Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs stopped by on Tuesday to answer your questions
and analyze your swing videos. Here's what he had to say. Thanks to everyone for your questions and comments. I am sorry I couldn't get to everyone but I am off to the lesson tee. Special thanks to Sandy and everyone at Taylormade/Adidas for their great products and help! See everyone next week. Ethan asks at 1:37:Love
the column. I like to know that every Tuesday I can become a little
more knowledgeable and hopefully a little less horrible at golf.
My question is about conditioning. My wife has been bugging me to
start lifting weights and doing other types of strength training.
Apparently hitting a bucket at the range every couple days doesn't
qualify as serious exercise in her book. Since I'm going to be working
up a sweat I figured I might as well use this opportunity to get better
at golf. Are there any exercises you'd suggest to increase overall golf
fitness and/or power? Anything I should avoid as to not impede my
naturally beautiful swing path?Thanks for the feedback about the blog, I hope to help you be less horrible every week! Here is the deal about golf/fitness, etc. The simple fact of the matter is that there have been great golfers of all shapes and sizes as long as the game has been played. On the highest levels golf specific fitness training has moved from non-existent to the norm over the last 20 years or so. I have never been a big believer that specific fitness training is a requirement for the recreational player to play the game well. It is impossible to get someone to work on their body if they don't want to so I don't even bother pushing on anyone unless they ask. WITH THAT SAID….I have gone on a personal journey of fitness this year that has been life-changing. I started the year at 220lbs and now check in under 180lbs. In the process I have become so much stronger in both the power and cardio departments that it amazes me (and everyone else that knows me). I was never FAT, just plump, and have stayed active in sports my entire life but felt that I needed to get healthier this year. One wonderful side effect of this is that my back pain which was chronic for over 20 years is gone, making it easier for me to enjoy the game. Here is the kicker, I don't hit the ball any better or farther than I did 40lbs. ago. So, while my results aren't any better my ability to play pain free is greatly improved and I will hopefully be able to play longer in my life.
Nate asks at 1:30:Since I
started playing golf I've had this move in my backswing where I roll my
hands a little bit in the takeaway and the club shaft gets somewhat
horizontal at about chest height. I get the club into a decent position
at the top (shaft parallel to target line, but face is slightly closed)
so I'm trying to understand what kind of detrimental effects this
rolling of the hands has on my ballstriking. And how can I go about
instilling the proper wrist hinge? My misses (push-fade) tend to pop up
with the longer irons and driver especially.The golf swing is more about where you have come from and where you are going than where you are. In other words, a static picture of a position at the top of the swing doesn't tell you enough of the story when it comes to how effective your swing will be. It is better to see the frames before the top and after the top as they let you know how the shape of your swing is going to determine the contact, power, and direction of the shot. The problem with rolling your hands early in the backswing is that it tends to open up the clubface. This can obviously produce shots that go the right of the target, something you have described as one of your misses. The other issue with rolling the hands that you accurately described is that the shaft gets horizontal or excessively "flat" going back. This is the momentum thing I mentioned earlier. What goes up on one side of neutral almost always comes down on the other side of neutral. So, if you go up flat you tend to come down steep. Steep usually causes pop-ups with the driver, another miss you have described. The fact that the club is in a "good" position at the top isn't as important as the clubface being open or the shaft attacking on too steep an angle. If you fix the takeaway, you may fix both downswing issues at once without working on them specifically. This is the secret to being a good teacher, fixing the problems in the downswing before they get there. Here is a picture of a good takeaway that you can copy.
[email protected] asks at 1:15:Great work
with this blog. I seem to hit player's clubs really well. I have
Mizuno MX-25 w/ KBS Tour Stiff shafts. However, everytime I hit a
smaller cavity or even a muscleback like the MP 57, MP 60 or even MP 32,
I really kill it, especially if they have Project X shafts. This really
seems to help. I have an aggressive (almost violent move at the ball).
Would you recommend switching the shafts, or just getting more of a
player's club altogether? My game fluctuates anywhere between a solid 10
to a 15. My 6 iron ss is around 90-92 mph and I have done the Mizuno
shaft optimizer and gotten two completely different recommendations.Thanks for the feedback about the blog Tom. I think you have answered your own question. I don't care what a machine or even a clubfitter tells you when it comes to equipment. If you hit a certain club or shaft better than another that is the one you should be playing. I have been on the range at many tour events where players will have 3 or 4 drivers all exactly the same it terms of shaft, weight, loft, etc. and pick the one out they think feels the best to them. There is no better way to make a determination of which club to use than to hit them with a real ball off real grass on the range or even better on the course.
Angelo asks at 1:00:I'm a
right-handed player and I have trouble with my alignment on any shot
that requires me to aim to the right. The longer the club, the more
trouble with the shot I have. I follow my usual routine of lining up my
shot from behind the ball, but when I set up over the ball for the shot
I feel totally misaligned and my upper and lower bodies feel like they
are working against each other. What can I do to fix this problem?
Thank you.My mom has the same issue Angelo. She is very liberal so I wonder if that has something to do with her aversion to the right side of things. Anyway, the key here is to change your routine so you don't feel like you are aiming to the right or left but straight regardless of the situation. When I played competitively I always picked a target 12-18 inches in front of my ball that was directly in-line with where I was aiming (not necessarily the target). I stole this from Nicklaus of course and it really helped me get the feeling that regardless of the circumstance or difficulty of the shot I just needed to execute my technique to be successful. Once I determined that spot in front of my ball I had the sense that you could cut out the piece of earth I was standing on and point me in any direction and it wouldn't matter because I had my intermediate target to guide me. Seems strange but it is very effective.
Greg Bryant asks at 12:50:Brady, I'm
a 6.1 hcp and looking for help. I'm working on my tush line and feel
like I'm good to the top of my swing. When I try to start the downswing
with a bump to the left side or try to reconnect my left hip to the tush
line, my left shoulder turns before my hands drop and I come across the
ball. Any suggestions on how to delay the left shoulder turn? This is a typical problem for players on every level so don't be disheartened Greg. It sounds like your problem is with the WHEN of things and not necessarily the HOW. Here is what I mean. If the body begins the bump towards the target before the arms and club have finished the backswing there is no way for the shoulders to spin before the hands come down. When people struggle with the transition they often are waiting too long to bump. As a result the shoulders, arms and hands play an active role starting down and the swing goes south quickly. Keep in mind that the left hip doesn't need to reconnect with the "tush line" for a while coming down, it just can't move closer to the target line than it was at the top. In other words, the hips stay turned but move PARALLEL to the target line, not diagonally. This is a critical element of keeping the "Lane" clear as you will see in the pictures I posted of AK earlier in the blog. If you get the opportunity to send it video of your swing I can help you pinpoint exactly where to go.
Brendan asks at 12:40:Welcome
back Brady! We missed you last week.
My question this week is for tips on how to hit the 3-wood off the
tee. My problem is that I take out the 3-wood for accuracy on short par
4's and end up either topping it or hitting it fat.
Do you have any advice on how to consistently hit the 3-wood off the
tee (i.e. tee height, ball position, etc.)?
Also, my set is currently composed of D, 3, 5, 3H, 5-PW, 50, 55, 60.
I am a 12 handicap and carry 4 wedges to fix my distance gap. My
concern now is that by taking out my 4-iron I have a gap of 20 yards
(200-180) between by 3H and 5-iron. I am considering adding a 4H to my
bag, but do now know what club to remove. The extra wedge? The 5-wood?It's good to be back, although I miss Hawaii! Many people struggle with the 3-wood and hybrids from the fairway. When the miss is a top the problem is almost always standing too far from the ball. With your issue being from the tee and adding a fat shot to the mix my guess is that the distance from it isn't the issue, but it is a good place to start. If you are hitting the driver well and hitting the 3-wood consistently from the fairway then I would certainly go through the set-up and make sure you are clean there first. It should obviously be a bit easier from the tee but it's golf after all so go figure. If everything seems fine at address than focus on a solid routine and getting to a balanced finish on the golf course. This seems like generic advice but can really make the difference if you are struggling from a mental standpoint. If that doesn't work send me a video of the 3-wood so I can give you more specific advice. When it comes to setting up the bag remember that it can change from course to course, day to day. If you are playing a shorter golf course that requires more wedges into greens than the current set up you are using is great. If the course has a couple par 3's that are in your distance gap than you should take out one of the wedges and add the 4h to fill that gap. If you do take out a wedge it should be the 60 as it doesn't leave a gap between clubs.
Tim asks at 12:12:I like
what you're doing on this blog. Awesome work! My question for you is
regarding to Anthony Kim (again lol). Ive tried looking other places to
learn more about his swing but you seem to be the only one with good
pics and insight on his swing. Im hoping you can explain how he keeps
his hips so stable on the backswing (other then tremendous flexibilty)
and how he keeps them from coming into the ball on the downswing
(keeping his tush line).It looks like he has a large lateral shift into
his right side but i dont think its as much as it looks. Also i noticed
that at address he has the clubshaft point more towards his navel where i
have mine more towards my belt buckle. how does this help him and what
exactly is he doing to get set up this way? Again thank you for your
time.You have made some very good observations about AK's technique. Let's start with the lateral motion during the swing. Anthony is very flexible in addition to being very strong. As a result he can create a tremendous amount of torque with a minimum amount of rotation with his hips during the backswing. This is a nearly impossible move for most recreational players to attempt to copy as they lack the the physicality necessary to be successful. There is a large amount of lateral motion going back and coming down in his swing. While his hips aren't rotating a great deal, his upper body is cranking it up and doing it on a much steeper angle than many on tour. This is similar to the pivot of Villegas and only meant for the most athletic players. You have brought up a good point about the tush line. Despite the lack of movement rotationally on the backswing AK is able to maintain his lane coming down and not lose the line because he moves parallel to the target line with his hips and not diagonally TOWARDS the target line. This is a subtle difference but is critical to his success. The major deal with AK is that his golf swing isn't comprised of two parts, a backswing and downswing, but is a fluid motion without seams. The last point about the clubshaft at address is also very observant. Because AK chokes down on every club in his bag his left wrists doesn't have the typical amount of vertical hinge in it that most players achieve. As a result his clubshaft sits more upright at address than is considered normal pointing above his navel and not at it. I would encourage you to study AK's move but keep in mind that you should steal from everyone but copy nobody when it comes to the golf swing. I have included a couple of pics to help you visualize.
Evan asks at 12:04:Love
I am a 1 handicap that has developed a swing with my instructor that
has no hip bump in the transition/downswing.
For this to work (I have been hitting a ton of thin shots because I
have really been spinning out lately) I have adopted a more reverse K
setup which allows me to post onto my left side without having to bump.
My question is if you feel like this is a good way to play golf and
if you could point out any pro's who have no/minimal hip bump in their
swings.Thanks for the feedback about the blog. I like it as well.I have to be honest with you Evan and say that I can't stand that philosophy of swinging. I have seen it work on occasion with good players but it is terribly unnatural to not move your weight during an athletic motion like a golf swing. Look at any other sport that throws or hits at an object and you will see an obvious shift of the body in the direction of the target. Take a ball in the backyard and throw one while keeping all your weight on your front foot during the motion and one where you allow your weight to shift back and through to the target, the results are obvious. I would rather you work on pivoting properly than omitting the movement completely. BTW, you spin out because instead of spending a couple of frames on the downswing going to the target with your "bump" you are already on the left side. Your body instinctively wants to do something so it spins.
Bill Pucci asks at 12:00:I have
severe back problems which inhibits my hips opening up and I end up
having my arms take over the swing and as you can imagine big problems
set in.Is there anything you could suggest to keep my arms from
overtaking my swing.It sounds like you are going to have to go with what you have Bill. My dad has some major difficulties with his lower back and can't swing the club the way he used to. We have modified his swing to be more arms and hands oriented so he can stay on the golf course and enjoy the game. If improving the condition of your back isn't a possibility, then you need to adopt a similar philosophy that allows you to play good golf while minimizing your level of discomfort. There have been countless great players with limited body rotation back and through that are successful because they use their arms and hands effectively.