The Big Play: Develop lag to hit solid iron shots like Villegas
Who: Camilo Villegas
What: 207-yard approach from the rough to five feet for a birdie
When: Final round of the Honda Classic
Where: 508-yard, par-4 10th Hole at PGA National
Camilo Villegas demonstrates classic traits that are common to all great iron players, and he's a great player to watch if you need to improve your iron play.
Villegas generates a ton of lag in the downswing, and he sustains that lag for an extraordinarily long time. At impact, his hands are well ahead of the clubhead, which means he traps (or squeezes) the ball into the turf. Villegas also has a very steep angle of attack, created in part by his huge lag, and that angle leads to solid and powerful hits.
Hitting solid irons requires lag, which involves keeping the clubhead well behind your hands during both the downswing and at impact. Most amateurs have little or no lag at impact, while all good players have lots of lag.
Here’s a good drill to develop lag in your swing.
Draw a straight line on the turf that goes from under the ball to your left heel. (The ball should be positioned inside your left heel with most iron shots.) Two inches closer to the target, draw a second line that’s parallel to and the same length as the first line. With a good player, the divot on an iron will begin at the second line, ahead of the ball. A poor player will have his line start at, or even behind, the ball. If you generate lag, your swing arc will be steep and the bottom of the arc will actually be a little ahead of the ball.
Photo: David Walberg/SI