How to Practice Swing Tempo Effectively
Successful golf is all about repetition, and in my opinion swing tempo is at the heart of that. But tempo is one of those ethereal concepts in golf, and people refer to it in very generic terms like:
“Make a controlled, rhythmic movement”
These are all great, but how do we get more specific? And how can a golfer make meaningful improvements in their tempo through practice?
I believe tempo is one of the most important fundamentals of any golf swing. It’s why I wrote this extremely long article last year that told an interesting story about how John Novosel made an important discovery that can help many golfers improve their swings.
Personally my work on my own swing tempo has been one of the most meaningful advances in my ability as a ball striker, perhaps in my whole life as a golfer.
I want to talk about one specific practice technique that I believe can help golfers who are struggling with making a repeatable tempo.
There are three products that I believe can help a golfer with their tempo:
I’m probably not the only person in the world who has connected the dots on this, but to date I haven’t really seen much other material putting all of these together (mild pat on my back).
In this article I want to talk about how you can use tempo beats on the range, and use a swing analyzer to make sure you are repeating a tempo that works for you.
It’s quite simple really, and it’s why I like using this as a practice method.
The Tour Tempo app uses a series of beats to represent the beginning, top, and impact of your swing. They are all centered on the theory that your swing should be as close to a 3:1 ratio as possible (your backswing being three times as long as your downswing in terms of time measurement).
Almost every great ball striker of all time has had a swing tempo right at, or just around 3:1. I’ve actually done some testing of my own with several golfers who are great ball strikers and they have been right around there as well.
Do you absolutely need to be 3:1? No way. There is no right way to swing a golf club, and certainly no right tempo for every golfer. Our swings are all unique just like our fingerprints.
However, many golfers struggle with very inconsistent timing in their swings. Their backswings might be extremely slow, and it results in the body making all kinds of bizarre movements. Conversely, when they get to the downswing it’s way too quick.
Or it could be vice versa.
The whole point is that these tones can help you feel what it’s like to make a controlled, rhythmic golf swing that is repeatable.
The other benefit is that focusing solely on these beats gets you to stop thinking about where your hands are, your shoulder turn, and a lot of other technical thoughts that plague golfers on and off the golf course.
Concentrating on these beats has freed my mind and my swing, and I hope it can do the same for other golfers.
Here’s The Special Sauce
Working with the Tour Tempo tones alone can be great, or even a product like The Orange Whip.
But how do you know if you are making a repeatable tempo from swing to swing? Technology has answered that question for us, and it’s in the form of a swing analyzer.
I believe that once you start training with the tones it will start pointing you in the right direction, but at some point you will have to take the training wheels off and see if you can do it on your own.
So I use Swingbyte in my practice sessions to make sure I am repeating a tempo that works for me. Personally I have found that the 3.1 – 3.3 region is where I am making my best swings.
Rather than worrying about all of the other measurements that I’m not working on at the moment, I use the ‘dial it in’ function so that all I see after every swing is where my tempo is.
As a side note, I am ALWAYS paying attention to my ball flight first and foremost. That is always the most important feedback on any golf swing you make. Finding the right tempo for yourself that you can repeat, and results in your best shots can be a winning combination.
Summing it up
I see golfers all of the time who are searching for all kinds of answers in their swings. They are worrying about many advanced technical concepts, and they can’t solve one of the most basic ones first, which is tempo.
Nick Faldo referred to it as the “glue” of the golf swing recently during a tournament broadcast, and I couldn’t agree with him more.
If you can start to find a repeatable tempo for your golf swing, I believe good things are going to start happening for you. It’s a worthy thing to focus your practice sessions on rather than aimlessly hitting ball after ball without any kind of plan.