performing a standard chip shot. What are some causes and things i can work on to stop this? The double hit is not only costly when it comes to score, it can be very embarrassing. People struggle with this problem because they have the wrong philosophy when it comes to chipping. A prominent short game “guru” has been pushing the idea that you must accelerate the club aggressively through impact to hit solid short shots. In fact, I have seen demonstrations with pitch shots where the backswing is half as long as the follow through. Conversely when you look at professionals hitting the same shot you often see a follow through that is shorter than the backswing. The obvious difference in the teaching of chipping as opposed to the actual technique that professionals use is the issue. Players double hit chips when the backswing is too short and too slow to create enough momentum in the clubhead to propel the ball the proper distance. As a result they have to accelerate the club with their hands and arms to and through contact, making the clubhead move too quickly to the target as it strikes the ball. This makes the clubhead move at the same speed as the ball and the double hit becomes likely. You should think of the clubhead as a wrecking ball knocking down a building. If the clubhead is taken back far enough and with sufficient pace the clubhead will have plenty of momentum to hit the ball to the target. As a result, the club is doing more of the work instead of the arms and hands making the contact significantly more consistent and reliable. This is why good players describe proper chipping and pitching as “letting the club do the work”.

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