Never lose your tempo

Watch Love and Couples for rhythm

Peter Pringle
Mon, 31 Mar 2003
Never lose your tempo
Never lose your tempo
Couples - great tempo.

Watching Davis Love win the Players Championship underlined the great tempo he has in his swing and I’m sure that playing with his long time friend Fred Couples in the final round at Sawgrass did much to maintain it.

Both have created great tempo and rhythm in their golf swings and everything they do is unhurried and smooth – the way they walk, the way they approach each shot – it’s a repeating routine from which we can all learn.

If we watched ourselves on video at the start of each round, chances are we’d illustrate anxiety in every step as we walk towards the tee.

Our mood – usually one of frantic anticipation and fear of a mishit - tends to be reflected in our first swing of the day. Eyes transfixed on the ball perched on the tee, the backswing is likely to be short and hurried and transforms into a panic-ridden lurch at the ball.

What happens next is in the lap of the Gods but the chances of a solid contact in a straight line are immediately reduced.

GRIP PRESSURE IS KEY

The critical first inch or two of your swing is the time to set the tempo in motion. If you start moving the clubhead away from the ball smoothly and slowly there’s an excellent chance of maintaining the same tempo throughout your swing.

Never lose your tempo
Love - rhythm and balance.

Watch Love and Couples next time and see how their swings start at a pace that is both manageable and easy to keep from of tension. Note too how they finish high with perfect balance.

When you take the club away from the ball quickly, inevitably you squeeze tension into your grip and anxiety into your arms and body.

To retain the feel of the clubhead, have the minimal amount of grip pressure.

PAUSE AT THE TOP

If your tempo is right you will also feel a split second pause. This is because a swing with good rhythm is unhurried and gives your lower body a chance to get a head start on the way down

This brief pause at the top allows your upper body to hang back a fraction before being pulled through by the lower body like uncoiling a spring.

Love and Couples have developed this almost effortless way of swinging the golf club based on rhythm and tempo. Their swings have both shortened slightly as they have got older - Couples 43, Love 39 on April 13 – because despite working hard on their fitness they are bound to have lost some flexibility.

Now, at the start of the season is the best time to work on practising an unhurried tempo at the start of your round which will inevitably lead to lower scoring.