golf swing lag

Golf Swing Lag – Why It Matters

So, you’ve been wondering what golf swing lag is. How can you master it? Why are people going crazy over it?

We know many players who get the wrong idea about what the golf swing lag might be and ruin their already good swing.

To address and solve all the issues, we’ve designed this post as a handy guide. We highly recommend that you stick to the end of this post to clearly understand what you’re looking at. Also, we’ll share some drills that you can practice to master the lag.

Before we dive into golf swing lag, first review the proper way to grip a golf club. Grip will come first before generating lag in the golf swing!

What is Golf Swing Lag?

Before anything else, what is even a golf swing lag? Does it mean you lagging behind the swing? Or, does it mean that you should stop your swing somewhere in the middle?

The answer is, none of it. The golf swing lag means that your club head should lag behind every other moving part of both your body and your club. The entire action is performed in one swift motion.

The proper lag is achieved by locking the angle between your lead arm and the shaft of your golf club. If you analyze the gameplay of the best players in the world, you’ll notice that they maintain an almost 90-degree angle between the two.

It’s mostly the angle that helps keep the club head behind everything and create the lag in question. If you’re wondering what do we mean by ‘mostly’, let us introduce you to forearm rotation.

The forearm rotation is the movement of your forearm as you bring down the club. The perfect combination of forearm rotation and wrist angle will result in the perfect lag.

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The Role of Wrists

If you ask any PGA instructor about how to create lag in your swing, they’ll tell you to work on your wrist angle. For the majority of amateur players, the loosening of their wrist too early is the cause that they come down too steep on the ball.

Let’s look at how your wrists should behave step by step.

The Start of the Backswing

You initiate the backswing with the club as soon as you’re into stance. But is your stance even correct? Are you positioning your hands directly below your shoulders to create a perfect 90-degree angle with the ground?

If not, your stance is wrong. To get it fixed, you need to get any of the clubs and place the club head on the ground as would do at address position. Now, look at what angle your hands are at. If you’re having perspective issues, it’s always a good idea to record yourself or ask help from a friend at the course.

If you notice that your hands are sticking forward, you need to change your stance and get closer to the club head. On the other hand, if you notice that your hands are sticking backward, you need to get away from the ball.

Getting the Wrist Angle

As you’re at the address position, it’s time to get your wrist angle fixed. Let go of trail hand and only hold the club in position with your lead hand. Now, bring the club up keeping your posture the same. You need to create the 90-degree angle between the shaft of your club and your forearms as we talked about.

You will notice that club head is hovering in the air right in front of you. That’s the wrist angle you need to maintain from here on. All the way through your backswing and your downswing.

The Role of the Forearms

You’ve successfully dialed in the wrist angle you need for proper golf swing lag. Now, it’s time to focus on the forearm rotation. If you don’t rotate it, the club head is come down from over the top.

As you’re holding the club in the air after locking the wrist angle, rotate the forearm of your lead arm inwards until the club head is behind your body. This is the perfect shallow swing angle all the golf players in the world are after.

Now, when you perform the backswing, the club will be exactly where it should be at the end of the backswing.

Without focusing on the forearms, if you perform a half downswing in slow motion, you’ll notice that the club is coming in front of you. You’ll understand why you’re hitting the ball from over the top.

To minimize this issue, you need to actively monitor your forearm rotation along with the wrist angle to keep the club head behind your body. Only then, you’ll be able to hit the inside of the golf ball.

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The Proper Form for Downswing

This is the hard part. You can focus on your backswing all you want. But when you actually commission the downswing with all the force you have, it becomes exponentially harder to maintain the lag.

In 8 out of 10 amateur golfers, the wrist angle will be lost. They’ll let go of the wrist and yank the ball with their club instead of gracefully brushing it off the ground.

To fix this issue, you need to focus on a few different things. And you need to practice all of them in slow motion to truly understand the purposes of the lag.

We highly recommend getting a face magnet. A good quality face magnet will stick to all of the clubs including drivers, irons, fairway woods, and so on. It will help you diagnose any face angle issues you may be struggling with.

So, here are the things that matter the most about your downswing.

Start the Movement with Your Lower Body

This is the single biggest point of failure among golf players. They immediately start to use the large muscles like the shoulders and arms to power their downswing.

When you closely monitor the downswing from the best players in the world, you’ll notice they almost always start with the legs. The legs generate the power by pushing against the ground. It’s the front foot or the lead foot we’re talking about.

After the initial transfer of weight to your lead foot, you need to push your hips forward toward the target to generate the lateral movement. It will automatically create the side bend with your shoulders.

After the hips, the torso will follow the rotation. This is the phase where your club will start to come down, maintaining the angle between your lead wrist and your club shaft.

After the torso, the shoulders will follow, then the hands will follow, and at last, the club will follow. This is the true definition of golf swing lag.

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Focus on the Club Face Angle

The angle of your club face at impact is just as important as lag. Many players try too hard to get on the inside of the golf and completely shank the shot. It’s one of the worst shots you can hit!

So, while you’re focused on the wrist angle and the forearm rotation, you also need to focus on your club face angle. This is where the face magnet comes into play. A face magnet will tell you exactly where your club face is point throughout your swing.

If you follow what you’ve learned about the backswing, you’re good there. During your downswing, you need to stop around midway to evaluate whether you’re maintaining the lag or not.

The easiest way to evaluate it is to record yourself. When you hold your position in the middle of the downswing, the club should be behind your body, the club face should be pointing directly in front of you, the club head should be right above your wrists, and your trail arm should be right outside of your trail foot.

This is the ideal position you need to your body in if you want to improve or hold the lag. This may not feel natural at first. But it’s what matters the most. When you can tweak your posture before impact, you can continue the trend during and after impact as well.

When people first start out without actively monitoring the club face angle, it goes to too much open position at impact. You can clearly see it if you use a face magnet. To eradicate this issue, you need to tweak your downswing in a way that the club head points exactly at the target during impact.

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The Follow Through Matters as Well

The majority of the rookie players think that the job is done when they hit the ball. But in reality, the follow through has a major role on the ball flight as well. Because the ball doesn’t fly away as soon you hit it. It’s the follow through that boosts the speed of the ball.

In terms of face angle, the face magnet should be pointing directly behind you at the end of the swing path. If you master this move and record yourself afterward, you notice that the face magnet went from pointing directly in front of to pointing directly at the target to pointing directly behind you.

It’s the perfect motion you should aim to achieve if your goal is to master the art of golf swing lag.

Don’t Accelerate the Club at the Top of the Downswing

According to all experts, this is one of the biggest lag killers. When you over-accelerate the downswing right in the beginning, you lose a lot of power during the path. There’s no way your hands can keep up with the speed of the club is coming down.

So, at one point before impact, the club will travel beyond your hands, effectively killing the lag we’ve worked so hard to get.

Instead, you need to start the downswing slowly from the top. Then when you’re about to hit the ball, you need to let go of the wrist angle to create the ‘yank’. It’s the release of the wrist angle that will get the extra yards on your distance.

You can experiment with it without the ball. Be sure not to injure yourself in the process!

When at the top of your swing, yank the club downward as hard as you can. It’s what the majority of amateur golf players will do in the hope that more accelerate will get them more speed. You’ll notice that the weight of the club will force you to let go of the angle way before you can hit the ball.

It’s especially true with irons as they’re usually the heaviest among clubs. Whatever the case is, you need to ensure that you don’t yank the club at the beginning of the downswing. When you time it correctly, you’ll notice that the ball will fly out faster than ever!

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Helpful Drills to Practice Lag

By now, you should have a pretty decent idea about what golf swing lag is what you need to do to achieve it. Now, we are going to share two of the best drills you can practice either at the course or at the driving range to maximize your ball speed and distance.

The Alignment Stick Angle Drill

Let’s start with the classic use of alignment sticks. This is one of the accessories every golfer should carry in their bags in our opinion.

To practice this drill, you’re going to need only one alignment stick.

  1. Place the ball on the ground or on the tee and mark your standing position.
  2. Get the alignment stick and place it on the ground at a shallow angle.
  3. Now, when you practice your downswing, you need to align your club with the stick, for as long as you can.
  4. If you pair it up with the face magnet, you’ll know exactly what we’ve been talking about so far. Once master the art of managing your shallow angle and your club face angle, you’ll get the lag you want.

The One Hand Lag Drill

This drill is more focused on getting the feel of the club rather than an entire swing. You need one of your favorite clubs for this drill.

  1. Get into your stance, but instead of two hands, grip your club with the trailing arm only.
  2. Practice a few mini swings without going too high.
  3. Notice how the club head reacts to your movements. If you suddenly yank the club toward the target, you’ll see that the club head is lagging. That’s exactly the motion you want on your actual swing.

Final Words

Golf swing lag is one of those skills that can get you amazing distances. But most players learn about lag the wrong way. Use our guide to understand exactly what your body needs to do to get the perfect lag.

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Nick Foy, Instructor

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