Without a doubt, golf swing tempo IS a fundamental of the golf swing. However, it would appear to be the most overlooked and underwritten about. What doesn't help, is that half of what I read on the subject is just nonsense anyway. If I were a high handicapper, some of these articles would leave me more mystified about Swing Tempo than when I started them.
Here is an excerpt from such an article...."Get into a rhythm with your swing by counting one on the way back, two at the top (give it a little pause) and three on the way down." Now I ask you, do you understand this. I know I don't. If you and I both counted to three, and it were timed, there's a good chance that we would not both do it, in the same time frame. Our nature would affect the count. Would your little pause be longer or shorter than my little pause? It will be our brains that are doing the counting, and it's our brains that get us into so much trouble, out on the course, in the first place. Will we count to three in the same calm way, when we are facing a 150 yard carry over a lake to a bunker guarded green?.......I think not! I don't know that I ever saw Tiger, Phil or VJ taking this little pause.
The article goes on further to suggest that, when practicing at the range, this pause should be for TWO SECONDS! Now I ask you, does this sound like Golf Swing Tempo training? If you are going to hold at the top of the back swing for 2 seconds, then why not just cut out the middleman. Yes, that's right, forget the whole address the ball, waggle, smooth take away and the rest. Just start your swing at the top. Like facing a pitcher with a baseball bat in your hands. Trust me though, you can kiss swing speed Goodbye!
If you are a golfer, then I'm sure that it's safe to say, that if I were to ask you to write a list of the fundamentals of golf, you would probably hand me a list that included:
* Ball Position
* Pre-swing Routine
...and you wouldn't be wrong. I'd be mightily impressed. I could take those fundamentals to the range with a bunch of books and magazines and work on them. But sooner or later I'm going to ask you, (Because I'm an inquisitive kind of guy), "This is all great stuff, but how fast should I swing?" Because after all, we are always hearing about club head speed, and how it affects distance.
So let us add Swing Tempo to our list of golf fundamentals. In fact, lets put it in 3rd Place, right behind grip and alignment. The reason being is that, if you have a basic understanding of swing technique, then Golf Swing Tempo is the glue that holds it all together. Pausing at the top of your back swing, for anywhere between a pause and 2 seconds is the stuff that will bring it crashing down. In fact this will more than likely cause you to 'Cast,' or come over the top in the swing. With good tempo, the left knee should be starting it's Downswing move to the left, just as the hands and club are reaching the top of the back swing.
I don't disagree totally with the counting system. What you need though is a device to dictate the count, a device that is external. A device that is not your brain. Be it one of the many golf swing tempo devices, a simple and inexpensive metronome, or a piece of music with a beat that you can swing to. If you are an Iphone user, there is even an application that you can download exactly for the purpose.
Now it is often said that most high handicappers swing too fast. This is not, in fact, the case. Most swing too slow, but their swings look fast because they lack a decent tempo. Either a really quick take away that then slows on the way to impact, or the reverse. Ernie Els' 'Big Easy' swing, is in fact, exactly the same tempo as Phil Mickelson's and VJ Singh's. Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player's were slightly faster. Where the tour pros do not vary, is in the ratio of their swings. THIS IS KEY! The tour pros ALL swing at a 3 To 1 Ratio. However long they take getting to the top of their back swing is 3 Times that of getting the club head back to impact!
So there you go. Probably the simplest fundamental you ever read. Get to the range with some type of timing device, and swing to a 3 TO 1 Ratio. The magic thing about it is, that you will find yourself so engrossed with listening to the Beats, that all other swing thoughts (particularly negative ones), will leave your head. Try different tempos (NOT RATIOS) and find the one that suits your personality. When you have, you can take your new tempo onto the course, where my guess is, you'll swing with a new found confidence.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Snead lives in Youngstown, Ohio. He teaches golf, part time, to children of all ages. He has many published articles on the subject of Golf Swing Aid.
Written by : Steve Snead
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