Tag Archives: Tour Tempo

CAUTION!! The Domino Effect of Golf Drills

CautionHave you ever worked a golf drill, fixed a fault, and then watched the drill negatively impact a previously solid part of your game?  Like a time bomb, one of these exploded in my face over the last two days of an otherwise excellent golf trip to the Delaware – Maryland beaches.  On my excursion, I experienced the most god awful episode of skulled, thinned, chunked and totally stone-handed chipping and pitching in the last 20 years.  Oddly enough, I drove the ball superbly, putted well, but if I missed a green, couldn’t hit squat.  It was literally 30-handicap caliber chopping and the bemused looks of my playing partners spoke volumes.  (Apologies to any 30-handicap readers; the problem is not you; it’s me.)  Technically I knew I was flipping my hands at the ball and letting the clubface pass my hands, but I couldn’t stop it.  This was not the chip yips because I didn’t feel any pressure even though the previous failures had gotten in my head; I simply could not execute shots I knew were in my arsenal.

On the drive back today, we were still bemusing over the root cause until I remembered back in August, I read Tour Tempo by John Novosel and took it for a test drive.   Little did I know but this drill to help with ball striking rhythm was sowing the seeds of the catastrophe.  If you’ll recall, Novosel’s theory is to introduce a 3:1 backswing to downswing timing ratio.  Most students, myself included, needed to speed up their downswing to comply with the the ratio.  After a few rounds, I noticed I started to hit my full swing gap wedge shots a little fat but disregarded it as an anomaly or something that occasionally creeps into my game which is handled with a correction.  After further analyzing the wreckage, I correctly identified the cause as an early release created in an attempt to speed up my downswing for Tour Tempo.  To be fair, there’s another Tour Tempo book for short game, that I did not read, and which purportedly has a different timing mechanism for short shots.  Oops!

Everyone who’s instructed or been instructed in golf is familiar with the concept of over-correction.  You over emphasize a fix to clearly turn a negative habit to positive, then tweak as the over-correction becomes a fault of its own.  Now I’ve got a bit of an early release with my full swing and a full blown mess with my short game.  I’m kinda glad winter is almost here, but anyone have a good drill to promote hands ahead of the clubhead with the greenside shots?  Please send along.  Thanks!

Tour Tempo – Book Review and Road Test

Tour TempoI checked out Tour Tempo by John Novosel from the community library a couple weeks ago and have been on a recent test drive.  Authored in 2004, I was completely unaware of the Tour Tempo series but after reading, am adding this to my golf library.

Many instruction books and tips espouse a secret or magic move to better ball striking which can be attributed to one tour pro or another.  Novosel’s “Last Secret Finally Revealed” is completely non-mechanical and is backed up by a solid investigative approach and detailed film analysis.  His premise is that tour players are in “The Zone” much more often than amateur golfers and what’s consistent about Zone ball striking is rhythm.  If you can duplicate a tour player’s rhythm, not his swing speed, you can dramatically improve your ball striking.  Think about which tour player has the smoothest, slowest, and most effortless swing.  Many would say Ernie Els.  Novosel shows that Els’ swing is actually faster than Greg Norman’s, but the key to Els’ smooth appearance is timing.  He compares and times swings of top pros from Sam Snead to Tiger Woods and finds that almost everyone has a 3:1 ratio of backswing to downswing.  Yes, some pros swing faster than others, but the ratio is always the same.  If amateurs can duplicate the ratio, their rhythm and balance will improve dramatically, even if their strength and fundamentals don’t approach tour standards.

The book comes with a CD containing video and audio tracks.  The audio files provide three different swing speed mantras which you can listen to before hitting balls or warming up for play.  You use the mantras to adjust your timing and get to the 3:1 ratio.  For most, it will feel like you are moving incredibly faster than your normal swing, but the adjustment period is short.  I tried it and needed to speed up my downswing a bit, but saw immediate positive results with my driver last weekend, and got a feeling of rhythm and balance I hadn’t felt in about 20 years (when I used to drive the ball much better.)  Imagine my excitement!   At the range today, I warmed up with Tour Tempo and was hitting it pure.  I did not have as good a round as the previous week, but did hit some very good shots.  The best part has been my non-reliance on swing keys or mechanics.  For the last 36 holes, I’ve played with one swing thought; the Tour Tempo mantra, and love the simplicity of the approach.

There are tips and WOOD band-aids that we golfers play with all the time, and true to form, they usually only do Work Only One Day.  But when you are on to something fundamentally correct that is consistent from day-to-day, round-to-round, and practice session-to-practice session, you need to grab hold of it and go.  Tour Tempo feels like that fundamental change.  It’s simple, easy, and it works first time out of the box, and since you are making no mechanical changes, is very low risk.  I highly recommend you give it a try and let me know how it works for you!