I understand the new player asking about what their swing tempo should be, but I’m always surprised at how many experienced players ask whether they should change their tempo to swing faster or slower.
Tempo is very important in the golf swing, but generally not something you want to mess with too much. Just be aware of what yours is. Why? We all have a natural tempo that is personal to each of us. This is always preferable rather than trying to copy someone else, thus forcing an unnatural tempo.
Our swing tends to change when the pressure is on. Most get shorter and quicker. Once you are aware of your personal tempo you can recall it when you get under pressure and avoid falling apart when it really counts.
I have a friend who can’t sit still. Everything he does is fast, including his golf swing. Start to finish his swing only takes about half a second, and maybe less. I know I’ll never get him slowed down, but when he does slow down just a little he plays much better.
As for me, I have a fairly slow personal tempo. I walk slow, talk slow, eat slow. I use the excuse that with a 36 inch inseam I don’t have to move my legs very fast to keep up with everyone else. Actually, I just have a slower personal tempo and rhythm than most people. My golf swing takes more than 1-1/2 seconds to complete.
How do you find out what your personal tempo is? Pay attention to how your body moves when you walk somewhere. Not when you’re late and need to get there quickly, but when you’re just moving from one place to another. Do you have shorter strides and a quick pace, or do you make long slower strides. Or, when you speak do people have trouble staying awake because your delivery is so slow, or are they wondering how you manage to talk without ever taking a breath. This is going to be a good indicator of what your personal tempo is, and what the tempo of your golf swing will be.
Regardless of whether you have a slow, medium or fast personal tempo, using the one that comes naturally will be more productive and comfortable than one requiring a great deal of thought to manufacture. However, that being said, I have never seen an overly fast swing that held up well under pressure. If you’re going to error with your swing speed or tempo, I would recommend you error on the slow side. A slower tempo allows many of the necessary mechanics of the swing to take place, whereas a faster tempo generally requires over-use of the muscles in the hands and forearms, which is not something you want to do.
The club goes back and then it comes down. Back and down. One, Two. That’s it! There is no three in a golf swing, just One, Two. By the time your swing gets to three you are either patting yourself on the back or reaching in your pocket for another ball.
If you’re having trouble finding your personal tempo your PGA Professional can help you track it down!!
Kim Anders is Director of Golf at Estrella del Mar Golf & Beach Resort in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. You can reach Kim via email at Kanders@estrelladelmar.com or call 1.888.587.0609, Ext. 3010. Find out more about the golf resort by visiting www.estrelladelmar.com.