Try this hands-on (and thumbs-off!) drill to get a real sense of
the way encouraging ‘lag’ in your swing unlocks your potential
for generating clubhead speed.
THUMBS OFF THUMBS ON - FOR EXTRA LAG AND SPEEDTECHNICAL
If you could distil the ingredients of great
ball striking with an iron in your hand it
would probably come down to two elements;
lag and speed. You see, lag has the
ability to produce a great angle of attack
with an iron, complimented by the added
bonus of increased clubhead speed.
Hands up who doesn’t want to hit it better
and hit it farther?
Lag is often a mystical concept in golf –
many golfers have tried to create ‘lag’ or a
‘late hit’ position only to find themselves
even slower through the ball than before.
Lag is not a static position, in fact it’s probably
the least static and slow position we can
have during the swing due to its dynamic
forces. The moment you try to replace ‘motion’
with ‘position’ you generally kill speed!
Lag is nothing more than the increasing
of the club’s swingweight through angular
momentum. That sounds like a mouthful but
essentially all this means is the wrists cock
or flex a little more during the downswing
due to the pulling weight of the club. All we
do to lag the club is to allow this sense of
‘heaviness’ to happen through the pliability
of the wrists – yes they must feel soft and
receptive to a dynamic change of direction
in which the club feels really heavy.
Heighten the sense in your fingers
This drill is going to give
you that sense of weight, change of direction
The way to get this message through is
to first take your regular grip; you are then
going to lift both thumb pads off of the grip
just as you see in this close-up picture.
As you do this you will immediately gain a
sense of the handle of the club increasing
its weight into the fingers (which is why
you should grip the handle there – i.e. low
in the fingers – to begin with!).
Take the time to get used to this dense
heaviness, a feeling I doubt you would
ever of had if you have been guilty of casting
the club. Let the grip end bounce a little
in your fingers as if somebody had
asked you, ‘How much do you think that
weighs?’ Only now will you begin to create
the right feelings.
Thumbs off in motion – and repeat
The trick to this is plenty of practice
swings and rehearsals! Start to make a
backswing but keep the thumb pads off of
the grip handle until you reach the top of
your swing and initiate the change of direction.
When you sense your downswing
has started let the handle of the club drop
back onto the thumb pads; as this happens
time and time again you will start to
pick up on the rhythm and the physiology
needed to create lag.
Return to your set-up position,
with a regular grip,
and then rehearse your
first move to this point,
again lifting both thumbs
up off the shaft as your
hands reach waist high.
Bounce the club a few
times, then repeat
Keep the thumbs up
off the shaft until you
change direction and
feel the club drop as
lag is created
Lose control to gain control...
What do I mean by physiology? Any golfer
I have ever seen in my 20-year career that
has created little in the way of lag always
demonstrated a tightness in the hands that
severely altered the bodies ability to create
lag and this extra angle into the ball. The
most common example can be found with
lady golfers who grip the club tightly to
support its weight and motion but in doing
so kill the swings ability to create leverage.
The paradox is that if you want lag,
speed and distance you have to ‘let go’ of
control (CEO’s and CFO’s take note!) and
give the club a little life of its own; let it
bounce a little and have some motion!
So, I want you doing this time and time
again: ‘thumbs off…thumbs on’…..
’thumbs off….thumbs on’.
When you feel you have that down just
clip a few half shots away trying to replicate
that same softness the hands during
the drill. you will be amazed at the pop the
ball seems to now as it leaves the face.
So, whenever there’s a lack of fizz from
the ball and your strike pattern has become
a little ‘uncompressed’ go back to
‘thumbs off, thumbs on’. In a short time
you will enjoy that terrific feeling of natural
lag in your swing and can focus on firing
your iron shots start at your target.
Reproduced with kind permission of Golf International Magazine