Some golfers mistakenly think the downswing should mirror the backswing. In fact, the position of the hands and shaft should look quite a bit different as you move into impact.

On the backswing, the wrists hinge very gradually as the shoulders and arms turn toward the top. Coming down, however, the wrists should maintain a strong hinged position as long possible. This action is called clubhead “lag” or “downhinge,” and nearly all great players display it to some extent.

This drill will teach you how to create lag on the downswing. It’s best done using a hanging sheet or other soft surface; if you use a wall, be careful not to damage it with your club:

  • Using any club, assume your stance with the wall or other surface a couple of feet to your right (left if you’re left-handed).
  • From this position, hinge the club to your right while keeping the hands in their setup position. (In other words, move only your wrists, not your arms.)
  • Stop when the club is parallel to the ground. The clubhead should be an inch or two from the wall; if you’re farther away, maintain your body positions and move your feet toward the wall until you reach the proper distance.
  • Proceed by taking the club to the top of your swing, then slowly pull the arms down while maintaining the angle of your wrist hinge.
  • Continue pulling the club downward, all the way into the impact area, without allowing it to touch the wall.

Notice that the clubhead follows a much tighter arc on the downswing than the backswing. This is how a powerful lag is created.