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Tempo, tempo, tempo!!!!!

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I have hit a bit of a brick wall in my swing.  Playing for 9 mos now, shooting low 90's, but can't break through.  I started lessons with a local pro and he was pretty much okay with my posture, swing plane, etc, but said my tempo was my biggest enemy.  We spent some time on winding up my core and trying to just release the energy.  Just swing easy.

 

Well, I was doing okay, but it felt unnatural and I had to think instead of do.  This carried over to practice yesterday and I did not hit the ball well.  I can't seem to slow down and get that sweet elusive tempo.  I try and tell myself during the set up, have a little phrase in my head, but I am having a hell of a time. Nice controlled back swing, down swing like the devil!!!

 

Any stories on how you got over this hump would be greatly appreciated.

 

Joe

post #2 of 32

I've been struggling with that a bit myself. Most of the time I try to hit the ball too hard, especially with the driver, and it leads to me having a slightly open club face at impact (Slice City). But then there are times when I just relax and I can tell my tempo was a lot better and then I hit it beautifully down the fairway. I personally, for me anyway, think its a mental flaw in my swing. Unfortunately I have not been able to work on it lately due to the weather here. 

post #3 of 32
In my experience almost any instructor who goes to "tempo is your problem" is a poor instructor who cant actually identify the real reasons for your problems.

Lots of different tempos on the pGA Tour.
post #4 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil McGleno View Post

In my experience almost any instructor who goes to "tempo is your problem" is a poor instructor who cant actually identify the real reasons for your problems.

Lots of different tempos on the pGA Tour.

 

Perhaps, but he seems pretty squared away and comes highly recommended.  I would point the gun at me first, before I throw him under the bus.  I know that as I get more frusterated with bad shots, I swing harder, thus hitting even more bad shots.

post #5 of 32
Dont be so fast to blame yourself-There are lots and lots and LOTS of lousy intructors who come highly recommended. Hell I was probably one of them 25 years ago. But I cared and kept learning.-Cant remember the last time I worried about someones tempo. Highly unlikely that your swing is perfect except for tempo or that tempo is in the top ten of your list of things to fix

Maybe youre the exception that proves the rule.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey Joe View Post

Perhaps, but he seems pretty squared away and comes highly recommended.  I would point the gun at me first, before I throw him under the bus.  I know that as I get more frusterated with bad shots, I swing harder, thus hitting even more bad shots.
post #6 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hey Joe View Post
 

Hello,

 

I have hit a bit of a brick wall in my swing.  Playing for 9 mos now, shooting low 90's, but can't break through.  I started lessons with a local pro and he was pretty much okay with my posture, swing plane, etc, but said my tempo was my biggest enemy.  We spent some time on winding up my core and trying to just release the energy.  Just swing easy.

 

Well, I was doing okay, but it felt unnatural and I had to think instead of do.  This carried over to practice yesterday and I did not hit the ball well.  I can't seem to slow down and get that sweet elusive tempo.  I try and tell myself during the set up, have a little phrase in my head, but I am having a hell of a time. Nice controlled back swing, down swing like the devil!!!

 

Any stories on how you got over this hump would be greatly appreciated.

 

Joe


You could be a more high strung player who just naturally swings fast, names that come to mind Palmer.Price, I think you may want to talk to your instructor about this being your natural tempo and how to make it work.

post #7 of 32
Quote:

Originally Posted by Hey Joe View Post

 

I have hit a bit of a brick wall in my swing.  Playing for 9 mos now, shooting low 90's, but can't break through.  I started lessons with a local pro and he was pretty much okay with my posture, swing plane, etc, but said my tempo was my biggest enemy.  We spent some time on winding up my core and trying to just release the energy.  Just swing easy.

 

Well, I was doing okay, but it felt unnatural and I had to think instead of do.  This carried over to practice yesterday and I did not hit the ball well.  I can't seem to slow down and get that sweet elusive tempo.  I try and tell myself during the set up, have a little phrase in my head, but I am having a hell of a time. Nice controlled back swing, down swing like the devil!!!

Joe,

 

I was a public school teacher for 38 years. In addition, I coached golf for more than a decade and taught private music lessons for more than 35 years, so I am familiar with the scenario that you describe above. My students excelled in their performances, and I feel that I had a successful career, not because of what I did, but because of the feedback that I received from my students.

 

I am guessing that your instructor's philosophy is pretty much the same as mine. I would evaluate my students' strengths and weaknesses, and then provide the drills and exercises that would elevate the weaknesses, so that they would become strengths. From reading your post, I gather that your instructor has determined that tempo is something that needs improvement for the overall benefit of your game.

 

First, let me say that everything you describe is pretty normal. Anytime a person is going through a swing change there is a natural downturn in your game, before things get better.  Try not to get too discouraged.

 

Yes, the tempo is elusive at this point, but I feel that your development is geared toward your understanding of the problem, and then practicing the remedies which are necessary to make the correction. It seems as if you understand the problem, so I would suggest that you ask your instructor for various drills that might better help you reach your goal.

 

As for the opinion that your instructor might not be the one for you, only you can make that evaluation. The key question to ask yourself is, "Do I enjoy my lessons, and am I learning anything?"  You will know if it is time to move on.

 

One final point about tempo. I will use the example of Byron Nelson. During his incredible 11 consecutive PGA victories, Lord Byron would listen to Strauss Waltzes.  This was one of the keys to his tempo.  So, as a young man, I, too, would listen to Strauss Waltzes and this would help me set my tempo. (The "Blue Danube" was my favorite.) 

 

Now having taught for 40+ years and golfed for more than 50 years, I am the first to realize that each person has their own internal metronome. So, what I would recommend is to find some kind of music that allows you to find a nice, easy, relaxed swing. Then, put it on your iPod, so that you can play it as you hit balls at the range, or as you are driving to the golf course before playing a round of golf. Hopefully, this will help you find that elusive tempo.

 

Best wishes on achieving your goals.

post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the reply and advice.  My goal is to learn to "swing with my body" instead of my arms.  If I can learn this, I think I will naturally slow down and rely on lag and core rotation to generate the club head speed necessary.  Interesting thought on the music.

post #9 of 32

I have been golfing for over twenty five years.

 

I managed to get down to a single digit handicap factor at one point fifteen years ago.

 

It wasn't until two years ago that I had my "ah ha" and actually felt (to me) what a proper swing tempo and grip pressure was.

 

I now know that I managed to get a single digit solely because of my ability to muscle the golf ball out there and relying on my putting and short game and not because I was swinging my golf clubs properly.

 

As I got older my putting and short game crapped out and I couldn't rely on muscling the golf ball so my index started to climb and climb and climb.

 

Now the only way I can get any distance from my woods or irons is to swing properly.

 

Hopefully you will have that "ah ha" moment one day and all the talk about tempo and grip pressure will make sense. 

 

One day you will have that sweet shot that goes a good distance and it will feel totally effortless.

 

For me, even though I know what it should feel like I still go back to my old self all the time and grip my club like I want to strangle it and not wait till I finish my back swing.

 

BUT once or twice in every round or while at the range I will make that perfect swing.

 

I agree with dfreuter415's advice - 

 

"Yes, the tempo is elusive at this point, but I feel that your development is geared toward your understanding of the problem, and then practicing the remedies which are necessary to make the correction. It seems as if you understand the problem, so I would suggest that you ask your instructor for various drills that might better help you reach your goal."

 

The best golf pros that I have had were able to help me understand the cause and effect of my swing faults and to suggest drills to help me correct them BUT unfortunately they cannot make the swing for me.

 

So even though I think I know what a proper swing should feel like, I don't have the mental and physical skills to repeat this more than a couple of times.

post #10 of 32

Try the Tour Tempo stuff. They have some nice tempo beats and songs for several different tempo ratios. As was said before, you can listen on your phone or ipod while you practice and just follow the beats. They have some good theory too on the ratio of the back swing and down swing. I have not used it religiously but I will come back to it from time to time or even just make the sounds myself if I get in a funk.

 

Bump, BumpBump. Bump, BumpBump.

 

Check it out and the Bumps will make more sense :)

post #11 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendog View Post
 

Try the Tour Tempo stuff. They have some nice tempo beats and songs for several different tempo ratios. As was said before, you can listen on your phone or ipod while you practice and just follow the beats. They have some good theory too on the ratio of the back swing and down swing. I have not used it religiously but I will come back to it from time to time or even just make the sounds myself if I get in a funk.

 

Bump, BumpBump. Bump, BumpBump.

 

Check it out and the Bumps will make more sense :)

Beat me to it...there are also some interesting videos on YouTube about using a metronome for tempo. Just a suggestion. Using my ipod has actually helped me a lot with tempo.

post #12 of 32

I'll just say this, and you can all go back to ignoring what @Phil McGleno said - I've almost never seen a student where tempo ranks as a priority item, particularly in a higher handicap player. Have I worked on tempo with some players? Yes, as part of a more complete lesson. Will people's swings improve with an "improved" tempo (whatever that means…)? Of course (even if it's only a little). Is it something that consistently ranks in the top five, ten, or even fifteen things that a golfer needs to worry about, in my experience?

 

No.

post #13 of 32
@iacas, would you say a good tempo is perceived as a result of better sequencing? Basically, as one improves their mechanics, their swing becomes smoother?
post #14 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by billchao View Post

@iacas, would you say a good tempo is perceived as a result of better sequencing? Basically, as one improves their mechanics, their swing becomes smoother?

 

"Sequencing" itself is a hundred different things.

 

All I know is that I could probably play against a 20 having the tempo day of his life, while dictating (within some reasonable boundaries) the tempo I had to use on EVERY swing, and still beat him handily. I'm defining "tempo" as the ratio of the backswing to the downswing, or the "flow" of the swing. There are fast tempos, slow tempos, etc. Most good players shake out at 2.5:1 or 3:1, but you can be 3:1 and be Nick Price or 3:1 and be Ernie Els, too.

post #15 of 32
Thread Starter 
This is good stuff for me. I am guilty of just trying to let basic athletic ability run my swing vs the sequencing mentioned above. I think my pro was just trying to slow me down for starters. 1st lesson with him.
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post

"Sequencing" itself is a hundred different things.

All I know is that I could probably play against a 20 having the tempo day of his life, while dictating (within some reasonable boundaries) the tempo I had to use on EVERY swing, and still beat him handily. I'm defining "tempo" as the ratio of the backswing to the downswing, or the "flow" of the swing. There are fast tempos, slow tempos, etc. Most good players shake out at 2.5:1 or 3:1, but you can be 3:1 and be Nick Price or 3:1 and be Ernie Els, too.
Ah, ok, I guess I'm not really talking about the same thing, then.

I'm thinking tempo is what makes a swing look smooth, but it makes sense as you defined it, so it's really irrelevant to what I'm talking about.

So I guess to be on topic, I have never thought about improving my tempo as a means towards improving my swing.
post #17 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by billchao View Post


Ah, ok, I guess I'm not really talking about the same thing, then.

I'm thinking tempo is what makes a swing look smooth, but it makes sense as you defined it, so it's really irrelevant to what I'm talking about.

So I guess to be on topic, I have never thought about improving my tempo as a means towards improving my swing.

 

Still even some pro swings don't look smooth. Graham Mcdowell's swing always looks very aggressive, not smooth at all from the top to impact. 

post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by iacas View Post
 

I'll just say this, and you can all go back to ignoring what @Phil McGleno said - I've almost never seen a student where tempo ranks as a priority item, particularly in a higher handicap player. Have I worked on tempo with some players? Yes, as part of a more complete lesson. Will people's swings improve with an "improved" tempo (whatever that means…)? Of course (even if it's only a little). Is it something that consistently ranks in the top five, ten, or even fifteen things that a golfer needs to worry about, in my experience? - No.

If tempo is not in your top priorities as a teacher, what do you consider your top five check points when beginning to work with a new student? (Please prioritize.)  Thanks. :)

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