Golf swing tempo is very personal and one-size does not fit all. Each player has their own tempo and it is unique to their abilities (both physically and mentally). For my game, I know when my tempo is not ‘up to speed’ (yes, I went there) because I feel off balanced or rushed. Therefore, I need to keep my tempo in check or at least be cognizant of my tempo to lower my golf scores; it is a matter of awareness and staying within my swing abilities.
Before delving deeper into this topic, I found this video by Chris Ryan that I found to be very help because he provides a simple explanation of tempo and offers a drill I can do to improve my tempo:
If my tempo is awry during I round, I am able to tell by the results of my golf swing. It is fairly simple because my body position does not feel right. I am out of sorts and my swing feels ‘bad’. Usually, it is when I am trying to do something different or shape the ball outside of my comfort zone. My tempo miss cues are as follows:
- Pulling my ball left of target. This occurs when my tempo is too fast. I am trying to squeeze a few extra yards out of a tee shot and come over the top on my downswing. My ball generally goes straight, but hard left.
- Hitting the ball off the heel or thin. This is a common error for me that is avoidable. I generally have a very quick drawback and my transition at the top of my swing is very quick. It is almost like I am rushing my swing and I need to finish it fast. I do not like this feeling and when it happens, I force myself to draw the club back slower than normal on my next shot.
- Hit the ball fat – usually on approach shots or chips. In this case, my tempo is way to slow. I am trying to steer the ball to the hole and do not really put a great amount of effort into my swing. Instead of hitting the ball with the club face, I am trying to catch and through the ball. It is a bit hard to describe, but I think you get my meaning.
- Missing my target line when putting. I am strong believer in the “back 6 forward 12” method of putting. Following through twice as far as the drawback is crucial to my putting stroke. To do this, my tempo is smooth and controlled. When my tempo is off, I pull and push my putts right off the club face. I am unable to square my putter face on my aim point and the result is missing my target line immediately after contact.
As you can see, I do have some cues to help with identifying when my tempo is poor. To be fair, as a low handicapper, my tempo is generally pretty good. But, there are days when I know I am off and as such need to correct this swing error to achieve the low golf scores I expect and want.
Tempo is a very personal thing and I have spent a great deal of time developing mine. Having said that, there are days when my tempo is out of sync with my swing and this is something I try to fix as fast as I can. Everyone’s tempo is different, yet it impacts our swing (positively or negatively) in the same manner.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!