What Is Lag In The Golf Swing And How To Create It

PGA pro Gareth Lewis asks what is lag in the golf swing and has some advice on how to create it the right way

PGA pro Gareth Lewis showing what to do and what not to do to create lag in the golf swing
(Image credit: Tom Miles)

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What is lag in the golf swing and how to create it

It's something the game's longest hitters all have in common, but what is lag in the golf swing and how can you create it? In the video and article below, PGA pro Gareth Lewis answers that question and runs through everything you need to know…

Basically, lag is the angle between the left forearm (right for right-handers) and the club. In the golf swing, you want to create and maintain this angle for as long as possible before releasing it all at impact. So, when you make your driver backswing, in an ideal world you want to see roughly a 90-degree angle between your forearm and the club. 

However, it’s important not to overthink this part of the swing. Ultimately, lag is created as a by-product of good body movements. If you don't think you've got enough lag in your swing, it's likely that you're a caster. That is, the angle set in the backswing is released way too early. This can occur for a couple of reasons. 

First, if you struggle with slicing, casting early can give the feeling of squaring the clubface. But this will cost you lag and therefore distance, as well as cause you a whole host of other problems.

PGA pro Gareth Lewis showing how not to create lag in the golf swing

Casting can lead to slices as the body stalls and the club is sent on an out-to-in path

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Casting is also an issue for golfers who sway. If you shift your body too far in front of the ball before impact, the low point where the club meets the ground moves forward. To counter that, amateurs will often throw away the lag, which helps to bring the low point back towards the ball. Again, the problem is that this is going to lead to a loss of distance and accuracy as your margin for error will be greatly reduced, meaning you’ll be relying purely on timing.

On the contrary, from a good driver address position, it'll be easier to make an effective backswing. A proper golf downswing swing sequence will then ensure you’re able to maintain the angle created. 

Proper sequencing 

The perfect technique will see the body unwinding from the ground up. That means rotating your hips for power, with the hands and arms feeling like they remain in place. The upper body will then turn through, allowing the arms to slot into place. By creating lag properly, you should also notice the weight of the clubhead puts some strain on the shaft.

Doing this is one of the best ways to increase your swing speed where it matters most - impact. More speed equals more distance, so if this is something you struggle with, here’s a handy drill that’ll help.

PGA pro Gareth Lewis demonstrating a great drill to help golfers create lag

As you start the downswing, feel like you pull the handle of the club straight down

(Image credit: Tom Miles)

Swing to the top and imagine the shaft is a bathroom light switch. As you start the downswing with your hips, feel like you’re pulling the string straight down and turning the light off. It’s vital to remember that it needs to be straight down. Don’t move it away from the body or pull it down before the hips. Practising this feeling will help you retain lag and put you in a great position to rotate through impact to get more power in your golf swing.

Gareth Lewis
PGA Professional

Gareth is a well respected professional with over 20 years experience. Gareth has previously worked at various high profile and world-renowned facilities, the most recent being Royal St.David's Golf Club in Harlech, North Wales, where he held the position of Club Manager and Head Professional.

 

He has a passion for coaching, custom fitting and retail and also enjoys regularly competing and playing socially. Gareth has had success coaching players of all abilities from a Welsh Professional Champion and Welsh Amateur Internationals to the absolute beginner. Gareth's passion for all sports and enthusiasm to continue learning makes his coaching style very adaptable and relatable, which is why he also has a good track record of coaching elite athletes from other sports. More details can be found at www.lewygolf.co.uk (opens in new tab)