A Very Good Point On The “Drop” & “Lag”

I got a very good question from Terry yesterday in the previous posting, where he asked:

DJ, when you say,

” And this (the right elbow having dropped to the hip) is the point where the energy you’ve stored in your right arm and the cocked wrists will release the club down into and through impact.”

Are you actively holding the angle and dropping the rear shoulder into position? Or are you starting the release from the top ie Nicklaus ” you cant release the club to early as long as you are moving into your left side.”

A great question, and the answer is that the “lag” in the down swing will be natural and not something you consciously need to perform or hold, if you are in the proper position at the top of the back swing pivot.

The cause of an early release or “cast” is also something that happens naturally and you cannot stop it.

The “cast” will occur when the shoulders turn instead of the proper sequence of the lower body initiating the down swing with the pressure and weight transfer in the feet.

When you turn the shoulders into the down swing, the circular action will cause the club head to begin to move down and out, rather than down behind you.

So, with the proper position and transition sequence, you’re really just holding on to the club with the hands and the right wrist angle that you create going back will naturally remain that way until you do something to change it.

And that is the nature of the “stored energy” I refer to – it doesn’t release until you get to the 3 O’Clock position, and that will happen naturally as well!

In a proper swing, as with hammering a nail, the angle will begin to release as the club head or hammer head passes the hands on the horizontal plane, which naturally will occur at the end of the “Drop” phase:

Therefore, when you see me in this position:

It just looks as though I’m doing something to maintain that right wrist angle, but in reality, the dropping of the hands and right shoulder maintain that angle until the “3 O’Clock” position.

And past that point, the release occurs naturally with two forces (gravity and the conservation of angular momentum) combined with the “helping” of the wrist action through the swing bottom to the “9 O’Clock” position:

All of this is made possible by the sequence of the lower body driving the down swing.  When you haven’t created the proper leveraging conditions at the top of the back swing, you then have to expend a good deal of energy and make a lot of compensations to get the club down to the ball.

In the below gif., Justin Thomas also keeps the “lag” in his down swing without conscious effort to the 3 O’Clock position – because the hands are dropping:

However, because he he both didn’t make an unrestricted hip turn and because he’s not transferring to the left foot through impact, he is forced to heave his left side around and back, with the left foot leaving the ground completely, in order to complete the “3 to 9” move.

And again, what he’s doing above is not a power generator, it’s a swing “saving” move because of the improper technique that came before the 3 O’Clock position.

Do it properly and you’ll look a lot smoother in that phase:

Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?

Lacking Power, Speed, Distance and or Consistency? 

Need A Swing That Is More Easily Maintained?

If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing:

“E = MCS” The Swing Video

16 thoughts on “A Very Good Point On The “Drop” & “Lag”

    1. D Watts Post author

      Indeed! And now you know why I am always using the word “drop,” as is “dropping the hammer” and “drop & pop” 😀

  1. hkgolf

    And past that point, the release occurs naturally with two forces (gravity and the conservation of angular momentum) combined with the “helping” of the wrist action through the swing bottom to the “9 O’Clock” position

    DJ, you mention “helping” of the wrist action. Is this a deliberate pronation of the forearm to square the clubface to impact? I find that the clubface is open when I keep my wrists soft ie without deliberate pronation. This results in a push to the right. How does one position oneself to let the release happen “naturally” and square the clubface at impact?

    Cheers HK

    1. D Watts Post author

      Hello HKGolf – I was just thinking about you, isn’t that funny? Jason is in Toronto for a couple of days and we’re going to meet up tomorrow – should be a fun time.

      As for the wrists – this is why it’s important to have a neutral grip at address, because all you’re doing on the down swing is returning the hands to their address place and “closing” the angle you created with the back swing.

      So, on the way down, the release of the club occurs at the 3 O’Clock area and this is where you apply the wrist action. It can be a weak action, if you’re only using the wrists at this point, or it can be a powerful action in combination with the shifting weight and the turning hips.

      The name of the game is coordination. You have to make the action a smooth one from the top to the finish, and the wrists provide their bit from 3 to 9.

      If you watch the “E = MCS” video again where I’m demonstrating how the club releases from 3 to 9, and you practice that action, you will get a feel for how and when to use the wrists.

      Remember the “dropping the hammer” concept – that feeling in the wrists is what you want both at address and impact…

      I hope that helps! Jason and I will have a beer for you tomorrow 😀

  2. hkgolf

    Thanks DJ, I will rewatch that section of “E = MCS” again. Have lots of fun with Jason tomorrow. I will definitely catch up with him when he returns to HK, and share some of the golden nuggets he gets from you!

    Cheers HK

    1. D Watts Post author

      We had a blast, Richard – we probably talked a good deal more than we hit balls, lol.

        1. D Watts Post author

          Read your email and sent you a response, Lupz – don’t worry, everyone has their bad spells, and it’s usually mental/physical fatigue. We’ll get you through it!


  3. lupz27


    Ugh this turned into a short story not a comment post so I’ll just email this to you instead to save the rest of the readers of my issue. Hopefully you seen the email.

    1. D Watts Post author

      In case anyone is wondering what Lupz was going to post before he saw the length of his comment, I’ll recap briefly:

      … just this past week something happened to my swing.. I was literally playing the best ball striking, accurate, distance creating golf of my life (short game still stinks, but I’m not into that as I don’t have the patience/attention span to practice that it just can’t hold my add crazed attention).

      … Friday played 36 holes lost zero balls hit about 90% fairways with an average distance of 280 with driver, and a max of 320 actually driving 2 greens I’ve never come close to before. All was great flying sky high couldn’t be happier…

      And that turned into:

      Monday go out to play, and a few on the range, and I instantly knew something was way off… I couldn’t stop swinging left nothing worse watching your driver lazily loop right like 220 yards when just a few days ago you were stripping it 300+ on a rope. Now I’m gripping the club like I’m trying to strangle the life out of someone do to the frustration of not being able to stop doing all these wrong things that I know I’m doing…

      I’m going to discuss this with him in email privacy, but that’s the gist of his issue, and he is correct in his estimation that it’s a mental thing – I’ve been there too, and some days, you just don’t have “it” when you go to hit balls, whatever the issue happens to be.

      The solution, simply or not simply, is to take some time off and regroup. There is nothing more demoralizing that losing the groove when you’ve been doing well, even better than you ever have, and I’ve found that taking some time off to rest the mind and body will work wonders for the swing when your’e at a loss.

      Over-analysis leads to paralysis… but Lupz will work it out, I’m sure!

  4. targettom

    sometimes in a range session I will all of a sudden get inconsistent with the driver. Usually I suspect it is a sway issue; but if that doesn’t cure it I attribute the bad shots to (1) hitting too many balls (2) too much summer heat and or (3) lack of beer. Number 3 is the easiest to solve and the most refreshing

    1. D Watts Post author

      Option 3 is usually my excuse, and agreed, easily solved. Heaven help me if there is ever shortage of hops, barley or chicken wings. 😉

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