Many golfers search for lag in the their down swing.
Lag is NOT essential for great golf. As you will see in the video Rocco Mediate as very little lag in his downswing and yet he plays fantastic golf. He also smokes really good Cigars. Rocky Patel Decades. Don’t say anything but he might be getting some real Cubans from Jimenez but don’t say anything please.
Lag is actually called “angular acceleration.” The greater the angle the faster one must move to keep up. This is found in marching a column left or right. Maybe you’ve seen ice skaters spinning in a circle and the last skater has to hustle to catch up to the circle of skaters.
How about a race track for runners where you see staggered starting points because the outside runner would be covering a longer circumference unless you move them forward.
In order to produce lag in the golf swing one must have a separation of the arms FROM the body on the down swing. Because the arms are as if they were on the outside lane of the track above, they must have a head start because they have more real estate to cover. Yes yes I know about the connected theory. It works for some folks like Rocco.
Your chest and upper body have such a short distance to reach the finish line which is impact with the ball, that the arms need a considerable head start with the longer golf clubs like the driver and not as much with the short irons.
Watch this video of a very kind student Ed Schneck that allowed me to use his excellent example of lag in his down swing that he was not even trying to produce.
Now we have proof! I’ve been saying for years that even baseball players don’t really transfer their weight in the way people think. Yes they lift their front leg but then their body does not actually move forward during the swing.
As was talked about all over the PGA show this year, the weight transfer in your golf swing actually goes backward or toward your back foot at impact! I’ve shown backward motion in the golf swing on video numerous times in lessons and our workshop sessions. The new Bodytrak swing mat proves what I, as well as many other golf instructors, have been saying for years! You can refer to our Blog posting on the Bodytrak system at https://quickfixgolf.com/2015/01/24/scott-hamilton-speaks-at-v-1-session/
How many times have you read golf tips that say “transfer your weight to your front foot.” Big mistake! Of course if a given golfer has a serious spin out move, meaning they turn their body excessively, the weight transfer in their golf swing motion could be a big help.
I would like to thank one of our new members Lisa Wright for sending us this video analysis of a classic baseball swing. Please take note of the following:
1) How the body turns on the axis and does not pass the blue line drawn by the coach 2) Notice how even with the lifting of the front leg the hands of the batter do not move forward or toward the pitcher at all.
Hurricanes go around, electric motors go around, tornadoes go around! Any movement side to side only reduces your golf club head speed and adds to the possibility of inconsistencies.
A really good drill to try is hitting balls on only your back foot. Take something like an eight iron and hit balls real easy on only your back leg. I like to place my front toe BARELY touching the ground just for balance, but I put no weight on it at all. You might be surprised at how straight and consistent you hit the ball this way.
Here’s a golf drill well worth watching. After the day on the golf course at Birkdale with the pro I asked John Adams, (one of your lesson members) to follow me over to the range for an idea I had for alleviating the spin motion he did most of the day on the golf course.
It worked! John said it was the best drill I’ve given him yet and when he watches this video he will be even more convinced that this spin motion is the only thing he should be working on until he gets this spin motion under control, (remember you’re never cured, you’re in remission).
The spin move will return if he’s not careful. All of us need to first identify what our golf swing problem is and then apply the proper medication in the form of a drill to keep the faulty motion in check. You also need to repeat the drill or drills on a regular business to remind your body that the body spin is NOT what will help you accelerate the golf club.
This video also proves that the portion of your lesson program that includes “on course” instruction is extremely important for both the student and the teacher. I get to see you in action on the golf course which in many cases is NOT what you look like on the driving range.
Take a look at the video below. For any questions call 804-378-7456
This idea came to me when I was desperately trying to find a new way of demonstrating the body turn and tilt in a manner that would be easier for you to visualize and understand. Once I reviewed the video I knew I was correct and I hope you agree.
One needs to set the body with some tilt towards your back foot at address, turn from the tilted position without lifting…then turn back on that same exact angle without changing any tilt angles or positions. It looks so simple you’ll probably think like I did, why didn’t I come up with this sooner!
Now to accomplish this swing motion you need to practice in your back yard and/or in front of a mirror. You might consider videoing yourself doing this drill. You might need to do this about a billion times without a golf ball until you can master it with a golf ball.
Click on the little box in the lower right corner to enlarge the video.
This topic is among golf’s best kept secrets. Why do golfers swing over-the-top or outside-in? It’s because they turn their shoulders on the downswing rather than “tilt” first. It is the shoulder tilt on the down swing that creates the inside path and angular acceleration, (club head lag). As soon as you turn your shoulders, on the down swing, the golf club will travel outward. Being that centrifugal force travels outward, the golf club shaft will loose it’s angle and the result is you loose club head speed.
Take a look at this video and drill that will help you create both lag in your down swing and increase your club head speed.
Drills drills and more drills. There are tons of different drills out there but the most important thing is…do you do them properly and consistently? I see folks do a drill one or two times and expect it to spawn results. Not so. You have to “nag” your body into submission. If you do not understand this process please live with my wife for a month!
Doing drills in short intervals “often”, even without a ball is the way to go. It is the process of logging a sufficient number of reps that build the consistency.
Ben Hogan said that this specific move of shoulder tilt vs. should turn was THE number one difference between a successful and unsuccessful golf swing. I see it everyday while teaching golf. Why? Because turning your shoulders back to the golf ball WILL cause you to swing outside in or over the top.
Here’s the drill you need to develop shoulder tilt. Once you get to the top of your back swing stop…..then imagine you are going to ring a giant church bell that weighs about a thousand pounds. Come on man….you have to make this a little dramatic!
Then pull down on the rope that rings the bell. In fact the bell is so heavy that you have to pull down with your right shoulder and upper body as well which should cause a tilt straight down towards the ground. DON’T turn back to the golf ball…pull down on the rope. Instinctively your body will turn back to the ball just in time to make contact and your right shoulder, (for right handers) lower.
Another way to test yourself is to check and see if your shoulders traded positions. For instance, at the top of your back swing your left shoulder should be low and right shoulder high. When you pull on the rope your shoulders should have traded positions. Your right shoulder will be low and your left shoulder high.
Ignore the feeling that you’re going to hit behind the golf ball. It may feel like you will but you should not UNLESS your back swing is too far behind yourself. To check that position, at the top of your back swing stop…then soften your arms and bring the golf club and your hands towards the center of your chest. If your hands are not directly in front of your chest then you are behind yourself in the back swing.
First off you actually should be rolling your forearms. Using your hands or wrists cold promote more of a “flip” rather than a solid roll. “Flipping” will also add loft to your golf club causing you to hit the ball higher and shorter.
The back of your left wrist, (for right handers) needs to be bulged slightly in order to create that solid feel at impact. The bulging will also help you reduce the club face loft adding distance and a lower more boring ball flight.
Here’s how to get it done. First off let’s consider impact at 12 o’clock. Hold the golf club in only your left hand, (again for right handers) and swing a very short back swing let’s say to about two o’clock. Then while swinging the golf club back to impact begin “rolling” your left forearm BEFORE you get to impact. You should finish at about ten o’clock with your left palm facing upward.
I would do this drill with just your left hand a lot before attempting to add the right hand. Once you do add the right hand you should see the back of your right hand when finishing at the ten o’clock position.
I see folks trying TOO hard at getting better and sometimes go through a very difficult period until they get tired and relax. When you’re practicing make sure you hold the golf club lightly in your hands. Take a breather after each shot. Grip pressure is a real killer if you don’t be careful.
In fact, many a golfer who says, “it was that last shot on 18th hole that keeps me coming back”….well did you ever think that maybe you just finally relaxed because you knew the round was over.
Nobody is shooting at you and they are not going to electrocute you if you play bad. Lighten up your attitude, grip and forearms. Nicklaus used to talk about soft forearms all the time.
Just like a receiver in football trying so hard he starts dropping passes you too can try so hard and think so much that you get yourself tied up in knots.
Overall on the golf course don’t think! Drill…drill…drill and forget it! Let the work you did on the range meld in to your golf game. Don’t take it on the golf course.
A great dedicated golf teacher Doc Prose once said; “Any system is better than not having one”. He’s right. If you’re focused on performing a specific movement and if you can repeat it time and again…even if it’s wrong…at least you have some predictability in your ball flight and you can plan accordingly. However some motions can cause you such difficulty that they just can’t be overcome such as a sever “over the top” swing path.
Many of the golf lesson businesses come up with cute descriptions of their method like the X Factor….whooooo…. the one plane or two plane swing…..wow which one am I…somethings it looks like I’m the fourth plane swinger!
I shy away from all these types of so called magic methods and so should you. Why? Because you can NOT force fit yourself to any one’s method. You would have to hit golf balls until your hands bleed to reprogram your body to move contrary to its natural tendencies.
That’s why I look at someones natural tendencies and chip away at the areas where most of the improvement would be recognized and enjoyed. Great players know THEIR swing. They ALL have nagging problems and they know how to keep them under control.
The latest craze is this “Stack and Tilt” thing. Well they got have of it right…the Tilt. The stack part actually makes the tilt more difficult to perform in my estimation and leans toward that dreaded “reverse pivot” that so many golfers worked so hard to alleviate.
Take a look at this video attached that shows what I’m talking about. The BIG move that most golfers miss is the tilt of the shoulders on the downswing. It is the turning of the shoulders that causes the over the top swing path.