Tempo and Balance, Two Keys to Good Golf

Mark Oswald
General Manager
The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Marana, AZ

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How would you rate the tempo of your golf swing, fast, slow or moderate? How easy is it for you to maintain your balance during and after the swing?  Good tempo and balance work together to improve your golf swing.

We all swing the club at different tempos. Your tempo should complement your balance. If you cannot swing the club and maintain your balance, tempo is most likely part of the problem.

Here is a simple test for you to take. Take your normal golf swing and hit the ball. Now ask yourself these questions. 1) Were you able to hit the ball and maintain your balance from the address to the finish of your swing? 2) Did you shift your weight to the front foot and still maintain balance? 3) Can you hold your finish without wavering until the ball lands on the ground? If you answered “no” to any of these questions you have a balance problem and probably a tempo problem, as well.

Tips to help with the above questions:

Question 1: If you cannot hit the ball, maintain good balance from address to impact and then hold the finish, you will not strike the ball in the center of the clubface. Centeredness of contact directly affects distance and direction.  Think of it this way, if you start with the ball in the center of the clubface and during the swing you move in towards the ball just ½”, you will now strike the club closer to the heel and the ball will go right of target. If you move back away from the ball only ½” you will make contact on the toe of the club and off to the left it goes. A half of an inch off the center of the club makes a huge difference, you will lose direction and distance with this off center hit. Start out balanced with your weight on the balls of your feet and maintain this balance point through the swing.

Question 2: If you cannot shift your weight and maintain your balance you not only miss the center of the clubface for impact you lose distance by the lack of weight transfer throughout the swing. Start with slightly more weight on your back foot, on the backswing transfer more weight to the back foot. Begin the downswing by shifting the weight forward, by impact you have more weight on your front foot and finish with almost all the weight on your front foot. Improve your weight shift and you will increase distance as well as improve your balance.

Question 3: Hold your finish! You should finish with 95% of your weight on your front foot and your belt buckle, or body facing the target. Hold this position until the ball lands. If you cannot do this you still have room for improvement in your balance. Work on holding your finish. Take a look at your finish position, are you in balance, facing the target, weight on your front foot? You will never know unless you hold your finish, ask yourself these questions and check it out.  

The tempo or pace that you swing the club directly affects your ability to keep your balance, shift your weight and hold your finish. If you are losing your balance try slowing down your tempo, in particular slowing the backswing so you don’t lose balance right at the beginning of the swing.  The proper tempo will allow you to swing the club only as fast as you can maintain balance throughout the swing.  

A good drill for improving your tempo and balance is the “half speed drill”.  Take a full swing at half speed and hit the ball half distance. This is only possible with good balance and controlled tempo. Keep slowing the swing speed until you can take the full swing and hit the ball half distance.

Work on improving your tempo and balance and you will lower your score.

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at oswaldpga@msn.com