GOLF DI­GEST SCHOOLS

Steal Ser­gio Gar­cia’s lag.

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Contents - By Jim McLean

Ser­gio Gar­cia is known for be­ing an ex­cep­tional ball-striker, and the way he gets the club­head to lag be­hind the move­ment of the arms and body in the down­swing helps him hit it pure. It can im­prove your swing, too, so I’m go­ing to show you how to cre­ate it.

If you’re not sure what lag is, look at this photo of me in the down­swing. My hands are about to pass over the top of the ball while the club­head has a way to go be­fore con­tact. Sim­ply put, the club­head lags be­hind the move­ments of my body and arms. This helps get the club mov­ing its fastest where it counts, through the im­pact area. That’s why lag is so valu­able to hit­ting good shots.

The prob­lem is, many golfers don’t un­der­stand how to make this hap­pen. Heck, I’ve even heard Ser­gio misiden­tify the source of his pro­nounced lag. Ser­gio said it feels as if he’s yank­ing the han­dle of the club down­ward like “pulling a chain.” Though that might be what he feels, it’s re­ally not what’s go­ing on. He’s not hold­ing o the re­lease of the club­head with his hands. In fact, try­ing to cre­ate lag this way of­ten re­sults in bad misses. It cre­ates ten­sion and forces a last-se­cond ip of the hands to try to close the club­face. With­out that ip, it’s shank city.

What Ser­gio ac­tu­ally is do­ing to cre­ate lag is start­ing the down­swing with his lower body. He has a free- ow­ing swing and seam­lessly goes from back­swing to down­swing with his legs and hips be­fore his arms, hands and club can do the same. He’s not pulling down, he feels pull. His arms are do­ing lit­tle more than drop­ping as his swing be­gins to change di­rec­tion. In fact, his left arm stays con­nected to his torso in the down­swing – that’s a key move.

When your lower body starts the down­swing and the arms and hands stay re­laxed, you’ll cre­ate lag.The un­wind­ing of the lower body to­wards the tar­get ini­tially pro­pels the swing­ing of the arms – just like Ser­gio does. The club even­tu­ally catches up and passes the body, but it hap­pens much closer to

im­pact (above).And the closer that hap­pens, the more po­ten­tial there is to com­press the ball.That’s why lag is so valu­able. Even when you don’t find the sweet spot of the club­face, you’ll still have the po­ten­tial to hit a de­cent shot be­cause of the en­ergy you re­lease into the ball.

An­other way to un­der­stand lag is to think of the mo­tion cre­ated when paint­ing a wall. When your hand is mov­ing back and forth hold­ing a paint­brush, what are the bris­tles do­ing? They’re lag­ging be­hind.This mo­tion is sim­i­lar to what you should feel in your hands if you lag the club­head cor­rectly. I’ve got a drill that hones this mo­tion (right).

Re­mem­ber, lag is a key facet of the golf swing. Just try not to get it by pulling the han­dle down. Let your lower body lead the down­swing, which will set the club­head in a trail­ing po­si­tion. Do that, and you’ll start pur­ing it just like Ser­gio.

“Keep your lead arm con­nected to your body.”

DOM FURORE

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