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2, Swing Tempo
Can your swing tempo influence your game? Can it improve your swing? What exactly is it?
Read below for more on this ……
John Novosel and Tour Tempo
17 years ago, someone figured out what all of the greatest golfers in history had in common.
His name is John Novosel. You may know his name already, and have heard his story. However, I didn’t know who he was until recently, and that probably means a decent amount of you reading this won’t either.
In 2000 Novosel was editing the swing of a professional golfer for an infomercial. As a small test he decided to measure how many frames it took for the golfer to get to the top of their swing, and then to the bottom. The calculation arrived as exactly a 3 to 1 ratio. He wasn’t exactly moved by this initially because the prevailing wisdom about tempo was that each golfer had their own unique rhythm, and there was nothing really that unified them from player to player.
He then by chance looked at Tiger Woods’ swing from the 1997 Masters. It also had the exact same ratio, 3:1. At that point he knew he was on to something, and started analyzing the swings of all of the best players in the history of the game.
Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Tom Watson, Byron Nelson. They were all 3 to 1. It was as if he had discovered the secret of golf.
In 2004 he published his findings in the best-selling book Tour Tempo, and then again in 2011 with Tour Tempo 2 (which offered an update with short game). He also has created various training aids.
Thanks to that research we know that virtually all good golf swings are built on a 3-to-1 ratio. No matter how fast or slow these swings are the back-swing takes three times as long as the downswing. To help you groove that 3-to-1 tempo, I’ve come up with a series of tips below but before that what exactly is tempo?
Tempo is one of golf’s most basic yet elusive concepts, according to the dictionary; tempo is the “characteristic rate, rhythm or pattern of work or activity.” In golf terms, it’s the pace of your swing, back and through. Some golfers have a slow or smooth tempo, like Fred Couples. Others swing with a quick tempo, a la Nick Price. In other words, it’s a highly individualized component – there’s no one correct tempo for every golfer, but there is a correct tempo for each golfer.
Swinging with a consistent tempo, club to club and shot to shot, is critical to making solid contact.
Tempo is closely tied to balance as well, another key to steady ball striking.
Try these three drills to improve your tempo and keep it consistent:
1. Feet-together drill
The best golf drill ever devised? Many instructors would vote for this one based on its simplicity and effectiveness at instilling an even-keeled tempo and finely tuned balance. Bottom line: Every golfer, no matter how accomplished, should regularly utilize the feet-together drill. Simply hit some smooth shots with both feet together and try maintaining your balanced finish.
2. Swoosh drill
Another classic, the swoosh drill involves three basic steps: 1) Turn a club upside down and grip it just below the clubhead. 2) Make a full swing. 3) Hold your finish for three seconds.
At first, you may be surprised at the difficulty of staying balanced at the finish. To reiterate: balance and tempo are two sides of the same coin. Practice numerous repetitions of the swoosh drill and you’ll find it translates well to actually hitting the ball.
3. The smooth wedge swing
On the range, hit a series of balls with a wedge while swinging at 75% of your power… Move up a club or two, to a 7-iron for instance, and repeat the process. Continue through to the driver, swinging no harder than 75% on any shot.
4. Your Grip
Make sure you are not holding the club with too much pressure, holding on tightly creates tension which leads to poor tempo in the swing
With these simple drills you should not only see better balance, pace and contact, you may find that your shots fly farther despite the easier swing.
That’s the beauty of great tempo.
Often, the tempo of a golfer reflects their personality on and off the course. If you are a person that is laid back and relaxed in your day to day life, a slower, softer tempo should suit you better. Those who walk fast and talk fast, on the other hand, are more-suited for a quick tempo in their swing. Don’t fight your natural tendencies – if you force a tempo that isn’t true to you, your swing will never feel like your own.
I hope you all enjoy great success on the course and thanks again for all your support.