Get More Lag in Golf Swing for Speed, Power & Distance Pt 1

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.




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  1. Hi Herman,
    This has changed my golf game.I have so much power and distance and just want to say thank you.My friends envy me and they cant understand how I can get so much distance but I am not sharing my secret.
    Awesome and thank you again.

    • Hi Rick. Welcome aboard. That short club that I’m using has a unique story. It is a 5-iron from 1935. Haig Ultra that I played in early high school years … inherited from my grandfather. It was too rusty to keep using for anything and shaft was likely to break, so i cut it off to just barely longer than the grip and painted it white so it would be easy to see. Shaft is very narrow diameter at the neck, so I built it up with about 2o wraps of tape and installed a grip on it. Any local golf repair shop should be able to do the same for you if you have an old club to butcher. Good luck.

  2. Herman, having had a stronger grip and more lag, I found (using the little SkyPro swing analyser) that my clubface is closed halfway back in my back swing but slightly open (at the same point) on the downswing (+- 15% difference). Not focusing on a flat wrist at the top (due to the stronger grip) resulted in me having to square an open club face in the last quarter of the swing. Obviously the results were not good, sometimes left, sometimes right and sometimes in the middle (my timing is not good enough to play golf like that). However, placing the grip in the fingers of my left hand (keeping the stronger grip) and sliding my thumb down the shaft, let me to a slightly cupped position (less cupping than previous) at the top but now having my club slightly closed on the way back as well (close to what it is on the way back) resulting in straight and consistent shots! I found that a “shorter” thumb on the grip leads to an over cupping to get the shaft parallel to the top half of the arm when at the top of the back swing. Moving the thumb down, I could get the palm flatter with the same amount of lag and a squared club face on the way back. The reason for my long story is a question – does this all make sense or am I setting myself up for a different set of problems? Greeting from South Africa

    • Jean, awesome self-analysis. I think you are spot-on. This is the advantage I have when working one-on-one with a student … we can get into the fine tuning to get the desired outcome which ultimately is to manage that clubface with consistency while achieving decent power. You’ve done it. Congrats! – Herman

  3. Hello Mr. Williams,

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU again for putting the LAG technic video on youtube. After following your instructions. I must tell you I am now hitting average 20 to 25 yards longer in every clubs easily and consistently. My 8 iron used to go about 145 yards. Today I hit my 8 iron and got a birdie on a par 3 hole that was 172 yards.
    My group couldn’t believe what they saw. THANK YOU.THANK YOU.

  4. great golf swing info. following your instructions now gain an average 20 to 25 yards per club consistently. Your informations are so true.

  5. Good Morning, Herman! I took a golf lesson last Thursday from a local TGM instructor & he really helped me!.. Turned out my right elbow was getting too far behind me in the backswing & I was getting stuck in the downswing. He worked with me on some of your key points: 1. Keep your elbows & arms in front of your chest throughout the swing. 2. Maintain PP#1 (Cup of right hand against left thumb throughout the swing. 3. Maintain PP#3 (Right index or trigger finger continual pressure against side of the shaft throughout the downswing. All my shots are much more consistent & longer, now! Thanks so much for all your assistance! I left a contribution to your site & Thanks, Again!



    • Thanks, Greg, for comments and donation. Excellent description of what you need to do. Glad you got the help you needed … hope you make steady progress with your game. – Herman

  6. The left arm push the club away from the chest by exerting pressure on the butt while take away. My question is at the same time the right hand butt must push on the left dumb and trigger finger pull the club up to form a90 degrees just like throwing a fishing rod. Is the statement I added proper hinge action on both hands.

  7. Herm,
    Great stuff thanks for the help! The flat left wrist in previous videos has really straightened my ball flight and I’m concerned that the stronger left hand grip will lead to hooks. Is the extra distance worth sacrificing accuracy or am I missing an element in the instruction? Thanks again for the great explanations!

    • Hi Chris. No, you haven’t missed anything. The concepts you are asking about simply have to be weighed and prioritized on an individual basis. There will be some who want maximum distance at all costs and others will be desperate for solid contact and accuracy. Hopefully all will find a balance and be happy. But “Yes” if you go too far in either camp it may hurt the performance of the other. You might just try a slightly stronger left hand and watch what the ball does. If your lag is sufficient, I don’t think you’ll start hooking it off the planet or anything crazy. Good luck. – Herman

  8. Herman, if you will send the address i will list it with mindspring. Thanks for the video and info. As you know lag is my constant flaw. See you soon. Larry

  9. Excellent video. I was wondering though if your description and demonstration of “pushing the butt of the club away” is achieved by pressing down on the left thumb with the right hand? So an early wrist break or “waiters tray” position is a result? Good stuff!

    • Good observation. Both hands really are equally involved. That pressure point is accurate – the heel of right hand is also pushing down and away from chest to assist in pointing the butt of the handle away to the right, and there is definite pressure against the left thumb. This is why the folded right elbow is also important and allows for the “tray of dishes” position at the top. High right elbow almost always disconnects the right hand from that pressure point against left thumb and dumps the tray.

  10. Excellent video and article. As a practical matter, for most of us, increase in swing speed/distance is going to have to come as a result of improved fundamentals and technique, not muscle. The Internet is full of scattered golfing tips, many of which give conflicting information.This video and article, like your others is concise, pulls together and sets out in one place golf instruction which is trustworthy. This video, in conjunction with the others on grip, flat wrist and release are most helpful. I’ll settle for 20 but I really think I’ll get those 40 yards. Jon Hunt