The Deception

When Stack & Tilt first appeared as a cover story on Golf Digest in June 2007, it made claims of it being the way most past champions move their body when swinging the club. In December 2009, Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer also appeared on the Charlie Rose show espousing their technique further by showing pictures of past champions. This is where the deception starts.

Many may recall their (Bennett & Plummer) marquee student Aaron Baddeley in the article, demonstrating in photos the leaning of the spine toward the target. Two years later on the Charlie Rose show, the two showed photos of past greats Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller at the top of their respective back-swing positions. They claimed the photos accurately demonstrated how each of these great players had their spine (upper body) leaning or tilting toward the target rather than away. Of course anything could be further from the truth.

In Aaron Baddeley’s original swing, he started with his weight relatively equal (50/50) on both feet with his head slightly behind his center especially with the driver. From this starting position his upper body rotation during the back-swing motion would naturally place more weight or pressure onto is right leg leaving less on the left at the summit of the backswing. Aaron’s never had an overly aggressive lateral lower body move during the downswing (ala Tom Lehman) which would not always get him back to his left side effectively (and again especially with the driver). He would lose accuracy as a result.

Fast forward to him working with Plummer and Bennett; they had Aaron start with more weight on the left at address and use the “tilt” of the spine toward the target during the backswing, simply as a drill and as a means to not turn off the ball too much. This however was not explained in the initial article and if you study video of Aaron at this time (

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTL8-1iuvd8&feature=player_embedded

), his spine simply turned as before with no tilt toward the target whatsoever and actually away from the target as usual. Due to his starting position favoring the left side, his weight became more equal at the summit of the backswing making it easier to simply fall back onto his left side during the initiation of his downswing and fire through. Being properly posted up on the left side (rh golfer) before firing (turning the hips with speed) is not only a key to solid ball striking but accuracy. This has remained with Baddeley although he no longer works with Plummer and Bennett. For this they helped him however, the fact the two instructors allowed such an egregious display of what Baddeley was doing in the Golf Digest article is simply irresponsible and deceptive, unless of course they believe it to be the truth.

Once again fast forward to the Charlie Rose televised interview in December 2009. The photos of the aforementioned great players in which both instructors insist show the forward spine tilt and the way all the greats swung the club is BEYOND deceptive. Any instructor with half an eye can easily decipher that the angle from where these photos were taken was well behind the players and not face on at the center of the body, although this is what both Plummer and Bennett would like everyone to believe.

See for yourself as you watch here: http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/10775 There is no doubt I may be offending some Stack & Tilt converts with this article. Some may say that it was the editors of Golf Digest who insisted on a name for the technique and to include the tilt of the spine toward the target for “shock effect”. After all they do have to sell magazines. Stack and Tilt aficionados may also make claims that what Plummer and Bennett are referring to with the “Tilt” portion of their technique is the forward tilt of the spine toward the ball (steeper shoulder plane). I cannot agree with these contentions entirely because both instructors continue to adamantly espouse the viewpoint of a spine that tilts toward the target to be corrected on the downswing by a forward hip thrust. The turning of the hips (transverse hip rotation) toward the target, not a thrust, allows for the upper spine to tilt back away from the target naturally.

Bottom line for the golfer who has a difficult time in getting back on their left side effectively (rh golfer) during the downswing, starting with the weight slightly left at address while the head is centered and remains centered between the feet during the back-swing, will make the job much easier, without employing a spine tilt toward the target.

David Hill

Is a certified examiner for the USGTF and a ranked instructor.

• 24 year golf professional • USGTF Master Professional • Class Member Canadian PGA • Over 25000 lessons given in career • Director of Instruction Elm Ridge CC Montreal Canada • Owner Montreal Golf Academy (4 Locations) • President/Owner Marquis Golf (Corporate Golf/Travel) • Top 50 Canadian Teacher (National Post) • Top 100 USGTF Teacher
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