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Learn the Secret of Clubhead Lag
Part 1: Understanding Clubhead Lag and Its Impact on Golf Shots

From Chuck Evans
Chuck Evans Golf

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Part 2: Drills to Learn Clubhead Lag

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Chuck Evans Golf

Yes, there truly is a "secret" of golf. Good players know it and use it almost subconsciously. The Golfing Machine, by Homer Kelley, describes this "secret" as "clubhead lag" and cites that "it is simple, elusive, indispensable, without substitute or compensation and always present."

What is lag? We've all heard this term, but few know what it means. Lag can be defined as "trailing" or "following" of the clubhead behind the hands.

clubhead lag
In this article we will focus on "clubhead lag" and its importance to the golf swing.

Clubhead lag is simple because every club is designed to lean forward ahead of the ball. When an iron is soled correctly, with both the leading and trailing edges on the ground, you will see that the shaft leans forward. If soled incorrectly, the shaft will lean either backward or too far forward. When a club shaft leans too far forward, the clubface loses its correct loft.

Clubhead lag is also elusive as it is not only the hands leading the clubhead, it is also the bending of the club shaft during start down. The initial force of the hands moving toward the ground bends the club shaft. According to Mr. Kelley, "clubhead lag promotes even and steady acceleration, assuring dependable control of distance - any amount of deceleration during the down stoke dissipates clubhead lag." Therefore, constant acceleration is needed to ensure a lagging clubhead through impact.

A prime example of a correctly lagging clubhead would occur when a tour player hits a shot. As the player starts his pre-shot routine the announcer tells us that the player has 193 yards to the flag and is going to hit a 6-iron. A 6-iron! A lot of players would love to hit their driver that far!

In every good swing at the moment of impact the club shaft is leaning forward (toward the target). The hands are in front of the ball and clubface (as in the photo below), effectively turning the six-iron into a five- or four-iron.

clubhead lag
When the club shaft is stressed and constant acceleration is used, the player gains control of the height and distance of all their clubs. Once this technique is properly applied, it becomes indispensable. The player can then rely on his ability to use the proper amount of lag pressure at any time.

The average player arrives at impact with the hands behind the ball and the club shaft leaning backward:

clubhead lag
This effectively adds loft and turns that six-iron into a seven- or eight-iron. If you play golf with someone who is always complaining that their irons go the same distance, that player has a backward-leaning club shaft.

Clubhead lag is always present once the down stroke has begun. Good players use steady acceleration. Poor players over-accelerate, the hands reaching maximum speed before impact, thus losing the "lag." According to Mr. Kelley, "any over-acceleration or pushing away of the club will eliminate the lag, never to be re-attained for that shot." Therefore, resist any attempt at throwing the hands at the ball or "flicking" the wrists near impact. Remember - the hands lead and the clubhead trails.

Next page > Drills for Learning Clubhead Lag > Page 2

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