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Sergio Garcia: Tour leader when it comes to lag

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Sergio Garcia came up a little short in his bid to win his second consecutive PGA Tour event at The Barclays this past weekend. But his ball-striking is still considered to be in the top echelon on the PGA Tour.

Listen to announcers when Garcia is in contention and you'll hear one word over and over again: lag.

For the typical amateur golfer, 'lag' can be hard to understand and seemingly impossible to attain.

What is 'lag' and how do you get more of it? And do you even want more of it?

SwingFix instructor Gary Cliplef, PGA Class A Professional and the Director of Incentive Golf in San Diego, has those answers:

'Lag is a term that refers to what takes place in the transition of the backswing to the downswing. It is the storing of power by keeping the wrists cocked until the very last minute,” Cliplef said. “It is also a term most teaching professionals don't want to hear because it is very hard to teach, and most amateurs don't have the discipline to work on it.


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'Probably the best golfer that had an enormous amount of lag was Ben Hogan. In the modern era, that golfer would be Sergio Garcia. Sergio creates more lag than anyone on Tour at this time. Rory McIlroy is close to him. But most touring pros have good lag in their swings, and that's why they're on the tour.

“The more lag you have in your swing, the more body rotation you must have as well as forearm rotation. Most amateurs release the golf club with their wrists, while pros release with their forearms. Wrists will unload by centrifugal force. The greater the lag, the more centrifugal force you will have. To store lag, you must also keep your head very still. The head being still and more body rotation is the reason why most golfers don't create lag.'

Does Cliplef have any drills to help teach lag?

'There are training aids that try to teach lag, but I haven't found one that works. I have a lag drill that works if the golfer has the desire and discipline to tackle it,” Cliplef added. “With a wedge swing, take the club up to waist high. Now effortlessly pull the grip down and stop at impact. The hands should be in front of the clubhead.

“Make sure you are doing this effortlessly, and try to increase the angle of the shaft at impact with each try. You will find that the more lag you have the more hip turn you need and the more forearm rotation you will need. Good luck and don't give up!'

Take an online video lesson with Gary Cliplef.