What Is Lag in a Golf Swing: 5 Tips to More Powerful Shots

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Have you ever asked yourself what is lag in a golf swing? Lag in a golf swing is a technique where you delay the clubhead behind your hands during the downswing. This action boosts the power and accuracy of your shot. You can notice effective lag by the clear angle between the club shaft and your forearms. Keep this angle deep into the downswing.

To create this lag, focus on three things. First, proper wrist flex. Second, a strong grip. And third, correctly timed body movements. This includes rotating your hips.

By improving your lag, you can elevate your game. You’ll strike the ball more efficiently. And you may even see better scores.


Key Takeaways

Aspect of LagKey Points
Definition– Angle between the forearm and club shaft during the downswing
– Delay or gap in time between hands moving and clubhead following
– Trail arm lag plays a crucial role in generating power and speed
Importance– Generates clubhead speed effortlessly for increased distance
– Promotes proper sequencing and timing for consistent ball striking
– Allows the club to shallow out and drop into the correct plane
Mechanics– Proper grip with a slight cup in lead wrist and flat or bowed trail wrist
– Body rotation in the correct sequence: pressure shift, hip rotation, chest, arms, hands
– Maintain loose wrists and light grip pressure throughout the swing
Drills– Trail arm only swings
– Towel under lead armpit
– Pause and drop drill
– Slow motion rehearsals focusing on sequencing
– Lag pressure drills (shift of mass, grasp alteration, posture and waist twist)
Technology– Launch monitors to measure clubhead speed and ball speed
– Wrist angle measurement devices
– Video analysis to identify areas for improvement
Misconceptions– More lag does not always equal better swing
– Lag should happen naturally, not actively created
– Trail arm lag is more important than lead arm lag
Pro Golfers– Maintain a large lag angle well into the downswing
– Release the club at the last moment for maximum speed and power
– Efficient use of lag is a key reason for their impressive swings

What Is Lag in a Golf Swing And Why Is It So Important?

Lag is the angle formed between your forearm and the club shaft during the downswing. It’s important to note that there are two types of lag: lead arm lag and trail arm lag. While many golfers focus on lead arm lag, it’s actually the trail arm lag that plays a more crucial role in generating power and speed.

The Importance of Lag

So why is lag so important? First and foremost, lag helps generate clubhead speed effortlessly, which translates to increased distance. When you maintain the lag angle for as long as possible during the downswing, you store energy that is then released at impact, resulting in a more powerful shot.

Lag also promotes proper sequencing and timing, leading to more consistent ball striking. By allowing the club to shallow out and drop into the correct plane, lag helps you make solid contact with the ball more often.

There is other way to improve your clubhead speed, we done an in-depth article on generating faster speed so make sure to check it out here

Mechanics of Creating Lag In The Golf Swing

what is lag in a golf swing

Understanding the fundamental basics for what is lag in a golf swing and how certain aspects of your swing from wrists to downswing can have major effects on the lag you produce and the effects it has on the golf club

The Role of the Wrist and Forearm in Generating Lag

Start with a proper grip that allows for a slight cup in your lead wrist and a flat or bowed trail wrist. During the downswing, focus on rotating your body in the correct sequence: pressure shift to your lead side, followed by hip rotation, then chestarms, and finally hands.

Maintain loose wrists and a light grip pressure throughout the swing, allowing the club to lag behind your hands naturally. Avoid common mistakes like casting the club early or spinning your shoulders too soon, as these actions can cause you to lose lag.

One effective way to create and maintain lag is through the bowed left wrist downswing maneuver described by many top instructors. This move involves allowing your left wrist to hinge or cup inwards (for a right-handed golfer) on the downswing while keeping the right wrist flat. This bowed position helps set the club on a proper in-to-out swing path while also naturally increasing the shaft lean and lag angle. As you start down, focus on bowing that left wrist towards the target while keeping the right wrist quiet. This loaded position allows you to retain lag longer and square the clubface by releasing the angles properly through impact.

Drills Progression to Improve Your Lag

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Improving lag in your golf swing is a process that requires a systematic approach. By following a progression of drills, you can gradually develop the skills needed to create and maintain lag effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you improve your lag:

Step 1: Trail Arm Only Swings

Begin by practicing swings using only your trail arm. This drill helps you focus on the proper arm positioning, grip control, and shoulder rotation needed for effective lag. Make sure to keep a slight bend in your elbow and maintain a stable grip throughout the swing. Aim for a full shoulder turn while keeping your arm in line with your body.

Step 2: Towel Under Lead Armpit

Once you’ve mastered the trail arm only swings, move on to the towel under lead armpit drill. Place a towel under your lead armpit and practice swings while keeping the towel in place. This drill promotes a firm connection between your arm and body, which is crucial for maintaining a consistent swing path. Focus on keeping your grip comfortable and your swings smooth.

Step 3: Pause and Drop Drill

The pause and drop drill is designed to help you develop the proper timing and sequence in your swing. Start by pausing at the top of your backswing, maintaining balance and stability. Then, initiate the downswing by dropping your arms and club while keeping the angle between your forearm and club shaft consistent. This drill emphasizes the importance of synchronizing your body movements for an effective lag.

Step 4: Slow Motion Rehearsals

Incorporate slow motion rehearsals into your practice routine to fine-tune your swing mechanics. Focus on the sequence of movements, starting with the lower body and progressing to the upper body. Pay attention to your weight shift, hip rotation, and the timing of your arm and club release. Slow motion practice helps ingrain the proper muscle memory needed for a consistent and powerful lag.

Step 5: Lag Pressure Drills

As you become more comfortable with the previous drills, introduce lag pressure drills to further refine your technique. These drills include the “shift of mass drill,” which focuses on smoothly transferring your weight from the back foot to the front foot during the downswing. The “grasp alteration exercise” involves adjusting your grip pressure throughout the swing, while the “posture and waist twist practice” emphasizes hip rotation and shoulder tilt.

Step 6: Integration and Real-Time Practice

Finally, integrate the skills you’ve developed through the progression of drills into your regular golf swing. Start by hitting balls at a slower pace, focusing on maintaining the proper mechanics and feeling of lag. Gradually increase your swing speed while keeping the same techniques. As you become more comfortable, practice hitting balls on the range and on the course, incorporating your new lag skills into your game.

Remember, improving lag takes time and dedication. Be patient with yourself and trust the process. By following this drills progression and practicing regularly, you’ll soon see improvements in your swing power, accuracy, and overall performance on the golf course.


Analysing Lag with Technology

Modern technology can be a great tool to help you understand and improve your lag. Launch monitors can measure your clubhead speed and ball speed, giving you instant feedback on your progress. Wrist angle measurement devices can help you track your lead and trail wrist angles throughout the swing, while video analysis can help identify areas for improvement.

Misconceptions about Lag

One common misconception about lag is that you need to actively try to create it. In reality, lag should happen naturally as a result of proper mechanics and sequencing. Focusing too much on creating lag can actually lead to tension and timing issues.

Another misconception is that lead arm lag is more important than trail arm lag. While both play a role, it’s the trail arm lag that is the key to generating power and speed.

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Lag in the Swings of Pro Golfers

Take a look at the swings of professional golfers like Rory McIlroyDustin Johnson, and Sergio Garcia. Notice how they maintain a large lag angle well into the downswing, only releasing the club at the last moment. This efficient use of lag is a key reason why they can generate so much speed and power with seemingly effortless swings.

My Personal Experience

I was one of these people who would “throw” or “cast” the club leading to very weak and uncontrollable shots, I then learned what lag was and for me the best way to try and maintain it is with a bowed left wrist

I am still getting to grips with the bowed left wrist but my shots now are more straighter but more importantly crisper and more powerful

FAQ For What Is Lag In A Golf Swing

Q: How do I know if I’m correctly creating lag in my swing?

A: A clear sign of correctly creating lag is if you feel the club “whip” through the contact zone with the ball. This sensation indicates that you’ve maintained the angle for as long as possible before releasing it at the bottom of the swing for maximum power. Video analysis can also be a helpful tool to visually check if you’re maintaining the angle between your forearm and the club late in the downswing.

Q: Can too much lag be detrimental to my golf swing?

A: Yes, while lag is crucial for generating power, too much lag can lead to timing issues and an open clubface at impact, resulting in poor shots. The key is to find a balance that works for your swing mechanics and allows you to contact the ball with the correct biomechanics for power without sacrificing accuracy and control.


Lag is a crucial concept for golfers to understand and incorporate into their swings. By maintaining the angle between your forearm and club shaft during the downswing, you can generate more speed, improve your consistency, and take your game to the next level.

Remember, lag is not something you actively try to create, but rather a natural result of proper mechanics and sequencing. Focus on the fundamentals, practice the drills progression, and use technology to analyse your progress, and you’ll be well on your way to unlocking the power of lag in your golf swing.

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