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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. Rhythm 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. Tempo 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.
I prefer to see my players exhibit two pendulum-like things in their putting strokes: A backswing length and follow-through length that are about the same. A fairly standard rhythm or tempo, defined as either when you take the putter away to when you strike the ball, or the end points of your backswing and follow-through. Both of those traits are characteristics of a pendulum. The period is the same, and the swing lengths are the same (in a vacuum 😄). Find Your Tempo Everyone has a slightly different natural tempo. Some players prefer to have a slower putting stroke (think Ben Crenshaw), while others might putt with a faster tempo (like Brandt Snedeker). Most golfers will fall between about 66 and 80 BPM, but… Here's how to conduct this test to find your natural putting tempo. Download an app like this one for iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/metronome-tempo-lite/id599833596?mt=8 and set it to 2/4 time if you can. Start with about 72 BPM. Take your putter and set up in your address position, and just start swinging your putter back and forth, trying to time either the bottom of the arc as it passes to the left and to the right, or the end points of your stroke (backswing and follow through). If the metronome feels like it's too slow, and you feel you naturally want to go faster, speed up the tempo. If the metronome feels too fast, slow it down. Verify this by altering the length of your stroke - try to find a tempo that feels good for short, medium, and long strokes (and thus short, medium, and long putts). Vote in the poll above and post a response in this topic with your tempo. @mvmac and I are curious to see what everyone's tempo is. Me? I'm typically a 78.