Fundamental #4 – Carry Tempo into Short Game

Carrying tempo into the short game is a key aspect of becoming a well-rounded golfer. While many golfers focus on their full swing tempo, the importance of maintaining tempo in the short game should not be overlooked. Here are several reasons why carrying tempo into the short game is crucial for success:

  1. Consistency: Just like in the full swing, tempo plays a vital role in the short game. Consistency is paramount when it comes to chipping, pitching, and putting. By carrying tempo from your full swing into your short game, you establish a consistent rhythm that allows you to execute shots with more precision and accuracy. Consistency breeds confidence, and a reliable tempo helps to create a consistent contact and distance control on short game shots.
  2. Feel and Touch: The short game requires a delicate touch and precise control over the clubhead. Carrying tempo into the short game helps develop a better feel for the shots. When your tempo is consistent, you develop a sense of timing and rhythm that allows you to make small adjustments in clubhead speed and control the distance and trajectory of your shots. A steady tempo promotes a smooth and fluid motion, enabling you to finesse the ball around the greens.
  3. Transition: The transition from the full swing to the short game should be seamless. Carrying tempo from the full swing to the short game helps create a smoother transition between different parts of your game. When your tempo remains consistent, the transition becomes more natural, allowing you to seamlessly switch between longer and shorter shots without disrupting your timing or rhythm.
  4. Mental Focus: The short game requires a high level of mental focus and concentration. Carrying tempo into the short game helps maintain that focus throughout your round. When you have a consistent tempo, your mind becomes attuned to the rhythm of your swing, making it easier to stay in the present moment and execute shots with a clear and focused mind. This mental clarity is crucial for assessing the shot at hand, reading the greens, and making confident decisions.
  5. Adaptability: Golf is a game that requires adaptability. Carrying tempo into the short game allows you to adapt to different lies, conditions, and shot requirements. Whether you're faced with a tight lie, a buried bunker shot, or a delicate downhill putt, a consistent tempo enables you to adjust your swing mechanics while maintaining the same rhythm. This adaptability enhances your versatility and enables you to handle various short game challenges effectively.
  6. Confidence: Confidence is key in the short game. When you carry tempo into your short game, you develop a level of confidence in your ability to execute shots around the greens. The familiarity of a consistent tempo breeds confidence, allowing you to trust your swing and commit to your shot choices. This confidence translates into a more relaxed and focused state of mind, which is essential for performing under pressure.

To carry tempo into your short game effectively, consider the following tips:

  1. Practice with Purpose: Incorporate short game practice sessions into your training routine and focus on maintaining a consistent tempo. Use a metronome or count in your head to establish a rhythm and tempo that feels comfortable for you. Practice a variety of shots, including chips, pitches, and putts, and pay attention to the tempo of your swing throughout.
  2. Visualization: Visualize the desired tempo and rhythm in your mind before each short game shot. Picture the swing in your head and imagine the smooth, fluid motion that you want to achieve. This mental rehearsal helps ingrain the tempo into your muscle memory and promotes a more consistent execution of the shot.
  3. Mindful Breathing: Incorporate mindful breathing techniques into your pre-shot routine to help maintain a calm and steady tempo. Take deep breaths, focusing on your inhales and exhales, to center yourself and establish a relaxed state of mind. This controlled breathing can help regulate your tempo and promote a more consistent swing rhythm.

In conclusion, carrying tempo into the short game is essential for developing consistency, feel, mental focus, adaptability, and confidence. By maintaining a consistent tempo throughout your swing, you can enhance your performance in the short game and improve your overall scoring ability on the golf course. So, next time you practice or play, pay attention to your tempo and strive to carry it into your short game for better results.

The tempo that you use in the short game is just as important as your full swing tempo, yet most players ignore this crucial part of their technique. If you want to consistently hit the ball the right distance in the short game – which is the main part of the challenge – you will use a smooth and steady tempo from start to finish.

Just as was the case with your full swing, you want the tempo that you use in your short game to reflect your personality. With that in mind, it should match up nicely with your full swing so that you are able to be consistent from hole to hole and round to round. As you already know, the short game is an incredibly important piece of the golf puzzle, as you will have difficulty shooting a good score without the ability to hit good chips and make putts. While practicing your short game, be sure to pay attention to the tempo of your strokes both on and around the greens. Once you are able to dial in a consistent rhythm within the short game, you should find that you are able to dial in your distance control as well.

Tempo is critical in the short game for a number of reasons, one of which is the fact that you are going to feel the most pressure in the short game. All golfers know the feeling of standing over a short putt for par with doubts about your stroke eating away at your confidence. A good tempo is an excellent way to perform at a high level even when you start to get nervous, as that tempo will repeat over and over even if your mind is focused on other things. You can trust your short game to perform when it matters most, as long as you have spent the time necessary to establish your rhythm properly. If not, your short game will likely break down under pressure and your scores will quickly climb higher.

There can be no debate on the importance of tempo in the golf swing. If you are going to reach your potential as a player on the course, you absolutely have to spend time working on the tempo that you use to move the club back and through. Many players become so focused on the mechanics of their swing that they lose track of the tempo, and the results speak for themselves. Don’t let yourself fall into that category – work on your tempo consistently during your range sessions and look forward to the excellent results that you should see on the course.


Q1: What is tempo in the golf short game, and why is it important? A1: Tempo in the golf short game refers to the rhythm and timing of a golfer's swing when hitting shots around the greens, such as chips, pitches, and bunker shots. It is crucial because it directly affects shot distance, accuracy, and overall control.

Q2: How does tempo in the short game differ from the full swing? A2: Tempo in the short game is generally more compact and controlled compared to the full swing. Short game shots require finesse and touch, which is reflected in the tempo.

Q3: Can golfers use the same tempo in the short game as in the full swing? A3: While the overall tempo may be similar, golfers may make subtle adjustments to their tempo in the short game based on shot requirements and conditions.

Q4: What are the benefits of maintaining a consistent tempo in the short game? A4: Consistent tempo in the short game leads to improved shot consistency, better distance control, and enhanced touch around the greens.

Q5: How can golfers develop a consistent tempo in the short game? A5: Golfers can practice specific drills focusing on maintaining a steady and smooth rhythm during short game shots. Using a metronome or counting during practice swings can help establish a consistent tempo.

Q6: Can a slower or faster tempo be more effective in the short game? A6: There is no one-size-fits-all answer to tempo. Some golfers may benefit from a slightly slower tempo for finesse shots, while others may prefer a slightly faster tempo for more aggressive shots.

Q7: How can tempo impact bunker shots and chipping techniques? A7: Proper tempo is essential in bunker shots and chipping as it determines the correct amount of clubhead speed and control needed to execute these shots effectively.

Q8: How can a golfer maintain their tempo under pressure in the short game? A8: Mental focus and pre-shot routines can help golfers maintain their tempo under pressure. Staying present and committing to the shot can reduce tension and promote a smooth swing.

Q9: Can a golfer's short game tempo change over time or with different techniques? A9: Yes, short game tempo can evolve as a golfer gains experience and confidence. It can also be influenced by changes in technique or physical condition.

Q10: Should golfers prioritize consistency in short game tempo over other short game techniques? A10: Consistency in short game tempo is essential, but it should be balanced with other critical elements of short game technique, such as setup, club selection, and ball position.

Q11: How can a golfer assess their short game tempo during practice? A11: Video analysis and feedback from a coach can help golfers evaluate their short game tempo and make necessary adjustments.

Q12: Can a golfer's short game tempo affect their overall golf performance? A12: Yes, short game tempo directly impacts a golfer's ability to get up and down, save strokes, and ultimately lower their scores.

Q13: Is it possible to modify short game tempo to suit different shots and situations? A13: Yes, golfers can make slight adjustments to their short game tempo based on shot requirements, lie, and green conditions.

Q14: How can a golfer fine-tune their short game tempo for optimal performance? A14: Consistent practice, mindful repetition, and awareness during short game sessions can help golfers find their ideal tempo for various shots.

Q15: Can technology, such as launch monitors, assist in measuring short game tempo? A15: While launch monitors primarily focus on full swing data, some advanced technologies and wearables may offer insights into swing tempo during short game shots.