Tempo is one of golf’s most basic yet elusive concepts. So what is it, exactly?
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, like Rory McIlroy. In other words, it’s a highly individualized component – there’s no 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.
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 80% wedge swing
On the range, hit a series of balls with a wedge while swinging at 80% of your power. In other words, nice and easy. Move up a club or two, to an 8-iron for instance, and repeat the process. Continue through the driver, swinging no harder than 80% on any shot.
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.