What is the most important thing in a golf swing? Well I’m not sure if there is an exact answer to this question and for sure our golfing techniques have to have a number of things working reasonably well to give us an efficiency that we may be looking for. However I do feel quite strongly that one of the important key components is having good tempo & rhythm. Tempo could be described as the speeds at which we make the movements and rhythm is the pattern we regulate these movements. If you have ever gone to a tour event and watched them on the range you will almost definitely have noticed good consistent tempos from the different players even though they may have different looking swings – it is definitely one of the shared things they all seem to be good at for the most part.
A common phrase we hear in golf when the swing doesn’t work so well is “you’re swinging too fast”, but we all know that the top golfer’s club head speed at impact is very quick. Good tempo is when we build our speeds up in the correct rhythmical manner to reach this maximum speed at impact. The backswing tempo can be a critical part to this process on an individual basis but it is the transition area of the swing (changing from backswing to downswing) that is so often the area that goes wrong with the swing speeding up too quickly. The swing then looks jerky and uncontrolled.
How fast we can swing a club is down to a number of things but one of these is a natural safety mechanism that our body seems to have in helping us not injure ourselves in speeding up and so it is linked into how we also slow the body movements down. A real simple tip that really does work for a lot of people is – Try to hold your finish. It sounds too simple but working on balance and a control in the finish of your movements naturally promotes a better control of tempo in your swing movements. I am not suggesting you slow everything down so you’re hitting the ball very short distances in a full swing. You simply put your focus of attention on holding your finish in balance and let the natural mechanism in your body help with the rest. I have found this works just as well for pitching and chipping.
Paul Thompson has been the Fellow PGA Professional at Powerscourt Golf Club in Wicklow since 1995. In addition to providing coaching on-site he also is a coach with The Golfing Union of Ireland. Appointments with Paul can be booked via Powerscourt Golf Club Reception: Tel (01) 204 6033 or the Golf Shop Tel (01) 204 6031. Read more about lessons from Paul Thompson by visiting the Powerscourt Golf Club Website.