How to Bring Your Golf Swing Tempo, Timing and Balance Up a Level

By Teresa Justine Kelly

Golfer's backswing and follow through with metronome

Balance, timing and tempo are important components to your golf swing. Without them, your swing's natural sequence will be compromised, making it difficult to square the clubface at impact to produce a solid shot.

A fast tempo on the backswing will impair your ability to control the club, resulting in a reverse pivot or over-swinging the club. A fast tempo on the downswing will force your hips to outrace your hands, making it impossible to square the club at impact. The key to exceptional distance, consistency and control is perfect timing.

Golf Tempo

All golf swings have a tempo. Some are shorter than others, but your tempo should never be rushed. There are two very common swing thoughts that can help your tempo.

The first is simply counting to two, out loud or in your head. The "one" corresponds to the moment your backswing gets to your hips, while "two" is in sync with the start of your downswing.

A variation of that swing thought that can help your tempo is replacing "one, two" with the name of your favorite golfer. For example: "Tiger. Woods."

Whichever you choose, it's simply a way to mentally train yourself to hear that metronome over and over. In fact, if you prefer, you can download a metronome app on your phone and use that to practice perfect tempo in your swing.

A rushed tempo in your golf swing can produce a number of unwanted shot results in addition to poor balance and mechanics.

Improving Your Timing

Follow these simple steps to not only improve the timing of your golf swing, but learn to build consistent timing from one round to the next.

Step 1. Balance

Evenly distribute your weight between your right and your left feet at address. You should feel your weight balanced on the balls of your feet.

Step 2. Weight Shift

Move your weight to the inside of the back foot on your backswing, using a controlled, steady, even tempo, taking the club back and keeping it on the target line. Do not rush. The majority of your weight should be on the back foot.

Step 3. Unwind

Using a steady, even tempo, shift the majority of your weight onto your front foot at impact, keeping your head behind the ball and your hips shifting forward as you swing through. The downswing should mirror the backswing.

Step 4. Finish

Place the majority of your weight on the outside of your front foot at completion of your swing and follow through. Your body should remain balanced and controlled throughout the entire swing without any instability.

Best Drill for Improved Timing & Tempo

Hold the clubhead end of the shaft in your grip and practice swinging back and forth, keeping the grip of the shaft about a foot above the ground. The club will feel very light. Try to make is the loud "swoosh" noise with the club as it swings through the air, traveling into the hitting zone.

This sound will only be produced if your timing is correct. After a few swings, grip the club normally and make the same smooth, rhythmical swings. You will feel the weight of the clubhead at the end of the shaft--try to recreate the swooshing sound at the same point in your swing as you did when you held the clubhead.

A Helpful Training Aid

With so many training aids on the market it can be difficult to decide what works and what doesn't without trying them. The Orange Whip is widely used on professional tours and has shown great results in improving your timing and tempo. The company also offers different golf workout options, all revolving around their training aids.

A Helpful Tip

Tension, anxiety and nervousness will force you to swing your club too quickly and unsteadily, preventing you from swinging with tempo and balance. Clear your mind of any doubt or negative thoughts.

About the Author

Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.