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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Why the Waltz Rhythm Is a Logical Approach

Many of you may have read yesterday's post and wondered why a waltz rhythm made any sense as an approach to golf swing rhythm and sequence -- and why it might be better than any of the other "counting" methods you've heard before.

Today I'll give you a quick explanation of the theory I believe is behind it.

Tour Tempo book coverAlthough Dr. Neal never says so, the whole idea of the golf swing being similar to a waltz rhythm comes from a book/CD combo called Tour Tempo by John Novosel. (That link takes you to Amazon, but it's just so you can see the actual book. I get no money should you decide to buy it.) I first found the book when it was released in 2004 and it really helped me when I was struggling with the tempo of my swing. Here's the basic idea:

Novosel was making a golf infomercial back in 2000 and was studying some videotape of Jan Stephenson's swing, checking the various positions in her motion. In the process he noted the frame counter on the videotape machine and saw that her backswing was taking 27 frames and her downswing to impact took 9 seconds. (In case you don't know, standard American broadcast video records 30 frames every second.)

That's a 3-to-1 ratio of the elapsed time of the backswing to the elapsed time of the downswing.

As time went on and he studied more swings for analysis, he discovered that most of the pro swings followed that pattern. For the most part, the fastest swings ran around 21/7 (Jack Nicklaus was one), the midrange around 24/8 (Phil Mickelson) and the slowest around 27/9 (like Stephenson's). A lot of them weren't exact, of course -- they would vary by a frame or two on the backswing or the downswing, but it was close enough (given the nature of videotape) to call it a 3-to-1 ratio.

Which, if you want to liken it to a dance, you can count as a waltz rhythm. OOM-pah-pah, OOM. That's 3-to-1.

Dr. Neal's approach -- with specific swing positions corresponding to the beats of the waltz -- may be a bit of overkill to most of you. But as I said in the post, you can focus on the two "OOMs" -- which is basically what Novosel's CD does in the book. It gives you click tracks that you can play while you practice to help you internalize the rhythm. That's what I did back in 2004.

But the waltz count is much simpler to use, simply because you don't need to stick earbuds in your ears. And -- always an important consideration for me -- since singing the rhythm doesn't require any equipment, the "OOM-pah-pah Method" is something you can use while you're actually out on the course.

Anyway, I just thought you might like to know why I did yesterday's post. It's just another tool, one that you can use if it helps and ignore if it doesn't. But most importantly, it doesn't cost a dime for you to find out.

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