BY MIKE GELHAUS
Baaack and thru. Baaack and thru. Baaack and thru. Feel the rhythm, feel the tempo. Bring the club back and let it go.
If you want to find The Zone, that elusive state of mind and body convergence where you are one with the golf ball and can do no wrong, then you need to develop a tempo in your swing. With the right tempo, your muscles will work in unison to produce a smooth, powerful motion. Choose the wrong tempo, however, and your muscles will fight each other, causing your swing to fall out of synch, which causes hit-or-miss erratic results.
Everybody’s swing is different, so how do you find the right groove for your swing? Practice and experimentation is the only answer. You have to search for the true essence of your own swing, grasshopper-san. Fortunately, a variety of golf training aids exist for training tempo, from small metronomes that you can clip to your shirt collar, to magnetic balls that click as you swing. Here are some tips for using these training aids to groove your tempo:
1. Check out various pros’ swings on TV to get a few tempos you’d like to try out. For example, 2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell has a fast tempo, while Ernie Els has a slower, gliding tempo. Vijay Singh has a medium tempo that’s right in between. Once you have a few tempos to try out, then make sure that whatever training aid you buy is variable so you can try them out. If the training aid is locked to a single tempo, don’t buy it. There is no “one size fits all” for this.
2. Use your swing metronome or other training aid to try out different tempos until you find one that’s right for you. This could take several practice sessions. How will you know when it’s right? It will feel smooth and good and you will hit better, more consistent shots.
3. Practice your tempo as much as possible. Try to groove the tempo for five minutes before each round, and practice the tempo for a few swings before each shot. Practice it until you feel it in your bones. This should give you a good, repeatable base tempo to use as an anchor for your swing. Then, if you face adversity or a pressure situation during your round, you will always have a solid base tempo that you can go back to. This will allow you to relax more easily and focus on the shot at hand.
Good luck and feel the rhythm!
Mike Gelhaus, once a racquetball professional and published author for Racquetball Magazine, has turned his attention back to his first love, the game of golf. He recently achieved a handicap of 3 only weeks before having to go in for back surgery. Hoping for a quick recovery and a possible professional career, Mike’s been working on The Best Golf Training Aids site to help you improve your game and seriously knock strokes off your score through the use of golf training aids.