“I got quick”

I wrote this on GolfWrx and thought I’d share it here.


I see so many posts on here complaining about having a fast tempo and other posts criticizing fast tempo in others.

I am here to tell you this is a misnomer.

Nice Price had a faster tempo than anyone on GolfWrx could hope to have and he was one of the finest ball strikers on Tour in his prime.

No amount of slowing of the backswing and/or pausing at the top is going to fix what is blamed on quick tempo or bad rhythm. Actually, doing those things is probably going to make the inherant problem worse.

What all of you are calling “getting quick” is snatching the club in transition. Usually with the arms or hands. When you slow down the backswing too much or pause at the top too long, it would make perfect sense you could make the issue worse. A deathly slow backswing can’t help but be snatched from the top and pausing too long will kill any ability to generate speed from a static position without snatching it.

If you initiate the down swing with your lower body, shifting the weight forward and turning, having soft arms and allowing the hands to drop with gravity, your swing will have a nice result regardless of the tempo speed and it creates the rhythmical motion you all love to see in other players like Fred Couples. Who incidentally has a very fast tempo.

As a matter of fact, I saw a statistic a while back that PGA tour players have tempos that are 50% faster than the average 15-20 handicap.

I know I am not remembering the exact numbers correctly and I know someone will respond with the correct numbers, but the point remains. Amateurs have tempos that are too slow, not too fast.

Now if you want to tell me that smoothing out the initial takeaway and not snatching the club off the ball will help not snatching it in transition, I will definitely buy that, but simply slowing the tempo down does not solve the root problem.

I hope this helps a lot of you work out this issue, because it is a problem at all skill levels, including Tour players who are struggling with their games.




  1. Calvin

    This is critical and nobody really knows why. I remember years ago watching Els on TV and trying to swing along with him in my LR because I loved his tempo. I thought I would have to slow down but he always finished before me by a considerable margin.

    I tried that Tour Tempo book but it was no help to me.

  2. woody

    Yesterday and today…your analysis is excellent.

    One caveat about this: “If you initiate the down swing with your lower body…” The key is what is meant by lower body, and where the line of demarcation is.

    The man in this video had it exactly and precisely correct…if you know what he meant (and he may not have known everything about it himself). If you have “lower body” mean consciously trying to do domething below the ribs, he is right. If you consciously try to start below the belt, I doubt that your upper body will ever catch up, and you will probably immediately be unbalanced.

    Your body is so interconnected that a correct mid-body move will automatically involve everything down to your lower leg bone.

    You can put your mouse-cursor on this guy’s hands. As he explains, his hands are dropping from the beginning of the swing, and there is no independent “lower body” move that the upper body waits for.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QL_6M_xZvq0&feature=related (1:14) Hogan narrates

  3. woody

    Ah…when I said “no independent “lower body” move that the upper body waits for,” I meant to start the downswing. Once you start, there’s other stuff.

  4. YellowTrash

    I did the same as Calvin. A few months ago, while watching golf on TV, I decided to swing alongside the pros and I was completely shocked how slow I was. When the pros were at impact, I was somewhere at the start of the downswing. This discrepency occurred with every pro I swung along with, so there must be something to it. In my case, my sense of swing tempo definitely did not match what I saw. In retrospect, I think a faster tempo makes so much sense. I think of it in terms of other sports, I wouldn’t want a slow backswing in tennis, I wouldn’t want to have a slow deliberate squat if I wanted to maximize my vertical leap, etc, so why should golf be any different. Ever since I’ve shortened my tempo while maintaining passive hands, my distance has gone up significantly. And when I add in a grip and stance that allows me to have good natural impact alignment, I’m beginning to have a decent golf shot!

  5. Doug Benner

    I find that slowing down my backswing has seemed to help me at times, but not because of any inherent advantage of being slow. Slowing things down helps me to keep my hands in front of my chest – that’s the only advantage. I’m now trying to smooth out my overall tempo because I find that going back so slow leads to the jerky snatch that you refer to above. I guess the overall thought on tempo should be smooth rather than slow.

    Some things about the backswing and downswing are polar opposites. If you snatch the club inside on the backswing in an effort to swing inside-out, you’ll come over the top on the downswing and go outside-in. If you’re too slow on the backswing you’ll be too quick at transition. No wonder this game drives us nuts.

  6. MSGolfer

    Monte I posted this in the WRX thread, the interesting thing I’ve seen is how everyone is getting faster. Using the Tour Tempo data (regardless of what you think about it, at the very minimum they’re just counting frames in a swing) Price swings at around 28 frames (21/7 if people care). Rory, Rickie and Ryo are all around 24 frames (18/6). Recent NCAA champ John Peterson is 16/5 or 21 frames. Legitimately his backswing to hit time is the same as only Nick Price’s backswing. Yowza.

    Fact is it’s just easier to keep everything in line when you swing faster, more time equals more mistakes.

  7. woody

    Here’s a problem with being quick–you only get one fast part of the golf swing, and you want it to be at the ball. If you feel fast at the top, chances are that it’s not going to get any faster.

    I think you want to accelerate to the ball. For one thing, at the top your left knee is not ready for a power move, and your back might be pretty much facing the target. You have to “roll” into the power move.

    Check out Hogan in 1954: He’s not snatching, and he’s not holding the lag. He’s doing “something” to get himself balanced for the Big Move (and it also gets his left knee out of the danger zone). At the end of this clip, he’s only just gotten ready to turn it loose.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0auqtu0zjA&feature=related (0:20) Hogan

  8. tom

    the tour tempo book is a really interesting read — one of the few golf instructional books with a basis approaching the scientific method as opposed to the usual gourds and wolfbain.

    didn’t work for me however.

  9. Roy Gilley

    “If you initiate the down swing with your lower body, shifting the weight forward and turning, having soft arms and allowing the hands to drop with gravity, your swing will have a nice result regardless of the tempo speed.” Five thumbs up on that!


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