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Primary VS Secondary Lag

Posted by Michael Emery Jr on

Primary lag is the club head trailing the butt end of the club in the downswing. The wrists are in radial deviation.

Secondary lag is the back of the left wrist leading the club head. The left wrist is in flexion.


So often we hear the term lag! The idea is if you increase lag, you will increase distance. I believe that there are two types of lag instead of only one. I call the traditional type of lag PRIMARY LAG. This type of lag is where the butt end of the club leads the head of the club. I feel, however, that this type of lag is only half of the story. The second type of lag, and what I consider to be the more important of the two, is SECONDARY LAG. This type of lag is when the back of the left hand, or target side of the grip leads the clubhead.

There have been countless hours of instruction, many swing aids, and endless amounts of practice to increase primary lag. Lack of primary lag in the downswing is called “casting”. This term is really funny to me because casting a fishing rod is the ultimate use of LAG.

It is much more important that the clubhead trail behind the left wrist than trail a huge amount behind the butt end of the club! The interesting thing about casting is that; if the body is moving correctly and the player knows how to square the club, casting becomes nearly impossible. As an example of body movement that would or would not create casting, we can look to the hips. If the hips rise in transition, the club will have a strong tendency to cast. If the hips lower and tighten as I describe in my book THE EVOLVED FUNDAMENTALS OF GOLF, casting becomes difficult and even uncomfortable. So often, however, the real issues are never addressed. If the body is in the wrong position, or the player does not know how to square the club properly, the swing aids and long hours of practice will never cure the problem.

If the player has a strong grip and the club does not need to twist to square, secondary lag has less importance. For most players’, however, I prefer a weak grip. One of the reasons that I prefer a weak grip is that the left wrist can square the club early with the use of FRISBEE FLEXION (secondary lag). Frisbee flexion squares the club early because we can spin the clubface when the shaft is perpendicular to the forearm, therefore, we do not need to wait for the bottom of the swing.  

If instead we try to square the club by twisting our forearms, we have to “cast”, because SUPINATION OF THE LEFT FOREARM AND PRONATION OF THE RIGHT FOREARM WILL NOT SPIN THE CLUBHEAD UNTIL THE SHAFT OF THE CLUB IS PARALLEL TO THE FOREARM. The player will cast the club in an effort to square it. This is because the player does not know how to square the club correctly, so it will always be a mad rush at the bottom to do so. At the very least, the closure rate of the clubhead at the bottom of the swing will make for inconsistent ball-striking.

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