It’s easy to identify the best golfers on the driving range simply by listening to their contact with the ball. Conversely, you can insert ear plugs and still spot them – they’re the ones with the smoothest tempos.
It’s important, however, not to equate swinging slowly with good tempo. In fact, many great players (Nick Price, Rickie Fowler) have what appear to be very quick swings. It’s also possible to swing too slowly, especially on the downswing. What actually matters is the relationship between backswing and downswing – studies show a 3:1 ratio is ideal.
In other words, your downswing should take 1/3 the time to complete as your backswing. Backswing: 1 – 2 – 3. Downswing: 4.
It may help to utilize a four-syllable word or word pairing to instill proper timing. For example, “strawberry mousse.”
As you take the club to the top, think “straw-ber-ry,” transitioning from backswing to downswing as you complete the final syllable. Impact should come at the end of “mousse.” If you’re still on “straw” or “ber” as you reach the top, your backswing is too quick. If you’ve already reached the end of “strawberry” before starting down, you need to pick up the beat.
Keep this 3:1 ratio in mind on each and every practice swing, and take it to the course. Before long, it will become automatic and you’ll swing with a properly proportioned tempo.