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Creating Clubhead Lag

"Casting..." Not talking about fishing.
"Early Release..." Not talking about an inmate's release from jail for good behavior.
"Throwing the Club..." Not talking about what some people do after hitting a bad shot.

No... these are terms used in golf to describe what happens during the downswing when the clubhead, clubshaft, and left arm (for right-handed golfers)... form a straight line (known as an "in-line condition") PRIOR to impact position with the ball (see image below).

During The Downswing
Above Left: Early Release       Above Right: Sustained Lag
When early release happens... a multitude of problems can occur. The most common...

                                            Hitting Behind the Ball
                                   Hitting the Top of the Ball
                          Pull or Pull Hooking
                 Fading or Slicing
         Lack of Compression (translated: Loss of Distance!)
Slower Swing Speed (translated: Loss of Distance ! Redux!)...

Basically anything!!

Why does this occur? Oftentimes the golfer who suffers from this malady holds the club too tightly and has excessive tension in the arms. This causes an overuse of the hands and arms which then "push" the club away from the body in effort of trying to bring the club back to the ball or attempting to create clubhead speed. Unfortunately... the opposite occurs.

Above Left: Golfer has "Pushed" the club away from body
using his hands early on the downswing
During the downswing, when the in-line condition happens, it is the point where the clubhead is furthest from the center of the body and it is at this point that the clubhead is traveling at it's fastest. Once the club passes the hands... it starts to decelerate.

Therefore in a good golfswing... the in-line condition that happens with the clubshaft and left arm should not occur until AT, OR perhaps even slightly PAST, impact position.

Above Left: Club has passed the hands. This golfer topped 
his shot. Above right: I've "allowed" the club to form 
in-line condition with my left arm AT the ball... that's good!
So how does one achieve the "lag?"

Two things must happen:

1 - The hands must give up controlling the club. Yup... that's right... the hands should not try to control the club as it starts its downward approach toward the ball. Any intentional use of the hands relies too much on timing. Too soon of a release (cast) and contact, accuracy and distance will be lost. Too late of a release (Trying to make the lag happen) and contact, accuracy and distance will be lost. Hmmm... seems I've heard that before!

2 - If the hands are then to give up controlling the club... then... the body must pick up the slack and do what it's supposed to do. Become the "engine" of the swing. Sometimes "casting" is caused by the body slowing down too soon as the club approaches impact. This results in the hands slowing down too soon resulting in the clubhead outracing the hands too soon.... known as "slapping" at the ball. To prevent this, the pivot of the core muscles (thighs, hips, abs, chest, back, etc...) must fully uncoil until the finish of the swing.

So... for good lag to happen, focus on keeping the hands and arms relaxed. "Feel" as if they get lighter as the club is approaching impact. And... make sure that the body is rotating through the golf swing to the end. Finish with the right shoulder (for right-handed golfers) finishing toward the target and closer than the left shoulder with the belt buckle facing either at the target or perhaps slightly left of it.

Soft hands + good body rotation = clubhead lag on the downswing!

Peace... Love... Golf!

Ted

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2 comments:

Very well thought out and constructed explanation. All golfers should constantly and relentlessly never give up working on this dynamic fundamental. That is "all golfers" who want to be good ball strikers!!
Grasshopper

You are wise indeed Grasshopper... wise indeed! I have this one student, I'll call him Martin, who totally gets it and works on perfecting lag by consistently working on specific lag drills I prescribe him. A rare student who realizes the importance of lag and is willing to put in the time to accomplish it. His progress is amazing!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Peace... Love... Golf!

Ted

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