Monday, December 7, 2009

Fake Lag vs. Real Lag

I've been reading Monte Scheinblum's golf blog lately and read this article 'Lag Is Like Fire' that I thought would be something good to talk about. Now, I enjoy Monte's blog quite a bit and I'm not posting here to say that everything is 'wrong' or 'bad' or whatever. But I do disagree a bit with some of the things said or not quite completely agree with them. Here's the videos that Monte did on 'forced lag vs. real lag.'

I think Monte brings up a good subject in 'forced' lag, but I think some of it is misinterpreted.

First he states that lag is a good thing, but it's like fire and too much lag is like having too much fire and thus you're likely to be burnt.

Lag is indeed a good thing and I contend that lots of lag *can* be a great thing for many golfers as long as it's not 'forced' lag. That being said, part of learning lag and getting that Flat Left Wrist at impact often means going thru the learning curve and growing pains of 'forcing the lag.' But once you can finally 'get it', then you can start properly lagging the club shot after shot.

Monte talks about how casting is bad (correct), but then more or less knocks float loading. Float loading is more or less cocking the wrists on the downswing. Some golfers will cock the wrists on the backswing and then add more wrist cock on the downswing which is float loading as well.

Two prominent float loaders are Sergio and Hogan.

However, it's very important to note that they get this type of lag properly and almost naturally. In fact, he talks a bit about the great Jamie Sadlowski, another guy who has a tremendous amount of lag in his swing.

Monte talks about having that type of lag that Sergio has can cause hooks and he's certainly right. Many golfers with Sergio's type of lag have a steeper Angle of Attack with their clubhead. Steeper attack angles *help* impart hook spin because it helps move the 'dynamic path' out to the right. If the clubface is not as far out to the right as the 'dynamic path' is at impact, a hook spin will be imparted on the ball.

Also, IMO there's nothing wrong with holding the 'flying wedge' into and thru impact. But a golfer needs to have the right pressures when doing so.

Mainly, they need lag pressure when coming into impact. And I think that's where Monte sees a problem with 'forced lag', usually a golfer trying to emulate say, Hogan's positions on the downswing without ever bothering to use the pivot properly and use their lag pressure properly. In the end, their attempts to look like Hogan fail miserably and it just screws up their swing even more.

In fact, it's very hard for me to agree with the notion that 'holding it off' is bad as arguably the greatest ballstriker since Hogan, Lee Trevino, has stated over and again he didn't get rid of his hook until he learned to basically hold onto the clubface for dear life.

IMO, 'fake lag' is when a golfer has the clubhead lagging behind the hands, but does it with either no lag pressure or improper use of lag pressure.

Remember, we essentially have 3 ways of releasing the lag into the ball:

- Snap Release (golfer delays the release until the hands come down about where the middle of the legs). Think Hogan and Sergio.

- Full Sweep Release (golfer starts releasing the club at the startdown). Think Tom Watson or this video of Lindsey Gahm.

- Random Sweep Release (golfer releases the lag anywhere between 'full sweep' and 'snap.') Think Nicklaus, Tiger, etc.

Any 3 ways a golfer can do it consistently is perfectly fine. If Watson tried to snap release like Hogan, he would be selling insurance. If Hogan tried to full sweep release like Watson, he would've been nothing more than a club pro.

The main key is to fully understand Lag Pressure and thus eliminating the 'fake lag' and now being able to create 'real lag' consistently and effectively. For some golfers, their 'real lag' winds up being this big, huge lagging motion. For others, they start releasing the lag immediately in the downswing. But those who have real lag all have solid pivot actions.

Anyway, here's a list of IMO, the 10 greatest ballstrikers in golf history and how I would categorize their lag in terms of 'big', 'small' and 'medium.' As you can see, it varies.

George Knudson - big lag
Mac O’Grady - big lag
Moe Norman - medium lag
Ben Hogan - big lag
Lee Trevino - big lag
Sam Snead - medium lag
Nick Price - medium lag
Tom Watson - small lag
Johnny Miller - small lag
Mickey Wright - big lag

So, learn lag pressure and how to pivot effectively first and the lag will come. But if it happens to be a lot of lag, don't worry about it burning you. But also accept the fact that you may be able to lag the club correctly and consistently by releasing the lag immediately in the downswing.



Anonymous said...

Nice article Rich. I think we agree almost completely.


Dave @ Mud Ball Golf Blog said...

Hi Richie,

In your assessment of big, medium and small lag... what's the measurement?
I'm interpreting what you are describing as the lag created by the retention of the angle in the wrists or Power Accumulator #2... is that how you are measuring it? i.e. how late in the downswing and how small the angle between the arms and club shaft is?
I know what 6-C-0 says about Lag (trailing/following - from feet to club head)I just wondered how you measure that and compare between players.

Once again - another interesting post.


Rich H. said...

Monte - Yes, I think for the most part we agree. My readers understand what float loading is along with full sweep, snap and random sweep releases are, so I can explain this to them using that terminology. The only thing I don't really agree with is having a lot of lag being a bad thing. It's a good thing *if* you create the lag thru lag pressure.

Dave - I measured 'lag' by what type of release the golfer used and how well they maximized their trigger delay. Watson uses a full sweep release. Miller used a random sweep release, but was pretty close to using a full sweep release.

TeddyIrons said...

Nice article as usual Richie. Just one point of contention where you say "Lee Trevino, has stated over and again he didn't get rid of his hook until he learned to basically hold onto the clubface for dear life". I think what Lee is saying here is how he (using TGM terms now) avoided a horizontal hinge action by holding onto an angle hinge. Not sure if this is what you meant this is my understanding of "holding off". Cheers.

Rich H. said...

Lee says he basically felt like he had the back of the left hand pointing at the target for as long as he could.

This did create an angled hinge for him and you're most likely right. But this is certainly different from Jack saying he wanted to release the club as soon as possible.

Oddly enough, I once talked to Sevam1 and he said he wanted to release all of those angles as soon as possible as well. But, I think it's different strokes for different folks.

TeddyIrons said...

That would be a great problem to have, to have to get rid of all those angles as soon as possible! Yep, different strokes for different folks. Some have great pivots while people like me don't and feel the need to hold onto angles.

fearlessgolfer said...

Mike Bender who had Mac O'Grady's influence on his teachings said the same "release as soon as possible" by sending the clubhead to the ball fast as possible. I've had Peter Croker's staff instruction and his videos which says the release the angle as soon as possible. So it says "set the angle and release the angle." Once Golf Mag's top100 teacher Bill Adams(not Mike Adams) said same of releasing asap. He said by trying to release early, and moving pivot and along with clubhead which when it's moving gets heavier, hence it creates the angle, but not by TRYING to create it.
I would love to know what is the truth is? It's out there somewhere? lol

Rich H. said...

Good Points Fearless. While I respect their teachings, I will say this.

We know for a FACT that 'feels' are subjective. Nobody can factually deny this.

I actually don't feel holding or releasing the angles at all. For me, it's just about maximizing pressure at the right time (impact).

That's why I have an issue with people saying you should release the club as soon as possible. Your feel may be different from mine.

For instance, I believe lag pressure and maximizing it at impact is crucial, but how you actually *feel* like you maximize it is up to the golfer.