I have been asked by so many readers and students to define “tempo” and how on earth can we create good tempo in the golf swing? I want to take a moment to address these many questions.
Tempo is basically the overall speed of your swing motion from the distinct difference in the backswing to the difference in the change of direction from the top to impact. Seems like every tour type player has a bit different tempo as seen by the naked eye but in fact you may be quite surprised to find tons of similarities. An example would be that Ernie Els, known as the big easy on tour, has a slightly faster backswing to the top then does Eldrick (Tiger) Woods. Shows us how much our eyes can pick up in such a fast motion.
Over the last 50+ years of golf instruction there have been many reads trying to put the finger on what type of tempo is best for each player. Most have only come up with slow, low and easy on the backswing. However the truth of the matter is today’s modern player swings a much faster pace then ever before destroying this myth. Since my early days of teaching I have videoed players throwing clubs and comparing these throws with their own typical swings hitting balls.
Each and every time the same result. The throw swings are better looking in EVERY SINGLE MECAHNICAL DEPARTMENT, and the swing tempo is faster then when they hit the ball. Why?? The obvious answer for me is that each golfer has become sooo mechanical due to over instruction that it takes a long time to process this during the swing motion. Our heads are so full of stuff that we lose any sort of tempo, timing, and rhythm sequencing.
This is why in each practice session 50% of all practice has to be totally with clear thought. Back to tempo. If you listen to all great players after a solid round they all say the same thing. I was in the flow today; everything was easy and had a smooth pace to it. In our schools we have a very unique process of establishing every players personalized tempo, we call (FIELD TEMPO). Establishing this mental and physical flow and even walk in tournament play is essential to mastering your personal mind field. These things tell us all something very special. Now for the facts.
People much smarter then yours truly, here have done testing over the last 15 years of hundreds of the great players timing their swings from start to impact. These greats had a common denominator and that was the ratio between the backswing and the forward swing. It was typically 3 to 1. In Japan and Korea we have done similar tests over these last 20 years and the results are pretty much the same. An example is with a high speed camera set at 20,000 frames per second, 27 beats to the top and again 9 beats to impact. We now even do this with our portable cell picture phones.
It can be a bit faster as well such as 24/8 etc but it seems that this type of flow does several things extra. Tested in launch conditions everyone picks up a bit of speed when focusing on tempo. Reason is logical, non mechanical effort promotes tempo and TIMING. We have discovered the same is truewhen we teach our HEART MATH EMOTIONAL TRAINING as the 3-1 ratio immediately shows up even for all amateurs.
Tested on the launch monitor EVERYONE and I mean everyone improves immediately. So what can you do? Save getting some good tempo training from a qualified tempo teacher, get to the range with a simple metronome and set it at a simple 72 beats a minute and listen to the clicks. Starting in the short game first with about 60 yard shots start at beat one, beat 2 to the top, and finally beat 3 at impact. You will notice immediate improvements graduating into longer shots. Good by mechanics!!!!