Just slow your swing down already! I am sure some of you have heard this from your playing partners after you threw a shot into the lake or OB. Well, that my friends is easier said than done. There are three swing dynamics we use during a clubfitting: Tempo, Transition and Release. The one your buddies are talking about is usually your tempo, which is the time from takeaway to impact. The “average” tempo is 1.25 seconds. While we all think PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players have a very smooth tempo, believe it or not they are closer to 1.0 seconds. Changing your tempo is like changing your personality. It literally is the way you walk, talk, eat your food, etc. Slowing down can happen for a shot or two, but you will revert back to your “natural” tempo very quickly.
If you are a player with a fast tempo, usually a heavier club or heavier swing weight will help you slow down naturally and give you more consistent contact. On the flip side, if you have a nice fluid swing tempo and you are playing clubs that feel too heavy, you will lose distance and accuracy. I see that most often when a junior, lady or senior golfer is playing clubs that are too long or handed down to them by an older sibling or a spouse trying to be helpful. Sometimes it is your Transition that is the culprit. I was fitting a gentleman the other day that seemed to take forever to start his takeaway. Then, he was nice and slow to the top of his swing and then it was like he could not get to the ball fast enough! He EXPLODED from the top! The result were shots left, right but not much center because he was playing too light of clubs both in total weight and swing weight. Sometimes this as well can be helped with heavier clubs.
The bottom line is that it is easier to change equipment to match your natural swing dynamics than it is to change your swing. When you hear te pro’s talk about changing their swings, you hardly ever hear them say, “Well, I really have changed my swing tempo.” Nope. Usually a swing mechanical issue or a mental thing like “trust”. So before you get frustrated with your consistency and think you need a personality transplant, see a good fitter that can help you test a variety of equipment options. I guarantee you something will click and you will be on your way to Better Golf…Faster!