Lagging the Load Through Impact
Dr. Eric Wilson, PGA Master Instructor
IMPACT ZONE™ Master Instructor
Now that we have the club fully loaded in the backswing from Dynamic #3 – Loading the Lag on the Backswing – it is time to transition and deliver the club to the ball while maintaining the lag into and through impact. Homer Kelley, author of The Golfing Machine, claimed that lag is “the secret of golf,” and Bobby agrees, stating that “[lag] is the downswing’s number-one priority, concern, and goal, until you’ve swung well past the both-arms-straight, follow through position.” In conjunction with Dynamic #4, it is time to discuss the body pivot.
As Bobby states, “If the power that you lag into impact is your precious cargo, the pivot is the transportation vehicle that carries the goods through the impact zone. That is why we call the pivot the golf swing’s workhorse.” While the pivot is not one of the five IMPACT ZONE™ dynamics, it will be discussed in-depth in the next article. For this article, we will focus on Lagging the Load through impact, understanding that the pivot is a critical component in achieving this. Bobby explains “When successfully creating lag in your downswing, you should feel that the club head continually trails the hands and retains its stress, or load, in the club shaft. So, lag has both the quality of the club head trailing and the quantity of the angle between the left (lead) arm and the club shaft, and the amount of stress or bend you create in that shaft.
Remember, the lag’s job is to store the swing’s power right through the impact zone.” Quality of lag refers to how long the angle is retained into impact, while quantity of lag refers to how much angle between the club shaft and left (lead) arm is achieved and retained into impact. The ideal combination that you should strive to achieve is maximum quality and maximum quantity of lag through impact. Check out World #1 Rory McIlroy below, and see how he establishes and maintains his lag into impact.
Notice how Rory’s quantity of lag is more than 90 degrees in the second frame as he begins his downswing; then notice how he has retained the quality of his lag well into his approach to impact in frame three, not letting the angle decrease significantly until the actual impact point. Is it any wonder that he is Number 1 in the World with this action? Bobby quotes the great Byron Nelson, who said that “you can never release the club too late in the downswing,” meaning that the angle between the left (lead) arm and the club shaft should be retained as long as possible, until centrifugal force releases the angles of your cocked left (lead) wrist and bent right (rear) arm. “The proper feel of sustaining lag is that it has no release point at all until well past impact.” As you master Lagging the Load Through Impact, you will develop that wonderful feeling of effortless power you see displayed each weekend on the PGA, Champions, and LPGA Tours. (To contact Eric, Click Here)