Stack and Tilt Golf Swing – What Does That Mean?

There has been a lot of talk over the past few years about the so-called stack and tilt golf swing. Apparently about two dozen PGA Tour players have adopted it, including some champions like Rick Weir and Zach Johnson, as well as Aussie Aaron Baddeley, among others. This article will explain where the terms stack and tilt come from and what is going on with this approach to the golf swing.

So What’s With “Stack and Tilt”?

It is really a catchy little phrase that has worked well for the people who promote and teach it. If you are like I was, you are asking yourself, “what is stacking and what is tilting”? Well, here’s an explanation I found while viewing some videos in trying to search for an answer. And by the way the answer is not obvious, in case you are wondering why you can’t figure it out for yourself.

Here’s the deal- the stack and tilt golf swing basically says that most of the golfer’s weight should be kept on his left side during the swing (about 60%), and also that the player’s head should remain pretty much in the same position throughout the swing rather than swaying backwards. His left side should not move backwards much during the backswing but should stay pretty much in the same position it was during set up. In addition, his swing is a bit more upright than flat.

So what does that have to do with stack and tilt? Not much, but here’s the explanation I found. When the golfer has completed his backswing using the guidelines mentioned, his shoulders are vertically in line with each other approximately over his left hip. So his shoulders are said to be “stacked” at that point. (All discussion in this article refers to a right handed player, so lefties just need to reverse things.) Also, at this point the golfer’s back is more or less facing the target, and if his head has been kept in the same place it was at the start of the swing, his spine will necessarily “tilt”.

So there you have it, stack and tilt. If you think that explanation is a bit obscure, I couldn’t agree more, but then again, who cares? It is a catchy little phrase, and the fact that this swing has been adopted by some of the PGA Tour’s top players means that it must be bringing something to the party. Let’s discuss now why this approach has been adopted and if it should be used by weekend golfers like you and me.

Why Players Go to the Stack and Tilt

A lot of swing instructors teach that during the backswing it is OK for the head to move backwards a bit, or sway, especially for the driver. Some of these teachers even advocate keeping the head behind the ball to generate more power. The problem with this approach is that sometimes a player cannot fully transfer his weight to the left side at impact, and the club strikes the ball with the face open. Obviously this means a pushed shot to the right. All this is true with the other clubs in the bag as well, not just the driver. So if you are a player who seems to consistently push shots off to the right, this approach might be worth a try.

Who Should Not Use the Stack and Tilt?

As we all know, some recreational golfers don’t have the prettiest or the most effective swings (to put it in the form of understatement). Some in fact keep way too much of their body weight on the left side as it is. So here you have some players that already have too much weight on the left side and who cannot get through the ball squarely at impact. Trying to exaggerate this even more will not help those golfers. So you have to be aware of your weight distribution at set-up, how squarely you get through the ball, and whether you are prone to pushing shots.

Give it a Shot

So if you are in fact a golfer that has a problem with pushing a lot of shots, it is easy to give this swing approach a try. Don’t worry about “stacking” and “tilting”, just address the ball with about 60% of your weight on your left side. Imagine there is a stick or something touching your left hip at address. Keep you left side touching that stick throughout the swing, and you have just tried the stack and tilt. Think about not moving your head backward during the backswing, and this will help. Try it on the range first, of course, and develop a little muscle memory. Despite the name, the stack and tilt is not a big mystery and is easy to try.

One last word, there a lot of short videos on YouTube which discuss the stack and tilt golf swing. They are worth a look if you want to pursue this.