I had the opportunity to demo the SwingTempo this week. I’ve used it in my basement on my indoor “driving range”, and today, I used it outside at the actual driving range. This training aid is designed to help you work on the one aspect of your swing I’m sure you’re ignoring: tempo. This product is similar to the TourTempo system, which we will be reviewing shortly. When possible, I will compare the 2 products.
Professionals have obtained good tempo with years of practice and training. GP Golf Innovations, Inc has developed a product for the average golfer to achieve the same result, in a portable hand-held device. Swing-Tempo gives an exact digital refernece to a player’s tempo, rhythm, and timing. It is the only product that allows golfers to obtain their perfect tempo combination, store that tempo, and training with the same tempo every time they swing the club. Compact and discreet, Swing-Tempo can be used anytime, anywhere.
The concept behind the SwingTempo is to help you use a consistent tempo on every swing. The unit can be used in vibrate (feel your tempo), audio (hear your tempo) or visual/audio (see your tempo) mode. The unit delivers 3 signals. The 1st is a warning to tell you to get ready, the second signifies that you should start your backswing, and lasts until you are at the top of your backswing. Then there is a pause, which is the time in which your transition takes place. The 3rd signal is when you start your downswing and lasts for the entire length of your downswing. The idea is if you swing on the same tempo all the time, your shots will be much more consistent (and they are right!)
The unit is fully customizable. Besides being able to switch between vibrate, audio and visual/audio, you can change the durations of the 1st signal (backswing), the pause (transition) and the 2nd signal (downswing). The average golfer, according to the manual, is 0.5 seconds on the backswing, 0.4 seconds on the transition, and 0.6 seconds on the backswing. The front of the unit says 05 04 06 to signify this. You can switch the backswing time in 0.1 second intervals very easily using the up/down buttons on the left side of the unit. The same is true for the backswing with buttons on the right side of the unit. To change the transition, however, it is a little more tricky but easy enough. You need to hold a button down until the transition time flashes, and then you can use either set of up/down buttons.
The manual also comes with a list of backswing (BS), transition (TS) and downswing (DS) times for many PGA Tour, Champions Tour and LPGA Tour stars.
The SwingTempo is very well made. As I mentioned before, we are testing the TourTempo as well, and the SwingTempo device seems to be of a better build quality than the TourTempo player. There are no fears of this unit breaking in your hands, or flying in the middle of your swing if you have attached it to your belt. While it is about double the size of the TourTempo Player, I find that as a positive, as it’s much more durable and easy to handle at this size. The SwingTempo also comes with a nice carrying case to keep the unit from getting scratched.
Using the SwingTempo
The SwingTempo is very easy to use. You turn it on, and the unit starts in vibrate mode. The toggle button on the right side allows you to easily switch between vibrate, audio and visual/audio. The only thing I wish the unit had was a headset jack so I could use audio mode at the driving range and not disturb other golfers. At the range, unless it’s empty, the only usable mode is vibrate. SwingTempo is quiet, but for it to be effective, the tones could disturb others. I tested all 3 modes at my home indoor “range”, but at the outdoor range, I tested in vibrate mode because of this.
It does take a couple swings to get accustomed to how the beeps are going. My first couple times, I had to resist the urge to start my swing on the 1st beep. Once I got used to that though, it was very easy to use. I could feel myself making a swing that was too fast, and I would stop at the top of my backswing, and work on it again. I could also see the times when I was late starting my downswing, and most of those shots went to the right. More often than not though, I was too fast. I would concentrate on working on the backswing only for a couple swings, and I’d be back on target.
The SwingTempo does not come equipped with a swing theory like the TourTempo does. The TourTempo swears by the 3/1 ratio (although their ratio goes to the impact point) and they work on 1/30th of a second intervals (the framespeed of a TV camera). However, even if you support theory, this SwingTempo unit is easier to work with. At 05 04 06, you basically are replicating a 27/9 swing on the TourTempo. It’s 0.9 (27 frames) seconds until you begin your downswing, and 1/2 the time it takes to complete your downswing is 0.3 seconds (9 frames). That probably explains why most golfers in the list were at that tempo.
I also worked with this unit hitting pitch shots and putts. I found the same tempo worked for me on ALL swings. However, if you’d like to work a little quicker with the putter, it’s very easy to change the settings.
Even though I didn’t hit the ball great the entire session, the feedback of knowing that I am getting too quick was huge to help me fix the problems and work on it. Working on 75 yd wedges today, I was struggling. When I turned the SwingTempo on and matched the tempo (I was moving too quick), I all of a sudden was knocking the flag down. I literally hit the flag 3 times out of 10 shots, and the other 7 were all within 10 feet.
I liked working with both the TourTempo and the SwingTempo. If I was going to buy only one of the units, I’d buy the SwingTempo. There is absolutely no doubt about that. The craftsmanship of the SwingTempo is far superior, and it’s much easier to work with on the range. I kept it on my belt for an entire 1 hour range session without it moving once. I didn’t even feel it while I was swinging. When I used the TourTempo Player, I found the headset slipped out of the unit on almost every 2nd swing. The ability to easily change the settings if I want to work on something else is also a huge plus.
I’d highly recommend the SwingTempo. Tempo is one of the most commonly ignored aspects of the golf swing, and this unit is the absolute best at helping you work on that. I found when my swing matched the tempo, the shots were very consistent. I think after repeated training with the SwingTempo, my tempo will become more consistent, and a little slower (which is my huge problem, being too quick, especially in the transition zone), and hopefully help shave the last 4 strokes off my handicap!
The SwingTempo is a little more expensive, at $129.95, but at that price you get a quality device and tempo training. If $129.95 is too rich for your blood, you’ll want to check out our TourTempo review, that route can be less expensive if you already have an mp3 player. You can purchase the SwingTempo device directly from their website. Have a look at eBay as well, perhaps there are some used items. They do offer a 30 day money back guarantee, so why not give it a try for a few weeks and see what you think?