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The Tempo Talk

Do you have a distorted putting stroke?

Did you know that Apple Podcasts can teach you about your stroke signature and tempo? Yeah, that got your attention. Keep reading...

If you’ve ever played with the audio settings when listening to an Apple Podcast, you might have noticed a feature to adjust the playback speed. When pressed for time, you can play the audio at a faster speed, like 1.25 times the normal speed. With that little bump, it still sounds mostly normal and you save some time.

When you start upping the speed to, let’s say 1.5 or 2 times the normal speed, there’s some distortion and the audio becomes harder to hear. It’s still the same product, just not as pleasant or maybe even challenging to take in as a listener.


What Does This Have to Do with My Putting?

Your putting stroke’s tempo behaves the same way. There’s a given speed or tempo at which everything “looks normal” and behaves normally. When your tempo gets a little faster than its baseline, the result might still be sufficient, but you could notice some distortion, just like listening to the podcast at 1.25 times speed. Here's an example of that:

This player's backswing length is just over 7.5 inches (~195mm). Nothing looks terrible about this stroke, but the player did have substantiated complaints about being able to adapt to different green speeds as he traveled and not always being able to match speed and line.

It's a perfect example of playing the podcast at 1.5x speed. There's some distortion in this stroke's tempo.

The backswing is both too small for this length putt and moving too slowly, so the player needs to accelerate quickly in order to make up for those problems. Because he is coordinated, he hides it well.


The Fix Is In

Size and tempo are the two key concepts that primarily determine ball speed. (Yes, I even gave that one away in my e-book which you can get for free right here)

In this player's case, too small a backswing size moving at too slow a tempo caused the acceleration issues. Fact: I don't see enough players getting to the root cause of their acceleration issues. This is just one possible issue.

Let's take a look at the changes:

You can see the change in size of swing via the orange arrows. We're looking at about 7.5 inches of backswing length on the left versus about 10.5 inches on the right. If you notice the timecode in the top right of each photo, you'll see the time to end of backswing is virtually identical.

Step 1: We added length and tempo to the backswing

Looking at the timecode in each, you'll notice the time to impact is also virtually identical.

Step 2: Have a productive discussion about acceleration and how to create constant acceleration instead of increasing it during the forward stroke

See the timecode? Pretty interesting that two entirely different sizes of swing can take the same time.

Step 3: Have a discussion about practicing and monitoring these changes. If you want to learn more about that, check out The Speed Class. You'll thank me later.

Here's before and after at full speed now that you know what the changes are. Play it a couple times to start training your eye.


The Wrap Up

So an Apple Podcast feature can really change your perspective on putting, notably size and tempo. If you're ready to make a clean, crisp, distortion-free stroke a part of your game, we can get started on that this winter. Check out the online lesson offerings. Sign up for any session between now and November 30, 2023 and I'll send you a FREE Speed Kit! If you are going to come to Orlando, sign up for The Putting Experience here. And because it's a holiday, sign up between now and November 30, 2023 and I'll you'll get a FREE Preston's Putting Template AND Speed Kit!

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