A Medieval Weapon Teaches You How to Get Lag and Crush Your Drives

Find out how the arm of a trebuchet is similar to your arm during the golf release! (Pic by ChrisO)

We’re going medieval with today’s lesson!

I found a really cool way to demonstrate how a proper golf release almost perfectly matches the release of a trebuchet.

And I bring in Phil Mickelson’s golf swing for a side-by-side comparison.

Who knew that you can use a trebuchet for something other than storming castles or flinging stuff at your neighbors?

Your Arm Whips Forward Before Releasing

Here we see how similar the angle is with Phil Mickelson and the trebuchet!

As you can see with the pic on the right, Mickelson and the trebuchet create almost the exact same angle between the arm and the club (the string on the trebuchet).

Note that the trecuchet pic is flipped over in order to compare the release with a left-handed golfer.

At this point, both arms are moving relatively fast as the arms unwind in the downswing.

You can see in the pic how both Mickelson and the trebuchet are creating loads of lag.

How Your Arm Starts Releasing

Creating plenty of lag doesn’t do much for you unless you release your club properly.

This is where it gets interesting.  To this point, the arms of both Mickelson and the trebuchet have done most of the work by unwinding in the downswing, while the club (and string) are along for the ride.

As we move into the release, the arms begin to slow down, and the club starts releasing the built up lag.

For the trebuchet, it’s the counter weight pulling the arm through and then slowing the arm down.

This is how I want you to think of releasing your club.  Instead of a counter weight, it’s you that’s pulling your arm through and then slowing down near impact.

This unwinding of your swing is how you can create a powerful release while efficiently using the forces that are created in your swing.

Let It Go!

As you start releasing, you should get the feeling that you’re letting it go.

What I mean by this is that you need to let the club release.

You might have heard instructors say that you should pull your arms through and turn through impact.  Don’t go overboard on that advice!

If you do this, you’re going to have trouble releasing properly.

As the trebuchet and Phil Mickelson demonstrate, if you allow your lead arm to slow down, you’ll be able to unleash the centrifugal force from your downswing.

Here you see how the trebuchet arm slows down and lets the string release. The arm’s not moving much, but the end of the string is.  Mickelson’s release does the same.


We have a great drill that will help you ingrain this feeling of release. It’s in the “Left Hand Release” video found in our Premium Membership.

Premium Membership covers every aspect of your swing, and you’ll get the added benefit of having one of our RST Certified Instructors answer your questions and give you 2 swing reviews every month!

Here’s how that membership’s working out for one of our members…

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Chuck Quinton

is the founder of the RotarySwing Tour online golf instruction learning system. He played golf professionally for 8 years and has been teaching golf since 1995 and has worked with more than 100 playing professionals who have played on the PGA, Web.com and other major tours around the world.

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