Golf Swing Tempo: 4 Tips To Master It

golf swing tempo

Meet Jake

Jake was a competitive golfer for over a decade dating back to the days of being the Captain of his high school golf team. He has played more than 200 courses across 32 different states in the US. Now semi-retired, Jake continues to golf 3-4 days a week with a current 2 handicap, gives golf lessons to his friends and family, and provides a wealth of knowledge to Golf Circuit from his competitive playing days. Jake combines practical expertise with technical knowledge to create golfing strategies and training techniques for both beginners and scratch golfers.

How many times have you played golf and been told your tempo was your issue that day? 

Golfers love to talk about swing tempo, but very few understand it. Golf swing tempo is kind of an abstract concept. 

However, if you talk to any great golfer, they will be able to tell you they fully understand when their tempo is on and when their tempo is off. Let’s take an in-depth look into what you need to know about swing tempo and how it will impact your golf game. 

What Is Golf Swing Tempo?

Women practicing golf swing tempo

Golf swing tempo is less about the speed of your swing and more about the time it takes you to complete a swing. Many golfers like to talk about having a slower tempo, but in the end, this doesn’t help you hit great shots. 

Your golf swing tempo needs to be in such a way that the back of the swing takes longer than the follow through. 

There are several ways to work on the golf swing tempo, but I won’t guarantee that your tempo will be a great day in and day out. Tempo changes quite a bit based on how you feel on the golf course, and knowing how to get it back on track is a tremendously important skill. 

How Can You Improve Golf Swing Tempo? 

Although it would be nice if we all had a golf swing tempo that just evolved naturally through the years, it doesn’t quite work like that. Most golfers need to work on their swing tempo to ensure it is smooth. 

Here are some of my favorite ways to help improve tempo. If you can get these things down, chances are the other areas of the game are going to fall into place a little easier as well. 

Weighted Golf Club

Using a weighted golf club for swing tempo training

A weighted golf club is a great way to start working on golf swing tempo. 

Think about what the golf swing would like if you used a lightweight plastic pipe for one swing or a heavy sledge hammer for the next.

As you may imagine, it might take you quite some time to swing that sledge hammer back, but then when it comes to the downswing, there is a ton of extra power, and (if strong enough) it can actually look a lot more graceful. 

With the lightweight golf clubs, things tend to get a little choppy, and people even lose balance from time to time because of the speed they generate. 

If you can find a weighted golf club that allows you to learn that slightly slower buildup in the backswing to a full and high finish and follow-through, the results are pretty impressive. 

Swing with this 15 to 20 times a day, you will be surprised what kind of an impact it has on your golf game. 

1-2-3-1 Drill 

The 1-2-3-1 Drill is for the golfers that like to think when they play. Are you a golfer that needs a specific location to your hand or your foot when you set up? The 1-2-3-1 Drill gives you some guidance on what the perfect tempo should be. 

The goal here is to count to three as you are swinging back. Once you get to the top of your swing, you simply swing down and through in one count. 

This is hard to do while actually hitting a golf ball. 

Instead of trying to strike a ball and do the 1-2-3-1 Drill, you should work on this as a practice drill and then start hitting some shots. 

I like to swing with the Drill two or three times and then transition into hitting one or two shots. 

Going back and forth like this is a great way to gain muscle memory. 

Stop For A Second 

The pause at the top of the golf swing has been a topic of debate for golfers for quite some time. Many players think that stopping at the top of the swing causes a decrease in total power. 

This is not the case. 

In fact, some players find that with the stability, balance, and overall good tempo they develop, they do quite a bit better when stopping at the top of the swing. 

You can hit golf balls or just take practice swings for this drill. The key is to swing to the top of your golf swing, pause for a second and then continue down. 

With that slight pause, you will feel that changes are happening with weight transfer in the swing, as well as allowing the club to drop into place and get on the proper plane. 

In all the years I’ve been playing the game, I’ve never seen the pause at the top Drill cause a golfer any trouble. 

Work On Balance and Stability

Demonstrating balance with rocks

Balance and stability is incredibly important in the game of golf, and if you want your tempo to be great, you must have a stable base of support in your swing. 

Tempo can’t be perfect, and you certainly can’t repeat good things in your golf swing if you are not stable and balanced throughout the swing. 

My favorite way to work on balance and stability is to take some swings with a medicine ball in my hands instead of having a golf club. It helps me build strength in my legs and allows for increased stability and balance as I hit shots. 

Overall stability and balance don’t need to be something you work on when on the driving range; you can practice it from anywhere. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few most commonly asked questions about golfers’ swing tempo. 

What is a good golf swing tempo?

Almost all great golfers have a swing tempo ratio of 3:1. Regardless of the total amount of time it takes them to get from the start to the finish of the swing, the ratio of 3:1 is most common. 

What is Tiger Woods swing tempo?

Tiger Woods’s swing tempo is the same 3:1 ratio that we see from other golfers like Phil Mickelson or Fred Couples. 

How do I improve my golf swing tempo?

The best way to improve your golf swing tempo is to practice drills and work on creating something that can be repeated. The idea is to create a swing tempo that takes three counts to swing back and one to swing through. 

Is golf swing tempo hard to fix? 

Golf swing tempo can be challenging to fix if you don’t have the proper drills to work on. If you can become more conscious about the time it takes to complete the backswing, and the time it takes to complete the follow-through, the tempo should fall into place naturally. 


Hopefully, you now understand the golf swing tempo and all that is involved with improving your tempo. Golfers should know that golf swing tempo is not the same as swing speed. You can still have high swing speeds and be able to have a great tempo. 

In fact, some of the fastest-swinging players in the game are those that have the best tempo. Investing in a weighted golf club or even practicing with a metronome to work on tempo will help you see lower scores and more consistency. 

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