Editors' BlogAugust 28, 2007

Stack & Tilt: Medical Issues

This is long, but it's worth it. It's from a leading orthopedic surgeon, Dr. H. Morton Bertram III, of Naples, Florida, who speaks to the question of joint and back strain in the Stack & Tilt swing, both from the perspective of a doctor and of a good player who has adopted the swing:


I feel uniquely qualified to comment on the "Stack and Tilt" swing theory. I am an orthopaedic surgeon that specializes in the surgical treatment of the arthritic knee and hip and have been a scratch or better player for the last 34 years. First of all, > this swing is not new. I have looked at pictures of Snead and Hogan swinging the golf club since I was 14 years old. The one thing I noticed, but was ashamed to comment on for fear of being ridiculed, was how much on their left sides they stayed during the golf swing. It is most noticeable when viewed from behind the person swinging the club. Hogan was quoted as saying one time when asked about putting weight on his right side during the swing, "why would I do that when this (on his left side) is where I want to end up". Nicklaus always stayed, as he puts it, "on top of the ball". His swing had unique idiosyncrasies because he had polio as a child and had one leg shorter than the other. When he set up to the ball, his pelvic tilt from his leg length discrepancy made him appear more on his right side at address than he actually was. With his narrow stance, he did not have any significant weight shift. Snead, the most gifted athlete to ever play the game, also was on his left side during the entire swing. I applaud Plummer and Bennett for speaking their minds and sticking to their guns. They have been working on this formula for years, and it is not something they have tried to sensationalize or publicize in any way. The word has just gotten out because of their pupils' incredible successes. From a purely musculoskeletal point of view, this swing is easier on all parts of the body than what is currently taught. It is easier on the back, and there is not one iota of truth that this will cause knee or hip problems. It does not require more flexibility, quite the contrary. If this stiff 50-year-old can hit the ball better and longer with this swing, and I can, anyone can improve their ball striking.....>

Given that we've had players and physical therapists arguing the opposite, one can only conclude that not everyone's doing S&T the same way. Be careful out there.

--Bob Carney

(Sequence photo: J.D. Cuban)

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