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January 1, 2017

Finding the Right Rhythm

The Metronome from Eyeline Golf uses audible cues to help golfers develop a repeatable rhythm and tempo

BY: TONY L. STARKS

Rhythm is one of the most important characteristics of a successful golf swing, whether it’s a full swing or a short putt. The Metronome from Eyeline Golf uses an audible cue to help golfers develop a rhythm that’s unique to their swing by making at sound at the start of the backswing and a second sound at impact. The timing of the sounds can be customized to fit any swing,whether it’s the deliberate takeaway of a Hideki Matsuyama or the lightning quick transition of a Nick Price.

A Rhythmic Pre-Shot Routine

One of the things we watch successful players exhibit is the ability to keep their rhythm throughout the course of a round. For the great players, getting into rhythm begins well before the swing. It starts on their approach to the target, continues as they address the ball, through the waggle and into the actual swing. “One of the things I think the Metronome is really valuable for is developing a constituent pre-shot routine,” says Ron Philo Jr., PGA director of golf at Stowe (Vermont) Mountain Resort. “I read some work that I believe was by David Pelz that talked about players of the Nicklaus generation. From his research, he found that the amount of time it took from the start of the swing to the full finish was very consistent – whether it was a full swing or a short putt. Developing a rhythm to your entire golf shot routine is extremely valuable.” Philo encourages his students to practice using the Metronome so they develop this type of “holistic” rhythm.

“A lot of people don’t practice at the rate in which they play golf. They tend to sweep one ball in as soon as the last one was hit, it’s like it’s a race to the bottom of the bucket,” says Philo. “The Metronome is a great tool for helping golfers learn and be aware of their own unique rhythm.”

We see a lot of players with different rates and unique rhythms. Take Hideki Matsuyama for example, who basically stops at the top of his backswing. Then look at Nick Price who seemed to always swing the club at lightning fast speeds. Each of those rates or rhythms, while being extremely different, resulted in great success for the respective players.

“A big part of practice is the aspect of discovery, what is it that you individually need to be a successful golfer?” says Philo. “This tool helps with that process by allowing the golfer and instructor to define the ideal rhythm for the player through audible cues.”

Over two decades of teaching and coaching, Kevin Weeks has collected an extensive amount of data on the putting stroke. Utilizing various technologies and his own wherewithal, Weeks has studied the putting strokes of many great PGA Tour golfers as well as countless amateur students who’ve visited him at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club in Lemont, Illinois, where he is the PGA director of instruction.

“One of the things I’ve learned from my research is that from 12-60 feet, the time it takes to strike a putt is virtually the same,” says Weeks, a Golf MagazineTop 100 Instructor and threetime Illinois PGA Section Teacher of the Year. “From the start of the backswing to the moment of impact, the variance in time (between putts of 12-60 feet) is only about 10 milliseconds, which is nothing. So in essence, whether you’re hitting a 12 foot putt or a 60 foot putt, the stroke doesn’t really change.”

Armed with this knowledge, Weeks has his students hit a series of putts while connected to a SAM Putt Lab to determine what their individual rhythm is on putts in the 12-60 feet category. Once he knows the precise time for that individual student (duration of time from the start of the stroke, to the time of impact) he then plugs that time into the Metronome and has his student practice using the device. When the Metronome makes the first sound the golfer takes the putter back and when it makes the second sound they should be impacting the ball. It helps them develop timing, repetition and rhythm in the putting stroke.

“It’s helped many of my students with distance control, because they develop a consistent rhythm to their putts regardless of how far away from the cup they are,” says Weeks. “They develop a flow to the stroke and the memory of what a good stroke feels like becomes ingrained. The sound component is really what makes it tangible and easy to understand for the golfer.”