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You Tried It: Let the clubhead lag

December 06, 2011

*On Wednesdays at the Instruction Blog, we often turn to our readers for the best tips they ever received. **Please submit your favorite tip to This week we hear from Rick Johnson, who emailed us the following:

"When beginning the backswing with your irons, establish a good rhythm by letting the clubhead lag behind your hands just a little bit."

Thank you, Rick. This is a simple but terrific piece of advice, and something a number of great players have done, including Ben Hogan and Payne Stewart. By letting the clubhead lag behind your hands on the takeaway, you create not only a sensation of good rhythm and timing, but the lag going back will be replicated into more lag coming down.


Back in 1990 I ghostwrote an article on this subject for Golf Digest with the teacher Scott Davenport, who is now the head professional at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C. Scott (pictured here) said to use an object such as a tee marker to provide resistance to the clubhead as you take the club back.

He also came up with the image of cracking a whip to really emphasize the feeling of letting the clubhead lag on the backswing, and then again on the downswing.

If you think of how the wrist must stay relaxed and flexible as you slowly pull the handle of the whip back with the chord lagging, then reverse the lag to crack the whip, you will understand how you can make a similar move to create extra downswing lag in your golf swing.

It requires you to keep your wrists relaxed going back and through, so they lead the clubhead on the backswing and then again on the through swing. If you want to create more clubhead speed, give it a try.

*Roger Schiffman

Managing Editor

Golf Digest

Twitter @RogerSchiffman

Photo by Stephen Szurlej/Golf Digest