It’s something the game’s longest hitters all have in common but what exactly is lag in the golf swing and how can you create it?
Well, it’s the angle between the left forearm (right for left-handers) and the club in your downswing. So, when people talk about how you or they lost the lag, it’s because that angle has been thrown away too quickly, resulting in a loss of distance, among other things.
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While it’s important to have an element of lag within your swing in order to maintain speed and hit the ball further, it’s not something you want to overthink. Ultimately, lag is created as a by-product of good body movements.
Through proper sequencing tour players are able to generate it with ease whereas amateurs often struggle to grasp this concept.
But why is this and how can you get better? Here are some causes and cures:
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. However, this will cost you lag and therefore distance, as well as create a whole host of other problems.
Casting the club is also an issue for golfers who sway. For example, if you shift your body too far in front of the ball before impact, the low point where the clubs meets the ground moves forward. To counter this, amateurs will often throw away the lag, which helps to bring the low point back towards the ball.
The problem with this move is that, again, it’s going to cost you yardage and it’s also very difficult to get the timing right, meaning you’re likely to produce an inconsistent strike pattern.
Instead, you want to practise sequencing correctly. From the top, that means unwinding from the ground up.
Rotation of the legs and hips should initiate the downswing while the club feels like it almost remains in place. That then brings the upper body in, which allows the arms to slot into position, ensuring you’ve created lag in an efficient way.
From there, everything can turn through as one in a much more powerful and stable manner.
Separate the hands
If you’re still having trouble maintaining the angle between your left forearm and the club shaft on the way down, make some split-handed swings.
Place your left hand on the club as normal, but move your right halfway down the shaft. As you start the downswing, keep your right elbow close to your side.
Repeat this move a number of times. This demonstrates what the right angle is, and how you can maintain it. When you come to make a real swing, try and retain this feeling and you’ll create a more powerful move.