Tuesday, January 17, 2012

88x88_0002_Brady-RiggsGolf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday at noon EST to answer your swing questions and analyze your swing videos. If you have a question or video link for Brady, come back next week for another editor of Ask Brady Live! Welcome to the Tuesday edition of Ask Brady Riggs Live! Thanks to everyone for your patience. I tried to get to as many questions as possible. Time to get some sleep here on the west coast as it is nearing 1 a.m. If I didn't get to your issue, please resubmit the question next week and I will be sure to get you some help. Thanks again to all for your participation and I will see you on the lesson tee at Woodley Lakes GC in beautiful Van Nuys, CA. Lefty asks at 2:00: Hi Brady, thanks as always for doing this. I've finally sorted out my backswing (moving my left butt cheek to the target in a twisting fashion -- I'm a lefty), and I love the idea of stepping onto my right foot to start the swing but sometimes that move gets me too far over, i.e., not enough separation between lower and upper halves. Any tips? Glad to do it. It sounds like you have found a good key to sort out the "tush line" during the backswing. I assume when you say the "step onto the right foot is getting you too far over," you are referring to your upper body. Try to keep your chest and head facing away from the target and behind the ball as you begin the transition with your lower body. This will help you get the separation you are looking for that will produce more power and prevent you from going too far. You can visualize a little more tilt with your upper body away from the target at impact as it will help you move the swing into the right direction. Let me know how it goes. Kris asks at 1:45: Snow day today, so actually get to ask a question for the first time in awhile! I made a big swing change at the end of last season, and over the course of two weeks all my irons added about 20 yards (4i from 175 to 200, 7i from 145 to 170, 55° from 80 to 100) and go much lower and straighter (went from a sweeper to a digger). But I did find that my driver didn't improve at all! It's still lucky to go 250 with roll (barely longer than my 3 metal). Help me out. What exactly are a few of the general differences between a driver swing and an iron swing? My old swing led to a really high ball flight with the driver, but rarely any significant distance (not to mention a regular slice), but my new swing gives me a straight stinger (occasionally pulled left--NOT a hook) that goes a similar distance because my course has long fairways that don't allow for much roll. I put the ball about level with my forward foot. How do I get my new swing to hit up on the ball? Any general driver tips would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for all the weekly tips, love reading them every Tuesday!
P.S. my factor has gone from 28 to a 9 in two seasons, and at the end of last year I was only hitting 4/8/SW and shooting mid-70s, so if I can stop losing strokes with my bad driver, it would really help me out! I think you are looking in the right place when you mention hitting up on the driver as a solution. The steeper angle of attack that has worked with the irons won’t do much for the distance of your driver. The ball position as you have described it seems to be fine and instinct to avoid hitting down is correct. Try to remember two key elements when hitting the driver. First, your head must be at or behind it’s original position at impact with the driver, while this isn’t mandatory with the irons. The bottom of the arc is out in front of the ball with the irons making it perfectly reasonable to move in the direction of the target. This is obviously not the case with the driver. In addition to staying “behind” the ball you need to make sure you have some right-side tilt during impact. This will not only help your head stay behind the ball but will encourage the club to work slightly up during impact. Please keep in mind when hitting the driver that you will have more success in eliminating your slice if the stance is slightly closed. Without getting into too much detail, the forward ball position combined with the ascending clubhead will conspire to make the ball go left of the target. There have been countless champions through the decades that have their stance slightly closed with the driver and slightly open with the irons. Let me know how it goes. Steve asks at 1:30: I am 57 years old, 5'10  and weigh about 215 lbs and have always been fairly athletic. I have lifted weights most of my life and am very broad in the shoulders and chest. It has always been more comfortable for me to bend over a bit more at address and have a flatter swing. On my backswing, the club crosses my bicep. I am a 10 handicap and a decent ball striker and very happy with that since I don't have a ton of time to practice. I took a lesson a short time ago and the instructor wanted me to change to a more upright stance and out-and-up swing. I can hit the ball pretty well that way, but it just seems more natural to swing flatter and more around my body. Does or should your body shape have any influence on your golf swing? Without going into a long diatribe about body types and swing shapes the simple answer is yes, the swing is most definitely influenced by the body type. I would go back to your more natural backswing shape that was both effective and comfortable, leaving the more out-and-upright version behind. As a rule, I wouldn’t make such a significant change to your technique unless you were having significant issues with your ballstriking. Michael P asks at 1:10: I have a over-the-top swing that leaves my divots pointing way left of the target. I have had this issue for years and I can't seem to shake it. When I am on the range, if I stop my swing at the very top to check my setup, then continue with my swing, I don't have the over-the-top swing. This only happens when I am on the course and when I do a swing at the range where I don't pause at the top. Do you have tips or drills I can work on to fix my over-the-top or outside in swing? This is one of those issues that I wish you were on my lesson tee for 5 minutes. The slow swings and stopped swings are great ways to feel and ingrain the proper path into impact. When the speed picks up you lose your ability to control the order and speed of the rotation of your body. The best thing you can do is work in the speed you are having success with the swing changes. If you are at a speed that produces the same over-the-top move then you must slow down or nothing is going to change. Casey asks at 1:00: The hip is OK. Just need to go to some PT, no surgery.
Have you read The Talent Code? I remember you hammering away a very slow reps to make a change stick, but I didn't believe it or want to hear it (thick-headed). But over the last few weeks I've noticed my swing falls apart very quickly, like the changes I made do not stick at all. Then I picked up the book and started reading it, and began to understand why -- I wasn't engraining the changes and it was impossible for me to go full speed. I could on the range with a ton of hard work and headaches but I couldn't bring it to the course.
Anyway, like numerous times before, I've realized that you gave me very good advice about doing the slow reps to engrain. Thank you for pointing this out. I wish I understood this and realized why it was important months ago.
Here is an update video. It's amazing how if I just get my takeaway and setup right the rest kind of falls into place.
Thanks again, Casey
DTL - first swing at 1:04 (sorry I was stretching and making slow reps) Glad to hear about your hip. It sounds like you are learning a great deal about how to get better. The Talent Code is a very good read. Casey, the fact is you learn things that are important when you are ready to learn them. One of my mentors in teaching, Ben Doyle, had two great things he used to stay that have stuck with me over the years. The first was that the chick has to peck at the egg a thousand times to break it and get out; in other words, sometimes it takes a great deal of repetition and effort to make a change. The other thing he always used to ask me was, Can I make the motion “slower and heavier”? He wanted me to stop over-accelerating, slow down, relax, and feel the weight of the club be moved by my pivot. Those are lessons I learned over time and they have stuck with me for the last 20-something years. I agree about getting the takeaway working first and the benefits that go with it. The swing looks really good and I like how you are practicing very purposefully. This is going to be a big year for you, Casey. Kevin asks at 12:35: Thanks for sharing your wise insights with us each week. I have a question about straightening and bracing against the left leg at impact. How does one do this without lifting up a bit. If you start the swing in an athletic position, with the knees slightly bent, and then the left leg straightens at impact, wouldn't that naturally cause the body and head to lift a bit, resulting in a thin shot? Do you have any drills to help perform the correct lower body motion with the legs (particularly the left leg) while staying down? Thanks for the kind words and the great question. The funny thing is the left leg can be straightening through impact and the head can be lower than it was at address. This is possible because the left hip is farther from the ball at impact through rotation than it began and the upper body has right-side tilt. This allows the left arm to be extended, left shoulder higher than address, right arm more bent than at address, right wrist bent backwards, hands forward, etc. The most important thing to understand is that impact and address are completely different. Here are a couple of pictures to help you visualize. Byrdleg Leftleg Mark R asks at 12:15: Great job, makes my Tuesdays. Equipment question if you don't mind? Would a heavier driver (greater than 75 grams), stiff shaft help slow down my incorrect fast transition. Or would an X-stiff light weight shaft (less than 65 grams) help cure the tempo of my transition? I understand swing speed is critical and every swing is different, just wondering your thoughts as you see the best swings and equipment perform up close. Thank you, sir. Equipment issues are always best sorted out on the range with multiple options in clubs, balls, etc. and with the use of technology to measure ball speed, spin rates, launch angle, etc. The simple answer to your question is without seeing you hit balls with the above mentioned equipment present I would be guessing. I don’t like guessing much. The final thing I would tell you is that I have never been a big fan of trying to fix issues with your swing through equipment changes. There are better ways to improve the sequence and timing of your transition than changing drivers although I’m sure an equipment expert would have a different opinion. Chuck Spanburg asks at 12:00: I pull most of my irons to the left. HELP PLEASE! There can be multiple reasons why your iron shots are heading left of the target. Here are a couple possible scenarios: The most common cause of the pull is the clubface being closed. This can happen for a variety of reasons from a grip that is too strong, a left wrist that is bowed excessively during the swing, the body hanging back behind the ball too much at impact causing the hands to flip the face shut or the ball being played too far forward in the stance. While you might think the closed face will cause an excessive draw or a hook, the shorter irons won’t curve very much making the clubface a strong possibility. The other likely culprit is the path. If the club is attacking the ball from too far outside a neutral path, the ball can start left of the target if the face isn’t open to the path. In other words, if everything is pointing left (path and clubface) the ball will go there. The first step to fixing the issue is to make sure the grip isn’t excessively strong and the ball isn’t too far forward in the stance. Get the grip and ball position in a fairly neutral spot at address and try to start the ball right of the target. The combination of these three things should help considerably. If they don’t, your body is hanging back too much and you need to get your upper body moving more towards the target on the downswing.

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