How’s Your Tempo and Balance?

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

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What is the tempo of your golf swing, fast, slow or moderate? How well do you maintain your balance during and after the swing? Improving these two keys will improve your golf swing.

We all swing the club at different tempos and swing speeds. Tempo is the mixture of swing speed, acceleration and balance. Your tempo should complement your balance. If you cannot make your swing, stay in balance during the swing and maintain your balance after the swing, tempo most likely is part of the problem.

Here is a tempo and balance test for you to take. Take your normal golf swing and hit the ball. Now ask yourself these questions from the last swing: 1) Was I able to hit the ball and maintain my balance from the address to the finish? 2) Did I shift my weight to my front foot and maintain balance? 3) Can I hold my finish without wavering until the ball lands on the ground? If you answered NO to any of these questions, you have a balance problem which may be caused by the tempo of your swing.  

Question 1. If you cannot hit the ball, maintain good balance from address to impact and then 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. Start out balanced with your weight on the balls of your feet and maintain this balance during the swing and in your finish.

Question 2. If you cannot shift your weight and maintain your balance you not only miss the center of the clubface for impact (as mentioned in the earlier paragraph) you will lose distance by the lack of weight transfer through the swing. Weight shift directly relates to power and speed which directly relates to distance. At address start with slightly more weight on your back foot, on the backswing you will transfer more weight to the back foot as you swing the club back and then begin shifting the weight forward to the front foot, by impact you have more weight on the front foot and finish with almost all the weight on your front foot.

Question 3. Hold your finish! You should finish with almost all 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 hold this position, you have poor balance. Work on hitting the shot and holding your finish for every shot.

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, slow down the tempo. Swing the club only as fast as you are able to maintain your balance throughout the swing. A slower tempo may help maintain better balance.  

A good practice drill is the half speed drill. Take a full swing at half speed and try to hit the ball half distance. This is only possible with good balance and controlled tempo. Repeat this for 25-50 balls emphasizing a slower swing speed with excellent balance from start to finish. After you can do this easily, slightly increase the swing speed and continue the drill. Gradually increasing the speed until you are at the speed where you can successfully make a full swing and maintain good balance.

Work on improving your tempo and balance and you are working on lowering your score.  

For more help with your golf game, contact Mark Oswald at