Tempo & Takeaway

It’s been a month since my first lesson with Pete Black. It seems like it’s been longer given all I’ve learned and experienced.  I can honestly say without reservation that I’m coming along!

Golf has an intellectual side and a physical side and the two don’t always line up. Intellectually, I know what I’m supposed to do. Physically, I am not caught up. Getting the body to do what the mind knows it is supposed to do is tricky, especially when I’m simultaneously unlearning 30 years worth of poor habits.

I haven’t given the takeaway and need for tempo their full respect.

One of the things I struggle with is breaking the connection between club face, shaft, hands and core. I found an absolutely simple but effective exercise to help with that:

I stand like I’m holding a club at address but my hands hang out in front of me. I imagine there is a shelf to my right at about head level. I need something on that shelf so I turn my torso, arms and shoulders, all in one glorious piece, toward the shelf to get the needed item. Magically, when I do this my shoulders are turned practically a full 90 degrees and my hips are at 45.  Who would have thought? And it was practically effortless. I did this movement at least 50 times after finding it online last night.

The above exercise comes from one of the few free full length videos offered at  Rotaryswing.com:

When I hit balls today, there weren’t as many collapses or disconnections.  At my last lesson, Pete Black pointed out that I was collapsing the triangle a lot, which greatly reduces the size of the swing arc and thus, the distance.  The idea of the connected club head, shaft, hands and core, which is what the one-piece takeaway is, has been slow to sink in but I’m finally not only getting it physically but understanding why it is so very crucial.  When the intellectual meets the physical, you have real improvement, even transformation.

The other key piece I have taken a closer look at and gained respect for is swinging with a rehearsed beat and tempo. Having a musical background, I had a lot of fun with this one day.  I wrote myself a little rhyme and rhythm and even set it to a melody.  I worked with many different words and combinations until I found those that are most effective at not only establishing rhythm and tempo but also giving me a swing thought or two.

The end result is that with this tempo, I have success getting into position and pulling the trigger.  Without the tempo I often stand dumb-founded at the top of my backswing, afraid to transition and hit the ball.  Reciting or singing these words in rhythmic fashion helps me commit to the shot.


Golf Swing Song

(spoken or sung in three-quarter time, like a waltz, so a beat of silence comes at the end of each line)

Flex knees
Sit down
One piece back
Hip turn
Balanced finish
Balanced finish
Balanced finish


A swing tempo is a personal thing, as are swing thoughts.  The above works well for me.



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