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Music & Golf Forging Relationship with Tempo in Motion
September 17, 2008. I don't know why it took 400 years for people to realize that musical rhythms could help groove a smooth golf swing, but this summer MP3 players have proven as lethal to a golfer's arsenal as a good gap wedge. With scientific breakthroughs like rock drummer Mike Boyko's Tempo In Motion and other sonic golf aids such as the one Vijay Singh used to surge to victory in this year's FedEx Cup, players from tour caliber to beginners are improving their golf games and enjoying the sport more than ever - all because of music.
If it's at all possible, Singh made as much news in claiming that a sonic-driven swing aid powered his late season drive to win the FedEx Cup than actually winning the actuarial formula, cryptically-scored, slow-motion points event in the first place. "I remember a humming sound in my head," Singh explained, describing how a receiver playing musical notes though headphones tells him when his swing is optimally in sync. "Then, I hum to myself on the golf course." According to reports, listening to music made Singh's already fluid rhythm more consistent with every club in his bag.
Singh isn't the only golfer grooving to music and humming their way to lower scores. "Tempo In Motion is a dynamic swing aid that transformed my golf swing," explained a grateful Craig Cassano, Ice Hockey Director of Coaches at the Winter Club in Huntington, N.Y., who has shaved at least five strokes off his handicap this season by trying the new swing aid. "The great music not only puts me in the 'Zone' while practicing, but has raised my concentration by canceling out the distractions at a busy range."
Tempo In Motion is musician Mike Boyko's contribution to the game he loves. It derived from his other true love, rock and roll. Fresh off stints with 2 Skinnee J's, Scatterbrain, Smashmouth, Ram Jam's Howie Blauvelt, and guitar virtuoso Steve Vai, Boyko - whose favorite album is Pink Floyd's classic "Dark Side of the Moon" - was sick of playing to a pedestrian 15 handicap. "I realized that by grooving to music, your body naturally mimics the beat. You find your natural tempo," Boyko said. "The golf swing is no different. So no matter what musical style fits you - metal, rock, ambient, jazz, crossover, country - we've got a track for you and your swing."
The process couldn't be easier. Visit www.tempoinmotion.com and download the track that seems the most natural for your golf swing. Then go to the range armed with your iPod, MP3 player or cell phone. "Tempo in Motion got me to hit the ball with more power," said Janet Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif. "The music and beats [called 'beat patterns' in the lingo] gave me a smoother swing, while the music adds drive to my game. I love golf so much more now!"
With all these glowing tributes and success stories, and after I learned that both the University of New Mexico and Texas A&M are doing trial studies on the product, I decided to give it a try. While on the range I just looped the Tempo In Motion track downloaded off the Internet, then just let it play in my headphones while I hit balls.
The results? There's no question that Tempo In Motion grooves your swing to repeat at the same speed - and a repeatable swing is the cornerstone of a solid golf game. I found I could get the club back easily to the top, pause properly for some lag, then drive through the ball with both improved power and, more importantly, better balance. Since I'm more relaxed, I've also inadvertently - but happily - cured a reverse pivot and flying elbow.
How about that? I cured a flying elbow without having to stick a towel under my arm. Take that, David Leadbetter!
Now let's be clear. You still need to practice, and practice hard. The golf swing is not just tempo, but timing as well. Tempo is crucial, but one also needs to create power through a proper coil and tension between the shoulder turn and hip clearance. Tempo in Motion helps you get the right speed at which to perform these maneuvers, which means the rest just got a lot easier. I can say this much after two months of working with the Tempo in Motion tracks on the range: I'm hitting a few more fairways and my ball striking has become more consistent.
Others agree. "I was amazed at the difference Tempo in Motions swing system made with feeling the individual parts of my golf swing," said Sascha Burland of Santa Fe, N.M. "I was relaxed and felt the rhythm in my body. It gave my swing an entirely different character." Burland shaved three strokes off his handicap in one season.
"You do have to practice with it," explains Bokyo. "But you don't have to use it only on the range. It's great for practice rounds on the course as well, although I don't know if your foursome would like it on the weekend, unless, of course, they were using it too. Could you imagine four guys in headphones all grooving separately with headphones on coming up the 18th fairway? That'd be the strangest thing I've seen in golf."
Nevertheless, sometimes you have to think outside the box. Golf is as much witchcraft as it is science. I've seen guys sleep with their putters, make little cooing sounds to their drivers, imploring them to "please-please-please land in the fairway," and get so flustered by this game that they threw their clubs, shoes and hat into a reservoir. One guy had to walk several holes back to his car in his tube socks, but I digress.
Tempo in Motion solidifies the physical side of your game by grooving your swing, then strengthens the mental side of your game by giving you much more confidence over the ball. We'll revisit the issue at season's end to see how well all the product testers are coming. I'll also give more updates from my practice sessions as well, but for now, watch out.
It used to be you looked at a guy's calluses to see if he was a ringer. Now you may just have to look for the headphones that might be a dead giveaway.
Update: I hit 11 out of 14 fairways last week . . . things are really improving.
Since launching his first golf writing website in 2004, http://www.jayflemma.thegolfspace.com, Jay Flemma's comparative analysis of golf designs and knowledge of golf course architecture and golf travel have garnered wide industry respect. In researching his book on America's great public golf courses (and whether they're worth the money), Jay, an associate editor of Cybergolf, has played over 220 nationally ranked public golf courses in 37 different states. Jay has played about 1,649,000 yards of golf - or roughly 938 miles. His pieces on travel and architecture appear in Golf Observer (www.golfobserver.com), Cybergolf and other print magazines. When not researching golf courses for design, value and excitement, Jay is an entertainment, copyright, Internet and trademark lawyer and an Entertainment and Internet Law professor in Manhattan. His clients have been nominated for Grammy and Emmy awards, won a Sundance Film Festival Best Director award, performed on stage and screen, and designed pop art for museums and collectors. Jay lives in Forest Hills, N.Y., and is fiercely loyal to his alma maters, Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts and Trinity College in Connecticut.
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