Editors' BlogJuly 24, 2007

Debating Stack & Tilt

__*To keep the spine over the ball, which is the goal, the player has to tilt to the left during the backswing. *Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett

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It was a good weekend for Stackers and Tilters. Besides Mike Weir's T-8 at Carnoustie, Charlie Wi tied for second in Milwaukee and Tom Scherrer won the Nationwide Tour's Price Cutter Charity Championship, his first win in seven years. Not everyone, however, is ready to embrace the method. Dallas instructors Sue Shapcott and Carrie Sperling are definitely leaning "no" on the New Tour Swing as promulgated by Andy Plummer and Michael Bennett.

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Warning: This is a bit heavy-instructional:

First,the article's presentation of the "conventional swing" bears little resemblance to the swing top instructors advocate. For example, Hank Haney preaches that the ball, hands and left eye should be stacked on top of each other at address. Haney's philosophy seems to be directly contradicted by the illustration of the "conventional" set up where shaft points to the left hip, the hands are in front of the ball and the eyes. And no reputable instructor we know advocates the finish that you presented in the article as "conventional." Plummer and Bennett are selling their method as simplercompared to the "conventional swing," but in reality they also create an extremely steep down swing that will make it harder for most golfers to hit a driver off a tee. In addition, the stack and tilt involves maneuvering the upper and lower body in an extremely precise manner to avoid hitting a fat shot as a result of not "springing up" with the legs or not driving the hips forward enough. A golfer using the stack and tilt would also be prone to hit thin shots by "springing up" too soon. The conventional swing also requires precision in its execution. Although Plummer and Bennett claim that the conventional swing will result in the club grounding out behind the ball, if a golfer moves the hips laterally to begin the downswing, the club will not bottom out behind the ball even though the spine may stay slightly behind the ball at impact. Finally, the photo used to illustrate the finish of the conventional swing sums up our criticism â¿¿ that is in no way a "conventional" finish. Weight on the right side? Arms on the chest? If there are golf instructors teaching this "conventional" method, we haven't run across them.

Mike Bennett sends this reply:

We're not saying every instructor is teaching the conventional positions we showed. Those positions come as much from what golfers do with the instruction they get as from the teachers themselves. If you tell a student to "stay in the shot," for instance, he never releases his lower body toward the target. I don't think that's what the teacher wants, but that's what the student does. When a teacher says "finish with the club over your shoulder," he might not mean to collapse the arms on the follow-through, but that's what we see. It's the students' interpretation of the teaching as much as the teaching itself. As for Stack & Tilt creating a swing that's too steep, look at what we say about the downswing. As long as the player stands up on the downswing, thrusting his hips forward and upward, the swing shallows out. You're right, without this move, the swing would be too steep. You also mention that "springing up" too soon causing thin shots. Thin contact comes from the weight being behind the ball or the arms bending or wrists breaking through the shot. If the weight and the swing centers are forward, the player can stand up without fear of hitting the ball thin.>

Interesting debate. I know two things for sure. 1. The phones of Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett are ringing off their hooks. 2. A lot of amateurs are self-administering Stack & Tilt and getting great results, at least based on their letters to us. It's not for everyone, I'm sure. But it seems to be helping a lot of us who are also looking for good weekends.

--Bob Carney

(photo: J. D. Cuban)

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