Tempo Teacher can help solve one of golf swing's mysteries
Most golf training aids work for somebody. Otherwise they would have never made to market. But every once in a while something comes along that breaks away from the stuff that’s been done over and over again. Such is the case with a simple product called the Tempo Teacher.
I ran across this a couple of months ago, and it just happened to coincide with something I had been working on in my own swing. I had thought incorrectly for some time that I was too aggressive with my hips, that I needed to slow them down, when in fact, I was actually stopping them early and not really turning them out of the way. (This came courtesy of a lesson from Kip Puterbaugh at the Aviara Golf Academy in Carlsbad, Calif., earlier this year.) And I showed this to several other players, who had a eureka moment when they tried it.
Clearing the hips, as it’s often referred to, is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of the golf swing, especially among mid- to high-handicappers. Even a lot of good players don’t fully comprehend how this is supposed to work, but it’s imperative that the left hip clears out of the way to allow the arms and club to approach the ball on plane from the inside as most all good players do. And the hip turn, by the way, is what actually allows you to square the clubface without flipping the hands.
Invented by Southern Hills Country Club’s Phillip Butts, the Tempo Teacher is a short rod that clips onto the belt near the left hip (for right-handers). When attached, the rod extends just left of the arms and hands at address. The idea is to swing the club without colliding with the rod. The only way to do this is to turn the hips out of the way before the arms deliver the club to the impact zone. Just look at 2011 U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy, for example, and how open his hips are at impact. It’s a common theme with almost all the world’s top players. The hips are also a tremendous power source.
There are plenty of other things that can go wrong in the swing, of course. If you come out of the shot prematurely, you won’t like the result. If you move forward or reverse pivot, clearing your left hip might not do you a lot of good either. You also want what’s called “hip separation,” meaning the lower body is ahead of the upper body. It’s what all good players do, and this little device can help you feel it.
Of course, a good backswing also helps. But this simple little aid, which retails for $25, does what it advertises. (My only criticism is that it’s a little tricky to clip on to your own belt, especially if you have a little extra padding around the middle, but it’s worth the effort.) Best of all, it’s very lightweight and can fit in your golf bag, making it easy for travel.
To order, or for more information, go to TempoTeacher.com.
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