Most of my average golfer students lack an understanding of the proper forward swing sequence of motion, or the so-called Lag Sequence. The fact is simply this – in the pro swing, certain body parts are leading and other body parts and the club are lagging. Here is the exact sequence that a tour pro uses: while the shoulder girdle is finishing the last ten to fifteen degrees of coil in the backswing, the oblique abs shift/rotate to the left, then the tailbone/pelvic girdle shifts laterally to the left for an inch or two, followed by the hips blending both more lateral shift left with rotation left. As the forward swing proceeds towards Impact, the hips rotate hard to the left, followed by the Core or belly muscles rotating to the left, then the shoulder girdle/chest/torso rotates left, while the upper arms stay glued to the chest, with both arms angled to the right of mid-line of the torso.
At Impact, the tour pro has a straight line (in the horizontal dimension or caddie viewpoint) from the left shoulder socket, down the left arm, through a flat left wrist (in-line with the top of the forearm) to the clubshaft all the way down to the clubhead. This straight line of arm/clubshaft is a Long Lever that is angled about 30-45 degrees to the right of the shoulder girdle/chest (I call this Arm Lag) or to the right of the torso's mid-line, (very much the same arm/chest position of a backhand in tennis or a backfist strike in karate). In the Halfway Down position in the forward swing, (hands about hip height on the right side of the body) the arms are lagging behind the chest, and the clubhead is lagging behind the hands/wrists in two different dimensions. In the vertical dimension, the clubhead is lagging behind the fully cocked left wrist. In the horizontal dimension, the clubhead is lagging slightly behind a bent back or “hinged” right wrist.
During the Release segment of the golf swing, the tour pro lets the left wrist uncock (mainly due to centrifugal force created by his or her Pivot motion) to restore the original angle of left arm to clubshaft that he or she had at Setup (in the vertical dimension, also called Address shaft plane angle, or a “level” left wrist), while at the same time retaining the angle in the bent back right wrist (or at least most of that angle in the case of pros who prefer a “sweeping” or no divot release), so that they arrive at impact with “forward shaft lean”, i.e. the handle end of the clubshaft is leaning more toward the target, the clubhead is lagging behind the bent back right wrist angle in the horizontal dimension (from caddie viewpoint). This pro Impact position allows the player to deliver a very powerful, solid blow into the back of the ball, with a lot of clubhead speed., since that Long Lever is still intact.
What is the sequence of motion that the high handicap golfer employs? The exact opposite of the tour pro's sequence! After the shoulders finish their coil at the top of backswing, the average golfer pauses for a beat, then simultaneously throws away both the left wrist cock angle and the bent back hinge angle in the right wrist, then he pulls the right and left upper arms down and across his or her chest to the left, while the shoulder girdle rotates to the left. While this is all happening in the upper body, his or her lower body is doing nothing – no lateral shift to the left and no rotation of the hips and no use of the Core whatsoever. Approaching impact, the clubhead has already passed the hands, the torso is stalling it's rotation, and the upper arms have completely disconnected from the chest.
And every bad shot you can imagine is caused by this improper sequence of motion! In a nutshell, this reverse sequence of motion is what I like to call the Hit Impulse and it must be overcome in order for you to learn how to hit great golf shots.
Just by understanding this important information, you can start to make real progress when working on assembling the pieces of your golf swing puzzle. A simple summary: the lower body lateral weight shift and rotation leads the mid-body or Core rotation, the Core leads the upper body or torso, the torso leads the arms, the arms lead the hands/wrists and the hands/wrists lead the clubhead. If you prefer a more dynamic way of describing it, simply substitute the phrase “pulls on” for the word “leads” in the preceding sentence. Slow motion mirror practice focusing on achieving this precise body sequencing is the best way to start to make progress with this concept.