Speed Vs Tempo

Below is a great question I recently received via email, and then my answer.


Hi, I just bought the Tour Tempo Total Game App and I’m curious about speed vs tempo. I’ve been fooling around with different full swing tempos and how I or someone could have fast club head speed at all different tempos.

First, how would you explain speed and tempo with regards to tour tempo? I just feel like to produce speed in the Clubhead I would always need to be closer to the 18/6 but I’m seeing that isn’t the case. It also doesn’t have to be a length of swing. Faster tempo doesn’t necessarily equal shorter swing or vice versa.

Would the size of the person, arm length, height, etc matter? Length of the club matter? I’m assuming not.

So, I’m assuming the speed created in between the the tempo dots is important and whether or not an individual can create a certain speed in between the tempo dots?

I’m searching as you can see and I am just looking for some clarification if there is any.

Thanks for your time and look forward to your answers.


My Answer:

Clubhead speed (at impact) is different (but somewhat related) to tempo. The reason you can create speeds at all tempo’s is because the only clubhead speed that matters is the speed of the club when it crosses the finish line (impact). So….if you have a 9 frame downswing and it starts slow and ‘builds’ speed into impact, it’s theoretically possible that it could have as much or more speed than a 7 frame downswing (that started faster and didn’t accelerate).

That being said, If you have a long swing (like a long driver) AND your tempo is 18/6 or even 7, THEN there WILL be more speed simply because the club goes from point A to point B in short amount of time. I’m batting 1.000 (when trying to increase speed for a student) when they get MORE LOAD in EQUAL or LESS TIME. More Load is not necessarily ‘handle travel’ as sometimes students can get the handle to travel farther, but at the expense of loading the joints (if you have to load hips, shoulders, arms and wrists).

Yes Size of the Person definitely matters. if you have a tall guy with 46 inch driver and he gets to impact (from a full backswing) in 7 frames and you have a shorter female with 45 inch drivers and she gets to impact in 7 frames, the increased arc/strength of the taller golfer will create more speed. A great example is this video:

These 2 golfers have the Same Tempo. One has CHS over 150, the other around 120. 30 mph of difference on Same Tempo. Many factors involved but longer arc, longer arms, more ground force all combine to create that 30 mph.

To your point – if you take 2 similar sized golfers with similar golf clubs and they both have 8 frame downswings, the difference is not in the arc or strength but more in the way the club accelerates from the top. if one golfer ‘casts’, he will peak early and then coast/decel into impact, whereas if the other gradually builds CHS (with lag), then he will peak at impact and have more speed. (even though they both ‘crossed the finish line’ at the same time.)

Let me know if all that makes sense!!!!

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