By Paul Myers
At about 4.5 hours per round, golf is not a relatively fast game (unless you play speedgolf!). That isn’t exactly breaking news – and is something even the least-experienced golfer already knows. However, some players try to play too quickly when making their swings, and the results are not always positive. In order to gain consistency in your swing and create the same ball flight time after time, your golf tempo is an element of your game to get under control. When you get in a hurry and rush your natural tempo, all kinds of bad outcomes can result.
A sometimes tricky thing about teaching golf tempo is that, while it is important, it is also very individual in nature. Each golfer has a tempo that is unique to them, and might not work for anyone else. When working on your golf tempo, don’t necessarily copy the timing of another player – alternatively try to find the right one for you.
Fast is Fine, Rushed is Not
There is a difference between having a fast golf tempo, and a rushed one. There have been many successful golfers with fast tempos, including Nick Price. Just the same, there have been plenty of great golfers with slow looking tempos, such as Fred Couples. There is no right or wrong…try to stick closely to what comes natural to you.
However, it is not usually going to be a successful strategy to rush your golf tempo, no matter what that that tempo might be. What does it mean to rush your golf tempo? Usually, it means that you speed up right at the transition from backswing to downswing. When this happens, the sequencing in the swing gets out of whack, and hope for a solid shot can be quickly lost. It can be tempting to speed up when you make the transition because you want to hit the ball as hard as possible, but resist that urge and try to keep your tempo smooth and even from start to finish.
The Ball Isn’t Going Anywhere
Unlike baseball, where the ball is rushing past you at up to 90 miles per hour or more, the golf ball is just sitting there waiting for you to hit it. That means that you don’t have to rush, and you can let the swing accumulate speed gradually up until impact. Use that time to your advantage, and make your swing as rhythmic as possible. A swing that has a relaxed tempo – and isn’t rushed at any point – is one that will likely be more consistent and also hold up better under pressure.
It isn’t always the most-exciting thing to stand on the driving range and work on your golf tempo. In fact, it can be tricky to work on your tempo because it is almost as much mental as it is physical. Still, if you are committed to playing better golf, and maximizing your potential swing speed, practicing your golf tempo should be on your golf to-do list. Be true to yourself, develop a golf tempo that feels natural and smooth, and don’t get rushed when you put that swing into use out on the course.
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