Lag is the second aspect of a golf swing that one must get correct to have a good swing. Lag as it relates to the golf swing is usually defined as “to stay behind.” In other words, the hands are always leading while the clubhead is trailing behind. This is easy to visualize as we all have seen the slow motion videos of professionals creating lag on their downswings. Looking at the definition and videos of lag leaves a lot to be desired when trying to understand this important aspect of the golf swing. Creating lag requires proper body movements in combination with the dynamics of the golf shaft to deliver the clubhead squarely and with increasing velocity to the golf ball. A good explanation of the purpose of lag can be found in Homer Kelly’s book “The Golfing Machine.” In it he states that “clubhead lag promotes even and steady acceleration, assuring dependable control of distance – any amount of deceleration during the down stoke dissipates clubhead lag.” Therefore, constant acceleration is needed to ensure a lagging clubhead through impact.
There are many misconceptions on how to create lag. One is that lag is created intentionally by holding your wrist hinge/bend and arms back as you rotate the shoulders forward. Another is that the wrists should be flung at the ball to create clubhead speed. Both of these ideas could not be further from the truth. Poor players often over accelerate the club with the hands reaching maximum speed well before impact. Better players continually accelerate the club through and beyond impact. See my post on Biomechanics for a further explanation.
To create lag, one must start from the ground up. That is, with a weight shift and a turn of the hips forward followed by the torso and finally the arms. The arms and wrists stay relaxed and passive at the beginning of the downswing and into the slot position. As the arms move forward from the slot position, inertia carries the club through impact with the ball. Again, I am going to refer you to a paper written by Jeffery Mann as he does an excellent job at explaining lag and how to create it. It is another long article, so you may want to bookmark it for future reference.
Stay tuned for the last post in this series relating to impact and release.
I also would like to mention that comments and questions relating to any of my posts are always welcome.