Will “stack and tilt” work for me?

stack-and-tilt

Golf is one of the most popular games in the world, not only is it highly challenging, it also provides multiple benefits to golfers such as improved concentration, a good source of manageable exercise, competitive tension and of course the chance to complete that all important business deal in a congenial surrounding.

For those individuals blessed with a natural talent for the sport, there are multiple techniques and methodologies that can be employed to play the game more professionally.

With golf there is no “one size fits all solution”, and often when conventional teachings seemingly fail to hit the mark, often solace is sought in the latest fad, and maybe a reference to what the tour players are experimenting with. Every thing starts and ends with the swing, and nothing has caused quite the fur ore in recent yeas than the “Stack & Tilt” approach.

What is Stack and Tilt?

Developed by Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer in a quest for consistent improvement in their own games, their work has morphed into a global network of instructors who work together to break down complex data and biomechanics into simple, teachable concepts.

The Stack and Tilt approach is one method that has proven very popular with Tour professionals and which is now becoming more widely accepted amongst club golfers.

Not only does the swing theory and approach differ considerably to conventional teaching, protagonists claim that the method involves less stress, tension and compression on the body (one of the reasons why Tiger Woods was an early evangelist), it is also relatively straight forward conceptually, and easy to visualize. Some say this promotes a more simplistic transition into re-grooving the swing.

Either way, many leading players are hailing this technique as being the deciding factor in their achieving more consistency in shot making and overall quality of ball striking. The ‘stack’ refers to the weight of the body on the frontal leg and the ’tilt’ refers to the angling of the spine towards the goal.

How does it work?

The Stack & Tilt Swing is a mechanically simpler way to hit the ball. The Basics (for a right-handed golfer) are keeping your weight forward with your left shoulder pointed downwards. Hands are positioned slightly further into the body, with both arms straight. Key is keeping the right leg straight.

The convention has always been to turn with your weight evenly distributed, moving onto the back leg and then transferring this onto the left leg on the downswing. This has always (for me at least), resulted in a positive sway and lateral body movement which has always meant that returning to a consistent position and therefore ball strike at impact has been difficult, if nigh on impossible.

Maintaining the posture is more beneficial because it enables more control over the direction and the force of the swing.

Here is a great video courtesy of elite teaching professional James Ridyard outlining the basic fundamentals. James is regular contributor to Today’s Golfer.

 

Why is ‘Stack and Tilt’ better?

Whether you buy into the theory or not, proponents advocate that Stack and Tilt has many key advantages over the Status Quo. Here are the key differentiators:

1) Balance: Due to the difference in posture when compared to the traditional method, the Stack and Tilt approach provides an opportunity for the golfer to be more grounded and have a solid foothold. The main aspects include holding the head still and training the movements to be more structured.

2) Consistent Results: Comparatively, the results for this method are far more systematic and constant. With less body movement, arms now feeling connected to the torso and the shorter backswing the technique promotes, the swing is much easier to repeat.

3) Power and Control: Arguably employing the Stack and tilt method enhances the power of a shot as its approach involves a gentle hip slide rather than the traditional method of turning the hips. Sliding your hips helps prevent slicing and provides more power to the swing. We are traditionally taught to rotate our hips throughout the swing, however this can potentially promote a pulling of the club across the ball.

Experts profess that sliding the hips allows you hit a gentler curve while also swallowing the club’s descent and setting up your body to support the swing — all of which adds up to a more solid strike.

Sean Foley one of the best-known coaches of this controversial method sums it up… “Pushing the hips forward and upward on the downswing allows the body to keep turning. The feeling is that the butt tucks under the upper body as the hips slide forward. This is a major power move because it releases the hips from their tilt toward the ball, increasing their range of motion so they can continue to turn through the shot”.

Details of local center’s practicing this new technique can be found on Mike and Andy’s website together with lot’s of other key and relevant information http://stackandtilt.com/golfers/.

Conclusion:

The evidence as to whether this technique is proving successful might be found in Tour results. Mike and Andy’s premier student, Charlie Wi who banked $1.5 million in 2010, and three others (Bill Lunde, J.J. Henry, Alex Cejka) finishing 1, 2, 3 at the Turning Stone Resort Championship in August of the same year, would I am sure argue the case for the defense.

Tiger famously employed Sean Foley who helped his protégé to eight PGA Tour events, but no majors, still no mean feat. Ultimately the love affair ended, however Foley’s star has continued to shine, with Sean O’Hair, Stephen Ames, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose and Hunter Mahan all seeking the direction of Foley at various points in their careers.

For some the jury is out, Ben Hogan one of the greatest players of all time might well be turning in his grave at the mere thought of of a “reverse pivot” being deployed to help improve consistency of ball striking.

In his seminal book “The modern fundamentals of golf” one of the most popular and widely regarded golf instruction books of all time, the consistency of the golf swing, Hogan argues, is anchored in five principle lessons, which added together create power through “coiling” or rotating instead of tilting.

It would be a brave man to challenge the teachings of a golfing legend, one of my favorite quotes on Hogan, which typifies his style, is:

“HEY DID YOU HEAR THE ONE ABOUT WHY HOGAN COULDN’T PLAY 36 HOLES IN ONE DAY? BECAUSE HIS AFTERNOON TEE SHOTS WOULD LAND IN HIS MORNING DIVOTS!”

He was clearly doing something right! Whether the conventional method as endorsed by the likes of Hogan and his not inconsiderable amount of followers, or the “Stack and tilt” method suits you best, can only be decided after sampling both.

I will leave you with a quote from Hogan which despite your leanings (no pun intended), encapsulates the feeling I have for this great game despite whichever expert I happen to be listening to at the time.

“WHETHER MY SCHEDULE FOR THE FOLLOWING DAY CALLED FOR A TOURNAMENT ROUND OR MERELY A TRIP TO THE PRACTICE TEE, THE PROSPECT THAT THERE WAS GOING TO BE GOLF IN IT MADE ME FEEL PRIVILEGED AND EXTREMELY HAPPY, AND I COULD NOT WAIT FOR THE SUN TO COME UP THE NEXT MORING SO I COULD HEAD TO THE COURSE AGAIN.”

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