Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs will be online next Tuesday 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. Welcome to the Wednesday edition of Ask Brady Live. Thanks to everyone for your videos, insightful questions, and comments. I look forward to hearing from everyone again next week on our normal day, Tuesday. Have a great week. Jim K. asks at 1:50: Brady, I don't have a youtube video but was wondering if you could suggest a drill. I have a sound swing and play well but when I get to the top my right arm (I am a lefty) bends and folds to allow me to get the club to parallel. What drill can I do to stop it from bending at the top? I have tried pushing with my left arm and don't allow it to bend on a practice swing but when I make a real swing, it bends. Any drills or suggestions would be great. First you have to ask yourself why you want to change it. Changing it for the sake of appearance doesn’t make practical sense if you are already hitting the ball fairly well. Many players will try to tighten the arm to keep it straight. This only adds unnecessary tension to the swing and actually slows down the club considerably. It sounds like you have tried what the Golfing Machine terms Extensor Action to keep the structure in the lead arm by pushing against it with the trail arm. This is a viable adjustment as it doesn’t produce unwanted tension in your right arm, but if it isn’t working I would stop worrying about it. In most cases the lead arm will become taught on the downswing as it gets pulled in two directions (body going to the target and club moving away from the target). If it is still bugging you send in some video and I will tell you what to adjust. However, if I were hitting the ball well I wouldn’t worry about it much. Scott asks at 1:30: Just looking on some advice on what I should work on with my swing. I think I may be a bit flat but not sure.
Thanks! An uphill stance in a fairway bunker is pretty difficult to give a fair assessment of your golf swing. I am assuming the reason you didn’t get your weight off your back foot and finish fully was because of where you were playing from. I can tell you that your posture needs work at address. You should get the weight more into the balls of your feet with your lower spine in a more neutral, supported position. This combination will allow your upper back to become more straight and facilitate a stronger turn going back. This will not only make for a more powerful swing but help your body move through to a bigger finish. Casey asks at 1:20: Was hoping you could give me some feedback on my swing. I've been working to try to do your "option 1" backswing and simplify my leg action with "bouncy" legs. I think I'm heading in the right direction but would like to get your thoughts. I'm really trying to eliminate a blocked driver shot that happens occasionally in tournaments that I think happens because I used to get the club rolling back too flat.
Thanks for the help, Casey
DTL Face On I like what you are trying to do Casey. BTW, is there anything better than having the entire range to yourself when practicing? I love that! I am sure you noticed that your rehearsal takeaway is different than the one present when actually hitting a shot. I like the work you are doing when you stop after the takeaway and hit from the spot you are trying to achieve. The next step between that and hitting full shots is to go very slow during the takeaway and eliminate the stop but achieve the spot you were in during the stopped swings. There is a definite progression to working on backswing changes and it starts with stopped swings, progresses to very slow swings without a stop, then moves into full speed. Without this progression you will have very little chance of success. I think this is a viable part of the swing for you to be focusing on. I like the rest of the motion and agree that the miss you are experiencing during tournaments can be eliminated if you improve the takeaway. One last thing, you are doing technical practice during the session shown here. Don’t get so pissy about the results when you are working on technique. Let the ball go where it goes and focus on improving your motion. You are clouding the practice session by getting upset about the results. Just my humble opinion…. J Oberlin asks at 1:10: I (Hcp 28) have problems with my slice for years now. I think it comes from not rotating enough. Instead I raise my torso, I think. After three holes my slice is not so bad any more. But the main problem is, every shot feels the same, it doesn't matter, if the ball flys straight or go to the right (slice). What can I do, to notice wrong shots better? I can not improve my swing, if I don't notice myself, what's wrong and what's right! At the very least you should be working with video so you can begin to understand how your golf swing works (or doesn’t work). I would highly recommend at your hdcp. level of 28 that you find a good coach in your area who uses video so he/she can explain to you what the issues are in your golf swing that make it inconsistent. Without this type of evaluation and concentrated effort you are basically chasing your tail. There is no reason to be in the dark about your golf swing so go find someone with a camera that can help you get organized about your thinking and how to progress. John asks at 1:00: I'm a chronic slicer of the ball. I've tried to correct this by swinging on a flatter, in-to-out swing path, but my ball just ends up starting out right of target and slicing further. Can you think of any drills that would help a push-slicer get the ball to go in the correct direction? It’s very simple John, fix the clubface. As long as the face is open during impact the ball will curve to the right of the target. Swinging more from the inside hasn’t fixed the clubface, it has only made the ball start more on line making it end up more off line. There are some in the golf instruction community that would have you continue to try to attack more from the inside to eventually get the face closed to the path to produce a push draw. This is an incredibly bad way to get the ball going towards the target as you will hit countless balls off the golf course in your attempt to swing inside enough with no guarantee it will ever work. The simple fix is to just fix the darn clubface and get on with your life. Start with the grip and make sure it is strong enough to be eliminated as a cause of the problem. Once this is ruled out get your lead wrist (left if you are right handed) in a flat position at the top of the swing. The combination of the good grip and flat left wrist will get the clubface at least square and allow that slightly inside path to produce a soft draw. Remember, always start with the clubface when diagnosing and improving your errant shots and you will have more time to enjoy the game and less time getting aggravated on the range. Nathan asks at 12:50: Can you address the perils of having a shaft that doesn't have enough flex? I was professionally fitted on a TrackMan, but I have a hunch my shafts are too stiff. The irons are Project X 6.5 and the driver is X-Stiff; my swing speed is that of an average tour pro. What kind of ballflight issues would a golfer have with too-stiff shafts? Would it affect the swing, too? My 3 wood is a Stiff flex steel shaft and I love being able to feel it load in the transition and the ballflight is still pretty penetrating. Thanks a lot! You bring up a very interesting point Nathan. Looking at the numbers may point to you using stiffer shots as you have mentioned. However, what is more important than the numbers a machine spits out is the FEEL you need when hitting shots. Like many good players it sounds like you need to feel the clubhead during the swing which can require the use of a slightly softer shaft. One of my very accomplished students who has been playing professionally for several years now uses shafts that are significantly softer than what a standard fitting would recommend. He is currently using a 6.0 Project X and a more standard Stiff shafted driver despite his distances being well beyond tour average. He likes the feel of the shaft kicking and needs it for the way he swings the club. The important lesson to learn is to hit the clubs and combine the information coming from the computers to the actual feel when making a swing. This is why a good fitter is more of an artist than a scientist. Ryan asks at 12:40: Love the blog. I have one question about getting steep with short irons. I have manufactured my swing so that the clubhead stays outside of the hands for a long period of time in the backswing. Does this help create a steep angle of attack? Thanks for the kind words about the blog. This option on the backswing can make it more likely that the downswing will be too steep coming down. There are many good players and professionals alike that take the club back as you describe then shallow out or reroute the downswing to the proper angle with no ill effects. However, if you are having difficulty coming in too steep with the short irons allowing the club to work more inside during the takeaway is a very reasonable option. It will encourage a little more rotation out of your body during the backswing making it much easier to get the club shallower coming down. Fonzi asks at 12:30: Enjoy reading your insight into the golf swing. My problem is one I think many people share - the practice swing is fluid, effortless and on plane but once a ball is put in front of me I am over the top, more specifically I become so right side dominant (right handed player). My misses are pulls, hooks, slices and the occasional straight ball, a real frustrating way to play the game. Along with my instructor, we've tried many fixes but nothing that lasts. Are there any tips / practice methods you could share to help with this? I appreciate your time. Good question Fonzi. I agree this is something we see out of both experienced players and recreational golfers alike. What is interesting is that if you draw a ball in to the screen when a practice swing is being made the club is rarely in a position where it would actually make descent contact with the ball. While the practice swing might not have some of the mistakes present when actually hitting the ball it is usually full of other problems that wouldn’t make it effective either. The key is to improve upon the motion you are currently making when actually hitting the ball. This requires you to focus more on the finish of the swing than micro-managing all the pieces along the way. Try to create a pre-shot and post-shot routine that is consistent and easy to monitor that allows you to see the difference between your goal and reality. There is no better way to see immediate improvement in your on-course play than to establish a post-shot routine and stick to it. This can include holding your finish to a count of 3, tapping your trail foot on the ground twice or finishing with a Tigeresque club twirl (a little too flashy for me but it can work). Let me know how this approach works for you. Bob asks at 12:15: Enjoy reading the information. I struggle with getting in to the correct posture at set up in an effort to put myself in the best position at impact, even though I know my faults are happening during the swing. In evaluations before and through my own work, I've been told I need to get my weight on my right side, but I feel in order to do so, I take too long of a swing and to get back to the ball I end up sliding my hips left instead of rotating them. This ends up getting my arms behind my body and I push the ball right or over compensate and hit a pull hook. Based on what you see, do you have any recommendations of what I need to work on or if I'm on track in my evaluation? I know I lose the "tush" line I see referred to in your blog, but I'm not sure how to fix. Swinging with my back end against a bag stand feels like a temporary fix and I feel like my tendancy to move forward in the swing is a compensation of me not being in the right balance left or right. To me it feels like I need to get my upper body more over the ball (which has moved to the right in an order to get behind the ball as I've been instructed), but do so without sliding my lower body left as I move from my transition down to the forward swing. Any drills would be appreciated. Thanks for sending in the video Bob. Whenever someone sends in video I wait to read their comments until after I have watched the swing. It is always interesting to hear a golfer’s ideas about what is going on in their swing to see if it is close to what is actually happening. In most cases the player is pretty far off as to what the issues are, you are the exception Bob. I agree that your lower body is sliding way too far towards the target on the downswing forcing your upper body to hang back and produce the block/hook combo you are describing. However, I don’t see an issue with the amount of lateral motion into your right side during the backswing. In fact, it is my opinion that it wouldn’t hurt you at all to allow your head and weight to move a bit more laterally during the backswing and then work on a much sharper and more positive rotation of your body during the downswing and through impact. When your hips slide less your upper body will get more on top of the ball at impact and work more around to the finish. This is very different compared to your current action with the upper body through impact which would be best described as under and hanging back. The key lies in the action of your left knee coming down. Try to get your knee cap to point at the target ASAP once the downswing has begun. If you wait too long on the rotation of the knee the slide is inevitable. Here are a couple of pictures to help you see the difference. Y Yy   Dave asks at 12:00: I am a low handicap that has been struggling with the driver the last month or so. The problem I am having is that I no longer can hit a draw.. In the past I had no issues moving the ball either way just by adjusting ball position and set up. I really dont know what I have changed, but I am having a lot of trouble with hitting the ball from the inside. I have came to rely on the fade off the tee but even this shot has occasionally cut way too much... I can see i have gotten laid off a bit but am have a terrible time correcting this. I have attached a couple of swings, I would appreciate any feed back you can give to get my swing back. Thanks, Dave Thanks for sending in the video Dave. When looking at the swing it is fairly easy to see where you have gone off the rails with the driver. At the top of the backswing your club is pointing well left of the target in a laid off position. This makes it a near certainty that the club will be attacking the ball on a path that is less inside than you would prefer when hitting the driver. The laid off position usually comes from a lack of hip/shoulder turn forcing the arms to finish the backswing on their own. Once you get your body rotating better going back the club will line up much easier allowing the club to point parallel to the target line at the top. The more inside attack on the downswing is directly related to your ability to line the club up at the top. When the top is fixed you should see the right to left shot come back. Here is a picture of where you are and where you should be at the top.  Zz Zzz

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