Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video for the next edition of Ask Brady, be sure to check back next Tuesday. Thanks to everyone for the questions, comments and videos. I want to give a quick shout out to my student Danielle Kang. She just recently won the Smyth Silver Medal as the low amateur at the Women's British Open at Carnouste. The week before she won the North and South Am. at Pinehurst #2. Keep an eye on her next week as she defends her US Amateur Championship in Rhode Island. See everyone next week. Lewis asks at 1:40: The biggest problem in my golf swing right now is that I really struggle at maintaining the tush line. I do not think that it is a flexibility issue but I have no idea why it's such a struggle for me. I would really appreciate your help! There are a few simple things that can help you with this issue. First, keep in mind your weight will move in the direction that it isn’t at address. Losing the tush line usually begins with the weight in the heels at address. Once the swing starts the weight moves out of the heel and towards the toes to find balance, this moves the tush off the line. There are some players that lose the line on the downswing as well. This happens when the hips slide too far laterally towards the target and, as a result, the left hip doesn’t rotate back around away from the ball to maintain contact with the line. The solution starts at address. Start with your weight out over the balls of your feet. You should feel like it is easier to tap your heels up and down than to tap your toes. As you swing the club back allow your right hip pocket (tush) to work back and down behind your right heel. This will take your weight back away from your toes and into the right heel at the top of the swing. Your tush will either be on the line or even behind it at the top. The downswing should have some lateral motion in your lower body towards the target. Once the lateral motion has loaded up your left quad allow your left hip pocket (tush) to work behind your left heel at impact. This will help you maintain the tush line through impact. A good drill is to stand a couple inches away from a wall at address with your tush facing the wall. When you go back allow your right cheek to press up against the wall, when the downswing begins keep both cheeks against the wall, at impact get the left cheek against the wall. This should stay there until the arms are parallel to the ground after impact and then it should come off as you stand up to a more upright posture at the finish. Roberta asks at 1:30: I can get around most greens in 2 or 3 but my short game is driving me mad ! I either thin my lob wedge like a missile across greens or hit the ground first on pitch and runs ? Help ? Have yo got a simple fix ? Think I'm moving my weight on the shot maybe ? Moving around on the short shots can be a common mistake that leads to poor contact. On both the lob wedge and the pitch and run you need to control two specific elements to find some consistency. First, the bottom of the arc needs to be in the same place shot after shot. This should be very slightly after impact. To achieve this the weight MUST be slightly on the front foot at impact and since you shouldn’t be moving much during the swing it is best to start there at address. The second element is how the bottom of the club or sole is interacting with the turf. If the leading edge of the club is digging into the ground too much impact becomes VERY inconsistent. This often happens when the hands are too far ahead of the club at address (too much forward press and/or the ball too far back). If the clubhead is passing the hands too early before impact the leading edge lifts off the ground and you will “belly” the shot across the green. The hands should be slightly in front at address and at impact, allowing the bottom of the club to skip or bounce off the ground at or just after impact. This should be practiced first without a ball to get the feel of where you are going wrong and then with the ball to produce solid short shots. Let me know how it is going… mpd82jr@gmail.com asks at 1:10: Hi Brady,
I have an upright swing and play ping i10s that are 3 degrees upright. Because of this I am able to hit draws very naturally but struggle with hitting fades. Any advice on how to hit fades with such an upright swing and irons? This may be a strange question but why do you want to fade it? There have been many Tour players who don’t try to play their iron shots both directions. When the pin is on the left side of the green you have a massive advantage, when in the middle of the green you are still good to go, when on the right side of the green aim at the flag and let the ball work back to the middle of the green. You can hit every green you aim at playing one direction. Granted, you may not be able to hit it stiff every hole but I would take 18 birdie putts from 30 ft. and take my chances every day. My point is unless you are trying to play at the highest of levels and able to practice on a very regular to ridiculous basis you are probably better hitting your stock shot as much as possible. If you have to fade it work on a combination of set-up changes and one or two swing thoughts on the range that give you some level of consistency. Otherwise, hit the draw and pretend you are Kenny Perry.   Steve asks at 12:45: I use to hit a fade or slice for about 15years and hated every minute of it. Somehow now I've learned how to hit a draw in the last 5 but my misses are a snap hook. I hit a lot of "big" right to left shots but they are so hard to control. Anyway I can lessen the hook. I wouldn't mind hitting a fade once in awhile either. Love the blog. Thanks for the help. Thanks for the video Steve. Glad to hear you aren’t hitting the weak left to right shot. On the other hand the quick hook isn’t very fun either. The video you sent was helpful but it was difficult to see the position of the clubface. What is evident is the lateral motion in both the backswing and downswing from the face-on view. Unlike some who scoff at lateral motion, especially going back, I think with many players it is an excellent idea. The lateral coming down is a natural instinct against the quick hook. It helps you feel like you can start the ball well right of the target. The problem is it adds to the amount of “hands” you will use through impact. Think of it like a scale, the more rotation in the lower body the less the hands rotate through impact and vice versa. If you are struggling with the quick or looping hook try to add more rotation in the lower body through impact to quiet the hands and start the ball more on line. It may seem a bit scary and feel like you will hit the ball further left, but it will work. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Nate asks at 12:30: Can you comment about how the position of the left hand (for right-handed golfers) affects the swing; particularly the take-away / backswing. What is too strong and too weak? I've weakened the position of my left hand recently (the logo of my glove is pretty much facing the target) and on video it looks like the club is in a much better position in the backswing and my take-away is very much "on plane". With a stronger left hand I would tend to roll my hands in the take-away and get the club behind me. I watched a Champions Tour even in person and it seemed like a majority of players had a neutral to weak grip (Irwin, Pavin, Lehman, Cook, Price). Thanks for your insight! It is a very good question Nate. If you look at the position of the left hand amongst Tour players you will see it in all kinds of different positions from very strong to very weak. It is the combination of the positon of the left hand on the handle at address, the relative bend or flatness at the top, the amount and speed of body rotation during the downswing, and the desired ball-flight that make the ball do what it does. For that reason there is no perfect position of the left hand on the handle for everyone. In your specific situation it makes sense yor left hand change has kept your hands more passive during the takeaway. Just remember it is the combination of all the elements that makes the swing effective or ineffective. For example, if the left hand is in a weak position at address, the left wrist is bent (cupped) at the top of the swing, and the body is rotating quickly coming down the chances of hitting anything but a weak slice is highlty unlikely. Be careful that you are aware of how the left hand grip is working as part of the entire swing when you are making changes. Brady, I am an eleven handicap. I hit fade/slice with my driver (Taylor Made R11). Yes I have it set up closed, with the lowest possible loft. Extra weight on the heel. If I slow my swing down then I hit a pull to the left. Why is it one or the other? How can I fix a slice. When you slow down the swing you are able to get the face more squared up to the outside-in path the club is traveling on. This is the pull you are hitting. When you hit it normally the outside path is combined with an open face at impact producing the lovely sidespin that makes the ball fade/slice. Just because the club is set up closed doesn’t mean you aren’t able to make the face open during the swing. Getting the face square is your number one priority at this point. There are two areas you need to focus on. First, make sure your grip, specifically your left hand, is in a strong enough position on the handle in address. This doesn’t refer to how hard you are holding the club but the actual position of the hands on the handle. If the grip is good, move on to the position of the left wrist at the top of the swing. If the grip is solid and the left wrist is in a FLAT position, the clubface should be somewhere between square and closed. When this is combined with an outside-in attack the ball will definitely be going left. Once you have hit a few left you will be very motivated to attack the ball more from the inside to get the ball going more towards the target. It is the combination of a square to closed clubface and a more inside attack that will get rid of your slice. Tony asks at 12:00: following up from my last post a year ago (I know), here's the only recent footage (shot DTL only): I'm a 8 hcp hoping you could give feedback on my general swing blueprint, with some of the issues (e.g. upper body hammer, lateral sliding, handsy bsw) date way back. I hit it fairly straight, with misses to left of target (or heavy) and not able to hit an intentional hook to save my life. As one of my goals (apart from playing under par, of course) is to shape shots both ways, any suggestion or advice coming from you is good advice.
Thanks for the help, Tony
PS.What is your take on my rediscovered book, Golf Swing Secrets and Lies by Michael Hebron? Thanks for the videos Tony. Overall the swing is smooth and under control. I would like to see your hands become less involved with the takeaway and you focus on maintaining your posture during the backswing. You can improve your consistency and ability to shape your shots if you are more stable during the backswing. From a technical standpoint, try to maintain the connection between your upper right arm and chest during the backswing while the clubhead stays outside your hands until the club hit parallel to the ground for the first time. Not only will this keep your hands more passive coming back, it will help your right shoulder stay closer to the ground during the takeaway. This is the key to keeping your posture more steady going back.

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