Increase Lag Drill - Improve Your Lag in the Golf Swing
By: Chuck Quinton, Master Instructor • FULL BIO •
A great swing drill to do both indoors or out, this will get you in positions in your golf swing that you've never dreamed possible!
If you've struggled with casting the golf club, slicing, flipping and hitting fat shots, you will instantly improve your golf swing with this drill and you only need an impact bag to do it! Increasing lag in the golf swing and getting rid of the dreaded casting motion is one of the most sought after pieces of golf instruction advice there is and I show you EXACTLY HOW TO GET MORE LAG like in the image below.
While it's not necessary to have lag like Serio Garcia pictured to the left, having sufficient lag in the golf swing is crucial to hitting solid and accurate golf shots and improving your golf swing.
Many people are surprised to hear me say that lag is important for accuracy, but it is and here's a quick explanation why. When you have lag coming into impact as you can see in the screen capture of me on the right, I don't have to do anything to square the clubface with my hands.
This is, of course, assuming I have the proper grip. If I release the club early at this point, the clubface is going to be shutting through impact and I will pull the ball. But, by not casting and not doing anything with my arms or hands (watch the passive arms video) the clubface will quietly come into impact square with no conscious interference on my part.
You will understand this more clearly after watching the video as it's much easier to explain in pictures than words!
As you can see in the screen capture, there is still a significant angle between my right forearm and the club shaft which is a key to improving your swing and impact position. This angle is what represents lag coming into the hitting area.
Often golfers mistake understanding lag by solely looking at the angle between the left arm and clubshaft, but it is incorrect. The left wrist will be uncocking at this point in the swing as the clubhead accelerates and begins to square.
However, the angle formed by the right wrist and clubshaft continues to be maintained and is critical, especially for any golfer who wants to HIT THE BALL LONGER AND STRAIGHTER, as this is what allows you to control the power of your shot and the angle of the clubface at impact. Improving this angle will go a long way to helping you become a better golfer.
In an ideal world, there is very little going on with the hands coming into impact in a sound, simple and repeatable golf swing. This is simply impossible if you are losing lag early in the downswing as the clubhead will be releasing out of control and you will be "flipping" the club coming into impact.
This will not only destroy your accuracy, but your control of trajectory as well. In the next screen capture of this swing, you can see how the hands seem very quiet through impact and a significant angle between the right wrist and clubshaft is still maintained.
You can see that I'm not aggressively rolling my right hand over my left to square the clubface nor am I breaking down or "cupping" my left wrist in a desparate effort to square the face.
Think of this in terms of cracking a whip. Once you stop the handle from moving forward any more, the energy is transferred through the rest of the whip and you no longer have control over the end of the whip.
The same is true in the golf swing. Once that right wrist angle, or lag is lost, you no longer have control over the clubhead and are simply along for the ride. You'd better have great timing, day in and day out, to play golf this way! If you don't, you need to devote some significant time to the Lag Drill in this video.
In this shot, you can see that my left wrist has fully uncocked but remained flat, while my right wrist has remained bent and the clubhead has not passed my hands.
This is the ultimate impact position in golf and in this video, I give you the drills and the explanation on how to properly achieve this desirable position in your own golf swing. Prepare to compress the ball like never before and improver your lag and trajectory with one simple drill!
RotarySwing Tour Lag Videos:
- Re-Shape Your Golf Swing for Lag
- Tiger Woods' Golf Swing Lag
- Key to Creating Lag Golf Grip's Effect on Lag
In this video, I give you one simple swing drill that is GUARANTEED to increase your lag. Keep reading below to learn more...
PARTIAL VIDEO TRANSCRIPT:
Having lag is one of the most desired, yet misunderstood things in the golf swing for most amateur golfers. Most amateurs crave lag more than anything because they typically throw away lag, whereas the better golfers typically want to get RID OF LAG because they maintain lag too long and tend to hit blocks and hooks.
This lag drill I'm going to show you in this video is going to be one of the most profound golf swing drills you will ever see and will complete transform the amount of lag you have in your golf swing. You will see things in your golf swing when you video that you have never seen before and acheive positions you never thought possible, all from this one simple drill on lag.
Every golfer wants lag in their swing, but they don't necessarily know why or how to get more lag. Most amateur golfers cast the golf club from the top and they need to first understand why they're doing this in order to change how much lag they have in the downswing.
All you need to get started is a simple impact bag. There are other videos on the site that teach you how to create lag using your body, this one is unique and will teach you how to create lag in a safe and efficient way.
As the golf club is coming down, you need to know what lag is and how to measure it. Lag is the angle formed by the right forearm and the clubshaft during the downswing. Most golf instruction teaches you to measure the angle between the club shaft and the left forearm, but that is inaccurate as the left wrist needs to release during the downswing in order to square and release the club head for speed and accuracy. The right hand maintains the angle much longer and is the primary source of power in the downswing.
Most golfers throw or cast the club with both hands as they start down so they look like this during the downswing. The wrists provide 60% of the clubhead speed in the golf swing, so to lose the lag angle like you can see here is detrimental.
When you throw the golf club like this, you can see how the golf club approaches the ball at a very shallow angle and would hit the impact bag as I have it set up. This leads to a major loss in power and a lot of thin and fat golf shots. Because you have cast the golf club, you end up flipping the club at impact as the club head over takes your hands, rendering your control of the club impossible. This also costs you distance because this adds loft to the clubhead as you can see here.
You can see how this leads to the dreaded chicken wing position. My left arm is breaking down as the club overtakes my hands and body and I end up fighting against the momentum of the fast moving clubhead. As my left wrist and left arm break down, I will be very inconsistent with the solidness and consistency of my strike.
Rather than thinking of your golf swing as trying to produce clubhead speed from the top, think of the golf swing like cracking a whip. When you crack a whip, you actually conserve energy to start and then stop the handle of the whip in order for the energy to travel up the handle to the tip of the whip. This process of transferring energy is very similar to how you store and release lag in the golf swing.
However, you have to realize that as you begin to crack the whip, you are no longer in control of the end of the whip, so this maneuver must be timed properly. As I mentioned earlier, most golfers "crack the whip" way too early, hence, they lose control over the clubhead as they start the downswing. This lag drill will teach you how to maintain that lag and release it at the proper time in the downswing.
As I mentioned earlier, it is important to understand that the angle formed by the club shaft and left forearm needs to increase about half way down in the downswing. This releasing motion begins to square the clubface and bring the golf club back out in front of the body. However, the right wrist will stay bent backwards as you see here to this point in the downswing so that I still have an angle to release at impact. This angle is leverage and leverage is power, so you need to learn how to maintain the lag by focusing primarily on the right hand in this drill.
You can see here that as I maintain the angle of my right wrist, as I get into impact I still have a flat left wrist and control over the club face. Most amateurs look like this at impact as they flip the golf club. They will tend to take a divot behind the golf ball and not be able to deloft the club at impact.
You can see that as I get into this proper impact position with my hands ahead of the golf ball at impact, how important it is for you to have a proper golf grip. If I have a weak grip, the clubface will be wide open at impact even though I'm in the ideal impact position. That is why all my golf instruction videos emphasize the fundamentals. Without them, you can be in a great position and still hit terrible shots.
So, let's get back to how to use this impact bag. You want to set the impact bag about two feet behind the ball at address and slightly to the inside of the target line. You're goal as you come down into impact is to avoid hitting the bag as you see here. To do this, you will have to maintain the lag in your golf swing much later than you're likely used to and you'll likely hit the bag the first several tries. But, stick with it, you will learn what it feels like to properly maintain tons of lag in your golf swing and get your hands in front of the bal at impact.
At two feet behind the ball, you should be able to come into impact and completely miss the ball. Watch as I demonstrate here with a 6 iron. In order for me to miss the bag like you just saw, here's the key. You don't want to move your body way out in front of the ball at impact. That's cheating! Most golfers do this coming into impact. They get they're body and head way out in front of the ball. This actually makes the problem worse as you are forced to cast the golf club even more in order to avoid missing the ball completely. This makes maintaining lag impossible. So, when doing this drill, make sure your head stays centered.
By keeping your head more centered, you will end up increasing the amount of spine tilt away from the target in the downswing as your hips moves forward. This is called secondary axis tilt and is a naturally occurring movement in a good golf swing. However, you can have too much of a good thing and end up maintaining your lag too long and up approaching the ball too far from the inside, so a balance is key.
As your hips and core lead the downswing, note how your spine naturally falls slightly back away from the target. This is key to maintaining lag and properly sequencing the golf swing. Note how this movement keeps my head behind the ball. This is critical as most amateurs who lose lag in the golf swing tend to get their heads in front of the ball and start the downswing with their arms and shoulders rather than the hips and core.
Study this video closely and watch it several times to get all the details as there is a ton of information covered here. As you start out maintaining more lag, start out with half shots and pitch shots. As you get more comfortable, move on to longer shots and you will start compressing the ball like never before.
Checkpoints for Practice
- The hands should always lead the club at impact - many amateurs allow the club head to lead
- The first key to improving lag is a proper grip - use a neutral to strong grip
- Set an impact bag two feet behind the ball, slightly inside the target line then take small shots, making sure not to clip the impact bag
- Stay centered - be sure you're not sliding forward in an effort to miss the bag
- The lower body leads into impact, creating axis tilt - a small amount for Swingers, more for Hitters
- The shoulders unwind, the head stays behind the ball, and the hands stay passive to build lag
- The hands are very soft & relaxed, but will feel like they're cocked all the way into impact
Video Transcription: Increase Your Lag
Having lag in the golf swing is one of the most misunderstood concepts in the swing, but one of the most desirable by most amateurs, because they typically don't have it.
This drill today is going to be one of the most profound drills. If you guys ever videotape your swing, you're going to see things in your swing that you've never, ever, ever seen before, or even dreamt about having in your golf swing.
Everybody wants lag because it equates to power and accuracy, but they don't really understand why it happens, how they get it and, if they cast the club or throw it hard from the top, why they're doing it.
Today we're going to talk about a few different concepts about it. What we're going to use is just a simple impact bag. I've got them for sale on the site for $17-18. They're very, very inexpensive and you can do so many great things with them.
We've already got an Impact Bag Drill to show you how to hit with your body, on the site. This one's going to teach you how to create lag, and do it in a safe way, and do it in a very simple way.
The first thing we're going to talk about is, as the club is coming down, we need to understand what lag is.
Lag is basically measured in two ways. One is the angle between the left forearm or the left arm, and the club shaft. As I'm coming down, you can see that there's a certain angle between my arm...this is about 90°, roughly, and as I increase it I have more lag.
What you'll see in most amateurs is they throw the club, so they look like this as they come down. When this happens, when they've thrown this club, it's going to come in very shallow. You can see I would hit the impact bag, and this is what we see most often at the schools, that our amateurs come in and they're flipping it.
What that means is that the club head is starting to pass their hands as they come into impact, so they've got a great deal of loft here. The club head's just simply being released, and they look like this just after impact, or they chicken wing it, or they flip it like this. That left wrist breaks down and they come through and follow through like this.
All of those things lead to massive amounts of inconsistency, fat shots, thin shots, etc., etc.
When you flip it, when you don't have that lag that's needed in the golf swing, you have very little control over the club. Think of it as if you were cracking a whip. When you go to crack a whip, at some point you stop the handle's forward momentum so the energy can be transferred to the end of the whip.
When that happens, all that energy gets flung out and the end of the whip cracks, but at that point when you stop having the whip lagging behind your hands and behind the handle, you're no longer in control of the end of that whip. You're no longer in control of where it's going or what speed you're releasing it at.
All the energy is transferred, and it's taking place and you're out of control. The whip is going to go wherever it's going on its predetermined path, and you can't manipulate that because there's no way for you to do it.
In golf, it's the same thing. When I come down into impact, as soon as I start to lose this angle between my left arm and my shaft - when you look at it, when we get down past the 9:00 position, you look more at the right arm, the right forearm and the club shaft. That's the other way that we look at lag as we come down into impact.
You can see there's an angle between my right arm and the shaft here. When I start to release it, momentum is taking over. Momentum is what's bringing that club into the back of the ball - not my hands, not my arms, not my body - it's simply momentum. It's just a matter of how well I time that flip or that release, depending on where I'm going to hit the ball.
The first thing is that we want to understand that as we come down into impact, the left wrist is going to start to uncock. That's natural. It's going to do that to bring the club back out in front of us. It has to happen. Speed is going to release it.
You don't want to think about just the angle between your left arm and your club shaft. The right arm, as we get down closer into the hitting area, becomes the most important angle. That right wrist staying bent back is what allows me to continue to control the club.
You can see that as I turn I'm still dictating where that club head is going, because my right wrist hasn't flipped yet.
If I allow my right wrist to stay bent back and I come into impact, now you can see that rather than being in the amateur position, in the professional position my right wrist is bent back, my left wrist has stayed flat, I've delofted the club coming into impact, and I'm still in control of the club face until after I release it.
Now there are parameters that make it such that you've got to have good fundamentals in order for this to work. One of those, as we've talked about, is the grip. If you don't have a good grip and you come down into a great impact position, all you're going to do if you have a weak grip is you're just going to block it 50 yards to the right. It's not going to do you any good.
You have to have a proper grip. The reason that a slightly stronger than neutral grip is so important is because our hands are farther out in front at impact than they were at address. Here's address, and here's impact. You can see that, dynamically, my impact position has a change from my address position because my body has turned and my hands are leading the club head through impact. This is how we control the club.
It's important to have a proper grip. That's why I stress the fundamentals so much, because you can have a great setup, a great swing plane, great dynamic motion, lots of club head speed, and a shoddy grip, and you're going to still end up with bad golf shots.
You're going to end up with your club face wide open at impact even though you're in a perfect impact position. The fundamentals are key in the golf swing. They're so important. It makes things so much simpler.
Now let's get back to this topic of lag, and why I've got this golf bag here. This is super important for you to start to see these new positions.
If you have a chance, go out and videotape your swing, or if you have old video on your swing, because you're going to want to compare and contrast what you see when you use the impact bag, versus what you already naturally do.
What we're going to do is basically set the impact bag about two feet behind the ball, slightly inside the target line, so that it comes into play here.
If you're getting a new impact bag from the site, just stuff it with old towels, shirts, blankets, whatever. Just something to make it nice and soft, but fill it up there.
As you're coming down into impact, your goal is that you would not hit that bag. What you'll find is that - let me move the ball out of the way here - most amateurs are going to do that. They're going to come down and they're going to keep hitting the bag.
At two feet behind you, for most people with a midiron - I've got a 6 iron here - you should be able to come into impact and miss the bag.
Now, for a lot of you, that will seem impossible. For those of you who are a little bit more experienced with it, you can move it a little bit closer, but just barely two feet is plenty. That's about the perfect amount. We don't want it too close or we're going to come in too steep.
Now the key is, what you're going to do is hit balls with the 6 iron. Just hit little 1/2-3/4 shots. You're going to have to start from a little bit of an early set position because we're going to have to get it up over the bag, but you can just start from about here to make sure that you've got your takeaway above the bag.
Then just hit little 3/4 shots back and through, making sure you miss the bag. What you'll find is you're going to want to start to do this. You're going to want to clip the bag. Make sure that you start to miss it.
In order to do that, here's the key. What a lot of you are going to do is you're going to say, "OK, Chuck wants me to miss this bag so I'm going to move way out in front, and now I miss it. Look how easy I miss it. I can move it another foot closer."
You're not necessarily maintaining the lag, you're just sliding out in front of it. That's the wrong way to do it. Ironically, when you do that, whenever you move your body farther out in front, you're going to lose more lag. Here's why.
This is one of the most common problems I see in the golf swing. When Paul does our online lessons, or when I do them, or when I see somebody in person, without fail they learn to stay centered really well, but then they do this coming into impact.
They get their head way out in front. What happens is, the golf swing works in opposite pairs. When I move this way, the club head is going to move this way because of two things.
One, just momentum is going to want to keep myself balanced. I'm going to throw the club out this way. Then for two, I'm going to do that because if I didn't release it and cast it early I'd completely miss the ball because I've moved the bottom of my swing arc forward.
The bottom of your swing arc is basically this left arm, fully extended out. Here's the bottom of my swing arc. This is where my divot's going to be, the deepest point. My ball is slightly behind that.
If I come into impact and I slide forward, now the bottom of my divot's out here, so if I didn't cast it I'd completely miss the ball.
Now what we've got to understand is, there are a couple of things that become a little bit more tricky to work on. When I go back, what actually happens in a good golf swing is that my spine actually starts to go backwards slightly.
Now, we talk about keeping centered. It's not that we want you to go out and start leaning back to hit the ball, but for some of you who tend to slide way out in front, it may actually feel like that.
When the body and the hips and the core rotate properly, the spine will actually tilt slightly back. We call this "axis tilt," if you hear that term used. The spine will tilt back, and what this allows me to do is conserve this angle.
You see, if I go this way, momentum is going to throw it this way, in the opposite direction. But if I go this way, notice how much I can keep that right wrist angle bent as I come down into impact.
Now I've got a lot of what we call axis tilt, and I've got a lot of lag coming down into here, so as I go back, the club stays more cocked. My wrists stay more cocked and now I've got a lot more lag and I can lead with my hands.
If I go this way, the opposite's going to be true. I'm going to be casting, I'm going to be flipping, everything is going to break down.
How does that work? How do I swing this way and rotate left, but my spine tilts back? It tilts back slightly, depending on whether you're a Swinger or a Hitter. Swingers will tilt back less, Hitters will tilt back much more.
It's very important for a Hitter because they're so dependent on using this right arm, for the Hitter to have a lot more axis tilt. The Swinger is going to be just this tiny, tiny amount, but it's going to happen dynamically.
Here's how that happens. If I don't use my lower body at all - if I just swing the club back with my arms - I'm not going to have any axis tilt. I can come back here and make crummy swings, and my lower body's not doing anything. I'm going to stay perfectly centered. That's not what we want.
What's going to happen is, as I turn back, as I turn my hips and my core back, at some point they're going to lead the downswing; my core, we talked about the belt buckle or the belly button.
This has to lead the downswing. I don't want my shoulders just to fire right from the top. That's going to get me out of sync. We need to use the big muscles for power. We're going to use the ground for leverage.
As I start back, just slightly, it feels like everything's going together, but sequentially the lower body leads a little bit. That allows my head to stay back behind the ball, which we've talked about a lot. As my head stays back behind the ball and my lower body unwinds, my spine looks like it tilts back a little bit because my hips are leading the race into impact.
It all starts from the ground up. We want the club head to be the last thing to come through impact. My hips go through first, and this moves my belt buckle slightly forward of where the top of my spine is, or where my head is.
That is what gives me that axis tilt. It's important that you allow yourself to turn back and turn through with your hips. A lot of people saw the Left Side Breakdown video. What that Left Side Breakdown video does is not tell you, "Don't let your left leg turn, or let your hips turn, or let that left knee come in."
It's not saying that at all. What it's saying is, "If your left leg comes in this way, don't let your hips slide out this way." This is left side breakdown.
When my left leg goes this way and my right hip goes out and I tilt back. Now you can see the Necktie Drill is not going to work real well, because my necktie is going to be hanging across my chest.
The left knee can come in and turn. Now you can see that my hips - if you watch my belt buckle, my hips are turning. This is not left side breakdown, even though my left knee is coming in. In fact, when it happens at speed, my left knee is going to come in and lead early, so it's not going to come in that far because it's actually going to start back pretty early.
As the club is going to the top of the backswing my left knee is going to start going back the other direction. That's going to clear everything out and give me this axis tilt. It's very, very important that as you come down, your lower body leads.
The shoulders are unwinding, but they're not moving out in front. It's imperative that your head not get way out in front of that golf ball. When you do, you're going to find yourself blocking and flipping all the time.
Lower body leads, hands stay...nothing. The arms, the hands do nothing. That's all. As you come down, your arms and hands - you can see that from the top of my swing to here, absolutely nothing has happened.
I've got a tremendous amount of lag, I've got a lot of load here and I'm going to have a quick snap release at the bottom. That's going to allow me to control the club coming into impact, have a lot more speed, and a lot more power and control.
It's very important that you understand that this is also for control. Having lag is not just for power. Having lag is for controlling the club head as it comes into impact. As soon as we release that lag, momentum and centripetal force is taking over. We no longer have control over the club face.
Having lag is going to make sure that you're also more accurate, because you don't ever want to release this. That's the next important key.
What it feels like - and this is not what happens, and people ask this all the time - but what it feels like is that I don't do anything with my hands, but I'm not holding the club. People ask it all the time, "Can I just hold that angle as long as I can?"
You never want to hold anything in the golf swing. It's free wheeling, let it go, let it flow. You never want to hold anything back or try to stop yourself from doing something. If you're feeling that, you're not doing something else correctly.
As you come down into impact and you do nothing with your arms and hands, your hands will feel like they're cocked all the way into impact. You can see that, while the angle between my left arm and the club shaft has released slightly, that right wrist angle is still pretty bent back.
As I do that, it feels like I do nothing at impact. As I come down and just slightly miss that impact bag, my wrists feel like they do nothing. I'm turned into impact, and then it releases through. That's the proper feeling. It feels like you do nothing.
It feels like you're just keeping that angle as long as you can. You're not holding onto it, but because you're turning and using your body for power, you can keep that hand and wrist angle relaxed. You can maintain the angle and fire through.
Study this video because there's a lot of important information here, and there's a lot of information covered. Take your time. Watch this video several times. You'll pick up different pieces, but the key is to do this drill.
Simply set a bag two feet behind you. Just grab like a 6 iron. You don't have to hit full shots. Hit little pitch shots to start. Just a little here, here, until you learn the proper feeling.
Videotape yourself so you can start to see, "Wow, I've got a really different angle here." Then as you get better, as you start to set the wrists a little early and swing through, you're going to find that you have a lot of power and a lot more control than you've ever had.
You're going to compress the ball, and that's what's so much fun about hitting great golf shots, is compressing that ball. You're never going to be able to do it when you're having a slappy release.
Work on this. Spend a lot of time on this. This is going to revolutionize your golf game, for Rotary Swingers, Rotary Hitters, etc. Make sure you get a lot of lag. Work on that. You're going to have a lot more accuracy, and you're going to learn to enjoy the game a lot more.