The “L” word is typically always brought into the discussion when golfers talk about improving their game of golf by increasing club speed and distance.
The "L" word we're talking about is lag, which is said to be the key to achieving gob-smacking distance off the tee.
It's lag that differentiates amateurs from the professional golf superstars who fly the ball 350+ yards with great ease. What is lag, exactly? Why does it make it easier for you to strike the ball further with every club? And why do so many amateur golfers find it difficult to achieve it?
Lag is an expression for the angle formed by the club, wrists, and arms. It is achieved by having the arms, wrists, and clubhead in the right sequence as the club had come around into impact. Golfers are typically concerned with generating all of the strength from the shifting, twisting, and tightening of the body, but if your arms and club aren't in the proper order to strike, it's all in vain.
To add additional lag to your golf swing, all you have to do is avoid keeping your arms straight. Achieving steady lag in your swing depends on the positioning of your arms at the beginning of the swing. Starting with the perfect posture and angle of your right arm, you can effectively preset your lag. Creating it on the downswing is unnecessary.
To put it another way, you could set the club off in a precise sequence, keeping your wrists fairly relaxed, and yet still deliver enough force. Start with bent arms as this will allow you to properly coordinate your movements as you go back and forth without having to make significant compensations. Many concerns could be handled simply with a proper setup.
Lag is the angle formed by the perfect spot of the clubhead and the handle as you shift into your downswing.
Once you start to swing down, you'll want a steep angle. That's called lag. By commencing at a steep angle, you pack the clubhead with energy that will be unleashed at the right time. Then, as you get closer to impact, you let go of the clubhead and drive out and down towards the ball. This provides a whip-like action for increased speed and a stronger connection.
On the downswing, many amateur golfers engage in what is called "casting." This means that at the peak of their swing, they strike the clubhead out wide, straying outside of the appropriate swing plane. This causes the energy to be released prematurely, resulting in less power upon impact than would be obtained with some well-timed lag.
In a visual sense, this is the definition of lag. The fundamental point, though, is that lag is just energy stored. It's energy that's simply waiting to be unleashed shortly before impact. Once you understand this, you will be able to feel significant lag in your golf swing.
Lag is something that all of golf's greatest swingers share. In your downswing, it's the angle formed by your left forearm (for right-handers) and the club. When golfers talk about losing their lag, it means the angle was tossed away too abruptly, leading to a loss of distance.
Although it is necessary to have some lag in your golf swing to sustain momentum and hit the ball farther, this is not something you should overanalyze. Ultimately, lag comes as a result of effective body movements. Professional players could easily achieve it through precise sequencing, whereas amateurs typically fail to execute this technique.
Here are the secrets to creating lag:
Lag is generally caused by proper sequencing as you start your downswing. It's one of the most critical components in learning how to swing a golf club. You need to practice sequencing properly. From the top, this entails releasing from the bottom up. The downswing should be initiated by rotating the legs and hips while the club practically remains in position. This draws the upper body in, allowing the arms to slide into place and guaranteeing that you've effectively produced lag. Everything could then turn through as one in a far more powerful and steady manner.
Take several split-handed swings if you find it hard to keep the angle between your left forearm and the club shaft on the way down. Put your left hand on the club as usual, then slide your right hand halfway down the shaft. Keep your right elbow tight to your side as you begin the downswing. Practice this maneuver many times. This illustrates what the correct angle is and how to keep it. Whenever the time comes to make an actual swing, try to keep this sensation in mind and you'll be able to make a more forceful move.
The solution can be found in the order of events. Your legs are first to go as you reach the peak of your backswing. The lag is caused by the fluid change in direction. Your shoulders stay passive throughout this fluid movement. It is the gap between the upper and lower bodies. It is the shift of weight from the back to the front. The club lowers as you free your hips. Until slightly below waist height, your shoulders remain passive. At that moment, you spin quickly all the way through.
This is the sequence, but many golfers, however, cannot disassociate. Thus, how can you have lag if you can't separate your upper and lower bodies? The solution is to drive energy into the ground during the backswing to shift your weight to the inside of your back leg and foot. Redirect this pressure to the front side on the downswing, while keeping your shoulders relaxed. This movement allows the club to sink to wherever it needs to be while preserving all angles without fear of disconnection.
But do not be concerned if you don't have that disconnection. Simply ensure that:
Most amateurs struggle to grasp the concept of lag since it entails envisioning the golf club lagging behind the hands and then being pulled through the downswing to create clubhead speed. But, once you grasp the technique, you would almost certainly be able to drive the ball farther, improve your accuracy, and become a much more consistent golfer.