Tuesday, July 05, 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 an all-new edition. Thanks to everyone for your questions, comments, and videos. Hope everyone enjoyed the blog. We will see you next week. Jan asks at 1:50:   Working on getting the club more up and out/straight in the takeaway as opposed to before when I was too low w the hands and too much inside/under the plane. This caused a small over-the top motion. Do you think this looks ok? Hit little baby draws now which I've never been able to do before. Never mind my CEO-belly. :) You have made some solid progress to be sure. I think the takeaway looks much cleaner and it sounds like the ballflight has changed for the better. I would like to see your upper back remain closer to the ground through impact. You currently are moving up and away as you strike the ball which forces your right arm to extend too early. This slight change will make the shots more penetrating and help you improve the contact with all of your clubs. Here is a picture to help you see the difference. Look at her posture in the same part of the swing. She remains bent over and her body is getting closer to the ground not further away. Jan2 Jan3 James Batchelor asks at 1:25: My quetion is about missing fairways and greens to the right. I am right handed and find the ball leaves my driver or iron straight but when the ball lands it continues to roll to the right. If i over swing i slice my driver but if i stay in tempo i still have a slight fade. Without seeing the swing I can’t offer you specifics about what to work on with your swing. I can tell you the longer and harder you swing the more the face is struggling to square up at impact. The best approach is to keep working on hitting the ball right to left in practice to get your path and clubface positions into a more neutral combination. Eddie asks at 1:15: Brady.... Can you really ever make your backswing too slow? When I watch the pros at the range they seem almost deliberately slow on the backswing.. There is no absolute rule when it comes to the speed of the backswing. You can see all ends of the spectrum when you look at professionals. Kenny Perry is extremely slow, Tommy Armour III is extremely fast. There are players at both ends and many in the middle. I would rather see the backswing speed be at a comfortable speed that allows the swing to build up in pace as you approach impact. What is consistent across the board is that people have a distorted view of the speed with which they swing the club. When you show a players their swing on video they are always surprised at the speed they actually swing the club. For most amateurs, slowing down the backswing will help more than it will hurt. Frank asks at 1:00:   Brady..... What kind of problems occur when the shoulders turn too fast in the downswing and is that a problem you see very often? Generally speaking when the shoulders turn too fast on the downswing the arms and club move out away from the body causing the club to be above plane. Turning the shoulders too quickly will also make it difficult to get the weight moving towards the target properly leaving the weight too far back at impact. The other issue is that the faster the shoulders rotate on the downswing the slower the clubface will turn through impact. The combination of the club working too far out and the face turning too slowly will generally lead to an impressive slice. Pete asks at 12:48:   Brady.... what is the best way to improve hand and arm rotation in the downswing? I watched my video from face on and my arms never really cross like every pro I see. The best way to improve your release is to work on your swing path. If you are attacking the ball on too steep a path it is impossible to extend your arms properly and have the correct rotation through impact. Once the path is correct you need to get your weight moving in the direction of the target before your arms and club. This means that the sequence is always body, arms, club on the downswing and insures that your weight will have moved into the front foot by impact. The combination of a correct path and the proper sequence of motion will give you the opportunity to extend and release correctly. Without these fundamentals in place working on release is pointless. Ted asks at 12:37: Brady... A long time ago a teacher always told everyone to hit the ball with the butt of the club. I guess that would keep the club on plane on the downswing. Is that bad advice? I wouldn’t call it bad advice but in my experience there are a couple of problems with it. Whenever you give someone a cue to focus on a specific body part, specifically the hands, you create tension in that area. For this reason focusing on hitting it with the butt end of the club tends to make players tighten up their hands and arms which produces the opposite effect than is desired. The other issue with this particular piece of advice is that it takes the focus off the pivot as the main mover of the club. This makes the swing function as if the “tail is wagging the dog” and isn’t an effective long term strategy. However, if it works for you go for it. Dan asks at 12:25: Brady... I thought making a slower and smooth backswing would help my putting, but I am now leaving everything short. Is that a bad idea? You are better off having a stroke that has balance going back and through. A better goal than a slow backstroke is a stroke that has a balance in the speed and length going back and through. If you focus on making the stroke balanced in both speed and length you will improve your consistency and contact making it much easier to control your distances. Matt asks at 12:14: Hi, I recently found your Redgoat Gallery Fundamentals and enjoyed reading and watching them, especially the bits about different takeaway and backswing options. I thought to myself this is the kind of stuff I should know. Without giving you my life story I'm a serious golfer but for a variety of reasons I teach myself, which as you can imagine is a slow process. Unlike perhaps other self taught golfers I'm very interested in technique. I've read a lot of golf books, with the exception of The Golfing Machine, and I watch plenty of video of myself and others. The reason why I'm contacting you is that I'm curious as to how you came about your knowledge? Was it through your own research, working with other pros or attending seminars? Was there one thing that helped you the most? And if you have any pointers on how I could further my knowledge they would be greatly appreciated. I wouldn’t omit The Golfing Machine if you are trying to expand your knowledge. While it may seem like a daunting task to read the book you can thumb through it and pick up amazing nuggets of information. I spent quite a bit of time with Ben Doyle and Gregg McHatton when learning about the golf swing. They helped me begin to understand how the golf swing really works and how to study it. I learned more about what not to do from most of the teachers I worked with as a young player. Often your knowledge base grows more from dismissing bad ideas as it does accepting good ones. The vast majority of my knowledge about the golf swing has come from studying video and pictures of the best players in the world. I started to understand how different components of the swing can work together to make a functional stroke pattern and how they can fail. I always use myself as a test subject to prove or disprove an idea and I constantly challenge my ideas to make sure I’m not full of BS. When it comes to studying books and videos the answer is yes, I have read and watched just about everything. I like to know what other teachers are trying and using and I am not afraid to steal anything that will help my students. Imitation is the best form of flattery after all. Whatever sources of knowledge you choose to pursue keep an open mind, you never know what is going to turn on the light bulb. JP asks at 12:00: Brady.... Help. I don't think the tush line is terrible in these videos, but I hit one of the hosel and one off the toe(I think). I thought standing a little closer to the ball was a good idea to steepen the downswing, maybe not? Right now I don't know what to work on...
shank toe Thanks for sending in the video JP. Standing closer to the ball has it's problems as you have discovered. I agree that your doing a better job with your tush line going back. However, through impact you are still losing the line towards the ball. This makes your body become more vertical through impact pushing your left hip towards the ball which blocks your left arm. I would encourage you to stick with the work on the Tush line and focus on maintaining your forward lean through impact. Let me know how it’s going.

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