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Golf Swing Tempo – Actionable Tips & Drills for Better Ball Striking

Do you feel like every time you try to fix your golf tempo it makes issues in your golf swing worse?

You aren’t alone.

There are issues with “fixing” golf swing tempo that many players run into. We will make golf tempo really easy for you and help you learn how to increase power, speed and control into impact.

One thing you will finally realize is that slowing down your swing is not going to fix your tempo!

Golf Swing Tempo (Key Takeaways)

If you don’t have time to go through each of our drills today, here are the most important tips to understand about golf swing tempo.

  • A counting drill can help you swing smoothly without overthinking the mechanics.
  • Use technology like HackMotion Pro to measure your tempo and see if you have the proper ratio and consistency.
  • Relax at address to reduce tension and enable better transition and rotation.
  • Take some swings with your eyes closed to work on improving tempo and balance.
  • When practicing on the driving range, make sure to vary the club you are working with; too many drivers in a row can make it much harder to maintain a consistent and correct tempo.
  • The ideal tempo for the full swing is 3:1; short game is 2:1.

The Correct Definition of Tempo

Golf swing tempo is almost always referred to as the speed of a golfer’s swing.

It’s not.

The golf swing tempo is the time it takes to get your club from the address to the top of the backswing and down.

Your backswing takes longer than your downswing. During the backswing, you will build up power and potential and then transfer that to the ball at impact.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

How to Improve Golf Tempo?

The best ways to improve golf tempo include taking the club back slower, relaxing before you take the club back, and reducing grip pressure.

It’s smart to use drills to improve the golf tempo so that you don’t completely throw off your timing and acceleration through impact.

Here are 6 tips and drills for you to employ in your training regimen.

6 Tips & Drills to Improve Your Swing Tempo

Counting Drill

The easiest swing tempo drill is a simple count exercise where you start counting from the address position until you reach impact.

I like to start this with a few practice swings first because it can be a bit tricky to do it when hitting a golf ball at first.

Counting distracts you from the complexities of your swing mechanics and trains you to develop an identical count with every club.

There is no right or wrong number as long as it is the same for all shots.

For example, I always reach 6 counts from address through to impact. Once I am ready, I address the golf ball and start counting, focusing on nothing else but the numbers. I usually reach the top of my backswing on the count of 5 and strike the ball when I arrive at 6.

3 Drivers, 3 Sand Wedges

The next drill is called the 3 drivers, 3 sand wedges drill, and it is designed to make you develop the same tempo for shots with your woods, irons, and wedges.

All you need to do here is take three swings with the driver and then take three swings with the sand wedge.

I recommend doing 5 repetitions of this drill as a warm-up. Keep in mind these will be full swing sand wedge shots.

Some golfers have no trouble creating perfect tempo with their 7 iron, but when the fairway woods is in their hands they lose all control.

Start Short, Build Long

For this drill, pick your favorite club in your bag. It’s best to use a mid to low iron, which you know you can strike consistently.

I use my 8-iron for this drill, a club I top at 140 yards. Next, I prepare to induce 3 full swing shots, aiming to hit the ball as short as possible and building up to my optimal length of 140 yards.

Since I am swinging full, I need to slow it down significantly to hit the ball shorter than 140 yards, leading to a deliberate tempo.

On the second shot, I increased my swing speed to a happy medium, hoping to hit the ball further than my first shot but not reaching the 140-yard mark.

Finally, I really go after the third ball, trying to get it up to the 140-yard mark with a fast back, the fast through approach.

After I’ve hit the three shots, I examine the results, and it gives me a chance to identify which tempo was more consistent and which one I produced cleaner contact with.

Reduce Grip Tension

Tight grip pressure creates tension in your arms and shoulders, leading to a stiff swing, lack of rhythm, and an inconsistent tempo.

When I talk about grip pressure, I am not referring to a strong, weak, or neutral grip but how tightly you grip the club.

Take a practice swing with a loose grip. You will feel like you don’t have much control. Then swing with a tight grip and notice all of the tension you have in your arms and hands, making it difficult to get proper tempo.

Close Your Eyes

When you try to hit a golf ball with closed eyes, your sole objective turns to get the clubface to the impact point.

When I tried this drill, I immediately stopped thinking about the optimal takeaway and top-of-the-swing position.

Instead, I swing the club, induce rotation, and let gravity do the work.

Over time, it has become easier to execute.

Once you have your bearings in order, visualize the shot once more. Close your eyes and swing. You’ll begin noticing that you’re generating a consistent rhythm and tempo without thinking about it.

You just swing the golf club, rotate your hips, and turn your shoulders, letting gravity do the rest.

Short Swings

For this drill, you will try to hit 10 shots with a 7 iron and just take a quarter swing.

Count one on the backswing and two on the downswing to create a 1-2 rhythm on these shorter shots.

When you get this down, you can start with half swings. At this stage, count 1,2 before reaching halfway through the backswing. As you enter impact, you will say 3. After 10 half swings with a consistent tempo, you can move to ¾ swing and change the count to 1/2/3 on the backswing and 4 through impact.

Take a 2-minute Quiz and Step Up Your Game!

1. What do you want to improve in your full swing?

Why is a Smooth Golf Swing Tempo Important?

Golf swing tempo is important because inconsistent execution costs you speed, power, and control.

If you rush your transition from the top of the swing down, you unload the club faster than intended and lose momentum before the clubface strikes the golf ball.

A smooth golf swing rhythm allows you to control your body and the club to unload it at the optimal time to maximize energy transfer.

Besides a loss of speed, an unstable swing tempo forces your body into an undesirable position, leading to impact and preventing you from squaring the clubface and producing a straight shot.

golfer on the golf course during downswing with iron

How do You Measure Tempo?

You can measure your swing tempo using the HackMotion Pro wrist sensor. After every shot, the timing of your takeaway and downswing, along with the corresponding ratio, will be given to you.

The HackMotion Pro analyzes your backswing and downswing times, along with the ratio. The ratio is a reflection of your backswing time divided by your downswing. In my case, my average is 1.31 seconds on the backswing and 0.33 on the downswing.

When I divide 0.33 by 1.31, I receive an ideal ratio of 3.1, suitable with the optimal number suggested by Martin Hall and his golf biomechanics buddy Rob Neal.


How to slow down golf swing tempo?

You can slow your golf swing tempo by practicing hitting shots that don’t require full distance. For instance, if a 7 iron is your 150-yard club, hit it 125 yards.

Can my golf swing tempo affect my accuracy or distance?

Yes, an inconsistent tempo causes you to unload the golf club too early from the top, losing power, clubhead speed, and energy transfer, impacting your launch and distance.

In addition, inconsistent tempo prevents you from controlling the clubface and squaring it at contact.

Is there a perfect golf swing tempo?

The best golf players produce a tempo ratio of 3:1 from takeaway to impact. Rob Neal, a golf biomechanist, determined this and has worked with hundreds of accomplished professionals.

Do you have the same tempo for each club?

You have the same tempo for each club you take a full swing with in your golf bag. Short game wedge shots are more of a 2:1 ratio.


Developing a consistent golf swing tempo enables you to unload correctly at the top of the swing and generate optimal power, speed, and control on the downswing.

The optimal swing tempo ratio is 3:1, meaning your backswing is 3 times longer than your downswing.

It’s essential to measure your tempo and identify if you’ve improved. That is where the HackMotion Pro wrist training aid comes in, providing your takeaway and downswing times and your overall tempo ratio.

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