The Science of Swing Tempo: Transform Your Game

swing tempo

While reading Jon Sherman’s groundbreaking book, “The Four Foundations of Golf,” I was anxious to get into the section on practice and training. There was much helpful information on block practice, random practice, and other strategies that, if applied correctly, can help all golfers improve their game. What resonated with me the most was the section on tempo, specifically the innovative book series by John Novosel, Tour Tempo.

The role of tempo in the golf swing is often underestimated, yet it serves as the rhythmic foundation that can either enhance or disrupt performance. Despite its importance, achieving the ideal tempo remains elusive for many. In the following sections, we will explore the mechanics of Tour Tempo, the science that substantiates its effectiveness, and the app that brings it all to youspr fingertips. We’ll also touch on the LagShot, an innovative swing trainer that helps improve your swing tempo by providing tactile feedback and slowing down your transition, allowing for a more consistent and rhythmical swing.

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The Role of Tempo

The concept of tempo in golf isn’t new, but its critical importance is often understated. Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of Tour Tempo, let’s get a grip on what tempo means in the golfing universe.

Tempo is the rhythm and pace at which you execute your golf swing. It’s the ‘how’ of the swing, rather than the ‘what’. While swing mechanics focus on positions and angles, tempo deals with the fluidity and timing of those mechanics.

A faster tempo typically leads to inconsistent ball-striking and loss of power. Rushing the swing disrupts proper sequencing of body parts and makes it difficult to time the strike. Golfers may swing out of sequence trying to generate clubhead speed too quickly. Conversely, a slower tempo allows golfers to immerse themselves in each shot, promoting better mechanics and strategy. Taking time to build up potential energy creates a powerful release through impact. Smooth, rhythmic transitions also reduce tension and anxiety.


The Magical 3:1 Ratio

At the core of Tour Tempo is a 3:1 ratio between the backswing and downswing. This refers to taking 3 times longer to complete the backswing than the downswing. This ratio is not arbitrary; it is the common thread among the swings of top golfers, from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods. It acts as a metronome for your swing, offering a rhythmic guide that has been scientifically validated.

In 2000, John Novosel made a groundbreaking discovery while editing a pro golfer’s swing: the swing had a 3:1 ratio from the top of the backswing to the bottom of the downswing. Intrigued, he analyzed legendary swings from Tiger Woods to Jack Nicklaus and discovered the same ratio. His subsequent books, “Tour Tempo” and “Tour Tempo 2,” share these findings and offer training aids, including a series of tones to help golfers improve their tempo.

Based on video analysis, Novosel has identified four specific tempo speeds – 27/9, 24/8, 21/7, and 18/6. These numbers indicate the backswing length and downswing in frames per second. Many PGA Tour players and recreational golfers have benefited from Novosel’s system.

Contrary to popular belief that a slower rhythm provides more control, Novosel noticed that speeding up players’ swings while maintaining the 3:1 ratio led to significant improvements. Despite its effectiveness, the golf establishment has not fully embraced Novosel’s system, raising questions about why such a powerful tool is not more widely taught.

tour tempo

Psychological Impact

Tempo isn’t merely a physical element; it’s psychological, too. A consistent tempo frees your mind from mechanical swing thoughts, allowing you to focus and execute your swing more naturally. Ever heard of the term ‘in the zone’? A consistent tempo is often the ticket there.

Key Tempo ElementsDescription
RhythmThe flow and sequence of your swing
TimingThe coordination of all the swing elements
ConsistencyMaintaining the same tempo across different swings

The Tour Tempo App

The Tour Tempo Total Game app is designed to be your pocket-sized tempo coach for both the long and short games in golf. With a user-friendly interface, the app offers a range of tempo tones corresponding to actual ratios observed in professional golfers. These tones serve as auditory cues, guiding you through your swing from takeaway to impact. The app also features instructional videos on multiple platforms for a more in-depth learning experience.

The app doesn’t just shine in theory but proves its mettle in practice. Users have reported significant improvements in ball striking, Fairways in Regulation (FIR), and putting. The app offers different tempo ratios, from 18/6 to 27/9 for the long game and a rapid 20/10 for the short game, allowing you to find the tempo that best suits your swing. It’s especially effective in the short game, where users notice a marked consistency in chips and putts.



  • Long Game Tones: Audio cues designed to guide your full-swing tempo.
  • Short Game Tones: Specialized tones for enhancing your chipping, pitching, and putting tempo.
  • Tracks/Focus Songs: Music tracks engineered to help you maintain focus and rhythm.
  • Instructional Videos: Comprehensive video guides for mastering tempo in all aspects of the game.
  • Platform Availability: Compatible with iPhone/iPad, Android, and Windows Phone.
  • User-Friendly Interface: Intuitive design that makes navigating the app a breeze.
  • Multiple Tempo Ratios: Offers tempo ratios from 27/9, 24/8, 21/7, and 18/6 for the long game and a rapid 20/10 for the short game.
  • Price: At $24.99, it’s a high-value investment for serious golfers.

My Experience

Eager to dive in, I ordered the books and downloaded the app. My previous use of Sportsbox AI showed me that my swing tempo ranged from 2.4 to 2.7-1. I put on my earbuds and headed out to the yard to try this out, hitting shots into the net starting with 27/9 and moving through the different options with about ten shots each. I found 27/9 was too slow, and 24/8 worked best for me.

I tried the musical tones as well as the spoken word cues. I found the spoken word a bit too much and settled on the tones. After hitting around 100 shots, it became clear that there was an immediate benefit. I plan to keep working on this, adding tempo training to my daily routine, along with the Stack System, and working with the other training aids in my arsenal.

The LagShot and Tempo

In our “Best Training Aids” post, we covered The LagShot in detail. LagShot addresses multiple facets of your golf game, including tempo.

  • Transition Timing: One of the key benefits of the Lag Shot Swing Trainer is its ability to slow down your transition from backswing to downswing. This is crucial for establishing a consistent, effective tempo.
  • Whippy Shaft: The flexible, driver-length shaft helps to guide the club into the ideal “slot” during the downswing. This promotes a shallow swing plane and more consistent tempo.
  • Tactile Feedback: The unique construction of the Lag Shot Swing Trainer allows you to feel exactly where the clubhead is throughout your swing, which is crucial for maintaining a consistent tempo.
  • Effortless Speed: The trainer helps you generate more clubhead speed without overexerting yourself, allowing for a smoother tempo.
  • Eliminates Casting: The trainer naturally boosts lag and eliminates the “casting” motion that can disrupt tempo.
lagshot swing trainer

By focusing on these elements, the Lag Shot Swing Trainer serves as a comprehensive tool for enhancing your tempo, among other aspects of your game. It complements methods like the Tour Tempo app, making it a worthy addition to your training arsenal.

Key Takeaways

  • Tempo is the rhythm and pace at which you execute your golf swing, and it plays a crucial role in the fluidity and timing of your swing mechanics.
  • The Tour Tempo book series and app are based on a 3:1 ratio between the backswing and downswing, a common thread among top golfers’ swings.
  • The Tour Tempo app offers a range of tempo tones corresponding to actual ratios observed in professional golfers, serving as auditory cues to guide your swing from takeaway to impact.
  • Users of the Tour Tempo app have reported significant improvements in ball striking, Fairways in Regulation (FIR), and putting.
  • The LagShot swing trainer helps improve your swing tempo by providing tactile feedback and slowing down your transition, allowing for a more consistent and rhythmical swing.
  • By understanding and implementing the principles of tempo, you can improve your golf swing and overall game performance.

Wrap-Up: The Imperative of Tempo in Golf

Tempo is more than just a vague concept. It’s a measurable metric that significantly impacts your game’s quality. Studies and practical applications have demonstrated that maintaining a consistent 3:1 tempo ratio in your swing can result in more precise and forceful shots. The Tour Tempo series of books, Tour Tempo, Tour Tempo II, and Tour Tempo Force, products such as the Tour Tempo app and the Lag Shot Swing Trainer provide practical solutions for amateur and professional golfers who want to perfect their ideal swing tempo.

However, these tempo-focused methods aren’t widespread, largely because of traditional beliefs that each golfer’s tempo is unique to them. As more and more empirical evidence supports the effectiveness of a standardized tempo, this will likely become a crucial part of golf instruction.

In conclusion, concentrating on your golf swing tempo isn’t simply a matter of musicality; it’s a science-backed approach to enhancing your overall game. Whether you choose advanced options like Tour Tempo or tactile tools like the Lag Shot, understanding and implementing the principles of tempo is the first step toward mastering your swing. Therefore, it’s not just a choice but a necessity for anyone who wants to take their golfing abilities to the next level.

golfer tempo 1

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