Categorized | Tips & Tricks, 2013, December 2013

How do we define TEMPO?

By: Gavin Webb

Ernie Els

Ernie Els – courtesy of

Tempo  in golf swing is often overlooked as an important element to create consistent, efficient ball striking. Good tempo allows the player to increase the quality of impact thus increasing distance, good tempo allows the player to maintain their fitness and energy whilst increasing the length of time a player will play better golf.  It sometimes seems that the element of tempo comes under the unwritten rules section regarding the golf swing. Most players are aware of it but may not know how to measure it or even create it.

Ive been playing golf for 40 years, I can say ive practiced more than most, I can also say Ive got a pretty good handle on Tempo, but it actually changes from day to day. We know that there are different levels of tempo and these vary from player to player, so is tempo just speed? or is it power? strength? It seems to be a combination of all of these things and more.

TempoTempo is a measure of how fast you swing the golf club from start to finish and it seems to vary more with a persons body shape, eg  bigger bodied players  seem to have a slower tempo than thinner bodied players , but confusingly enough this is not always the case. Personality can often play a part in ones tempo no matter what their body size. Good tempo means you will synchronize the movements of all the body parts involved with the swing and also assist in maintaining lag in the initial movement from the top of the backswing. When watching a swing we can count to 4 to try to understand a persons tempo, when we get to the top the count will be 2, when they finish we should be at 4, during that count you will be able to feel if the whole swing is fluid and smooth or slow to go back and fast to come down. A very slow backswing and very fast downswing is not an ideal swing tempo.

These photos cannot show you Tempo but they do show you how the player is able to maintain lag in the top half of the down swing, an aspect more achievable if you have good tempo. If you have access to a video of Ernie Els, watch it every day, thats tempo in a pure form. How does a man with such fluid movements create so much distance? Tempo is a very big part of it.

TempoMajor Points

1. Tempo is a measure of your swing speed from start to finish
2. Good tempo involves a smooth change of direction from the top of the backswing
3. Good tempo is efficient and fluid
4. Good tempo helps you to be more consistent
5. Good tempo will assist in maintaining angle at the first part of the downswing.
6. Good tempo will help control tension within the body parts involved in making the swing.

So next time your on the range consider your tempo as a major effect for better golf, consult your coach to assist in evaluating your swing tempo and then make it a part of your practice routines.

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