All of us, at some time or other, have experienced the uneasy feeling that our golf swing is out of sync. It feels like we don’t have any rhythm or timing at all. Believe it or not, all you may need to get your swing in sync is a few moves using the waltz rhythm to put you back into your groove. Even if you have never danced a waltz or you say you have no rhythm, you can make this work.
I have used this method of teaching the golf swing successfully to hundreds of people. I know there are pros, like Sir Nick Faldo, who say just count 1 – 2 for a smooth swing. To get into a rhythm you need more than 2 counts. The waltz rhythm is 6 counts — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 — and it is a very natural rhythm for any swinging movement. Each count takes the same amount of time to execute and it doesn’t matter how fast you count so long as each number takes the same amount of time.
The take away starts on the one and the backswing finishes on the three. The downswing and actual contact with the ball occurs on 4 and the follow-through is during 5 and 6. During your round while standing off to the side of a tee box you can swing a club while saying this rhythm in your mind. Try this: 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6, or use this: Back 2 – 3 Through 5 – 6. The word back is the takeaway on count 1 and the word through is the contact on count 4. I must stress that each word/number must take the same amount of time to say. This rhythm works on all full swings, from wedges through long irons. Remember the completed backswing will take 3 counts and the downswing with contact and follow through will take 3 counts. The photo sequence below shows how to count out at the various points in your swing.
What if you don’t know what the waltz rhythm sounds like? There are countless waltzes in classical music that you can find on the Internet. There are also more modern pieces of music that use the waltz rhythm. My personal favorite for the golf swing is “Kiss from a Rose,” sung by Seal in 1994. A few others are the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” in 1965 and “I Want You” sung by Janet Jackson in 2004.
If you’re still not convinced this is the way to get your swing in sync, watch some video of professional golfers and use the 6-count waltz rhythm for each of their swings at normal speed, not slow motion. Some of them will have a faster tempo than others — for example, Kevin Kisner’s tempo/speed is faster than the swing of Justin Thomas and Justin Rose, who have about the same tempo. All the swings of these golfers fit the 6-count waltz rhythm.
If you want to watch an older golfer, watch Ernie Els’ or Fred Couples’ swings, which are very fluid, smooth, and rhythmic and fit the 6-count waltz rhythm too. Using the waltz rhythm will give you a smooth, repeatable swing that will be in sync every time.
Dr. Nelson Neal, was a university Professor of dance and physical education for 35 years and taught golf and tennis nearly every year. He was also the assistant golf coach at Marywood University in Pennsylvania and the Head golf coach at Lakeridge High School in Oregon.