Creating and maintaining lag in the golf swing is a key component in producing consistent and powerful shots. Fast club head speed is generated by proper swing sequencing and a delayed release of the wrist angles. Lag in the golf swing helps the golfer use centrifugal force to swing the golf club through the ball, not at it. This in turn helps with your tempo and makes it easier to find a balanced position at the top of the swing.
Casting, or club head throw away immediately destroys any chance for a good shot and works against gravity instead of using it to your advantage. The downswing feels very forced, guided, and inefficient as you lose the main power source of your swing. The leg and core muscles.
Losing lag in the golf swing is often the symptom of another problem of which there are many possibilities. Simply working on holding lag with your wrist can just make matters worse. Stick around and after this you’ll understand what it means to have effortless power.
Here is a simple checklist for a powerful impact position.
- Make sure your hands are leading the club face and are in front of the ball.
- Your head is behind the ball.
- Slight horizontal hip slide with weight transferred to 90% on your left leg.
Film your swing from face on and check for these positions.
The golf swing is always cause and effect. Make sure to perfect as much as you can before you start the backswing.
It starts with your swing sequence.
Ben Hogan had such tremendous lag in his swing. It’s no surprise in his book Five Lessons he talked a lot about the proper sequencing of the golf swing. He said the absolute worse thing you can do is failing to start the downswing with your lower body.
The swing should start back with the clubhead then everything else follows. — Hands, arms, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. –The downswing is the complete opposite.
Keep a steady head.
Imagine swinging a weighted string in a circle with your right hand. It’s much easier to generate speed if your hand is stationary. Try the same thing but this time move your hand back and forth. This will give you an idea of how important the head is in the swing. Jack Nicklaus is one of the best players that did this correctly. The only exception to this rule is that the head may lower in the downswing but only as a response to your legs driving into the ground. Never get taller.
Have the best backswing in the world.
The natural tendency is to lift the arms without turning the shoulders. Work hard on keeping your left arm straight and connected to your upper body by feeling pressure under your left armpit and flexing your triceps. The bigger the shoulder turn the better. Lack of flexibility can make this move very difficult. If you struggle with flexibility, try turning your right foot out a quarter turn.
You know you’re in a good position at the top if you can barely hold it. Maintain consistent grip pressure on the club and load some pressure into the pad of the right index finger. Never squeeze your index finger and thumb together. The pressure built up in your legs and core at this point should be maintained as long as you can into the downswing. Remember, you only want the shaft to sing on the follow through not the backswing, so, take it slow. I’m sure you’ve heard the words before, “Low An Slow.”
Fix your downswing plane.
If you are loosing your lag in the downswing there is a good chance it’s for a good reason, otherwise you wouldn’t make contact. Chances are the shaft is getting to vertical (steep) in the downswing and the only way to hit the ball is adding width by casting the club. Your left arm will have to stop in order to create room for the club to come through the ball. A chicken wing follow through is a result of a complete loss in lag pressure, extension, and sequence. Check your sequence, you want a continual forward thrust with the legs which will help hold the lag.
Get strong in your hands
In particular your wrist and forearm strength should be strong enough to hold the pressure built in the downswing.
The swooosh drill
Grab a alignment stick or just a shaft and make a few high speed swings. Where do you hear the swooosh? Your goal with this drill is to get the highest pitch sound you can possible make out towards the target. Thinking through the ball rather than at it will help. If you want to take this drill one step further and like training aids the Flex Lag Tempo Trainer is the holy grail for everything we just talked about.