The Swing By Gerald - Lag
By Gerald Haynes
ROK Golf - Director of Instruction
In this installment of the Swing By Gerald we will be covering Lag. Some of you might be wondering what is Lag, others might know what it is, but have no idea how to achieve it. I would say, read my first 3 blog posts first - then come back to this one. Without understanding what to do before you start the downswing it is very difficult to even think about creating any lag.
Lag is the angle created between the arms and club on the downswing, and it is essential in creating distance, no angle = no distance. If there was a secret to Hogan's swing it was Lag, he created more Lag than any player of his era and maybe the most of all time, which is why he was such a dominant force in golf even though he could barely walk 18 holes.
How To Create Lag:
Most modern players have a good amount of lag, the only player that really comes close to Hogan is Sergio, and that's probably why he has been the best ball striker on tour almost 20 years now. If you watch Sergio's swing you can see at the top of his swing he does not have a tremendous amount of hinge, but as soon as he starts his downswing he goes from 90 degrees to 150 degrees of hinge very quickly. The key is not actually trying to create lag, but letting it happen.
Your hands need to be inactive enough during the backswing and the downswing, that gravity and change of direction allow the lag to be created. We see all kinds of drill that have you pre-hinge, and try to keep that angle both back and through. I have found after numerous attempts to teach it, that method does not actually work, all it does is create tension and kill any lag you could achieve.
The best way to learn it is with a heavy club, turn back with no hinge and really relaxed hands, then start you downswing and allow the club to hinge as you turn through. The heavy club will help your hands understand the lag and feel the club stay behind as you turn through. The following video is a good drill to practice with a heavy club, exaggerating the softness in your hands, the turn through, and leaving the club behind.
There are several reasons to create the Lag, the biggest one is distance, but when you have Lag you also have a lot more consistency. The reason there is more distance and consistency is because Lag helps flex the shaft of the club properly, which in turn helps it release properly. When you watch the pros, they hit is so clean all the time because there shaft is releasing at the moment of impact, so they are at max speed at impact. Most amateurs release the club from the top of their swing, their club is actually slowing down at impact.
Another big piece of the Lag, flexing of the club and release point is loft, I won't get into Dynamic Loft and Spin Loft yet, but loft is taken off or normalized when there is Lag. Most amateurs add loft to their clubs: Example - if your 7 iron is measured at 34 degrees of loft and you add loft at the bottom by not having lag, your 7 iron hits the ball at 40+ degrees of loft, essentially making it a 9 iron. A Tour Player will take that same 34 degrees and make it 28 degrees at impact, in essence hitting the ball 36+ yards further than an amateur without changing speed.
Do's and Don'ts!
The first video is the do not swing, and the second will be the do swing.
Lag is an integral piece to help you create both distance and consistency. Learn how to take the control away from your hands and trust that momentum and gravity will help you control the golf ball better than your hands.
Stay relaxed with your hands and let the club follow your body, both back and through impact. Your hands can take over once you feel the club catch on the way down, preferably after your hands pass the ball.