To know how you can slow down the tempo of your golf swing, you need to first understand what tempo means and what importance it has.
What is Golf Swing Tempo?
In golf, it is the ratio of time it will take you to finish the backswing to the time it will take you to get your club to your ball.
Why is Tempo So Important?
The swing you make on the golf course involves a series of steps and procedures. How the moving parts of your body dynamically interact in the course of your swing impacts the position you get on impact with the ball.
Your moving parts of the body (hips, arms, etc.) are a part of the right timing sequence when your swing is good. When the timing is off, your tempo will change, and the time that these parts will take to move will vary. As a result, the impact positions will greatly vary.
If you want your play to be consistent, you have to have a consistent tempo. There are quick swings, and there are slower ones. However, they have one thing in common — if the tempo is consistent, they reach an impact position that is more consistent.
How to Establish Tempo Consistency?
In 2004, John Novosel undertook a study to measure PGA and LPGA players’ tempo. After the study, he established in the book, ‘Tour Tempo,’ that even though there is a great variance in the downswing and backswing speeds, there is a consistent ratio of approximately 3:1 (the ratio of the backswing to the downswing). Most importantly, it is possible to create optimal tempo during tournaments if under pressure.
The 3:1 ratio allows for enough time to finish the backswing, then transition to the downswing phase. Most tour players tend to have a consistent 3:1 ratio, but that ratio is inconsistent for many weekend golfers. In simpler terms, compared to their technique, their tempo is more likely to change.
Players should be aware of the changes that will take place when they are under pressure. One of them is tempo.
When the player is under pressure, typically the muscles will become tighter and so will the grip pressure. The backswing will speed up. The downswing, on the other hand, will begin a little too early. This does not allow enough time to place the sequence in an orderly manner and put you in a desirable downswing posture.
How to Slow Your Golf Swing Tempo
Tension is the major cause of poor tempo. If you have anxiety before you hit the ball or you doubt if you will make a good shot, your tempo is likely to be off. To calm your nerves, relax before you address the ball.
Continuously remind yourself that you are good at what you do, and you have the ability to hit the ball. Also, tell yourself that talent is not the barrier between you and a good shot, but rather your nerves.
Maintain a Firm Grip on the Club and Loosen Your Wrists
While preparing for the swing, make sure your grasp on the club is strong and firm. This will give you the necessary power and control required to set the ball into motion. While doing this, ensure your wrists are maneuverable and loose. This will enable you to swing your club in a whip-like manner. There will be an increase in the speed once your tempo goes down.
Make Your Takeaway Slow
Begin the takeaway phase by turning your shoulder that is non-dominant in the opposite direction of the ball. Ensure it is a smooth move, and there is deliberation in every movement. Your takeaway speed will establish the entire swing’s tempo. It is advisable to go slowly and, if the backswing isn’t right, begin again.
Make Sure you Extend Your Club as Far Back as Possible
When doing the backswing, ensure you extend the club as far from your ball as possible. If this isn’t done, you will not get enough strength to hit the ball properly. An undesirable backswing will affect your tempo and make a connection with your ball difficult.
If you do it in a proper way, the backswing usually ends with your club high above the head and held by arms that are barely bent.
Your Downswing and Backswing Should Have a Matching Pace
Upon finishing the backswing, you will have two options — to either begin the downswing almost immediately, or give yourself some seconds to concentrate. Once you are ready for the downswing, start it with the same velocity as that of the backswing. When you begin closing in on the ball, allow your pace to naturally accelerate and maintain the stable momentum until the follow-through phase is over.
Strive for a Downswing That is Threefold Your Backswing
Almost every golfer has a 3:1 tempo. In essence, the backswing will take three times longer to finish compared to the downswing. While doing practice, ask someone to time these portions of the swing and see how you are doing.
If your downswing time is very short, slow down the takeaway in order to alter your shot’s pace. If your downswing takes a very long time, ensure you are in the correct posture that does not cause any unwanted drag.
Practice With a Tee
When trying to improve your tempo, using real balls will dishearten you. This is especially true if the balls do not fly to the distance you want them to. With an empty tee, you will not have to worry about balls, only the time that a shot will take.
The key to keeping your tempo down, as explained in the points above, is keeping calm, being consistent in your speed, and applying the required grip on the club. Following this will not only help you as you begin golfing, but it will also improve your golfing skills and maintain your high level of performance on the course.