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Tempo goals

Hall-of-Famer: This is 'vitally important' if you want smooth golf swing tempo

November 03, 2022

PGA of America

I am playing golf this weekend, and I'm very excited about it. It's my first round in a few weeks, so I'm expecting a little rust, but I'm preparing myself for it by watching a lot of videos of Louise Suggs.

Suggs, an LPGA Tour founder who won 11 majors and 61 career tournaments, has one of the smoothest moves in golf history. And, if you asked Ben Hogan, a swing that all golfers should use as inspiration, as he wrote in the forward to Suggs' book: Par Golf for Women

“If I were to single out one woman in the world today as a model for any other woman aspiring to ideal golf form, it would be Miss Suggs. Her swing combines all the desirable elements of efficiency, timing and coordination." — Ben Hogan

In that same book Suggs explains two of her good rhythm keys—and they're simple enough for any golfer to bring to the course.

Backswing key: Push the club with your left hand

Suggs writes that the root cause of bad rhythm is tension in grip and wrists. Waggling the club is the first step to avoiding this, but it's on the takeaway that you can really spot tension. Especially when golfers use their right hand to pick up the clubhead too quickly.

"This leads to jerking the clubhead back away from the ball," she writes. "Because it is overpowered by the right hand, the left hand, which is the guide of the golf swing, never has a chance to perform its function properly."

Which leads us to Suggs' first good-tempo tip: Use your left arm to push the club away on the backswing.

"The left hand is in control," she writes. "Always remember this, for it is vitally important."

Downswing key: Hands and body lead the clubhead

By allowing your right hand to become a "passenger" on the backswing, you're setting yourself for an equally smooth downswing. The key here, Suggs writes, is allowing your "hands and body to lead the clubhead."

If you don't, "what takes place is that the body uncoils too soon and gets ahead of the clubhead," Suggs writes.

Instead, it's your left hand that should be the hero of your swing again.

"Avoid making a conscious effort to rush turning the hips. At the start of the downswing, my sensation is that of pulling the club with my left hand," Suggs writes. "This allows my body to uncoil in unison with a coordinated motion."