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Clubhead Lag -- the clubhead lagging behind the hands through impact -- is the most important fundamental in the golf swing.

All PGA Tour players use Lag to compress the ball while poor players don't.


Learn how to FEEL, CREATE and SUSTAIN the lag. Discover the benefits of the Flat Left Wrist, shaft loading and educated hands and cut your scores in half!

Amazing improvements…in one hour!

Amazing improvements in one hourI know, I know, the title of this post sounds like some bad advertisement – like those to promise you’ll lose weight instantly while still eating tons of Big Macs!

But what you are about to see is incredible enough to justify this dramatic entry…

I’m very excited to share this with you because I’ve never seen such an amazing improvement on a Golf Swing in such a short time.

Here’s the story: My wife, Carine, is a casual player who started golf a few years ago and plays around 30. But due to her pregnancy she hasn’t touched a golf club for two years and she only played 4 practice rounds since (!):

  • May 5, 2008: One bucket of practice balls
  • Aug 24, 2008: One bucket of practice balls
  • Sept 1, 2008: Two hours working on Lag & proper swing dynamics
  • Feb 13, 2009: One bucket of practice balls with a great smile :-) !

Carine did the first two practice sessions with her old Swing. But at the end of the second session in August, she wasn’t totally pleased by her game and she decided it was time to do something…

As I got great improvements on my own game by introducing Lag in it, I proposed her to give it a try.

And this is what we got (click on the thumbs for the details):

Old Swing – Iron play – Date: May 5, 2008


Old Swing - Iron play - Date: May 5, 2008This is Carine’s old swing.
This swing sequence may look good at first sight but still images tell the truth: The Left Wrist bends at impact due to clubhead throw away. Leverage is lost leading to power loss and poor accuracy.

Old Swing – Driver – Date: Aug 24, 2008


Old Swing - Driver - Date: Aug 24, 2008Carine hasn’t touched a club since her last session three months ago. However the same flaws can be seen here again.

They are also magnified by using the Driver in an attempt to hit it hard…

After that session, we watched the videos and she asked me what could be done to improve her golf swing.

I was happy to oblige and gently proposed she’d be my Guinea Pig for some experiments during her next practice session :-)

New Swing – Iron Play – Date: Sept 1, 2008



New Swing - Iron PlayOne week later (without touching a club in between) we managed to get together for that "lab" session.

First, we did a few exercises to make her understand Lag pressure – Dynamics of the stroke.
Second, I explained the correct Geometry of the stroke and how to comply with it.

She gently, diligently and blindly (this must be love!) did all the strange things I asked her to do during the first 45 minutes.

We then moved to an area where we can hit balls a bit longer. After 10 balls, I took the first Swing video: She was performing perfect "Acquired Motion" strokes!

The second Video was shot a few minutes later: She loved the new feels and was looking to compress the ball with increased authority!

New Swing – Driver


New Swing - DriverAs a reward we headed to the range to hit some Drives. I was wondering if she could reproduce the feel with the big stick…

Well, see for yourself!

Absolutely no clubhead throw away here and a nice looking golf swing on still images!

New Swing – Hungry for Lag – Date: Feb 2, 2009


New Swing - Hungry for Lag - Date: Feb 2, 2009And the final test: She hasn’t seen a golf ball since the last session more than 7 months ago!!! I told you she was a casual player!

I took the video 5 minutes after we arrived – she did it immediately right as if she had played the day before!

That was funny because she loved the Lag Pressure Feel so much that she was compressing the ball like crazy!

She was so concerned by driving it down that she never thought of her finish and always stopped at the end of her follow through – the both arms straight station.


Pretty amazing don’t you think?

Isn’t it a great proof that switching to the correct dynamics can lead to huge improvements on the Golf game?

And most important: by accepting to change your conception of the golf stroke those improvements can come pretty fast!

What kind of black magic is in use here?

As I think you are dying to know what magic was used, let me explain exactly what we did to achieve those tremendous changes almost instantly.
I’m sure this will benefit to a lot of you who don’t know where to start to go from Hackville to Lagville!

My goal was to get rid of her clubhead throw away.
I knew I had to make her feel Lag pressure because the more the Lag Pressure, the harder to throw it away – pretty simple.

But before hitting any ball, we talked 15 minutes about the geometry of the stroke.

From there she understood the need of hitting down (& out) on the golf ball instead of scooping at it.

She then realized that a Flat Left Wrist at impact was mandatory to achieve this and that the clubhead must never travel faster than the hands (the clubhead must stay below the hands until both arms straight).

I told her that one way to ensure a Flat Left Wrist at impact is to think of maintaining the right wrist bent at all times.

With that in mind, she was now ready to get introduced to Mr. Lag Pressure and ingrain that feel in her mind.

We just did a variant of the "Drag the Wet Mop" drill:
With an 8 iron, walk down the fairway while strongly dragging the leading edge of the Golf club. Your goal is to bend the shaft and maintain that stress as you walk. This puts quite a strong pressure into your index trigger finger of the right hand that can’t go unnoticed!

Do it for 3 minutes and keep that feeling in your mind and in your finger.

Now, you are ready to hit some "Basic Motion" shots: This is only a miniature swing where the emphasis is put into the impact zone – two feet back and two feet through.
The goal is to feel exactly the same strong pressure in the index as in the previous exercise while maintaining a Flat Left Wrist (or a Bent Right Wrist) and driving the ball down into the ground.

We did that 15 minutes and moved to "Acquired Motion": Still a miniature full swing (and not a pitch shot), hands no further back than shoulder high and stop to both arms straight with the clubhead below the hands.

The risk when you move to longer shots is to go faster because you subconsciously think of the distance the ball must travel.
To keep her away from that I asked her to think "Slow and Heavy".


That’s all folks: Nothing more than Lag Pressure Feel (good dynamics) applied to a correct conception of the Golf Stroke (good geometry)…

The player’s feel

She told me what she felt different from her old way of swinging the golf club:

  1. Compressing the ball by visualizing a line going down and out into the ground and through the ball and that she needed to aim down that line.
    Before that, she was seeing a line going towards the target and laying on the ground.
  2. She immediately loved the feel and was "greedy" for more compression!
  3. She felt maintaining the Left Wrist Flat by maintaining the Right Wrist Bend.
  4. She tried to reproduce the pressure in the index trigger finger of the right hand witnessed during the Drag the Wet Mop drill.
  5. Thinking "Slow and Heavy" as a mantra to keep away from over accelerating the clubhead and sensing a heavy Lag Pressure.


I’ll try to perform that little experiment again to see if I can manage to get the same amazing improvements on someone else.
I’ll keep you informed if I manage to find another gentle Guinea Pig!

In the meantime, feel free to try this curriculum by yourself and share the results with others on the comments area.

35 Responses to “Amazing improvements…in one hour!”

  1. John Carter John Carter says:

    Hi John,
    Since my last post i’ve been spending time at the range practicing a “Hitting” motion. The irons are working fine with an “Impact fix”, however I cannot relate this when using the driver.
    My understanding is that the ball should be positioned around the “Low point” opposite the left shoulder. Does that mean the ball should be struck with a downward or upward motion, with or without an “Impact fixed” right hand driving the hands ahead of the club head?

    Regards John

    • Hi John,

      The trick is to consider the driver as if you were hitting a wedge.

      As such, and as a hitter, your goal is to destroy the ground!
      This means that you mustn’t have any ‘up’ in your mind. You goal is to drive down with your right arm.

      Of course, because the ball is at low point and ‘suspended’ in the air on a tee, no divot will be taken and the club head won’t be able to go down any further because your left arm acting as a leach will restrict that. However, you right arm continues to drive down even after low point (we call that “taking an air divot!”).

      For a more dramatic explanation, imagine placing the ball bit after low point – outside your left foot: The club head will contact the ball on its way up BUT you can very well do that while driving down with you right arm.

      You may also have the following problem:
      With the driver is that the ball is located further away from your right shoulder than with a wedge.
      As such, you may have trouble extending your right arm past impact if you address the ball with both arms straight: you will run out of right arm at impact with such a setup and will fail to drive down PAST impact.
      Practice impact fix with the driver with a bent right arm that you can extend down past impact while you see your clubhead naturally going up because of your left arm acting as a leach!

      Oh, and practice keeping you right hand bent while extending your right arm in a piston like motion.

      Now go destroy some ground (or air ;-))!

      • John Carter John Carter says:

        Hi John

        Many thanks for such a detailed answer and description. I’ll be going to the driving range to work on this.

        I’ve promised myself one month to try the “Hitting” approach, and so far my striking using irons, is very encouraging.

        Once again thanks for sharing your expertise.

        Regards John

  2. John Carter John Carter says:

    I’m intrigued by the improvement. Is this a “Hitters” swing?

    I ask because I think I may suit a “hitters” swing, but cannot find any detailed information to develop one. Do you know of any source material.

    Great article(s)!

    Regards John Carter (UK)

  3. Hey Scott

    The lower ball flight than you are used to is THE normal ball flight!
    It is a sign that you strike the ball without de-lofting the club and is a consequence of the correct motion engrained with your “Basic Motion” work.

    However, if you’re looking for a higher trajectory, change nothing except ball position: place it closer to low point until you get the desired ball flight. But do it WITHOUT altering your motion. Ball position changes, not the motion.

    The yardage issue is not normal and is a clue that you probably need more compression on the ball: ie. go more DOWN and OUT.

  4. Scott M Scott M says:

    I am a big guy BTW. 6’5 290

  5. Scott M Scott M says:

    I practiced with it on the range for 1 hour with a 7iron doing half swings as suggested. I am a swinger but used the hitter mechanics you showed. I have played golf for 4 years but played baseball all my life and played division 1 football so my athletic ability has helped me.

    I then hit a bucket with nothing but my 7 & 8 irons. My ball striking was great. I had been hitting a lot off the toe. I hit zero off the toe after the drill. I had been hitting a baby draw and was hitting about a 5 yard fade using the hitting mechanics. It changed my swing path according to my divots.

    My ball flight with the new mechanics is flatter and lower which I do not like. Will that work its self out with more practice and better compression?

    I also did not notice much of a yardage distance 5 yds or less between the 7 & 8.

    Anyway it feels weird but good. I feel almost robotic but next trip will try to work on a complete high follow through.

  6. Hey Mike,

    Keep going. I know that for you this is not going to be as easy and instantaneous as it did with my wife.

    The most important is that you keep thinking about and trying all the things you read here:
    You’ll need to incubate all those concepts and feels first.
    Incubation time varies from people to people but the egg always hatches into a “aha” moment.

  7. To DBB:

    Agreed; that’s why I appreciate the Golfing Machine: it is a System and not a Method (ala Stack & Tilk for instance).
    It references all THE WAYS and not THE WAY to hit the ball correctly – just assemble the components the way you prefer!

    However all the swings must obey the same imperatives:
    - a flat left wrist AT IMPACT (no matter how you get there)
    - a Clubhead Lag Pressure Point (your index trigger finger)
    - tracing a straigh plane line with that Pressure Point

  8. To Jools:

    Great comment!

    “I would feel it at the top of my swing and then when I attempt to strike the ball, I would unconsciously lose it on the downswing because I was concentrating on hitting the ball.”

    This illustrates the mantra “put your mind in the Hands, not in the ball”.

    However when I consciously try to maintain it, it feels that I am swing way TOO EFFORTLESSLY i.e. the club was travelling too slow for my liking because my hands must always be in front of the clubhead.”

    This slowness is the correct feel: And at the same time you feel that you cannot go any faster (!!!) as it is pretty tough to drag that heavy clubhead.

    Therefore any quick and jerky feel on the downswing is improper execution!

  9. Hey John!

    I totally agree with you, and will continue to work on it :)


  10. To Mike:

    “I have been reading some forums (golfwrx.com) and you can nearly hit your normal distance swinging from 9 to 3, since the ball contact is much better.

    I think for guys like us, a more compact swing is what is needed.”

    Exactly right.

    The keys to success as a Hitter:

  11. To Jay:

    The Hitter has a shorter backswing than the Swinger. In fact, the shorter the better!
    A Hitter trying to lengthen his backswing risks activating his right arm way too soon on the downswing.
    As a consequence he will run out of right arm before reaching to the ball. At gis point his brain won’t allow to miss the ball and will flip the club in a desperate attempt to touch it: thin shot!

    If, like Mike, you are “athletic”, Hitting is good because you are in control of your motion as opposed to Swinging where you must let centrifugal force go.

    But I strongly encourage you to shorten your backswing AND perform the slowest startdown possible, especially with the longest clubs! I know this is counter intuitive but try it and you’ll understand.

    Gripping the club tight is good as we want no wobble in the grip. Club pro’s will discourage you to do so for a reason: many amateurs who grip it very tight ALSO tend to dead lock everything and crisp their wrists which is worst!

    The best way is to grip it tight BUT keep loosened wrists EVEN with Hitting because it helps a lot to feel and sustain clubhead inertia (aka Lag Pressure!).

  12. DBB DBB says:

    This “dead hands” flat wrist approach is a good one, but so is an active wrist, as long as you don’t flip at impact. Unfortunately I’ve found that there is no holy grail swing or secret. It is what works for you in terms of what can be repeated with consistency. Some very good instructors are against the lag: eg Dalton McCrary; some are for active wrist action with a lag (Leadbetter); some advocate inactive hands the whole way through impact. Again, I’ve tried them and they all work. The question is what can you personally repeat most easily.

  13. Hey Jools!

    I appreciate your compassion :)

    I’m slowly getting their, more on my own with my relentless study of the swing, experimenting on “feel” and “sensation”, and seeing some better results.

    I am willing to hang in there, as I am NOT a quitter in anything I do!

    Your swing thought is a good one, and thank you for sharing it.


  14. Jools Jools says:

    Hey John,

    Sorry to see Mike struggling with his swing. When I started to find the lag with my #3 pressure point, it was really hard to maintain it. I would feel it at the top of my swing and then when I attempt to strike the ball, I would unconsciously lose it on the downswing because I was concentrating on hitting the ball.

    However when I consciously try to maintain it, it feels that I am swing way TOO EFFORTLESSLY ie the club was travelling too slow for my liking because my hands must always be in front of the clubhead.

    However, when I trusted this sensation, the result would always be a solid middle of the clubface strike. I was a duffer before I discovered #3 pp. Now it feels that I get all the distance and accuracy I need with half the effort. like magic.

    Now one of my swing thoughts on the downswing is get the feeling of lag and then make my right forefinger chase my left shoulder while keeping the wrist assembly intact….weird but it works.

    Also there are some products that helps you feel this #3 pp, which I won’t mention but it has a link on this page. :)

    I used it and it helped me tremendously.

    Again, I am too long winded.

  15. Hey Jay!

    Maybe this is an “athletic” thing… :)

    I have been reading some forums (golfwrx.com) and you can nearly hit your normal distance swinging from 9 to 3, since the ball contact is much better.

    We are 2 “peas in a pod” I guess.

    I think for guys like us, a more compact swing is what is needed.


  16. jay jay says:

    I am having the same problems as Mike, I find that I am getting very frustrated, I have been trying to change to a hitter because i always seem to release to late and hit weak fades. I am athletic and so when i found your website i thought great a way to improve my golf. I can hit well when i only go back to hip high and follow through to the other side but when i try to go further back or lengthen the swing even when focusing on keeping the proper pressure points i almost always hit it thin and to the right, are there any drills i can do to solidify a more consistent result. I also feel like i am very rigid and gripping the club very tight, is this the way its supposed to feel when being a hitter? thanks

  17. John,

    I’ve always thought I was a HITTER anyways…LOL!

    I’ve never had a smooth, flowing swing to a full finished position.


  18. Hi Mike,

    Have you considered switching to Hitting?

    I saw your swing on video and your main problem is that your are an athlete!: You want to control the shot by forcing the club to the positions you want – because you are strong enough to try to do it.
    Your main flaw is that you hold tight on your club with your right hand in an attempt to control the shot.

    By doing so, you fail to let centrifugal force straighten your right arm in the proper way (you actually do it by flipping).

    However, this weakness as a Swinger can be your ally as a Hitter: Hitting requires muscular thrust instead of mastering centrifugal force – I find it particularly well suited for people who have the habit to use their muscles (athletes!).
    One more point is that it requires less involvement of the body as a source of power which is also something you were worried about.

    So, why not?

  19. John,

    I have to be honest!

    It days like this that I question why I have obsessed over
    my game like I have.

    I played a short, resort course (The Boulders) today and
    absolutely sucked! I have been hitting 200 balls a day
    for the past month, doing drills all day long in front of a
    mirror, reading books and forums, and NOT getting any
    better…AT ALL!

    I hate to be a downer, but I am not a martyr. I don’t know
    how much longer I can go like this and not see improvement.

    I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars and hundreds
    of hours to not play any better. I can literally not play or
    practice for several months and play the same as I have been

    I am at a crossroads to be honest.

    I was hitting my typical block/push/power fade with my
    driver costing me strokes; not making any putts; AND the
    worst is hitting all my wedges and even 9 iron thin all
    day today. Not a blade of grass from a divot with WEDGES!

    How can you hit a wedge (SW or LOB) and not take a divot?

    I would consider myself a very good all-around athlete,
    that should be able to break 80 no problem, and yet here
    I am working my ass off and shooting MID 80′s!

    l am so sorry for the whining, but I don’t know what to do
    at this point.


  20. To Mike:

    I do this drill using not more than a 7 iron.

    “Yup! That’s a great drill! Interesting how heavy the club feels, I wouldn’t say I’m a weak guy :)”

    This is exactly what I want you to feel: Even for the strongest, Lag pressure is incredibly heavy to FEEL and DRAG!

  21. To Ilan:

    Freezing the wrists in their impact fix condition is only a way to make it easier to see and feel that the Hitter needs to push radially against the primary lever assembly (left arm plus club) as if it was “one unit”.

    It is absolutely possible to start at adjusted address (with the hands centered mi-body like a Swinger) provided the fact that you’ll revert to that “one unit” condition before start down (this is called “assembling the power package”).

    Now, what you are describing is very good and adds power to the shot (for those interested: by increasing the #2 power accumulator):
    Starting at impact fix (but with a right wrist a bit hinged) and increase the hinge until the top.

    BUT you must do this move WITHOUT cocking your right wrist at the same time. If you cock your right wrist, your right forearm will no more be in a position to push “behind” the shaft and you’ll feel powerless!

    Pay close attention to that because it is easy to do both.
    So, bend the right wrist as much as you want WITHOUT cocking it.

    As a visual clue, it is almost impossible to go past parallel at the top if you ONLY bend your right wrist but can go past it (overswing) if you cock it.

  22. John,

    Yup! That’s a great drill! Interesting how heavy the club feels, I wouldn’t say I’m a weak guy :)

    I will start each of my range practice with right hand only for 10 shots. What club should I use?


  23. Mike, have you tried to swing with your right arm only with a frozen right wrist in its bend condition?

    Without the proper motion you’ll miss the ball anytime.
    You’ll find that the only way to make correct contact is to maintain the right wrist bent through the shot.
    This is a good drill to trust that you have to maintain those angles!

  24. Played today and still did not trust it. Felt like I “came up” through impact, with my hips getting closer to the ball on most of my shots.

    For some reason, I cannot stay down, and swing through the shot…UGH! Frustrating.

    Have to find a way to maintain my angles in the downswing.


  25. To Mike:

    Remember: you can/must grip it very tight but be supple with you wrists to feel that club head lagging behind.

    I do not feel my right shoulder going through the shot as I’m currently playing as a Hitter. In that case, the right shoulder only lowers down plane to provide support for the right arm thrust and you don’t have that “throught the shot feel”.
    But for the swinger the role of the body is more “active” but that right shoulder will still travel down plane.

    I like the way you describe your right arm/right shoulder move through the ball feel and I encourage you to continue on that way.

    However, IMO you are only putting the emphasis on the pressure point #4 (pressure of your left arm touching the chest) BEFORE sensing something in your index trigger finger of the right hand (#3 pressure point).

    You should start with establishing #3 pressure point first and then add #4 again.
    #3 is the key to prevent clubhead throwaway and flipping.

  26. ilan ilan says:

    dear John
    I tried the hitting way and it works quite well but I was wondering why it is important to freeze the wrists during the setup until late into the downswing.
    Will it be a mistake to start as suggested ( right wrist a bit hinged) and increase the hinge and complete it at the top of the backswing ?
    I looked at Kenny perry’s swing and he it seems that in the top of the backswing his clab shfat reaches paralel
    to he target line.

  27. John,

    If I don’t pivot my body, I cannot retain the lag at this point. I lose it everytime. That is why I think it feels like so much work on the range. Moving my body through every shot is tiring…LOL. But when I do, I compress the ball, when I don’t, I hit it thin and to the right, like my old swing.


    Now you’ve got me confused :)

    I must be too tight in my wrists, and that is the reason I can’t maintain lag.

    Let me ask you.

    Do you feel like your right shoulder really goes through your swing and impact? As you’ve seen on my video, my body and hips stall out, stop rotating, and I flip it.

    On all the good swings I see, I see an aggressive right arm, right shoulder move through the ball into the follow through. Does that sound right???


  28. Hey Mike,

    Even if the body is turning through impact it must be a consequence AND NOT THE CAUSE.
    Your body will do that move because it is the only way to create pressure in the pressure points.

    Therefore, try to make your body do the motion and you’ll fail.
    But search and maintain pressure in those Pressure Points (starting with the index trigger finger of the right hand) and your body will make the motion!

    Forget about any magic move. There is not: Some people need a big body rotation while others do not – you won’t be able to get a usable pattern from that.

    The magic is in the dynamics and not the motion itself. This is why your primary goal is to focus hard on Pressure Points.

    Read that post again: http://www.golflagtips.com/focus-on-pressure-points-to-feel-lag/

    Do it and I guarantee that the moves you are looking for will automagically appear!

    To give you some idea of what I’m talking about:
    In my old swing there was no pressure in my index trigger finger.
    When I started looking for Lag, the first time I sensed it, it felt very heavy and hard to sustain.
    I thought it was the maximum Lag pressure.

    I was far from the truth: Actually, if I could put it on a scale from 0 to 100 (my current Lag Pressure), it was only at 20!

    This to show you how heavy is the feel. I sometimes say that I feel I’m dragging/pushing (swinging/hitting) an elephant attached to my clubhead!!!

  29. John,

    This is excellent! You are becoming an outstanding teacher :) Your knowledge and now application of that knowledge is impressive. Well done!

    I’ve sent you a couple of emails in the past day or so, have you received them?

    In regards to my “hard work” on the range (2 hours a day, every day), one question I have is the right wrist angle. For some reason, this is very hard for me to repeat, and yet I know I need to (especially with the longer clubs).

    Is the “feeling” in the downswing and through impact, one of the body really turning through the shot? Because with my old swing, my body stops rotating, and I throw the club through impact (causing me to come up and out of my posture and hips stalling), so I now feel like I’m really, really working hard to hold right wrist angle and keep body rotating, but it is a LOT of work.

    Does this feeling sound correct to you?

    I revert back to my old flipping swing on the course at the moment, but feel I’m making progress.


  30. Yes Kevin,

    I spent 15 minutes in the beginning of our session explaining physics and geometry WITHOUT touching a ball.

    If we had jumped directly to the range to hit balls I’m sure we would have wasted our time.

    Must be pretty hard to do when teaching: many golfers want to hit a maximum of Total Motion shots during the one hour session they’ve paid for!

  31. Kevin Carter Kevin Carter says:

    AMAZING work John. Makes my resolve that I have found THE truth even stronger.

    Our problem in teaching is getting too excited and anxious for Total Motion. We need to spend far more time with explanation, basic, and acquired motion.

    Another wonderful blog Sir.


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Aiming-Point Location Driver to Wedges

Aiming-Point: Too far forward

Aiming-Point: Bad location with the Driver

Aiming-Point: Good location with the Driver

Divot Location demonstrated with a Hitting stroke - Swing Sequence

The eye of the Hitter - 3 - Follow Through

The eye of the Hitter - 1 - Address

The eye of the Hitter - 2 - Startdown