The marriage of rhythm and tempo is the foundation of the golf swing. If this part isn’t right, nothing else matters.
Rhythm is the relative duration of different parts of the swing. Tempo refers to the overall duration of the swing.
The rhythm and tempo that suit your golf swing are personal matters, to be determined by yourself for you alone, by this simple procedure. Take a stance with your feet together, heels touching. Swing the club fully a few times. That’s your rhythm, that’s your tempo.
Now we apply them.
You know that taking the club away from a dead stop can cause you to jerk it off course. Taking the club away smoothly is not easy to do.
Many golfers solve that problem by having a forward press of some kind to give the takeaway a rhythm to play off of so the taking away movement does not begin from a dead stop.
Other golfers solve it by staying in constant motion, with their hands, their feet, all the way up to the point of takeaway. But there is a better way.
The real state of affairs is not that the body starts from a stop, but that the mind starts from a stop. Mind leads body. We get the mind moving and the body follows that movement.
We divide the rhythm of a golf stroke into four parts.
The count of One is a small movement in the mind toward the target. That gives the body the feeling that it is moving, even though it does not move.
The count of Two is a movement in the mind away from the target which the body follows by taking the club away from the ball. This real movement follows the imaginary movement of count One without a hitch.
The count of Three is a movement in the mind back toward the ball which the body again follows.
The count of Four is the mind coming to a calm repose following the completion of the swing.
Tempo is the same. It exists in your mind and gets expressed by the body. The speed of the swing in the heels-together exercise was set not by your body, but by your mind telling you this is the fastest you can swing from this position.
In your normal swing, all you have to do is repeat that tempo in your mind and your body will follow.