Golf Tips - Find Your Own Swing Tempo

By Sharon Miller, LPGA Member

Swing tempo (speed) varies with each individual and ranges from fast to medium to slow to anything in between. A player who beings to swing faster than normal will have less room for error in the total harmony of the swing, and their game will fall apart more readily if the tempo is further increased.

How many of you have been told to slow down? Chances are your critic is right in her diagnosis. However, it is very difficult to slow down if you are tense, so find the source of the tension. It could be mental stress. Maybe you have too much on your mind. Erase it!

Check your grip pressure. Loosen up so that your swing tempo can allow body parts to function in harmony. Swings that are faster than normal can compound and exaggerate poor swing mechanics and turn a perfect swing (if there ever was one) into disaster.

In 1973, I went to Paul Harney for a lesson. He had me hit about five balls and then wouldn't let me hit any more!

Instead, he talked to me for 20 minutes about how I had one of the best swings on tour. He told me that I should not beat balls hour after hour working on swing mechanics that a layer's muscle strength and internal timing can vary day to day (at that time, my timing was very fast). He told me to just work on timing, rhythm, and balance, which can be taken from the range to the golf course, and to relax and focus on where I wanted the ball to go.

I was not to be so hard on myself if a shot went astray, nor blame swing mechanics as the culprit. He wanted me to become more aware of how strong I felt each day of competition (before and during play) and adjust my club selection accordingly. The next week, I tied for second in Atlanta , and I won my first tournament later that year!

The following drills are good for helping you achieve your own swing tempo, and once achieved, maintaining it in your game.

  • Get your mind and muscles in a state of relaxation by erasing the blackboard, and putting yourself in your own personal place.
  • Take continuous swings back and forth as I described earlier. Be aware of your tempo, rhythm. You might say to yourself as you are swinging, nice and smooooth-accelerate, nice and smooooth-accelerate. Remember not to be in a hurry when swinging from the finish position back to the top of the backswing.
  • Make slow motion swings. Swing back and through to the finish in slow motion. The trick is not allowing yourself to jerk into a fast forward swing. You will feel like you have to fake into a completed finish because the usual momentum to take you there is not present. This drill is particularly good for extremely fast swingers. *

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