As a golfer, you are probably aware that there is more than a single element to the perfect golf swing. Aligning your body, shoulders, and feet is just the beginning. While proper positioning will surely generate more power and speed, it is not the only fundamental that you need to focus on.
Probably the most forgotten element of all is the so-called swing tempo. The reason why we will be addressing it in this article is that many beginners seem to have issues with rushing through their swings. The logic of “the faster you go, the faster the ball will go” makes no sense.
You could ask any professional golfers on this, and the answer would be the same. You need to slow down during the swing in order to achieve optimal results. What is tempo? We would define it as the time that passes between the start of your takeaway to the follow-through.
While one of the main causes of a delayed tempo is tension, it is not the single element that we will be discussing. The goal of this article is to explain the importance of counting the elapsed time, as well as finding your zone when it comes to backswing and downswing. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get right to how to find tempo in golf swing.
What Is Swing Tempo in the First Place?
It is a fact that even pros have issues with perfecting their swing tempo. Keep in mind that there is a myriad of elements that can influence your swing motion and thus the tempo, as well. Of course, you might think it is more logical to swing the club faster. There is also the fact that the more pressure you feel, the higher the chances are you will rush through the move.
The swing tempo can and should be defined as the elapsed time of the swing, including both the backswing and downswing. Finding the balance in these two separate motions is the key to achieving the perfect tempo. Thus, you shouldn’t be looking to replicate Tiger or Rory, as two of the most popular golfers.
Instead, develop your own zone that is based on the fundamental 3:1 principle. This is something that we will be discussing down below. For now, it is important that you know that, if your backswing will take 3 seconds, then your downswing should take 1 second.
Still, we don’t recommend that you go through the motions so quickly. We think that a backswing that takes 3 seconds and a downswing that takes 1 second is just ideal.
Tips on Improving Your Swing Tempo
Before we get into methods and drills of improving your swing tempo, we wanted to discuss a couple of positioning points that you should focus on. As we have mentioned above, the idea is that you manage the 3:1 ratio for any shot that you are taking.
First and foremost, you will want to relieve any tension that you are feeling in your muscles and joints. Additionally, your mental game should be on point. We always like to emphasize the importance of deep breathing in order to improve the oxygen flow towards your brain and throughout the body.
A proper breathing technique allows for better focus and improved motor skills. It also relieves the tension and anxiety that might be hindering your success. It is quite common for tension to affect amateurs and even pro players during both good and bad games.
Thus, if you want to avoid this and not rush through your swing, you will need to relax at the address. Being and feeling loose will allow you to slowly prepare for your shot and go through the swing with the 3:1 ratio.
Another important tip is that you don’t grip the club too tight or too loose. At the beginning of the takeaway, the grip pressure should be quite low. Then, you should slightly increase it as you go through the backswing movement. Of course, the grip depends on the type of club you are using, as well as whether the golf course is highlighted by bunkers and other hazards.
Perhaps, the most important thing is that you should focus on your backswing motion. If it is too fast, you will be rushing through the whole movement. On the other hand, while it should be smooth, it shouldn’t be at a snail’s pace, either. A backswing that is too slow may result in a sluggish downswing.
Popular Golf Swing Tempo Drills
We did our best to present these tips as clearly as possible. As with any other sport, repetition is the key to instigating change.
That is why we think that these drills will be of great help towards mastering the perfect 3:1 swing tempo.
This is probably the most popular and most efficient tempo drill of them all. It is as simple as counting to three on the backswing and then counting to one on the downswing.
The best thing about it is that you can do it at a golf course or in the comfort of your home. If you decide to engage in a proper golf practice session, then the idea is to count 1-2-3 out loud as you are doing the backswing motion. Don’t worry about what people around you will think.
Make sure to focus on nothing but counting and proper posture/positioning. The second step of this drill is to count to 1 while you are going through the downswing. As you progress with this exercise, you can count more quickly.
What is so great about the 1-2-3-1 drill is that you will master the tempo and get rid of any negative thoughts. Simply focus on your breathing and the counting process. Perhaps, you are not ready to take it to the golf course, or maybe you simply want to go the extra mile and practice at home, as well. If so, stand in front of a mirror and mimic the swing movement with extended arms and hands together.
This other exercise is more related to maintaining the ideal connection between the body and arms. This drill is great for ensuring proper swing tempo. First, take a regular address position, flexing your knees while keeping your back flat.
Once you do that, hug the right oblique with the left arm and do so for the opposite side as well. Make sure that your core is drawn in and tight. Rotate from your hips while holding this position. This will help you control your arms throughout the movement.
The first product that we consider worth your money and time is the orange whip. It is a gadget that should help you coordinate the rhythmic movement of your torso arms and lower body. Also, investing in a swing tempo book from John Novosel (Tour Tempo) is a wise choice, especially if you are a beginner.
Last but not least, both the Apple and the Google Play store offer an array of Golf Timer apps. These produce counting sounds that will help you master the 3:1 swing tempo.
A Little Trick That Goes a Long Way
We have mentioned multiple times how important it is to stay focused both during the backswing and the downswing. The idea is to not be jumpy while working with the iron or putter. You should try to maintain perfect calmness and move through the swing as smoothly as possible.
In order to have a balanced finish, you will have to avoid swinging your arms like a maniac during the takeaway. If you simply don’t follow the logic of swinging quicker to generate more speed, you will be doing yourself a great favor.
Don’t Rush the Process
Making sure that the swing is not rushed is something that we have talked about. Still, there is one more point that you should consider. There is no chance that you can master the 3:1 swing tempo within just a couple of days of practice.
Instead, you should be happy to be on the right path and simply enjoy creating the habit step by step. Thus, you may want to start by practicing with an empty tee. This will not only gradually improve your confidence but also prevent you from getting physically worn out.
Additionally, depending on whether you need to make your swing faster or slower, you should work with 25% increments to achieve steady progress.
The swing tempo is nowhere as confusing as it may look at first. As many books and professionals suggest, and we agree, the perfect ratio is 3:1 between the backswing and downswing time. Perfecting your golf swing is not the easiest thing to do, and will take plenty of time and practice.
But if you use the aforementioned drills and tips, you will be well on your way to slowly but surely achieving the desired balance and temp you need in your golf swing. Who knows… you may be the next Tiger Woods or Ernie Els. Good luck!