What is tempo Tyler? That is a fantastic question. The dictionary version of the word tempo go as followed
"the rate of speed of motion or activity."
I am going to take it a step further and say that tempo is our entire existence while on the golf course. Tempo to me is so much greater than the speed at which you take your backswing to downswing. Tempo is the pace in which you put your tee into the ground, the pace of your breathing, the pace of your pre-shot routine, the pace of your walking, the pace of your speaking.
Tempo by itself is a foreign language. "Hey I want you to swing this club at a 3:1 ratio" doesn't carry much weight but if I told you to pick a four syllable phrase and always make contact on the fourth syllable, you would understand that easily.
When you are confident within your tempo, you become confident with your decisions. When you are confident in your decisions, the only option is better performance.
Tempo also has the ability to affect direction. A bad shot produced with great tempo typically turns out not being a bad shot at all. Tempo is key in order to controlling your misses. If you can't control your tempo, you will also lose control of your misses. What do I mean by controlling misses? Misses that end up pin high are always better than misses that end up way long or way short. So if my tempo is solid, that means that my misses will be left and right but at least pin high, putting me in a position to be successful while failing.
Question: How do you control distance, without first controlling tempo?
Don't worry, thee is only one answer, YOU CAN'T. Tempo is the single most efficient method to matching club and yardage. Everybody in the back of their mind is comparing their 9 iron to somebody else's 9 iron.
"Oh they hit 9 iron, I can get 9 iron there" or "I used to be able to hit my 9 iron that far. I should still be able to get this there."
Both of these are a recipe for disaster. Just master your tempo and the distance the ball goes is simply a byproduct of your perfect tempo.
If you are hitting your 9 iron 150 yards when you are swinging 105% percent, than you should expect your smooth 9 iron to be going 138-143 yards.
Now let's say you have 135 yards to the pin. Instead of hitting a "should be able to get there PW" just hit a smooth tempo 9 iron, maybe grip down a little bit and now you know that it isn't going to carry further than 140 yards..........AND NOW YOU ARE WHAT WE LIKE TO CALL............PLAYING GOLF!!!!!