Monday, June 13, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you missed Brady, be sure to check back next week for another edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live. Thanks to everyone! Glad I got to a few more this evening. If I didn't get to your question please ask again next week. Enjoy the US Open! Bill Dumont asks: Thanks for all the great tips and information. It is a real help to all of us out there!
Can you please take a quick look at my swing here. I have a short backswing and have been trying to lengthen it but always loose control when I do. I struggle with distance on my irons and always feel that the short backswing and lack of compression is what is doing it. I think my tushline needs work since I feel like I stand up at impact and will even shank the ball sometimes. I feel like I flip at everything too. Thanks for the feedback about the blog Bill. I agree that your swing is short but disagree that it is a problem. I think the length of the swing is pretty unimportant and shouldn’t be something you worry about going forward. Where I do agree with you about what needs work is the tush line. Your legs move in the direction of the ball as you approach impact forcing your upper body to become more upright and your hands to get further from the ball at impact. There is no way you could do anything but hit thin shots and flip through impact with your body in this position. This is the area of your swing I would like to see you focus on. Additionally, your clubface is quite open on the downswing. This can be worsened by the loss of the tush line but I would check the grip at address and make sure it is strong enough. I have included a couple of pictures for you to see the differences. OPEN CLUBFACE Openface Tushlineloss LOSS OF TUSHLINE Clarkeface Kris asks: A couple of odd things about my game. I'm a pretty good driver, usually 270+, but my irons go surprisingly short; my 7iron ~150yds, 50* ~100yds, and 60* ~50yds. People I far out-drive hit their irons 20+ yards farther than me. I am a sweeper, would that make such a large difference? Also, a very weird one; I have started pulling my 5-wood hard left. Only my 5-wood, and I have always hit it well. Moving the ball position on either axis doesn't seem to make a difference. Thanks! Hitting the irons shorter proportionally than the driver can definitely be caused by picking the ball more off the ground than is desirable. While the driver distance isn’t effected by the lack of “down” in the contact, in fact it is better to be on the flat spot of the arc, it does change the contact and face angle with the irons. If the shaft is leaning forward at impact the clubface has less loft and the club is still accelerating at impact. When the shaft is leaning backwards and the bottom of the swing is behind the ball the clubface has more loft, the ball goes higher and shorter, and the club is decelerating at contact. Check out the drill I mentioned earlier in the blog using a step to get your weight and subsequently your hands moving towards the target on the downswing. This will get the shaft leaning forward at impact and improve your distances with the irons. Jim asks: Love the blog. I am going out to practice my short game tonight for 2 hours. Can you give me a series of drills and games to sharpen my game from 50 yards and in? Thanks This advice may surprise you but here it goes. I would recommend you work on the most basic of shots from the edge of the green. This would be within a couple steps of the putting surface on a normal lie with various clubs from your most lofted wedge to 7 iron. The goal is to work on hitting your landing mark, usually a quarter or poker chip, with each club. This will help you get a feel for how far each club will run out once it hits the green. You can spend your time working on a ton of different shots but to score better you need to own the most basic. Forget the hard ones and work on the shots you hit the most. Jeff asks: I have a problem getting to my left side and having my belt buckle face the target, do you have an drills that could help?
Enjoy reading your blog every week. Glad you enjoy the blog Jeff. Getting your belt buckle to face the target and getting your weight to the left can be opposing thoughts. In the grand scheme of things getting your weight left is the more important of the two. The step swings are an excellent way of feeling not only the timing of when to move the weight in the direction of the target but how much weight to move. Start in a normal address position and before you take the club back move your left foot next to your right foot. When your hands reach chest high going back step your left foot back towards the target into it’s original position. This will happen before your hands and arms move back towards the target as should be the case in a normal swing. I would recommend you go a bit slower than normal to get the feel of when the step should happen. After a few of these you will get the timing and be on your way to give it a try in the normal swing. Let me know how it goes. Matt asks at 1:00: Enjoy the blog very much. Very helpful. I am a tall golfer (6’ 5”) and struggle with a few things including keeping the tush line throughout the swing. My head moves forward towards the ball on my backswing and I tend to stand up and lose my spine angle on my downswing. I also have trouble maintaining lag, especially with my driver. I can hit a 7-iron 165 but my driver only about 240. Here is a a straight on video with a driver and a down-the-target line with a 7-iron.
Any suggestions you can give me would be much appreciated. Thanks for the videos Matt. I agree with your assessment of your head and spine angle. I would also add that your shoulders are open or pointed well left of your toe line at address. When combined with the lack of lateral motion in your upper body during the backswing and the amount of lateral motion in your lower body it is plain to see where you are struggling. I would like to see you get completely square at address with your feet, knees, hips, and shoulders pointing parallel to the target line. I would also add a little right side bend in your torso to encourage you to turn your shoulders a bit flatter going back to help your head move away from the target. This will feel much more severe going back than it actually is because your head currently moves in the opposite direction. With the changes to your address and lateral motion coming back it will be much easier for you to attack the inside/back portion of the ball coming down. These changes are necessary for you to maintain a bit more “lag” coming into the ball and produce more consistent impact alignments. Always keep in mind that consistency and improvement begin with a good set-up position and the right ideas about where the club should be going during the swing. EJ asks at 12:35: I am a low handicap player that struggles with the top of the backswing and steepness in the downswing. My swing looks to be in proper position through the takeaway and half way back. My problem occurs as I approach the top of the backswing with run off of my arms across the line and past parallel. It almost appears i lose a bit of control of the club. My club is also very much shut. All of this seems to transition into a steep shaft angle about half way back down to the ball before i stand up a bit to try to shallow out.
I would really like to be more like other good players at the top that seem to have the club so much under control and in a great position to shallow out the club coming down. I have studied the swing for many years and have not been able to figure out this riddle. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the question EJ. If you look at the question earlier in the blog you will see a similar problem to the one you described. The issue you described is almost always born in the takeaway and/or backswing. The closed club face and across the line position at the top are both very common when the takeaway is faulty. If this isn’t the case for you and the swing is just long and across after a great takeaway then I would go after your pivot to start the downswing. This may seem overly simplistic but people often swing the club too far back because they wait too long to begin the downswing. The backswing will end when the downswing begins. So, if your body takes off and gets going sooner the swing will shorten. Giving you advice without seeing the swing is obviously a bit of a guess but I would encourage you to work on the takeaway to get the clubface in a square position and the lines more consistent. Once that is clean get the downswing started sooner to get rid of the excess length in the backswing. Send in some video so I can get more specific for you. Noah asks at 12:30: You do great work on your blog.
You've advised me in the past to work on maintaining my tush line through impact (I hit a lot of thin shots on the toe). I've made significant improvement in that area, but I've now been shortening my swing radius going through impact (and chicken winging) in efforts to tame my exaggerated inside-out swing path. Do you have any drills/swing thoughts that will help with extension, and preventing the chicken wing/shortened radius.
I feel like I am "running out of right arm" to use a TGM term.
Thanks for your help!!! Thanks for the kind words about the blog. The chicken wing of the left arm is usually caused by an excessively outside-swing path where the arms are getting closer to the body approaching impact rather than extending out away from the body. “Running out of right arm” usually happens when the right arm and hip have collision before impact and/or the hips have slide too far to the target forcing the upper body to hang back excessively. I would love to see your swing so I could determine exactly what is going on. I am getting some conflicting info from you that is making it hard for me to determine what is going on. Send me the video so I can give you specifics. Jeff asks at 12:10: My question is fairly specific to the transition of my swing. I'll defer to you, but my takeaway is fairly good and solid to the top. At the top, it gets off. To me, and the video is below, it looks like my arms shift back, getting deep, and when I start down, I'm steep with the club shaft pointed at my toes instead of the target line. With a driver, I can see the clubhead out of my left eye when this happens. I'm not going to lie: it's annoying.
I am able to rescue it at the bottom, but it robs me of power and I do not feel like I can drive through the shot at all. I'd simply like to figure out how to get the club to the top on plane, get set, and then come back down on plane without all the whipping around you can see.
Video is attached for you to review: Any assistance is welcomed. Thanks in advance. Thanks for the video Jeff. One of the things you learn about the swing after giving thousands of lessons is that when you see a problem in the swing it probably happened a few frames before. I agree with you that the transition isn’t great. The club definitely steepens and causes problems for your downswing. Where I would disagree with you is in the effectiveness of your takeaway. I think the issues you are having in the transition are directly caused by the fact that the arms are too far from your body and the clubshaft is to flat during the takeaway. You can almost bank on the transition getting too deep with the hands and too steep with the shaft if the takeaway is too out with the hands and too flat with the shaft. I would encourage you to check out your picture then the pictures I post as an example to see the differences. You need to maintain the upper left arm and chest connection you established in address during the takeaway. If you combined this with keeping the clubhead outside your hands and the shaft tracking more up between your arms you won’t need to make the adjustment in the transition you currently see. FlattakeClarkeup Chris asks at 12:00: Hi Brady. I'm trying to improve my consistency in my ball trajectory. For the most part I make solid contact but I tend to either pull or push the ball depending on my swing. I have a little fade-slice, but I think my trajectory is a bigger problem. Any suggestions on my swing that can lead to more consistency? I think its great that you do this for us. Thanks for the video and the kind words Chris. There isn’t a player I work with regardless of their level that doesn’t ask me about becoming more consistent. Just like professionals amateurs need to improve, monitor, and practice their address position if they are going to keep getting better. This is where I would start with your swing. You need to stand more upright, bend the legs less with more weight in the balls of the feet and allow your hands to elevate from where they currently hang. It is difficult to see from the angle you sent but it is also likely the grip is a bit strong in the right hand as well. With the posture you are currently using it is impossible for you to maintain your posture during your swing as evidenced by the fact your head comes up away from the ground and your tush moves in towards the ball. When the posture and grip get better there is no doubt in my mind you will hit the ball more consistently. Here is a good picture of the difference you should see between address and impact. Compare it to yours and you will see a big difference. Foxy

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