“The music was coming in choppy” said Mariah Carey’s manager after her poor performance on New Year’s day. As any great musician knows, if the tempo and rhythm of a song is off, the song will suffer. Tempo provides a sense of repetition and consistency that is why many musicians will use a tool called a metronome to find the proper tempo of the music. The golf swing is no different. In every good golf swing you will see great rhythm and tempo. Tempo is how fast or slow the swing is and rhythm is the sequence of the swing. Some research has been done to show that the proper rhythm in a golf swing is a ratio of 3 to 1 (backswing to downswing). That means that they swing 3 times slower on their backswing than they do on their downswing. Tempo is also important and every golfer needs to find their own swing speed. This is best done through drill and practice. Below are 5 golf tempo drills every golfer needs to try in order to build that smooth rhythm and speed in their golf swing.
Golf Tempo Drills
Drill #1 – Potato Chip
Tension is killer for your golf swing. It causes all your muscles to tighten up and will ruin your tempo. This simple drill is a favorite of golf pros Lynn Marriott and Pia Nilsson from their book (one of my favorites) called “The Game Before The Game”. Your teeth and mouth are a main source of tension and if you can relax them your tempo should improve.
To do this drill, just get a bag of potato chips from the store. Place one chip between your teeth and swing. Try to avoid breaking the chip. You could also do this drill with a tee between your teeth. Try to relax your mouth and you will get better tempo.
Drill #2 – 10% – 90%
This drill is from top instructor Sean Foley and works on having a smooth feel in your swing. Many golfers either swing too fast on the backswing or too fast on the downswing throwing off everything. This is one of the best golf tempo drills as it has you very your swing speed with the same club.
To do this drill, you will hit 5 shots with the same club. You will start hitting the first ball at 10% swing speed then the second at 30%, the third at 50%, fourth at 70% and then the last one at 90%. Still swing full but at that percentage of velocity. Soon you will start to get the correct feeling and tempo in your swing.
Drill #3 – Same Point
This drill also comes from Pia Nilsson and I call it the Same Point Golf Tempo Drill. It is very important to figure out how to control the tempo of your swing. For example you need to know what a 75% full swing is to hit a certain shot. You have to be able to adjust your swing and adjust your tempo to hit those special shots. This drill will help you identify those percentages.
To do this drill, take a 9 iron and hit it as far as you can. Now mark down how far it went and with each of your other clubs, try to take a full swing and hit that exact spot. Not easy but will help control your tempo.
Drill #4 – Alexander Cadugan
Martin Hall from the Golf Channel has a great way to figure out your 3 to 1 rhythm ratio. It is kind of strange but really does work at getting a slow backswing to faster downswing. This is one of the easiest golf tempo drills to do but will pay off big time down the road.
To do this drill simply say the words “Alexander” on your backswing and then as you are taking your downswing finish with the words “Cadugan” through impact. This will get your timing down and really help your tempo.
Drill #5 – The Medicus
This is not a really a drill but a training aid to use in your drills. Sometimes training aids are needed to really sync up a golf swing and this one does just that. I use the Medicus Dual Hinged Club all the time to work on my swing and tempo. The idea behind it is that it hinges at the bottom so if you swing too fast the club will unhinge and you will not be able to hit the ball. In addition, it also can help with coming over the top or too shallow in you swing. The video demonstrates the power of the hybrid but the Medicus also comes in a 5 iron or driver if you don’t hit a hybrid.