I’ve talked before about the tempo of the golf swing (the difference between the time of the back swing vs the down swing from the top to impact), which is different from how fast one swing (time from beginning the takeaway to impact).
It seems to me that Tiger Woods is actually off on both counts, from my cursory examination.
It was my impression the past 3 Tour events in which he played that he was swinging faster than in the past, but I assumed his tempo was still the 3-1 tempo you want – that is, the takeaway to the top should be 3 times longer than the down swing to impact.
Bear in mind that I don’t have NASA quality equipment to measure things to the microsecond, but a swing clip in real time with 30 fps can give you a rough idea of what’s going on with swing time, and that’s what I looked at this morning.
I took a look at one of my own driver swings from my clip archives, and my swing “time” has always been over 1 second from the takeaway to impact:
DJ Hitting Driver – 2017
If you can’t see the numbers in the bottom right corner of each frame, I take between .83 to .87 to get to my transition (you can’t get the exact point when frames are .03 seconds apart, so let’s take the middle and make it .85 seconds), and I got to impact at 1.13 seconds.
It’s roughly a 3-1 tempo, which is what you want.
In Tiger Woods’ heyday, his swing “time” was at least 1 second long, sometimes longer, and with that 3-1 tempo.
He’s lost it from time to time, and he’s lost it again, it seems.
First of all, he’s swinging really fast in terms of the swing time from address to impact, not even 1 second with the driver on a swing from the weekend:
Tiger Woods Driver – 2018
If you can’t see the clock numbers in the bottom right of each frame, he takes between .73 to .77 seconds to the top and then is at impact by .97 seconds, compared to my 1.13 seconds.
Back in 2006, the last year in which he won 2 majors and didn’t have the knee issues (injured in 2007) that would require surgery in the spring of 2008 (if you recall, he played in the 2008 U.S. Open having suffered two hairline fractures in his left tibia while recovering from earlier knee surgery following the Masters), his driver swing “time” was at least 1 second:
Tiger Woods Driver – 2006
Now, if you don’t think .03 of a second in difference between 2006 and now is significant, it’s not just that it’s a little shorter swing time – it’s where he’s swinging much faster, and that is in the down swing, which is not good.
He took between .70 and .73 seconds to get to the transition in 2006, which means that if we take his transition to be in the middle, at .71 to .72 seconds, he was taking at least .28 seconds to get to impact from the top in 2006.
In the swing from last weekend, he’s taking longer to get to transition by a sliver (between .73 & .77), if you take the middle at .75 seconds, he’s only taking .22 seconds to get to impact coming down.
That means he’s got an even more violent change of direction (longer back swing time, less time to impact), and with a difference of around 25% to 30% shorter down swing time, you now see how it’s quite significant.
Where his down swing to impact before was nearly 3 tenths of a second, now it’s just over 2 tenths of a second, and simple math tells you that this is a big difference percentage-wise.
He’s taking a fraction longer in his back swing yet getting to impact faster , which means he’s really torquing that torso and core to swing down to impact, and that is the last thing you want to be doing after 4 back surgeries (the last being a fusion), and at 42 years of age.
Violent Change Of Direction – Not Good
I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t predict he is going to injure his back again, since it takes years to do so at times and he’s more stable in his back now with the fusion process – but what I can tell you is that he’s really, really playing with fire swinging this hard and fast after what he’s done to his body.
Is it that he expects to go down again and figures that he can win a few more events and possibly snag another major before something happens?
Whatever the scenario, it’s why he’s having a terrible time on the tee blocks, because swinging faster from the top to impact leaves you less time to get it right and if you’re relying on timing:
…it gets even harder.
And of course, since my ultimate goal when swinging a golf club is to do so with the least risk of injuring oneself (not to mention that the better your swing, the better your ball-striking will be), I’m appalled at the glowing praise analysts are heaping on this swing Tiger Woods is currently playing with.
I have never been a bandwagon rider, so despite the fact that everyone on television seems to love his new swing, I remain adamant in my opinion that, from what I’ve seen to date, it’s as bad as his worst swings under Sean Foley and I’ll leave it at that.
It’s actually Exhibit A in any presentation on how bad the Modern Golf Swing methodology is for your body when it comes to torquing the back to produce speed and power, and I can’t believe what I’m hearing on TV when analysts rave about it.
Back Pain or Back Injury Swinging a Golf Club?
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If You Answered “Yes” To Any Of The Above Questions, The Answer Is In The Formula For The Golf Swing: