Slow Backswing in Golf (Complete Overview)

Did you know that a slow backswing is more than likely bad for your golf swing?

That it could be costing you distance and consistency?

And that the PGA Tour pros actually have quick swing tempos?

Do we have attention? Keep reading!

In the game of golf, many of us questions whether we should have a slow backswing or a quick backswing.  This is among the many questions that many amateurs on our journey to play our best golf ask. 

We have all asked questions such as should I have a strong or weak grip, should I have an open or closed stance, where should my weight be distributed.

Our goal is to provide a complete overview of the speed of your backswing.  Trying to answer the ultimate question of whether or not you should have a slow backswing. 

People play golf for different reasons, but there are many of us seeking improvement and overall consistent play.  We want to know we will play at a certain level in tournaments or simply when we are playing with our typical foursome.

Here at golfjourney365, we love the game of golf and enjoy the physical and mental challenge that it provides.  There is no better challenge than golf and the beautiful thing is that we can play the game for many years and continue to strive to get better. 

Maintain your hope that your game will get better and remain a student of the game, seeking answers to these many questions.

If you are frustrated with your game, you have to check out our information below on Tour Tempo. It could be the game changer you are seeking!

Should I have a Slow Backswing in Golf?

No, a slow backswing can take valuable distance away from you in your golf swing.  If you are seeking more distance in your game, then you should look to speed up your backswing.  A slow backswing can be a major detriment to distance in the game of golf.  

Below we will provide the complete overview of the details on why a slow backswing in golf is not good for most amateurs.  Our topics will include the following:

  • How should we assess if a slow backswing is good for each individual?
  • How a slow backswing can cost you distance?
  • What tempo should your backswing be at?
  • What drills can you utilize to make sure the backswing is the right speed?

Backswing Speed: How should we assess if a slow backswing is good for each individual?

If your experience is similar to mind, we have probably seen the Golf Channel or other publications promoting a low and slow backswing to set you up for the downswing. 

Here at golfjourney365, we believe that everyone might have a different overall tempo and backswing speeds could differ from golfer to golfer, so we must have a way to assess if we are hitting the main fundamentals in the game of golf.  Here is what we believe to be the fundamentals.

If one were to study the golf swing, they would quickly learn that there are strong grips and weak grips, open stances and closed stances.  Golfers that aim way right and golfers that aim way left.  Golfers with a narrow stance and golfers with a wide stance.  

Golfers with quicker backswing and golfers with slower backswing. The main point being is that there are many different ways to hit a golf shot.  Here at golfjourney365, we believe the 3 fundamentals in golf are the following:

  • Fundamental 1: The ability to control the bottom of the swing close to 100 percent of the time.
  • Fundamental 2: The ability to control the curve of the ball and have a consistent start line.
  • Fundamental 3: The ability to have enough power or distance to play the golf course.

When you assess what is good for your game, you should keep these 3 fundamentals in mind to determine what is best for your game.  Drills that you implement in your game should be focused on getting better in one of these three fundamentals.  We should be working on better ball contact, better control over the ball or more distance.

If you speed up or slow down your backswing, you should be able to measure whether it helped your game in these three areas.

Make sure you assess what is best for your game.

Quick Assessment: 

Go ahead and hit 10-15 ball with a slower backswing and a quicker backswing.  What swing gave you better results with the following:

  • Overall contact
  • Control over start line and curvature
  • Overall distance

We will often utilize our SkyTrak Launch Monitor to measure items like overall distance and ball speed.  This instant feedback allows us to compare different approaches in the game.

Backswing Speed: How a slow backswing can cost you distance?

Did you know that a slow backswing speed can actually cost you distance.  If you have not come across the Tour Tempo approach in your golf journey yet, you must check it out. 

Overall, John Novosel Jr. discovered the key to tempo in the golf swing.  What he found was that the greatest golfers swing at a 3:1 ratio in their golf swing.  Some might have a 18:6 ratio, while others with a slower backswing have a 27:9. 

However, regardless of overall timing, there is a 3:1 ratio in the professional golfers and the greatest golfers of all time.  

Here is a quick overview of some numbers from some of the greatest of all time.

PlayerTour Tempo
Tiger Woods (1997)27:9
Ernie Els24:8
Jack Nicklaus24:8
Bobby Jones27:9
Rickie Fowler18:6
Annika Sorenstam21:7
Michelle Wie21:7
Tiger Woods (2006)21:7
Check out these tempos from some great golfers. What is your tempo? Find out below how to know your numbers!

The most shocking part of this discover is that some amateur golfers swing in the 30’s or even 40’s range on their backswing and tempos have been as high as 37:14 or something disastrous. 

When these amateurs are told to speed up their backswing, not only do they hit it further as a result of more swing speed, but the contact improves.  This is fundamental 1 and 3.

So the advice to slow down is actually bad advice for many golfers.  When you are struggling, how many times have your heard the common advice that you are just “too quick”

Check out this video on Tour Tempo for a brief overall and it might blow your mind on the importance of swinging quicker in the golf swing:

Bryson DeChambeua has become the number one example of how to gain distance in the golf swing.  He has increased his backswing speed and is swinging at an 18:6 ratio.  He is intentionally swing back quicker to produce more distance.

Backswing Speed: What tempo should your backswing be at?

It can be different ranges, but it shouldn’t be slower than the 27:9 ratio.  Once you get above that number, you are losing distance and your swing actually becomes more difficult to repeat. 

I would highly recommend downloading the Tour Tempo app to practicing swinging at the 24:8 or even 21:7 ratios.  Chances are you will get better distance and ball contact.  The Tour Tempo approach also has an app that allow you to record your swing and measure where you are at. 

At first I doubted this approach, but I quickly became a believe when I had these two apps working together.  I downloaded the tempo app after paying for it and started practicing at the 21:7 beats. 

My ball contact (fundamental 1) and my distance (fundamental 3) both increased and I was surprised.  I find that my swing often measures at around 21:8 and I have to work to get to the 7 in the downswing. 

When I want some extra distance with the driver, I will focus on swinging back just a bit quicker and then my reaction time on the downswing increases as well. 

It is amazing the speed you can get in your hands and arms without feeling like you have to throw your big muscles around.

Backswing Speed: What drills can you utilize to make sure the backswing is the right speed?

I would highly recommend downloading the app on your smartphone, heading to the range with some headphones and going through the drills provided within the app. 

The evidence is pretty clear on the importance of getting yourself to the 3:1 ratio for at least better ball contact.  You just might be surprised at the overall speed and distance that you gain.

It is hard to believe at first, but I would recommend testing it out for yourself and assessing your results on the three fundamentals listed above.  Here is our complete review of the Tour Tempo system:

Tour Tempo Review: Can It Help My Game?

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing? Two Options:

SuperSpeed Golf – Read our Full Review

Gain 30-40 yards in 30 Days – Swing Man Golf

This helped me increase my swing speed from 99 mph to 106mph.

Final Thoughts on Backswing Speed

One of the great things about golf and the high usage of technology is that many of the myths surrounding the golf swing have been challenge.  Without the camera we wouldn’t have the science backgroun on the importance of the 3:1 ratio.

Also, today we are fortunate to have affordable launch monitors.  After much research, I took the leap and built my own golf simulator in my garage utilizing the SkyTrak Launch Monitor. 

I have been able to play over 700 rounds of golf on the simulator and have my own golf laboratory to test out different things in the game of golf like the Tour Tempo approach. 

I would highly recommend the golf simulator build for any serious golfer or someone looking to have fun in the game of golf.  The ability to play year round golf in the comfort of your home regardless of snow, rain or temperature is priceless. 

Check out the many posts that we have created about the golf simulator in the links below.  Rain or Shine Golf provides some impressive packages, along with great financing options.

SkyTrak Golf Simulator can be a game changer!

Take Action – What You Can Do Today to Get Better

What does this mean for you?  I believe in the following recipe to get better:

1 – Improve your motion in the golf swing by identifying a golf instructor.  Here are some options:

Here is a list of golf instructors that we have reviewed:

2 – Train to swing faster and improve your swing speed.  Here are some options:

Looking to gain more Speed and Distance in your swing. Two Options:

3 – Understand course strategy and work to break through your next barrier.  Here is a series on breaking through:

We have provided guides on how to break 100, 90, 80 and 70. Check out more below, if interested.

4 – Practice Frequently

Did you know that I build a golf simulator in my garage and have played over 500 rounds of golf on my SkyTrak system?  It has been a game changer and one worth checking out. Here are some of my other posts on golf simulators frequently asked questions:

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