Project 2 Handicap

Online log of a quest to drop my golf handicap from a nine to a two within sixty months. Sink or swim, I'll give it my best shot. Advice is not only appreciated, it's encouraged!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Maintaining the Lag

Happy Independence Day, USA!

Well, long time no post, but that doesn't mean I haven't been working on my game.

The Bobby Clampett book The Impact Zone, discussed in my last post in March, has had a huge impact on my approach to the golf swing if not my scoring. Since reading the book I've been working on a number of swing changes prime among them maintaining the lag in my swing. I believe that I have improved this aspect of my swing with the result being an increase in swing speed and overall distance.

The key to my improvement has been a single change in my stance - bringing my back (right) foot forward (towards the target line) by somewhere between 3 to 6 inches. Why I did this will require some explanation.

First, my old stance was quite closed with my right heel setting up several inches behind my left. I developed this stance because it helped me bring the club into the ball on an in-to-out swing plane which encouraged a draw, my preferred swing shape. Until recently though, I didn't understand how this robbed me of power.

Several years ago an assistant pro at a driving range I would frequent would watch me swing and tell me to move my back foot forward. Since my stance was closed, he was essentially just telling me to move my right heel even with my left - parallel to the target line. He never explained why I should do this but whenever I made the change I found that I was able to bring quite a bit more power into impact. But the stance change felt funny and seemed to encourage pulls and so I would inevitably drift back into my closed stance.

After reading The Impact Zone I did some searching on the web for hints on maintaining wrist lag and I came across this writeup by Jeff Mann, which contained a link to this Hogan video. Watching the video it finally occurred to me why the pro's driving range tip seemed to work for me. Moving the right foot forward allows me to clear my hips in the manner that Hogan demonstrates in the video, and thereby helps me maintain a significant additional amount of lag in my swing.

Ergo, additional swing speed at impact, translated into additional distance!

Any swing change feels funny at first but I stuck with this one and it's finally paying off. Initially I experienced directional problems (pulls) but lately I've adjusted my swing path enough that my pulls are much less frequent. The extra distance has also played havoc with my club selection.

But these are adjustments that I'm happy to make in return for the extra distance.

Thanks Bobby Clampett, Jeff Mann, and Ben Hogan!


At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>Initially I experienced directional problems (pulls) but lately I've adjusted my swing path enough that my pulls are much less frequent.

How have you adjusted your swing path? (Clearly it's something other than foot position...)

At 6:11 PM, Blogger p2h said...

I concentrate on turning behind the ball a bit more than I'm accustomed to doing, which allows me to come into impact a bit more in-to-out.

My swing key is turning the left shoulder behind the ball. Thinking about bringing the hands back along a flatter plane also seems to work.


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