What Is Lag In Golf?

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Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

Many golfers have already heard of the term “lag”, but knowing what this means and how to implement it in games is another story. 


Essentially, lag refers to the trailing of the club during the downswing. This is the result of maintaining an angle between the club shaft and the lead arm when beginning the down string with movements and positioning your lower body inwards. 

Here, lag can create more speed to the swing by ensuring the clubhead reaches the bottom of the swing arc at the precise moments – allowing consistent ball strikes. Moreover, this will achieve more consistency and distance. 

what is lag in golf

However, don’t worry, we’re here to help! In the guide, we have created a detailed account of everything you need to know about lag in golf

This includes why it is so important, usage for ‘lag’, and how to include them in your swings. With all this in mind, let’s get straight into it! 

Lag Usages And Lag Putting Drills 

“Lag” can generally be applied to any putt length (on the other hand, “lag putt” typically implies a lengthy first putt) and is usually used in term of a verb, or used after the describe a situation where the second, shorter putt that takes places after not achieving the first putt. 

One example of lag being used as a verb would include: “Try to lag this one near the hole” or “This putt needs to be lagged up close”. When using the term as an after-the-fact use, an example could include “way to lag it up close” or “Nice lag”. 

Lag-putting is a practice that can be achieved by focusing on creating a controlled distance (otherwise known as speed control) when you’re putting a ball. 

To develop a need for speed, distance control putting can be utilized to help golfers achieve this. For instance, practicing some lag putts on the green before a round is recommended to test how fast or slow the particular on-course greens are performing. 

Moreover, using different distance markets, as opposed to a hole, to practice hitting putts is as effective and easy as simply taking different lengths of chalk line or string to a practice green. 

Other Types Of “Lag”

what is lag in golf

‘Lag’ isn’t only a term used to describe a type of putting. It can also be used by golfers to describe something known as “clubhead lag”. 

On a pitch or in a golf club, you may hear people talking about this type of lag by saying stuff like “You need to start improving your clubhead lag” or “Your swing has some great lag”. 

You may wonder what on earth does this mean?! Well, essentially, clubhead lag refers to positioning on your hands. In this case, the golfer’s hands are behind the clubhead – otherwise known as trailing the clubhead – upon impact. 

How To Achieve A “Lag” Putt

The first thing you’ll want to do is begin pacing around the green. While this may sound silly, essentially, what you’re doing is looking and feeling for slopes and bumps under your feet. 

This will provide you with a feel for how the green may affect the ball on its journey to the hole. 

The next step is to stand behind your ball and visualize how it will enter the cup. In this instance, you could imagine yourself as a pro tracer – like the ones you see on the television – and follow your ball’s path to the hole. 

Next, choose which line you’re going to use to start the ball – do this before the green begins to affect the path. Decide on a spot by your ball where you’re able to line the ball. 

Make your way towards the putt and analysis the hole once again to understand and gain a feel for the distance between. Start off with some practice strokes then feel the power behind the club to create a successful lag putt. 

Last but not least, you’ll want to set your otter face behind your golf ball and make an attempt at creating a lag putt. 

Drills To Improve Your Lag Putts

Taking into account the above-mentioned steps, the next step is to find a hole on the practice green then about 20 feet away from here, drop your golf ball. To set up for this lag putt, start going through your pre-shot putting routine – if you have one. 

Once finished, attempt to shoot 20 leg putts from this distance, then record how many of these lag putts were successful that are within a few feet of the hole. 

Using a piece of paper, after each shot, note down how many were long, short, left, or right of the hole, and then make adjustments as you see right. 

Before moving to round 2 of this putting drill, try to make all your lag putts at least 80% successful. In other words, you’ll want to achieve 16/20 shots that are within a few feet of the hole. 

Once done, you can then move on to the next stage. Here, you’ll want to move back 30 feet where you’ll attempt 30 lap putts from this distance. Taking the same pre-shot routine as mentioned above. 

Before moving back again to 40 feet, make sure you’re completing at least 80% of your lag putts. 

Below, you will find a chart for passing onto each stage of this lag-putting drill and the distance required:

  • Round 1 (20ft) – 16/20 shots within a few feet 
  • Round 2 (30ft) – 24/30 shots within a few feet
  • Round 3 (40ft) – 32/40 shots within a few feet
  • Round 4 (50ft) – 40/50 shots within a few feet 

Final Thoughts…

While many golfers have heard of the ‘term’, many have no clue what it means! Essentially, lag refers to the trailing of the club during the downswing, allowing you to make consistent ball strikes. 

Hopefully, this guide has informed you on everything you need to know about lag in golf. 

Luke Griffin

Luke is an avid weekend-warrior golfer from the East Coast who plays golf more than he cares to admit.

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