Rock/Hip-hop Drummer uses Beats, Music to Lower Handicap

By: Jay Flemma


Mike Boyko played drums in sold-out arenas and rock clubs around the World. He has a world-class resume for a musician, playing with Two Skinnee J's, Ram Jam's Howie Blauvelt, John Waite and guitar virtuoso Steve Vai. As a musician, Mike performed on the same bill as Outkast, Ludacris, Jurassic 5, Incubus and 311. As the drummer of the UK pop-rock band FAT, he toured with such bands as Smashmouth, Third Eye Blind and Sugar Ray. Now, Mike is putting his drumming prowess to good use: he's helping golfers lower their handicaps with his "Tempo in Motion" music downloads.

"I was in the studio, playing with 'Fat,' and was drumming to a rhythm track in my headphones," he begins with some nostalgia. "I'd listen to the beat in my head, then I'd take my headphones off, and I'd be rock-solid playing the beat. Then I had an idea: maybe this can translate to the golf swing," he finishes with a flourish.

With that, "Tempo in Motion" was born. All Mike needed to do to lower his handicap was to translate his natural rhythm as a musician to his golf swing. Boyko simply played and recorded musical tracks that had beats mirroring the tempo of his swing. He calls these tracks "click patterns." He then plays the tracks over and over again on his portable music player to groove the tempo of his swing.

"I was in my studio, which is now my golf lab, and would write a track, then I'd put a click pattern within the track - beat that mimicked the speed of my swing - and then take it with me to the range or to the golf course."

The results were astounding. "I got instant feedback. My swing became solid," Boyko exclaims. His tempo became self-actualizing, second nature. "I got amazing response at the range. I was hitting the ball a lot more solidly, because I wasn't thinking about my mechanics."

Mike's handicap before applying his music to his golf swing was around 14 or 15. Now? "I'm a 2," Mike says happily. "I've been shooting under par consistently. One day I had five birdies in a row and shot a 68. But more importantly, my confidence has become rock solid. I've been shooting around even par."

It took Boyko only a little over a year, working solidly on his game, to lower his handicap that far. Still working as a musician, he pulled an Alice Cooper and devoted several hours a day to practicing on the range. "No question about it, you do have to practice, but the tempos from the beats I recorded helped my long swing by slowing down my tempo and giving me a repeatable rhythm that became the foundation of a solid golf swing. Music slows me down, prevents me from rushing the stroke, and keeps me loose so I can just hit the ball. Working with the tracks, your swing develops smoothly. You don't speed up or slow down; you use the rhythm to focus your mind and your body."

Mike practiced between three and four hours at the range every day to lower his handicap to almost scratch in just over a year. But while he agrees that practice is required to groove a solid, rhythmic golf swing, he firmly believes music was the key to unlocking his tempo. He’s recorded a wide range of tracks with a varied array of click patterns - slow, fast, somewhere in between, whatever soundtrack any golfer might swing to - and features them on his Tempo in Motion website, http://www.tempoinmotion.com/.

After all, what does Tempo in Motion really do? It grooves you're your swing to be consistent. Tempo in Motion helps develop muscle memory so you can repeat a solid, well-timed golf swing that's uniquely tailored to your natural rhythm.

"Anyone who comes to the website needs to find the tempo that's right for them," Boyko states. So on his website, there's an avatar - a character seemingly right out of a video game - that swings at different speeds, takeaway, pause at the top, and then impact, depending on how fast the track purchaser swings the club normally. "You set him up to swing at the same speed you do," Mike says. "The click patterns serve as cues for when users should start the backswing, start their downswing, and make contact with the ball. The click patterns are paired with original, high-energy music to help users stay in rhythm using whatever style of music they prefer.

"Then just download any one of the many tracks that feature that click pattern. There's everything from hip-hop, to rock, to jazz and everything in between. There's a track for everybody, whatever their swing speed or rhythm. Then they can simply download the track and take it with them to the range or the course."

You'll love the website, especially if you're into music history: Gary G-Whiz from Public Enemy - one of the Bomb Squad - did his website.

Anyway, the tracks can be loaded onto an MP3 player and used anywhere to help find, maintain and ingrain proper swing tempo in muscle memory. The tracks are available for $2.99 each and can be easily downloaded onto any portable music player, including the iPod. The site also contains instructional videos and interactive tools to help golfers find their correct tempo so they can download the tracks they're most comfortable with.

Tempo in Motion will be doing this for baseball, football and tennis as well. "We even have two applications for football to roll out in the future: one for quarterbacks and another for kickers. That way QBs can count 'one, two, THROW' to work on timing patterns." The tennis application works well in establishing a good tempo for the serve or for ground strokes.



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.

GolfVite Updates


CBS Sports Official Partner