Swing to the beat

The clever way one of the best golf swings on tour improves his backswing


Raj Mehta

He didn't make it easy, but Sepp Straka walked away the winner of the 2023 John Deere Classic. The man who was on cruise control towards a sub-60 round hit his approach into the water on the 72nd hole and made double bogey. Gone was his safe cushion.

But a win's a win, and that's all that matters.

Sepp Straka's golf swing is, to use the technical golf term, ridiculously pure. When someone like Rickie Fowler talks about adjusting his golf swing so it moves in "cleaner lines," he's talking about a swing like Straka's. The club moves back-and-through in a relatively similar fashion, without drastic changes of direction.

At the U.S. Open a few weeks ago, I asked Straka and his coach, Golf Digest Best In State Teacher John Tillery, how they go about keeping Straka's golf swing in such good shape.

They focus a lot on their backswing turn, Tillery said, and they have a clever way of working on it...

Why Straka uses a metronome

Straka's backswing may look picturesque, but like every golf swing, issues pop up from time to time. For Straka, one of those is getting too quick with his arms on the backswing. When that happens, Straka doesn’t turn and load on the backswing, which causes his upper body to get ahead of his lower body on the downswing.

To prevent this, Straka practices using a metronome app on his phone.


Michael Reaves

"I tend to pick up the club with my arms instead of turning everything back," Straka says. "The metronome helps me sync everything up. That's really the main thing."

"When he gets his arms moving real fast, he feels like he's hanging out at the top of his backswing forever," Coach Tillery adds.

Straka uses the metronome before every warmup, and most practice sessions. The idea, ultimately, is pretty simple: Nail your tempo, and you know you've nailed your turn, too. Though before you go trying it yourself, remember: Everybody's ideal tempo is different. Find a pace that feels comfortable to you, and get good at swinging to the beat.