Backswing Loading Options

There always seems to be confusion about loading…

First, for clarification, you have the four types of loading on the backswing. (cocking the wrists)

  1. Sweep, set the hands as fast as possible
  2. Random sweep, gradually cock the wrists on the backswing.
  3. Snap, Delay the wrist cock until the very end of the backswing.
  4. Float, Never cock the wrists, but then cock them on the way down.

To further confuse the TGM readers, you have drive, and lag loading.
Drive and lag loading only refer to the forces that are applied to the shaft itself on the downswing only.

Drive loading is exclusively for hitters.
Lag Loading is for swingers.

When the change of direction happens, the shaft is further loaded into the pressure points… the shaft moves inward, closer to the body, and this compression is actually centripetal force… and does
create additional float loading of the wrist… this is very true.

Now, this is the where the yellow brick road splits into two paths.

For a full shot, the swinger want to stress the shaft as much as possible with a quick change in direction, maximum compression,
then let all that stored energy “dump” into the ball… it’s the sling shot, the rubber band effect. Any additional attempt at acceleration
on the downswing spells DISASTER! You pop the clutch with the body, then coast it into impact… monitoring and guiding it on the way down with those educated hands. (Butt end of the club first… this is NOT throwing the hands from the top with a quick acceleration)!!!

The hitter wants no part of a quick change in direction. The transition must be slow then accelerate, AcceLerate, ACCELERATE! with the holy grail being to hold the flex of the shaft all the way to the ball.

Two completely different intentions… you cannot do both at the same time…

Pick your poison carefully!

you certainly don’t have to sell me on loading the muscles!
I am a 115 degree shoulder rotation on the backswing, minimizing hand travel, with big extensor action application. In other words…

I agree too, Hogan is a great model… if not the greatest….an incredible TGM biomechanic machine.

I would hope that Homer’s work is based upon “law” and not opinion or perception of law, particularly within the TGM instructors of the USA! lol

I believe I used the word lag loading in place of Drag loading.
Lag Loading describes the downstroke loading action, being either
drag, drive, or float. (Lag being the set, the other three subsets)
My apologies!

Homer spells out Drive and Drag loading as clear as day in (10-19-A)
and (10-19-C)


“Lag Loading concerns the manner in which to club is propelled through the down-stroke”

“Drive loading, the axe handle technique of the hitter, strives for radial acceleration, a pre stressed bent clubshaft, from a slow start down”

“Drag Loading is the swinger’s technique striving to accelerate the shaft lengthwise (longitudinally) from a “quick” start down to release”

“Float Loading can be either one (drive or drag)”

switching from hitting to swinging at will is tough stuff… I wish I could do it with with perfection… but I spent so much of my early days swinging,
and training my body to have a quick torso rotation from the top, to start my downswing… When I switched over to hitting during my pro career, I had to teach my body to rotate slowly from the start, and then pick up the speed to hold and pre-stress the shaft.

Turning the torso quickly from the top, and LEAVING the hands behind (swinging) is not an easy thing to learn for most golfers.
It was hard for me to learn as a youth… but even a harder thing to
unlearn as a pro!

Because I have such a tendency to rotate the torso quick from the top (not good for hitters) I went to tipped X shafts, so that on those days when I just couldn’t WAIT on it… I could still keep the ball on the short grass and get it around. Then on the days where I was feeling the slow accelerating rotation… LOOKOUT! I could knock pins down in a way I never could as a swinger. I wasn’t uncommon for me to go out and hit 16 or 18 greens in a round, having 12 birdie putts inside 20 feet. That’s how you shoot 66. You convert half those putts on a good day with the flat stick.

A few thoughts on loading …

We have 4 options to load power accumulators 1-2 and 3. In simple terms, cocking the wrists on the backswing. As the wrists cock, the right arm also tends to fold with them… so all 3 really work together.

TGM offers the following options,
Random Sweep

Sweep we would “set” the hands right away.
Random sweep we gradually cock the wrist on the backswing.
Snap we load right at the top.
Float we would keep our wrists uncocked then load on the way down.

Lag loading refers to the force or pressure we put on the shaft on the way down… or downswing.

Lag loading offers us three options
Drag loading
Drive loading
Float loading

Drag loading is what swingers would use.
They would put the majority of the force on the shaft quickly with a sharp change in direction. This would feel like the body or torso turning quickly, but the feeling of leaving the hands behind, hence the word “drag loading”. You would like the club to feel heavy, like a wet mop, using the body to start this heaviness down the plane towards impact. The goal here is to get the club moving with the pivot, then let it glide down the plane into impact, a steady even acceleration, the wrist feel free and flexible, monitoring the hands all the way down, then dumping that energy and inertia into the ball, and down into the ground.

Drive Loading would be the hitters preference in that the change in direction at the top would be quiet. When you see players on tour with a soft or even bent left arm, this is a good sign of drive loading.
This is almost a preventative measure, to make sure things feel soft at the top. I would tend to agree in that the tighter and more coiled a golfer is at the top, the more there is a tendency to start down quick.
Of course in theory it would be best to be coiled fully, with a straight left arm held firm with the extensor action of the right arm pushing on the left. The drive loader slowly puts stress on the shaft on the way down as the body or pivot picks up speed, and the wrists use a stiff wristed slapping motion at the last moment before impact.

The Float loading can be used in either application… but is slightly more complicated.

All these downstroke loading procedures are what is referred to as
“lag loading”

I know this can be a bit confusing for golfers familiarizing themselves with TGM concepts.

Any questions? Hope this clears things up a bit.

Lag, 2 things that you wrote about drive loading I found in my own swing the other night. One I tried taking my backswing with a straight left arm really feeling my right arm pushing my left arm and then the delay in my drop. When I got quick from the top I had to flip my hands through impact to square the blade up but, when I was patient and let my hands drop then I found the slot easily and really could turn on the acceleration from the 4:30 line. The hard part for me was to not over accelerate from the top too many years as a swinger!

There are a couple things that helped me…

One was going to X shafts…

Two, shortening the backswing…

Three… Tons of work on Module #1 #2 #3 …because as we learn to generate more power and force through
and beyond impact, it makes the wait MUCH easier knowing we really have something to be patient for!

What is the advantage of a shorter backswing when it comes to holding the shaft flex and accelerating through impact?

One main advantage…it takes timing out of the swing! :smiley:

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Let me just clarify if I didn’t earlier in this thread that short backswing is not abbreviated shoulder rotation.
In the private area here, we discuss the Snead Diagram which explains this clearly.

But basically, maximum shoulder rotation and minimal arm travel is… in my opinion… is ideal… because you can fully load both torso rotation and forearm rotation, but keep the range of motion of the arc of the hands shorter with less risk of unwanted deviations.

I’ve no TGM background, relating this loading to examples may help?

I may be lost in translation, but Sergio Garcia seems like a float loader to me as he has little wrist cock in the backswing?

One of the big problems with TGM is that it assumes the golf swing is 2D and that any 3D plane shifting is done with the baseline of the plane hinging along the ground… or that the bottom of the swing plane acts as a hinge that shifts up and down but stays fixed on the ground.

I could not DISAGREE with this more.

So the float described in TGM refers to cocking of the wrists, while a more sophisticated golf swing adds forearm rotation that sends the shaft OFF PLANE and into the 3rd dimension to increase the range of motion of forearm rotation. Nearly every great ball striker does this. What people are seeing with Sergio and Hogan for instance is more forearm rotation loading through transition than wrist cock… although some of that is happening… best if they work together…

But you need only to have the shaft on plane through the strike… should only strive to do that through the strike, and to actually do that through the strike is going to feel you are nowhere near being on plane through the strike. I feel my clubshaft is off plane the entire golf swing. It looks much more on plane than it feels… that is for sure.

Lag, above you describe four types of backswing loading and various downswing loading options. Also, you describe how for a hitter the best down swing option is loading with gradual acceleration from the top. I was wondering if you have a preference for the type of take away used that’s most compatible with eventual drive loading in the downswing. I’m thinking one piece or lagging the club head during take away. A one piece take away for me feels like a way to hit positions because the club head is controlled with the arms from the beginning while lagging it causes the shaft to come alive with momentum and the rest of the swing action becomes an exercise is managing that momentum. Thoughts?

A good visual for this…

If I trace my clubhead from FO you can clearly see the slotting in transition…
Chris Driver slotting FO.jpg
The shaft moves inward, closer to the body, and this compression is actually centripetal force -
but you have to knew what to do with all the loading or you are toast…

In real time it looks somehow conventional:


Chris is correct in that the amount of stress you put on the shaft at transition must be dealt with on the downswing. It’s one of the core fundamentals of how I teach. Do not load the foundation with an unsupportable load.

There are a lot of ways to take the club back and get the shoulders rotated and the forearms rotated. I can’t think of two great strikers who do it the same. We could just start from a coiled position and strike from there… but if we did… I would suggest a slight recoil to get things started… and that recoil is really the start of striking the ball. Just watch a baseball hitter or even a dart thrower.

When you recoil, you really have several options as far as what direction you are going to reach toward. Most go up… some might go toward the target… Daly would go toward the left foot… but I think there is an even better way that I discuss with the SuperSlotting students…basically forearm rotation. Many float it down into more wristcocking, or work the arms more upright… but again, I see advantages to a more sophisticated approach.

So would you say that ideally when the body stops turning on the backswing the hands and arms should also stop rather than continuing to swing back independent of the body turn?


“I’m thinking one piece or lagging the club head during take away. A one piece take away for me feels like a way to hit positions because the club head is controlled with the arms from the beginning while lagging it causes the shaft to come alive with momentum and the rest of the swing action becomes an exercise is managing that momentum. Thoughts?”

I agree with you on the 1-piece takeaway vs. lead-lag. I prefer the 1-piece takeway. I’ve been doing that lead-lag move (ala, Martin Ayers). It cause my knees and overall leg work to begin much too early and so my legwork is not supporting my torso in the correct sequence.

Agree mulligan, one piece takeaway sets everything up. I have experimented with all and this seems to be the best for hitters, it feels that I do not move my arms on the backswing only shoulders.

What Hogan did with starting the downswing as the club is going back is the coolest move, looks great and puts everything in position. I have worked on this, I feel I have to be all left side pull to get it working. By far the most difficult for me because I think it lets me know where my pivot is in terms of training. I hit the ball further, flies off the club with a hiss, flat boring flight, and the sound a loud crack on good swings. The miss with this is shank because if my pivot is not great I do not square the clubface. The swing I use is more of Trevio without the push, ball flight is more accurate without the hiss, higher weaker flight, no loud crack and some shorter. I have not played in six months but module much. I have not done a video in over a year, will have each swing then post, get all of your thoughts.

Lag wrote - "I am a 115 degree shoulder rotation on the backswing, minimizing hand travel, with big extensor action application. In other words…

Do you apply “115 degree shoulder rotation” and these other principles to every club in the bag (INCLUDING PITCHING WEDGE)?

Half or partial shots no.Most pitching wedges are hit 75% so 90 degrees is the norm in shoulder rotation since accuracy is more important than distance. The last thing we want are 140_150 yard pitching wedge shots.As we climb in Clubs a 7 iron is the start of expanding the shoulder rotation.

Thanks for responding! Your answer seems logical to me

Vary distance by the length of the shoulder rotation.
Best to always keep the club hard and accelerating, even for shorter shots… just make a shorter rotation, then go hard.

Trying to feather the ball in with a lazy swing is a recipe for disaster, especially under pressure. Sure it can be done, but it’s dicey unless you are playing and grinding balls every day.

With the modern golf balls… taking spin off it is not as necessary as during the balata age. You can always take more club and hit a lower trajectory shot into the green. Use lofts of the clubs to control trajectory. Unless you are playing in a one club event… your clubs can do a lot for you.