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I sat on a hole at a big tour event yesterday and was able to capture almost everyone's swing from a face on angle and slow motion. To get a proper sense of how much or little LAG TENSIONa golfer has at impact, you have to be in a very specific location. It has to be 90 degrees to the target , directly in from of the player and level with the ball a few degrees off of this and you aren't getting it right. Naturally 3D capture would be best.
You can see some have more Lag Tension than others (actually I think there are 2 or three on these shots that had none, the other 30 golfers I filmed have some degree of lag tension) but the vast majority of the golfers I filmed there had quite a bit.
Some golfers really stood out.
To the eye, in person Davis Love III has the best sounding and looking swing bar none, it's a special kind of move (and over 20 tour wins).
Joachim Nieman has a very interesting swing with A TON of lag tension. Watching his swing in slow motion, not a lot can go wrong.
Bryson DeChambeau is an interesting case, he has lag tension at impact but not a ton. However, what BC does better than any other player I filmed yesterday was retain the same about of lag tension for a very long time. By the time BC is in full extension (club shaft in line with lead forearm) the club is a couple feet past the ball. Joachim also gets full extension very late.
I had no idea Matt Kuchar had so much Lag Tension. interesting move.
Marc Leishman is a beast. Great golfer, awesome swing.
Charles Howell III is the top ball striker at the moment, +8 or so lag tension on his shot.
JB Holmes and the Leader's group was WAY behind the group in front of them, TV doesn't do it justice, they were probably half an hour behind the group in front on 15 tee. It started to dominate the conversation around the course how slow they were.
That being siad, JB Holmes is the most impressive person to watch with driver I've seen. It looks so strong. Awesome flight to see.
I didn't speak to the golfers but some of them were NOT nice people to the fans. I asked a VERY casual question to one pro not in the hunt in between holes and you would have thought I kicked over his golf bag or something. Later in the day around the leader group some of the fans were getting a little obnoxious, nothing crazy though.
Some players have good lag tension at impact but then after the ball is gone the immediately lose it. I might go deeper into looking at which is the better metric of ball striking success, how much lag tension at impact or how how far after impact does the golfer reach full extension.
Also very interesting was that some golfers have great lag tension on the irons and zero lag tension on driver. Compare these guys with the 2018 Ball striking Stats or driving accuracy.
It would be great to spend a couple weeks out on tour recording how much LT players have on shots and when they reach full extension and cross reference that to the stats. Right now looking at it there seems to be a clear correlation with few outliers.
Former tour pro and owner of training aid company DST Golf Bertie Cordle has made quite the splash on Be Better Golf recently.
Bertie maintains that for a golfer to be able to control the face through impact (and thus the ball) the club must be in a state he calls LAG TENSION at impact.
Personally I don't like the term Lag Tension because I think it is too easily confused with LAG. Someone can have a TON of lag in the downswing by retain NONE of it and by impact have ZERO LAG TENSION. One of the early videos on Be Better Golf was titled "Lag is Irrelevant". If you have zero or less than zero lag tension at impact then whatever lag you had earlier in your downswing is indeed completely irrelevant. I know because that was exactly my swing when I started Be Better Golf. If you can think of a better tern email me, I'm wracking my brain. Some be better golfers have had good ideas. Kinetic Tension, Work Line, Degrees of Work, sustained pressure. We can do better!
However, Terms aside, after talking to Bertie for hours via Facetime and then having him fly out from England and spending 3 days with him talking about this specific issue I am 100 percent convinced he is correct.
Bertie has recorded literally THOUSANDS of golfers with a high speed GLOBAL SHUTTER camera and maintains that he can't accurately predict a golfers handicap just by seeing a face on image of them at impact. 96 percent of golfers HAVE LESS THAN ZERO lag tension at impact. If you care about your score, golf is hell with negative lag tension. If you just care about the walk, have unlimited balls to lose and like seeing interesting new parts of the golf course you don't need it.
After an extensive years long study of the swings of golfers of every skill level the metric he has found for best showing lag tension is by drawing a line from the lead elbow through the center of the lead wrist and continuing it through to the ground. If the line is past the ball at impact the golfer has lag tension, if it is at the ball the golfer has zero lag tension, if the line is to the trail side of the ball you have negative lag tension, (images below) this is where 96 percent of golfers reside. NOTE: Camera position for this is CRUCIAL, place the camera face to to the golfer, exactly 90 degrees to the target and place the camera halfway between the ball and lead foot.
Any confusion about Lag tension will be cleared up with this video showing was the overwhelming majority of golfers are doing. (Apologies to Cindy) Zip to the end to see some golfers who do retain lag tension through impact,. Those men happen to be famous golfers that have won literally millions of dollars playing a fun game we all pay to play. THIS IS NOT A COINCIDENCE.
YOU DON'T NEED AN OUTRAGEOUS AMOUNT OF L.T. BUT YOU WANT MORE THAN ZERO!
Bertie says it's not about how much you have but you must have some. 96 percent of amateur have less than zero.
1 ENG Justin Rose 2-3 inches of POSITIVE LT
2 USA Brooks Koepka a TON
3 USA Dustin Johnson . a TON
4 USA Justin Thomas a lot
5 USA Bryson DeChambeau retains it beautifully, not a lot but there.
6 USA Xander Schauffer good amount with driver less with irons but still there
7 ESP Jon Rahm the most in the world
8 NIR Rory McIlroy A lot
9 ITA Francesco Molinari 1-2 inches it looks like to me definitely the least on the list but still there. More with irons. 10 10 9 USA Tony Finau A TON
Also it should be noted that 21 of the Top 27 players on the world used DST clubs (Bertie's inventions)
Because it is more important to some LAG TENSION rather than how much, it is even more illuminating is to look at the STATS of the bottom 5 of the PGA tour from 2018 (or any full year of record keeping) in Driving Accuracy (good measure of face control) and Smash Factor (measure of quality of strike) on tour and compare them to still face on images of them on camera. They are obviously great golfers to even make it on tour but their Lag Tension at impact is dramatically different to the list above.
Mainly there seem to be a population of golfers (including some very famous TOUR coaches) that hate "position chasing" or claim it is a fools errand to try to freeze at a static position. We'll get more into how to create lag tension in the future but it isn't from holding or freezing anything. Maybe that feeling might work for some people but certainly not me. The key is to find the things that get you great impact then learn from those feels. If you try a bunch of feel and hope that it shows up in improved impact you're probably going to be frustrated and just give up on improving this part of your game. Impact can be dramatically improved. Tool's like Bertie's DST clubs can help. There is also a very powerful mental paradox to overcome that is nearly impossible for adult learners of golf to break if they don't know what the real challenge is. It is simple but takes a little explaining.
So to me it's obvious, having Lag tension is good, it helps you control the ball and hit it with a higher smash factor. Having less than zero is bad, you'll never be able to routinely predict where the ball will go, course strategy or mental game work becomes totally useless.
Anything you can do to IMPROVE your impact has got to be good. Not sure why that would be controversial but then again this is golf and lots of people are passionate.