Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online today at noon Eastern to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video for Brady, leave it in the comments section below. Thanks to everyone for your questions, videos, and comments. I will see everyone on the blog next week. Jason asks at 1:30: My question relates to the mental game involved in golf. I will be attempting to qualify for the US Mid-AM in August. I have never tried anything like this before and would like your insight as to how best approach the round. I know there are no absolutes but is it better to approach it as a nothing to lose, go for it type round or to go the conservative route and shoot for a target score? Your insight would be most helpful. Thanks. If you look at the previous post I suggested an audio book I really like that would be an asset to your preparation. When it comes to a target score or changing the way you approach the game I wouldn’t recommend it. This is your first experience with playing in this type of event so you shouldn’t do anything different than your normal approach. This is an AMAZING opportunity for you to learn about what it takes to play on the next level of competition. Relax, enjoy, keep your thoughts about the result at bay and concentrate on the shot in front of you. The one piece of strategic advice I would give you is to play the simple shot as often as possible. Don’t try to do things that are uncomfortable or foreign to you. Keep your eyes open so you can learn as much as possible. Let me know how it goes… Cody asks at 1:20: I've got a question not related to my swing since I'm out on IR (stinks). Anyhow, my husband has been working on winning "his major" for probably 15 years. It's the largest tournament we have in the state at it's at our course. He's the tournament organizer and I've decided that's why he can't win, it's the curse of running the tournament. He plays Championship flight (select drive-2 low ball), ends up in the last pairing every year and ends up 2nd just about every year. I've even won my flight twice, two of our kids have won, so we have trophies sitting around the house and none belong to him. So the question I have is it just hit me today that it would be an amazing 10 year anniversary gift to give him lessons with a pro (Leadbetter, Pelz, etc) to help him prepare for the tournament. Problem is since I just thought of it, it may be too close to the tournament for it to be effective. The tournament is Aug. 5-6, so even if I could fly him somewhere in the next 7-10 days, do you think that is enough time for him to get comfortable with any potential swing changes or tweaks they instructor may make? I certainly don't want to do anything that could hinder his game.
Sorry for lengthy story leading to the question, it just needed some background. I just feel bad for him, he gets a lot of s*it from his buddies that his wife has 2 trophies and he has zero, plus he wants is SOOOO bad!
Thanks so much for your insight! Also any recommendations for a great clinic would be great. He really has a good swing, usually the short game is what gets him in trouble. He's a 4 handicap. We live in New Mexico, so Texas, Arizona, California are good options as far as location, but I'd go anywhere for him.
PS. I wish I had read Dave Pelz article about Winning Your Major sooner. That fits my husband to a TEE! Don’t send him anywhere at this late date. Any lessons he will take now will only screw him up so close to the event. There is a great audio-book that I would buy for him that would be the best prep for this tournament when factoring in his current playing ability and all the issues involved. Download the Psychology of Winning by Dr. Denis Waitley. This is a great “listen” and will give him the best chance to play at his best without screwing him up with a bunch of technical changes to his swing. I am not a big fan of clinics or schools. Once the tournament is over send him out to So. California and I will work on his game for a couple of days. This isn’t a fancy facility and I won’t be selling him any books, DVD’s, or training aids. Just old-fashioned hard work on the fundamentals…Let me know how he does! Mark asks at 1:00: Just following up again from last weeks' blog - hoping that you could suggest another drill regarding maintaining the tush line or maybe there is something else I'm doing wrong (overactive hands???). Last week my dad suggested adding another waggle and relaxing my forearms, which worked. Here is the link again (should be viewable now or view last week blog 1st question): Thanks for sending in your video. While I like the swing for the most part there is no question your left hip and leg are completely blocking your left arm from getting down in front of your body approaching impact. Yes, this is “tush-line” problem and should be the focus of your practice going forward. Your left leg is significantly closer to the ball when viewed from the target line view approaching impact than it was at address. This gives you left arm no chance to approach the ball properly and can produce the push-fade result that it appears you hit in the video sent it. I would work very hard on getting more weight into your back heel at the top of the backswing (NOT in the address) and allowing your right hip to move back away from the ball as you begin the downswing. This will keep your left hip from moving towards the ball and give your arms the space they need approaching impact. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see where you need to go. Foxleft Yong asks at 12:30: -Just wanted to know what you thought what is the best way to get the club on the proper plane during the transition from BS to DS. -how often do you see people that just can't stay on the tush line & think that it's something physically they can't do? And thus should perhaps follow some TPI type of exercises? Those are two very good questions, thank you Yong. Let’s start with the second one first. While I think working on your fitness can only help your golf game, prolong your career, allow you to play pain free and improve your life, I don’t think players can blame poor fitness for losing the tush line. I have seen players with awful core strength and an overall lack of flexibility maintain the line and players in excellent physical condition lose the line. This is a technique issue, specifically a set-up issue that can be fixed when you know work on the proper things. The first question is much more complicated. In a perfect world the lower body, specifically the weight more than a great deal of movement, will go in the direction of the target before the arms and club finish the backswing. This sequence can happen earlier in the backswing which will produce a shorter swing or later in the backswing producing a longer swing. What is important is the sequence it works in rather than when it happens. When the club is off plane coming down the transition can be the source of the problem, but it may also be caused by mistakes during the backswing. If the player waits too long for the body to initiate the downswing and the arms and hands start down first the swing will be too long, lack power, generally bottom out behind the ball and be highly inconsistent. If the hips start down and slide too far towards the target the club can get trapped too far to the inside as described in the previous post. If the shoulders start the downswing by spinning the arms and club will move out and above the plane causing too steep of an angle of attack and a path that is generally outside-in. You can see how many variables are in play. The key is to understand exactly what is going on in your swing before you start experimenting. Send in some video and I will give you specific advice on what is wrong and how to progress. Doug asks at 12:00: I've been slowly coming along with my swing this year, and I've got one final, but major problem. I absolutely can't stop slicing my driver. It's the only club I do it with, but I do it on every shot. After watching videos of my swing, I can see that my problem is an open clubface at impact more than anything. I've weakened my grip somewhat, tried to focus on releasing the club sooner...everything I can think of. Is there anything else I can do to square the clubface at impact, or anything I can do to release the club better? Thank you! It sounds like you have the problem diagnosed, fixing it is another issue. Maybe you typed this incorrectly but you mentioned that you weakened your grip, you should have strengthened it. This is the fastest way to get your clubface squared up and is critical to your success. If the grip is descent, make sure your lead wrist is flat at the top as it will help put the clubface in a square position. The last issue is to make sure the toe of the club is trying to beat the heel to the ball at impact. If you have all three of these issues working you will be on your way to fixing the slice. Dave D. asks at 12:12: Hello...love the blog! I cant get my video loaded but here is the question: the club is getting too inside on the downswing (clubhead behind address shaft plane). I'm not losing the tush line at all; the takeaway is on plane (one piece) but goes a bit flat from there up. I am changing direction with a pretty good transition but cant keep from being too inside (and hence chasing down the line after impact). Contact is slightly toward the toe-just a fraction out of dead center. Hence shots are slight pushes and slight draws. Any thoughts or suggestions would be great-thanks. Glad you like the blog. Congratulations, you have the good player’s mistake. Getting below plane is very common among very good players because they have overdone coming from the inside. Based upon the information you have given me I would suggest you limit the amount of lower body slide you use to begin the downswing. If the hips slide too far towards the target your right shoulder (assuming you are a right handed player) will hang down and back behind where it should be at impact. This will keep the club stuck behind you and below plane as it works towards the ball and cause the poor contact and misses you are experiencing. To fix the problem try to focus on rotating your left hip and knee away from the ball as you begin the downswing. This will move your right hip and shoulder out towards the target line and get the club attacking more up and on top of the plane. It is a fairly simple fix that will immediately improve both the contact and direction of your shots. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see the difference. Kangslide

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