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Tempo vs. Rhythm



People often confuse tempo and rhythm, or they'll use them interchangeably. I've almost surely done it many times to this point, but here is how I intend to try to use them starting now.

Rhythm is the ratio and tempo is the speed.

Good putting strokes often have a ratio of 2:1. Again, it's the ratio of the putting stroke. You can have a 300ms backswing or a 600ms backswing, each with a 150 or a 300ms downswing, and that's 2:1. Both strokes have the same rhythm.

The tempo is the speed of the putter head. Short putts and long putts should have close to the same time (which is why, for example, I like to have a 78 BPM putting stroke), but will have very different tempos. The shorter putt will have a slower tempo than the longer putt.


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I have been thinking a bit about this post since I’m really focusing on improving my putting until the season really starts over here. 

I have now added a metronome to my practice. 

Now on to my question - I have read multiple places that a number to aim for (although not absolute but it’s something I can quantify) is 600ms on the backswing and 300 on the downswing. 

Now reading this post and adding the 78BPM to the equation a beat with 78BPM is roughly 770ms so that doesn’t help me at all. If you wanted a 600ms beat that would be 100BPM exactly. But since it’s easier for me to count 1 - 2 on the back and then 3 on the downswing, to get that beat you’d need to set the metronome to 200BPM so one beat is 300ms. So you go 1-2 end of backswing and 3 on impact. But that 200BPM beat is just so fast that it makes me nervous. 

So right now I’m practicing with 100BPM and I go full backswing with one and the full downswing (till it stops on the follow through) on two. What are your thoughts on the way I approached it?

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It’s normally ~ 2:1 in good putting strokes.

There’s nothing magical about 600ms. If that was the time you wanted to take, from takeaway to impact, it’d be 400ms backswing, 200ms downswing.

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Hmmm... I've never actually thought of my putting stroke in that way, but... it makes sense.  

I have equated my putting stroke to a video game meter.  I know how far back I need to bring the putter head for a 10 foot putt, 20 foot putt, etc.  The problem is, I seem to pull a lot of my putts.  Perhaps I've been too focused on the 'where' of my putter head instead of the 'when' aspect.  


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