Video Transcription: Creating Lag in the Downswing Secret
Before the lesson
We're going to do a two-part video series here on golf swing lag. The first part is going to be what you see on the screen here; me talking about a golf student. The second part is going to be me demonstrating the swing drills that I had the student do to get him into these ideal positions and how in increased his lag in his golf swing.
This is a student who flew over from Ireland to work with me for a couple of days, and is trying to turn pro, so he takes golf very seriously, just like you guys do.
He had a couple of really common faults that so many golfers struggle with, and led to inconsistent ball flight. He had a path that was a little bit too far from the inside, he had a very high ball flight with a tendency to block it high right, or hit a high draw.
Neither of those work at a professional level; we need a much more penetrating ball flight, and to get the path straightened out.
After 10 minutes of instruction
Long story short, a good chunk of this had to do with the amount of golf swing lag that he was losing, coming down. Of course, lag is this big, elusive thing to the average amateur golfer. They think that there's just no way to get it - you either have it or you don't - or they figure that they'll never have it.
That's just nonsense. Golf swing lag is a simple byproduct of doing a few things correctly. In the drill in the second half of the video, that I'm going to show you, you're going to see exactly how to produce it, see exactly how I got the results that you see here in less than 10 minutes.
With Greg here, this is his first swing that I filmed, without me working with him at all. It's just his first swing of the day, after he'd already warmed up. This is me working with him for 10 minutes on lag.
Before - Hands behind the ball
You can see a pretty radical difference. Just to use a couple of simple lines to start out with, we can draw a line from the butt of the club - I'll try to get both of those pretty accurate here.
With the first one, there's the butt of the club. He chokes up on it a little bit. There's the butt of the club.
Obviously at one point, when the shaft is parallel to the ground - these are maybe a half a frame off here, but this was as close as we could get - notice that his hands or the butt of his club are actually in front of the ball when the shaft is parallel to the ground, and on this one it's well behind the ball.
After - Hands in front of the ball
You can see a couple other things. The butt of the club is now in front of his head. Here, it's kind of underneath his left eye.
The big thing that you can see, that you're going to start looking at, is that you can see some of his right thigh here, which is part of our goal in doing the drill that I'm going to give you, was getting the hands back here in front of the right thigh when the shaft is parallel to the ground. The key is the golf swing lag drill that I'm going to give you.
These are the things that you want to look at when learning how to create lag in a golf swing.
When you start looking at angles here, you'll notice that the angle between his right forearm and club shaft is plus 90 degrees. Here it's about 90 degrees, so he's in a much better position here. He's maintained much more lag coming down.
Hands and chest before the lesson (right) and after 10 minutes of instruction (right)
Then we're going to see a couple of other things as we start working down a couple more frames on each of them.
Notice, now, that his hands - two more frames here - are much more in front of the ball. He's going to have a much more descending blow. Notice that the position of his hands are much more in front of his chest.
If I clear out this line on both of these, it's pretty easy to see that his hands are right here, back in the center of his chest, and here they're well back behind. The line is going in the opposite direction. It's a little bit off there, but you get the idea.
What this is going to do is cause him to obviously release the club early and lose speed and power, so he's going to have to do something to compensate for it. What he's doing is really working hard to turn his body and hit really hard with the body.
A little too much shaft lean
You can see just how much his muscles in his left arm are strained here, whereas here they're basically relaxed. That's another key piece that you'll learn as we go into the drill.
Now, in learning this, he's going to obviously tend to overdo a couple of things, and we're going to see that at impact, where he's got his hands a little too far forward at impact, but that's a much better problem to have.
Notice, again, he's still got a lot of angle between that right arm and the shaft. Here, he's losing it quite a bit. Just before impact, we've really lost a lot of angle - which we want to at some point; we need to release the club - but notice how he's going to have, at impact, a lot of forward shaft lean.
Again, there's a point of having too golf swing lag much, here. In the same frame here, on the left, the club head is actually passing his hands, whereas here he's actually driving the ball, compressing it properly and has a lot of forward shaft lean.
Again, technically this is something we're going to work out, getting a little bit less shaft lean because he's overcooked it here just a little bit, but we're in a close position to being absolutely perfect here. It's a massive difference here between these two impact positions, these two release positions, and more importantly the ball flight.
Before the lesson (above) and after (below)
The ball is going to come out; you can see the ball is coming out very high here. Here, the ball is going to come out very, very much more penetrating, which was the result of these shots, obviously. You must learn how to create lag in a golf swing if you want a penetrating ball flight.
See here, as he continues on - we'll go one more frame on each - the ball is coming out much higher on this side versus here, where he's still got his hands ahead of the club head.
Again, obviously at some point we want that to release, but we're working on one thing at a time. The big thing here was maintaining lag. Lag is the key to the golf swing. It is the key to power, and it is the key to consistency, believe it or not.
Great form - this could be you
A lot of people don't realize that, but as we get into this drill that I'm going to show you in the second half of the video, you're going to start to see how you can create these positions.
No matter what handicap golfer you are, you can see yourself in this very powerful position, where the hands are back in front of the body, you've got a ton of lag between the right forearm, the hands are in front. You can see yourself start hitting penetrating golf shots like you've never seen. I'm going to show you that in this next half of the video.
By now, we've watched the first half of the video, showing a student who made a tremendous improvement in the amount of lag that they had in the downswing. I promised you I was going to give you a drill to show you how to do the exact same thing.
First, before we do that, I want to talk about what lag is, so that everybody's on the same page and they understand what we're defining as golf swing lag. The second thing I'm going to show you is how you get rid of lag in the incorrect way, and then the third thing is finally the drill to show you how to create it.
90° angle with the left arm - This is NOT lag
First things first, the most important thing to understand is let's all be on the same page for what lag is, because there's a lot of misconceptions out there about what lag is in the golf swing.
Most people, including teachers, will define lag as the angle between the left forearm and the club shaft during the downswing. Right now I have basically a 90 degree angle, and that would be considered, depending on the point it is in the downswing, that I would have a lot of lag.
The problem is, the left arm has nothing to do with it. It doesn't matter what the angle between the left forearm and the shaft is, because that needs to get released during the downswing because that's part of what squares the club face.
What we actually need to look at is the angle of the right forearm and the club shaft. That's what lag really is. It's this angle that determines what kind of power you're going to have in the swing, versus how much effort you're going to put into it.
Lag is created with the right arm
It's that whole "powerful effort or effortless power," depending on which one you're putting into your swing. We want that effortless power feeling, and the vast majority of that comes from conserving this angle, this lag, into the downswing so that we have a good angle.
What would be a good angle? A simple check that I always use for most of my students is that when the hands start to get back in front of the thigh, or about in front of the pocket, I want to see that club shaft parallel to the ground.
In other words, you could see here that my club shaft is parallel to the ground, my hands are back in front of my thigh and I can see just the slight edge of my right thigh on the outside of my arm.
The opposite of lag
The opposite of that would look like this. Now I've lost all my lag. This is where most amateurs are - or you could be really extreme and be up in this angle. We don't need that much; that's going to alter how strong a grip we need.
The club is parallel to the ground, hands are back in front of the thigh. You can just barely see the outside of your thigh so in a downswing motion it would look about like this.
Anything more than this, and you're going to start running into issues where the club face is going to come in open, or you're going to have your hands too far forward at impact, you're going to de-loft the club face too much, so on and so forth. There are a lot of issues with it.
The wrong way to create lag
This is a great place to be and if you got here, for 99 percent of you amateurs out there, it would completely transform your game.
We know what it is. We know what it needs to look like. Now we need to know, first, what do most people do wrong to get rid of it? That's the key. The first thing that most people do is they go to the top of the swing and they unwind their shoulders as fast as they can.
That's the worst thing that you can do for conserving lag in the golf swing, and here's the reason why. What you're doing when you go to the top and start spinning your shoulders, is you're creating centripetal force. You're creating a rotational force, and that's going to act on the golf club.
The club is thrown outward
The farthest part out away from you is going to want to throw out this way when you start moving this way. It's just a simple cause and effect, basic Physics 101 problem that you've created.
Think of a little kid on a merry-go-round. If you're in the center of the merry-go-round and it's spinning really, really fast, what happens to little kids sitting on the end of it? They want to get flung off.
You're the center of the merry-go-round. When this starts spinning fast, this starts wanting to get flung off the merry-go-round. That's why most golfers...there's lots of little reasons, but that's why most golfers lose a lot of lag, is they get here and do this, and it's really hard - because you're creating so much force - to maintain any angle.
That's the first key. What we want to do is feel that this shoulder, the left shoulder, stays shut as we start bringing the club down.
Drill to maintain lag
This is the drill. This is how we maintain that lag. If our shoulders are staying shut, how does the club get down? This is the key in learning how to create lag in a golf swing.
As we go back and we start down, and we shift in to our left, we're pulling the club down what for most of you is going to feel like exclusively with the right arm. That's how we get back to here. All I'm doing is this, pulling my club back while I'm shifting my weight back into my left side, bringing the club here.
Now I put both hands on it, now I have lag, I have impact, and release.
It's not "spin your shoulders, spin your hips," all of those things. Those are going to change your secondary axis tilt, the angle of your shoulders, so on and so forth.
The left shoulder is lower than the right
Here are some simple checks for you to do it correctly. As we go down, we want to feel that my left shoulder, as I talked about, stays shut, but a second feeling is for that left shoulder to feel like it's always lower than the right.
What I mean by that is, you can see that this shaft is angled such that my left shoulder is lower than my right. This would be higher than my right.
What we want to feel is that, as we come down, that left shoulder stays low and what we would call "in the shot" as you continue to bring the club down with your arms to the impact position.
What you don't want to feel is this. Now I have a lot of secondary axis tilt, my left shoulder is very high, it's going to cause me to lose lag and so on and so forth. It's going to change your swing plane and path.
The first feeling is shoulders shut. The second feeling is left shoulder staying below the right all the way into impact. It won't, but it needs to feel that way for most of you. Left shoulder low, continue to bring the right arm to that checkpoint that we had, where I've still got a full 90 degree angle between my right forearm and my shaft, and my hands are just about in front of my thigh.
All we're doing to do that, again, is taking the right arm, forgetting about all this stuff, and pulling it straight down. This is all I'm doing. Top of my backswing, pulling my arm down.
This is the simplest way for you to start to feel what a proper golf swing would feel like. Most golfers are too left-side dominant. That's why this motion happens, where they spin out early, they pull the left shoulder up, they pull the left arm down early. That's why they lose lag.
You're going to start practicing right arm to start getting the feeling of pulling the club straight down. Now what we're doing, instead of creating all this centripetal force by spinning, we're just creating vertical movement - this is what it's going to feel like, that your arm is moving straight down.
Bring the shaft straight down (exaggerated)
Let's look at that from down the line, because that's another key piece for golfers who are used to spinning their shoulders and getting the club stuck way behind them. They're used to coming away from the inside with a really shallow club, and then they learn to time a flip. It creates a block or a hook, as you well know.
What we want to do is, as we come down, it should feel like that shaft is coming down - I'm going to exaggerate this for the video - that the shaft is coming down vertically. It's not, so when I put these two together you're going to see that as I start pulling just my right arm down, it's definitely not steep. It's coming down exactly where it should be, and into impact.
When you do this yourself, what you're going to feel is that that shaft is coming straight down into the ground. I've just demonstrated to you that it's not, but even to me, as many times as I've done this drill, it feels like the shaft is coming straight down.
It should feel very steep, especially if you're used to pulling out with that left shoulder, spinning the hips, so on and so forth, and you're used to getting the club stuck coming from the inside. This Right Arm Down Drill is going to feel like the club shaft is coming down vertical.
That's the first thing. The second key to this, when you're looking from down the line, is that if you did everything else perfectly and you started coming down and you started doing this right arm drill, and you just pulled your arm down, the club face is going to come in and it's going to look a little open.
The tendency is for you to come through with an open club face and have to try and time a flip. Obviously that's no good, so there's one last little piece to this Right Arm Only Drill coming down, and that's a little bit of rotation in this fashion.
You can see how my hand is working here, and you're going to watch what happens to the club head as I do that. I'm going to the top, closed hip slide, I'm sitting into my left side, keeping the shoulders shut, left shoulder low, feeling like I'm just pulling my right arm straight down.
Club open (above) & with forearm rotation (below)
It feels like the club shaft is very vertical, and now I'm just going to rotate just a tiny bit. I'm going to try to get it way from the inside first. This would be stuck and open. Now I'm going to rotate my forearm just slightly.
You'll notice that as I do that it pulls the club from being stuck and behind my hands, to being in line with my hands, the club back out in front, and now I can release. This slight amount of rotation is going to be the last key to help start squaring the club face early.
You don't want the club face to be sitting here wide open and then try to time a flip at the last second. We want it to be squaring early, so now you can see it's starting to look at the ball, look at the ball...now it's square, and then releasing without me having to put a ton of timing and effort into it.
Those are the keys to learning how to create lag in the swing, is to quiet all of this stuff down because most golfers overdo it.
Not all golfers - a lot of golfers who start to learn to use their body correctly - but because most of the members of the website are better golfers, we target things that they tend to do, which is overuse the body.
Creating lag correctly
You're going to feel no body, pulling your arms straight down, the elbow back in front of the body. You can see it's back in front of my hip, the arm rotating. You can see a little bit of my right thigh here, and then release the club.
That's the key to creating lag. Start working on the Right Arm Only Drills, right arm pulling straight down - the shaft is going to feel vertical - and see if you don't improve your lag. Post your pictures and videos on the forum!