Tiger Woods creates power by lagging the club behind his hands.
David Cannon/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Some of the most famous pictures of Ben Hogan's golf swing show his wrists almost fully hinged as his hands approach the ball on the downswing. By laggingВ hisВ clubhead behind his hands, Hogan -- who stood 5 feet, 7 inches tall -- generated tremendous clubhead speed when he needed it most, as the club struck the ball. You can develop your lag for greater distance by practicing several the lag drills used by top teaching pros.
Golf Channel instructor Martin Hall teaches players to keep their thumbs pointed to the sky on the downswing to feel lag. To develop the sensation, Hall wants you hold a club in your left hand only, take it to the top of your backswing and pause. With your right hand, reach up and hook one or two fingers around the shaft. Pull the club down slowly with your left hand using the right hand to hold the angle between the club and your left wrist. Hall says if you watch your left hand on the way down you will see the thumb continue to point skyward until you release the right-hand fingers.
PGA professional Brad Brewer uses slow motion drills to isolate specific swing feelings, including lag. According to Brewer, Hogan practiced these drillsВ to program the swing into his mind and body. To work on lag, practice swinging down slowly from the top of the backswing, making sure your hands lead the club coming down. You should feel like the downward motion of your arms causes your body to unwind, and the club follows along.
Many golfers have tried a cross-handed grip to improve putting, but swing guru Rick Smith uses a cross-handed position to teach lag. At address, grip the club with your left hand below your right and swing back to the top. Smith, writing in "Golf Digest," says you should feel a pull across your back muscles at the top of the backswing. Practice starting down and stopping when your hands are at about hip high. The cross-handed grip will keep your wrists fully hinged until in that position. Smith says you don't have to hit the ball performing the drill.
Chuck Quinton has taught PGA Tour players to increase their lag using an impact bag, which is a training tool designed to absorb the shock of being hit with a club. To learn lag, he has players swing into an impact bag positioned where the ball would be. The bag stops the club at the impact position. You should feel the club hit the bag a split second after your hands reach your front leg, proving you've lagged on the way down. You can also set the bag along your target about a foot behind your back foot. Unless you lag the club on the downswing, your clubhead will hit the bag before it reaches the impact zone.