Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher Brady Riggs was online Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. Eastern time to help fix your swing and analyze your video. He’ll be back next week at the same time so video your swing and post it on YouTube so Brady can analyze it next week. Thanks to everyone for your questions and videos. Sorry I couldn’t get to everyone but I am off to the lesson tee. See everyone next week. Remember, if you need more information about me please visit www.bradyriggs.com. Thomas asks at 1:00:Great stuff–this is a fantastic resource. You’ve helped improve my game by helping me embrace some of what I thought were flawed techniques (e.g., the ten-finger grip). I have more confidence than ever and now have more time to focus on the parts of my swing that really need work….
My question is about the left arm on takeaway. My natural backswing results in about a 155 angle on my left arm. I find maintaining a straight left arm to be cumbersome and rigid. I’m a much better ball striker with the more relaxed, bent takeaway (and long enough).
Nonetheless–I still could stand to improve my ball striking–its not like I’m Sir Nick Faldo out there (9-10 handicap). Should I take this offseason to try to improve my technique and get more comfortable with a straight left arm–so I can eventually improve more? Is a bent left arm an impediment to true ball-striking consistency? Thanks for the kind words, Thomas. This is another “fundamental” you can scratch off your list. Keeping the left arm straight at the top of the swing is not mandatory for playing great golf. In fact, keeping it straight at impact isn’t mandatory either. It is far more important that your arms are soft and relaxed to transfer the power and energy from your pivot through your arms and into the club. Many people get worse after looking at their swing on video and mistaking a bent left arm as a problem with their swing. If you can always remember that the clubface is the most important thing to control, then the path of the club and finally the pivot, you will be on your way. The bent left arm has no negative effect on either the face, path or pivot. If you were following golf back in the 80s there was a guy named Calvin Peete who was one of the single best ball-strikers of his time. He was so straight off the tee it was scary. His left arm was injured as a kid and he was unable to straighten it completely. It remained bent throughout his swing, but it didn’t prevent him from becoming a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. Of course that was during a time on Tour when accuracy was important, but I digress… Check out this picture of Retief Goosen, two-time U.S. Open Champion, and the No. 1 player in the world, Lee Westwood, for further confirmation. Daniel asks at 12:40: My question is about lag. I’m a 9-handicapper and I’ve always fought with early release. I’ve tried everything, I start my downswing shifting the weight to the left foot, turn my upper body properly covering the ball, but nothing can stop my hands from casting at the top which causes loss of distance, lack of accuracy and loss of compression and touch. Any help? this vids are a bit old and taken at night, but they’re maybe useful.
Thanks for sending in your swing, Daniel. It looks like a move that should be producing better scores than what you are currently showing. The quest for lag is mysterious, magical, and often misunderstood. Once people begin to tinker with creating more lag they often become obsessed about it. If there is one thing I have learned over the years it is that the obsession about lag has ruined more good players than it has produced. If I were coaching you I would take a different approach. First, let me say I really like many aspects of your golf swing. It is powerful, big, and obviously that of a good athlete. It has the makings of something fairly special. If you look at the swing from the face-on view you can see your head diving down and back through impact. This is a compensating move to attempt to drive the club into a shallower and more inside angle of attack approaching impact. The problem with this compensating move is it hangs your upper body back behind the ball excessively, making it difficult to sync things up at impact and into the finish.
From the target line view we see your arms quite high and disconnected at the top of the swing. This “running on” of your arms after you have completed your turn leads to the steeper transition and the need to dive back behind the ball at impact. I would like to see your arms lower at the top, the club significantly flatter on the downswing, and your body staying more level through impact. Here is a picture to help you get the idea of where your arms and club should be. Use the picture on the right as your guide. Jack asks at 12:24: I posted some videos last winter, and am curious to hear some comments again. After the last couple of lessons at my pro he strengthened my grip, tried to have me “lock” my right hip by tucking it “down and in” at the start of the backswing, and also wanted my right elbow to support the club more at the top (like a waiter holding a tray). How do these suggestions sound to you, and would you focus on something else? Here’s what I think. The grip certainly isn’t too strong and the clubface may be a bit open so I don’t think his suggestion about a stronger grip is necessarily bad. I don’t understand the description of how he wants you to fix the hip and why, but it sounds like he is trying to keep it from sliding during the backswing. I think your hips move in the wrong direction as you finish the backswing so this may be the same type of idea. The arms and club look pretty good to me at the top, so if this is after you worked on it, then good job. If you haven’t tried it yet I wouldn’t. The real issue is your pivot on the backswing. The basic idea is that your upper body is moving to the target first on the downswing instead of your hips, making it very difficult to come in on the proper angle and develop any consistency. As you finish the backswing, your right butt cheek should be moving TOWARD the target while your head is moving slightly AWAY from the target. Your move is exactly the opposite, which is in fact a reverse pivot. I have included a picture to help you visualize where it is supposed to go.
JP asks at 12:15: Brady…. Thanks for the help during the summer, this is a great thing you are doing. Due to it being November and I am in the Midwest, this will be my last post until April or so. I am just looking for some things to think about over the winter or some indoor things I can do. In my down the line video I am working on tush line, and the only way that I know I am doing good is to have my bag behind me. I am also curious what you think of my release, or if my hands are working correctly thru impact.
The swing is definitely looking better. You are doing a good job maintaining the tush line. It is difficult for me to see your hands in this video, but nothing looks too unusual. I would like to see you maintain your height during the backswing a little better. If you watch the clip from face-on you will see your head move a couple of inches up during the backswing. this can also be seen from the target line view as the angle of your head changes. The reason for this is your shoulders are turning flatter than is ideal and your weight isn’t loading into your back heel at the top as obviously as I would like. This is the part of the swing I would be working on during the off-season. Roberta asks at 12:08: My partner is a beginner and his takeaway is good, but he doesn’t get the weight transfer bit and reverse pivots too? Any ideas? Encourage him to make the golf swing an athletic motion and you will see him improve quickly. Just as he would when throwing, kicking, or hitting a ball, his weight would move in the direction of the target as he releases. If he stays on the front foot during the backswing, he won’t be able to move in that direction of the target. Encourage him to make practice swings to feel the proper motion. Scott Fahrney asks at 12:00:Brady, I’ve been struggling with full shots with my 52, 56, and 60 wedges this year, I seem to be hitting everything a bit fat. On most of my iron shots I take a decent divot, but they dont end up fat? Any tips or suggestions that could help me? This is a fairly typical problem when people hit the short wedges full. It is much easier to make solid contact, control your trajectory and your distances when you hit them more three-quarter. If you are going to hit the wedge full, I would suggest you keep the width of your stance fairly narrow and the ball slightly forward of the middle of your stance. This change in your stance combined with an effort to keep your upper body rotating through to the finish should help you make better contact. The most common mistake people make when hitting it fat is putting the ball BACK in the stance. This will only make your problems worse…