Lesson TeeNovember 14, 2013

Tune Your Tempo

Save speed for impact by not rushing the backswing

ON-TIME ARRIVAL: A good backswing is one where the hands reach the top at the same moment the body stops turning.

There are times when every golfer's backswing gets quick. Whether you're nervous or just trying to hit it farther, snatching the club back can make it difficult to synchronize your downswing.


If you find yourself rushing things on the course, try lightening your grip pressure. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the tightest, hold the club with no more tension than 3 or 4. If you grip this lightly, you'll resist the urge to rush through the backswing. You'll have better tempo all the way through.


Once the round is over, you can ensure that your tempo stays smooth and consistent by making backswings where your hands, arms and club arrive at the top at the same time your body stops turning. If you can sync things up at the top, you'll be able to make a smooth downswing and produce speed where it matters—at impact.


Tempo in putting matters, too. The pace of your backstroke and through-stroke should be roughly the same, no matter the length of the putt. Why is this important? If your pace matches on both sides, the putterhead won't decelerate into the ball. In other words, you won't chicken out and leave it short. Again.

David Leadbetter, a Golf Digest Teaching Professional, operates 26 golf academies worldwide.