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Left Side

In his book,  The Impact Zone,  Bobby Clampett discusses the importance of the lag. Clampett say on page 78,  “the lag not only belongs to the downswing part of your motion, it is the downswing’s number-one priority, concern, and goal, until you’ve swung well past the both-arms-straight, follow-through position.

Other Bullet Points listed on page 121 are:

  • From a purely descriptive point of view, lag describes the condition of the club head continually trailing the body, arms, and hands, and of course, the club shaft, right up to impact and through.  We can also measure lag, and both further define and, indeed, see it as the size of the angle created between the left arm, wrist and hand, and the club shaft.
  • In conjunction with learning how to establish lag, you need to work on refining your body’s work, meaning your pivot motion.  If the power that you lag into impact is your precious cargo, the pivot is the transportation vehicle that carries the goods for you through the impact zone.  That is why we call the pivot the golf swing’s workhorse.
  • One of the criticisms people often made of my swing, when I first came on tour, was that it had too much lag.  A writher asked my teacher Ben Doyle whether he thought this was true, and if, indeed, a swing can have too much lag?  Ben answered, “ Can you have too much love?”  meaning that you can’t have too much of a good thing.
  • The more you retain your lag, and the more smoothly you let your pivot move you forward, the later the straightening release of these angles will occur, and the later the better.  In fact, from the line of sight of your eyes, everything but your right foot and shoulder should appear forward of the ball, as you swing through the impact zone.

David Leadbetter also talks about the torque and lag in his book, The Golf Swing.  On pages 46-49 he writes, “the power base in every athletic golf swing is the turning motion of your body—your pivot.”  He goes on to say, “ As you work on your pivot motion, realize that you do not rotate around only one fixed axis point, your head.  Imagine a line drawn down the inside of your right shoulder, through your right hip joint and past the inner part of your right thigh into the ground”. Now imagine the same line traveling down the left side of your body. These are the two axis points around which every athletic swinger rotates, back and through.

Rotating around your right axis point, then your left, will encourage what I call a ‘turning weight transfer’ in both directions.  Your body weight, from a fairly even start at address, moves to your right heel on your backswing and toward your left heel on your downswing. An incorrect rotation around your two axis points can, in fact, lead to a so-called ‘reverse pivot’.  This occurs when, on your backswing, your weight does not move around your right axis point, but hangs on your left side.  On the downswing, that translates to your weight moving onto your right side instead of your left.  By severely reducing the ability of your body to correctly control your hands and arms, this causes all manner of bad shots”.

When he discusses Transition On page 54 Ledbetter writes,’  Possibly the most crucial stage in any athletic swing is the change of direction when your club and body start toward the target.  A smooth transition from backswing to downswing is  dependent  on the movement in your lower body, specifically your legs.  They are the stabilizers in your athletic golf swing, providing balance and support as your body winds and unwinds.  As your upper body completes its backward motion, your forward motion is triggered by a movement from your left knee. It moves on a slight diagonal , toward the toes of your left foot”.

Judy Rankin also writes about the crucial weight shift to the left side in her book, A Woman’s Guide to Better Golf. She writes in the section, Trigger at the Top on page 47, “Now that all this weight has been “loaded up” on your right side, the trigger for changing directions is for that weight to start back to the left.  It should not be a quick or violent move.  It should be a smooth move, in fact, with the start of your weight returning to your left side.  Replanting the weight on the left foot begins this shift , and initiates the driving action of your legs so important to creating distance.  Your knees will naturally move toward the left laterally.  Let me dispel instruction of a few years ago that had many players thinking they had to slide toward the target through impact.  In fact, as your weight begins to hit your left foot, your left hip will want to start turning out of the way.  Let it.  Hence the term you hear often on television,” clearing the left side.”

In the book, The Hogan Way, John-Andrisani writes in Hogan’s Seventh Movement, found on page 80, “the second he (Hogan) reaches the top of the swing, he shifts his hips laterally toward the target.”

In Hogan’s  estimation this lower-body action was one of his swing secrets.  I know this because Hogan spoke at length about this movement at the New York Waldorf-Astoria in 1988, and, at the end of the Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf videotape mentioned earlier, commentator Gene  Sarazen asked Hogan,  “ What’s the most important thing in the swing?” “You must let the lower body lead the downswing–the hips and knees- then release the club near the bottom,” said Hogan.  “Most amateurs rotate the shoulders first, causing them to hit across the ball and hit the outside of it instead of the back of it.”

In Tiger Woods How I Play Golf On Page 172 in the section Lower Body Leads The Way,  he states, On the downswing, the sequence of motion is from the ground up.  First you shift your weight to your left leg, then you turn your hips with all you’ve got.  The shoulders are square to the target even though my hips are aligned to the left.  The arms and hands come last.  If you’ve performed everything in order, they’ll deliver the club head into the ball along the correct inside path.

Remember, the chain of events occurs slowly at first. If you rush, you’ll likely unwind your shoulders too soon and perform the dreaded “over the top” move, where the club is delivered into the ball on an out-to in path.  That means a loss of power and, more than likely, a big  slice to the right”. As stated above, getting to the left side is crucial  in hitting a solid shot consistently.  The Pin High Pro can help you establish that swing rhythm of starting the downswing with the lower body, thus creating a lag, enabling you to hit down and through the ball.  The Pin High Pro is portable, weighing only a pound, so this swing rhythm can be practiced at home the office or driving range.