Without a doubt the most important element in generating speed is “Lag”. When done correctly “Lag” not only increases clubhead speed but also improves quality of ball contact. Many people are familiar with the term, but what exactly is “Lag?”
“To Fail to keep up with another or others in movement or development.” is how “Lag” is defined by the Oxford dictionary
To hold back, linger and delay.” is the terminology used by Dictionary.com
Not exactly definitions that would suggest more speed or power in the golf swing!
LAG IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE LEFT FOREARM AND SHAFT.
There are 3 keys points in this process
- Lag must be first created on backswing and sometimes the initial part of downswing.
- Stored on the downswing.
- Released at impact resulting in the club moving at maximum speed at this point.
When done correctly it produces a final injection of clubhead speed in the area of impact.
Michelle Wie is a great example of this. At address there is a straight line between shaft and left arm but as she starts the backswing the angle between left arm and shaft gradually increases hence creating the lag at the start of the backswing.
As the backswing continues Wie as with many other powerful players increases this angle even more !!
Here at the top of the backswing Wie has increased the angle again.
As she starts the downswing the lag actually increases!!!
Now from here her goal is to retain this angle and store all the power. If you can imagine 2 different parts of the club, the butt (which is the top of the grip) and the head which is the bottom of the club. In this position the head is lagging behind the butt hence the magic term Lag.
The power is stored up until the last moment when it is released at impact
Many things in golf have changed over the last 50 or so years but one thing has remained a constant
Lag creates speed
Bobby Jones in the 1930’s
Arnold Palmer in 1950’s
2 all time great greats showing where they got their speed.
Such a small word with such a big influence on the golf swing