How important is tempo for a golf swing? What are some drills or training aids to improve swing tempo?
13 Professionals Contributed
What is swing tempo? How do I practice it? Are there any good training aids?
Swing tempo is basically the pace at which you move the club back and through. This is much different from clubhead speed! Watch the video to figure out how to practice your swing tempo and improve! I’ll also suggest a training aid that’s sure to help!
Focus on Rhythm and Balance to improve Tempo!
When we watch good golfers, it is easy to notice the beautiful Tempo they demonstrate. How did they get that consistent Tempo? Most skilled golfers have practiced (many, many hours) and been taught how to utilize the synchronization of their body and the club to produce a rhythmic and balanced golf swing.
For the average golfer, a simple way to improve your Tempo is to simply swing your golf club of choice (or even better, swing an Orange Whip Trainer) back and forth in a pendulum manner. I start out with small swings (like a long putt) and gradually increasing the length of the swing on the back and forward swing until I reach my full Driver swing. I don’t stop between swings, I continue back and forth for 10-20 swings. Once I’m comfortably balanced on each swing, I gradually increase my pace so that my swing is more powerful, but never at the cost of balance.
By doing this simple drill daily, you will develop the best Tempo you’ve ever felt! I didn’t invent this drill, it has been around forever, check out the YouTube video of Ben Hogan demonstrating this on the Ed Sullivan show! Good luck and remember, smooth Rhythm and Balance lead to improved Tempo!
Tempo is the single most important element in your golf swing!
Tempo should be your primary focus, when you are on the course. When your rhythm is on, you are most likely to play your best golf! In order to train your tempo, I advise that everyone should have the world’s greatest tempo training device, The Orange Whip Trainer! This flexible, weighted swing tool will not only help slow you down, but also assist in your golf fitness training! And remember that you should swing with effortless power, versus powerless effort. Start your tempo training right away! Purchase your very own Orange Whip Trainer online, at: www.OrangeWhipTrainer.com and at checkout, use Promo Code: Adam Smith for your online discount! Play great golf and have fun!
Tempo is VERY Important and Overlooked
I will preface my answer by saying that I am a “Older Thinker” when it comes to the golf swing, but I think Tempo is absolutely the most important and overlooked thought in the golf swing. It is vitally important to have the proper tempo in the swing to hit consistent shots and find consistent distance from each club.
From my view the tempo in the golf swing should be a slow build up throughout the swing. I like a slow, smooth takeaway through the backswing and an equally slow transition from the top of the backswing through the beginning of the downswing, with a build up of speed from ‘rear waist to the target side waist’.
All great swings of the club have had that slow transition and an effortless build up throughout their swing. Nearly every student I have discussed this with over the years say’s “my best shots feel effortless” and that is when the accomplish what I am teaching.
I think the best and also easiest drill to help accomplish this is to swing the club upside down with the club head in the hands at set up, with the grip above the ground. Swing the club back normally and listen to where the ‘swoosh’ sound occurs. The goal is to make the noise loudest from waist to waist. Do not try to hit the ground or the drill will not be accurate. Most poor tempo golf swings have the swoosh sound at the top of the back swing, which leads to an actual slow down in the crucial area of the swing or a crash into the ground.
If you were going to hammer a nail you would want the hammer to have the most speed at impact, and it is no different when swinging a club. Fred Couples, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and Sam Snead are classic examples of ‘great tempo’ golf swings. Patrick Cantlay is an excellent example in today’s game. All interestingly, were on the longer side during their era’s playing on tour with these effortless appearing golf swings and clearly Cantlay is more then long enough!
Tempo: The Invisible Fundamental
One of my neighbors was a highly regarded formula car mechanic. He worked for several elite racing teams, for drivers whose names I think you would probably recognize. This guy was expert on Lotus engines, and undoubtedly, he could tell you that as great as those machines were, if the timing was off, they would perform quite poorly. In the old days, engines had vacuum advance hoses that, when the engine sped up, advanced the spark in the cylinder, because when the speed of the engine changes, the timing of the spark has to change as well–the faster the engine is going, the sooner the spark has to arrive in the cylinder. Nowadays, computers do that task, but the point is the same: as speed changes, timing must adjust to it.
Now, how does this apply to the golf swing? Tempo is the overall pace, or speed, of the swing, like engine rpms. Timing is the sequencing of the positions within that time frame. If the club or body is in a subtly different position at a given time, in reference to the rest of the swing, bad timing is the result. The spark then arrives in the cylinder at the wrong time, so to speak. In a nutshell, even a Lotus of a golf swing doesn’t work as well as it should when the timing breaks down. Now, herein lies the difference between your swing and that Lotus engine: your swing does not have a functioning vacuum advance. In other works, if the tempo of your swing changes, the timing will not readily adapt, because in the time that it takes for your instincts to recognize that your tempo changed, the ball is gone–Elvis has left the building! This is why we need to spend time practicing our tempo–consistent tempo is mandatory for good timing.
My favorite aid is the Pro Tempo Tuner, music specifically geared for golf, accompanied by voice prompts. (tempotuner.com) You can use music, count (1,2,3, swing!) or anything else you can think of to promote rhythm, but the Tempo Tuner won’t inadvertently “speed up the metronome”, a plus.
Tempo is all about finding your MESS
Playing with a player with wonderful tempo it rubs off on you and helps immensely. Tempo is all about finding your MESS. (Your most effective swinging speed) Everyone has one, you just have to find it.
Each club has its own tempo due to its length difference, they are not all the same even though you try to keep the tempo the same. Performance of tempo is achieved by “level of effort” remaining within the players ability and not trying for speeds above ability. Ie a 100 yard par three is within almost everyone’s ability to reach but a par three at 225 yards takes a greater level of effort to get there, for most with a destruction of their MESS! Answer…keep the level of effort to normal and to keep a smoothness of tempo without violence, take enough club that you know will reach, not one that you have to thrash! Brian Harmon Vs De Chambeau two different swings in their MESS.
I believe Tempo is important in the golf swing, but it can be a hard thing to quantify.
Tour Professionals tend to have a 3 to 1 ratio of backswing to forward swing. The biggest problem I see from higher handicap players is there ratio is almost 1 to 1, meaning they are trying to swing the club back as fast as the do going forward.
Without spending money on a swing speed gage the best way I try to describe it to people is how fast do you windup to throw a ball. Do you windup really fast or do you windup gradually building momentum?
Most people windup gradually and buildup momentum to throw the ball. You want to have the same concept for swinging a golf club. Your backswing is a way to build up speed/momentum to bring the club forward.
Practice using different speeds on your backswing and find out where you are most efficient. Try and make the backswing feel fluid and balanced, this should help to deliver the club to the ball more consistently.
Rythym and Tempo are everything
The short answer on this is rhythm and tempo are the most important keys in the game once it comes time to pull the trigger and execute any golf shot This includes the often neglected chipping and putting “swings”.
This answer assumes the player has built a strong swing and routine of solid fundamentals and knows how to play. Great players count on good rhythm, and all golfers benefit from focusing on tempo. Finding and maintaining rhythm and tempo is a career-long quest. We are constantly trying to swing a little slower, smoother, and in better balance. Being aware of the importance is step one to becoming a better player!
Exploring and practicing this aspect of the golf swing is rewarded with better contact, improved focus for the game, and consistent execution. I will keep it simple and offer one simple exercise to improve in this area.
The great Sam Snead (renowned for his smooth Swing) said he swung a weighted club ( You can use two clubs or a hosel donut ) every day, deliberately slowly, fully extended, and smoothly, with his head still 25 times a day. Think of your swing as one whole motion! Swing the club forward a 1/4 turn for a head start, then keep it swinging fully, smoothly and slowly, and without exertion! (don’t hurt yourself!!!!)
Start with 5, and you will see results immediately.
Play well, Have fun out there.
Rhythm & Tempo
Rhythm & Tempo are two of the most important factors in making a good golf swing and getting excellent results. Any time that your tempo is “off” or “out of sync” you will not get the desired results. In tournament play, it’s crucial to maintain your rhythm & tempo from the practice area, to the first tee, and through the eighteenth green!
Two drills that I like to use for tempo are:
1. swinging and hitting shots with your feet together, it forces your lower body to slow down and your upper body to increase movement and
2. swinging two clubs at the same time or using a heavy practice club to make full easy swings (not hitting balls). Both of these drills are perfect if you’ve had a short break from the game or been unable to play because of weather.
Country Club at Mirasol, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Hover The Club To Practice Good Tempo
Tempo or the pace of a person’s swing is the glue that holds the swing together. A player can have great mechanics, but if their tempo is out of rhythm, bad things can happen. It is important to note that not everyone has the same tempo, but each player must operate within their normal tempo or pace.
One drill that I encourage my students to practice is to hover the club above the ground at address and make swings. This drill encourages consistent grip pressure and good pace when swinging the club away from the ball. Most player’s tempo/pace becomes off when their is a sudden change to their grip pressure. When pressure increases or tension sets in, tempo will certainly change. Learn to swing the club away without increasing grip pressure or tension in the forearms and tempo/pace will work itself out and the result will be solid shots.
Tempo is key for overall consistency
Any tempo that is too fast or too slow, will eliminate any chance with overall consistency with your golf swing. It’s impossible to consistently get the club in the correct position at impact if your golf swing tempo is out of sync.
To help achieve better tempo, I like to use swing trainers such as the Lag Shot or Orange Whip to help achieve the correct tempo for your individual swing.
Easy, use the Tour Tempo app and read the book. With a consistent pre-shot routine and good tempo you will have the proper sequencing of YOUR swing. Consistent and powerfully struck shots will start happening.
Swing the club like you are 90 years old...
Tempo is related I think to your personality…The best drill is trying to practice by swing the club like you 90 years old….Second, get into the habit of watching the LPGA go on UTube and pick out a LPGA player a study their swing and tempo…Lastly, listen to Classical music (waltz tempo)…