Moe Norman

The Concomitant Relation of Swing Plane, Lag and Release

I don’t know a golfer on the planet who doesn’t want to add 20 yards on the end of their average drive.  This equates to a club-head speed increase of approximately 8 miles per hour which, for most golfers, is a dramatic 10% increase.

Increasing your club head Club-head speed by 10% is a function of many factors which contribute to how efficient we use our bodies to release the speed in the correct location of the golf swing.  In other words, if you have great technique, you can easily produce speed.

Moe would often discuss how he would “lead and lag” and included this as one of his magic movements of his swing.  In this picture he was exaggerating his demonstration of this feeling.

Moe Norman
Moe Demonstrating Leading and Laging

This feeling is only felt (excuse the redundancy), by proper movement and hitting the ideal positions of the body where the arms and hands can efficiently move. To understand why the technique of these factors are directly connected is so important, you must realize the relationship between Swing Plane, Lag and Release.

Swing Plane

Swing Plane is created by positioning our bodies correctly so that when the arms moves the club, they moves in a way where the club-head can move on an arc and path that can accumulate speed.  This accumulation of speed is also called “timing” where, as the body rotates and the arms move and hands hinge, the club is moving in a semi-circular path around the rotating body.

The initial swing plane is referenced at address (the Single Plane) where the club shaft is aligned with the trail arm. This extension of the arms creates a spatially wide radius for the hands to move the club around the body.

Single Plane Top of Backswing
Swing Plane at Top of Backswing

When you move the hands and arms correctly with the rotation of the body, the extension and timing of the hands and arms move in a way where the club can make a path of least resistance back and down.  A better way to say this might be to say – that the club is able to move on it’s fastest and most efficient path.


Technically, lag is where one thing leads as another thing follows another or lags behind.  Therefore, during a downswing, the body moves first, the arms and hands move next and the club follows.  One important aspect of lag is the leverage angle formed by the hand hinge which creates and angle allowing the club-head to lag behind the hands. This angle, after lagging behind in the downswing, will release to produce speed.

The angle formed by the hand hinge allows the club head to lag far behind the arms when the arms pull the club down in the downswing.

This angle is related to the grip and how the hands put pressure on the club as well as wrist hinge and how the trail arm folds.

The Pressure Points of the Hands

Feeling Swing Plane and Lag

When the arms pull the club, the club head will lag behind the hands where the mass of the club head is being pulled by the shaft.  This creates a Feel where you are pulling on the club but the club-head is staying behind. The pull of the club is related to how the pressure points of the hands are aligned to the shaft and the face angle.

The hinge of the lead arm pulls on the shaft when the torso rotates and pulls the arm.  The trail hand supports the club and will eventually “skip a rock” as it moves through to release the club through impact.

The Body Pulls the Lead Arm, which pulls the hand which pulls the club


Release is dependent on a number of factors including how the body leads in the downswing and the lag being maintained in the downswing. When the body rotates ant the trail arm extends the club is released through the ball.  The trail arm has extended from its bent position (see picture above) and at the point of release, both arms are straight.  

The Position of release is dependent on how well the arm stayed bent in the downswing and the stability of the lead leg so that the upper body can continue to turn as the trail arm extends.

In summary, Swing Plane, Lag and Release are all related to producing speed and timing of the golf swing.  When you begin to move correctly and the club moves on plane, the hands hinge correctly and your body is able to efficiently “pull’ the club into the downswing.

As you pull and the pulling side of the body begins to stop, the trial side and take over as it rotates.  The trail arm extends and releases the leverage created in the backswing and downswing.

Similar to cracking a whip, release is a place where the speed of the club reaches its fastest point after impact.

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