Swings with lag are far more powerful than swings with little or no lag. When you lag the club, you are creating the potential for energy that can be used up later – hopefully, right before impact. When the angle is released at just the right time, the club head will accelerate rapidly and the ball will be smashed against the face of the club.
Unfortunately, most amateur golfers waste their lag prematurely, meaning the club is slowing down by the time it reaches impact. So, you actually have two jobs to do with regard to this point – you need to create plenty of lag, and you also need to hold on to that lag until the last possible moment in the downswing.
Drill #1 – Right Hand Only
This is a great drill for feeling the way lag can add power to your swing. Using your right hand only (for a right handed golfer – it would be the left hand for a lefty player), grab one of your short irons and make a few swings at the range. At first, you probably won’t be able to apply much speed to the swing, because you will only have the use of one hand. However, if you start to learn how to lag the club behind your right hand, you will quickly find that you can create much more speed than it seemed at first.
If you have a space to hit some shots safely, try to hit a few short iron shots using only your right hand. When the club transitions from backswing to downswing, let the club head ‘hang’ where it is while you start down with your hands and lower body rotation. Allow the club to lag behind your hands most of the way down, and then unleash that angle right at the bottom to send the ball off into the distance. This drill will take some time to master, but it will feel incredibly powerful when you do figure it out.
Drill #2 – Weighted Club Head
There are a number of products on the market which will add weight to the club head end of your shaft in order to help with this drill, but you don’t need to buy them if you have a simple towel available. Take a small golf towel and roll it up into the shape of a snake. Then, wrap the towel around the club shaft just above the club head and tie a knot to keep it in place. You are going to be swinging the club with the towel in place, so tie it on as tightly as possible.
Now, you are going to make some practice swings with the towel tied on to the club (without hitting balls, of course). What is the point of this drill? With the added weight (and air resistance) of the towel, the club head is going to feel significantly heavier than it feels on a normal swing. That added weight is going to help you understand how you need to lag the club behind your hands on the way down.
It will be harder to cast the club (meaning it will be harder to waste lag early in the swing), so you will be far more likely to carry your lag down into impact. After a few practice swings, remove the towel and hit some shots. Hopefully, with the feeling of the drill still fresh in your mind, you will be able to lag the club nicely and unlock power you previously had failed to use.
Drill #3 – Feet Together
One last drill that can be used to help you feel how to lag the club is the feet together drill. On the range, take one of your short or mid-irons from the bag and hit a few shots with your feet together. Instead of your normal stance where your feet may be shoulder width apart (roughly), you will stand with your feet touching each other at address. Obviously, that is going to make it nearly impossible to use your lower body in the swing. Therefore, you will have to use lag and a full release in order to produce any speed at all.
The first few shots you hit while doing this drill likely won’t go very far at all. However, with some practice, you should be able to add distance to these shots by more effectively lagging the club into the ball.
In many ways, you should feel like you are cracking a whip on the way down – allow the club head to hang back, get you hands into position over the ball, and then unleash the power that has been stored up in your hands and wrists. By practicing your lag using this drill along with the previous two drills listed above, you can add both speed and power to your swing. Good luck!