I get a lot of questions about how to get more lag, speed, power and distance in golf … in fact more questions than almost any other topic related to the golf swing or golf lessons except for slicing. The online golf lesson video with this article explains the role of the grip, the hands and the wrists as it relates to creating more hinge and lag in the backswing, but I will include a further explanation here and will follow this article and video with several more related to the topic of lag and the other components of speed, power and distance in golf. Watch the video then read the article for more detail.
To get more distance in golf, you must either hit the golf ball more squarely on the proper launch angle and spin rate or you must generate more clubhead speed to propel the ball faster. Several other articles and videos I have created such as the popular YouTube series on “Grip, Flat Wrist and Release” have been focused on the aspect of hitting the golf ball more squarely and consistently. For most golfers this will help generate more distance as so many players are hitting glancing blows with the clubface open and the swing path cutting across the ball. After all, more swing speed won’t help crooked golf shots.
But let’s assume your swing is pretty squared away and all of the impact parameters are ok … swing path from the inside, clubface squaring up and releasing through the ball and striking with a slight descending blow. After all, those are the only 3 conditions necessary to satisfy the golf ball for a good shot. That’s right … all the stuff we’re doing in a golf swing is designed around those 3 ideas – path, face and angle of attack. Get those 3 right and you will hit a golf ball pretty effectively.
So what do we do to get more distance if we’re already hitting it squarely? We have to find more swing speed.
The only two options we have to create more speed are either generate more leverage which will come largely from the lag in the hands, wrists and elbows (the hands and arms component of the golf swing) or we can generate more rotational speed in the core and hips (the body component of the golf swing.)
I recommend working on maximizing the leverage component first and making sure the hands, wrists and arms are as productive and efficient as possible. More active core and hips without good training leads to an over the top swing as the body outruns the hands and arms and the player loses the solid contact. No distance gains are to be had this way.
Pt 1 – Hands Wrists Arms – More Lag & Leverage in Golf Swing
Start with Left Hand Grip
We need a slightly stronger than average left hand grip by moving the hand to the right on the club. Thumb pad sits right of center, “V” points to right shoulder, 2 -3 knuckles are visible on left hand, heel pad sitting well up on top of handle as club is clinched deeply down into the base of the pinky finger.
Next is right hand grip
For maximum wrist hinge it is vital to set the right hand in its anatomically preferred neutral position. This is not what golf books teach as they expect you to put your right hand underneath the handle in an effort to help you roll it over more at impact and stop slicing. This is a “cop out” and should not be done.
Place the right hand on from slightly above the club so the crease in the palm covers the left thumb, the “V” is centered and the middle knuckle of the trigger finger finger is easily visible on the side of the club.
Wrist Hinge in Backswing
Now that we have an anatomically advantaged grip for hinging or cocking the golf club, we need to know what to do with it. The takeaway simply sweeps the club back in what appears to be a fairly straight line to the player while maintaining the “triangle” formed by the arms at address. (Butt of club points at center of triangle, i.e. center of chest) This triangle stays intact until the club is just past right thigh approaching waist high. At this point, to generate maximum hinge, feel the left hand pressing the butt of the club down and away from the chest. The clubhead will begin to lever upward as the butt end of the club points away from the chest to the right; your thumbs will start to point toward your right ear but keep the left elbow as firm as you comfortably can. Don’t shrink the arc and fold the left arm.
Arms and Elbows in Backswing
As the wrist hinge increases on the way up, the left arm is extending away from center of chest creating “width” for the arc that the handle of the club is making. In other words the butt of the grip is staying away from center of chest on a wide arc. As this is happening the right elbow must fold down. This requires reasonable flexibility in the arms, wrists and shoulders and it is mandatory to make a full 90 degree shoulder turn to complete this act as successfully as possible. A flying or high right elbow gapped away from the left arm will reduce the wrist hinge or cause the player to let go with the right hand. A good drill to keep the elbows intact is to swing with the arms stuck inside of a wire coat hanger just above the elbows.
OK. That’s Part 1 on how to create more lag and generate more speed, power and distance in golf. If you read this far, you must be serious about accomplishing it. Double-check your grip to make sure it is setup for maximum hinge, feel the sensation of pushing the butt of the club away from the chest, and fold the trailing arm.
Don’t forget to leave your comments below and stay tuned for the next article and video in this series.
If you don’t live in the Raleigh area but have access to video, you can still get Hermanized by filming your swing and submitting it for an online golf lesson.