Stack and Tilt Swing Revisited

By now you’ve probably heard of the Stack and Tilt swing model. Stack and Tilt is relatively new, but it has gained ground on the Tour. Developed by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, this new model has drawn good reviews from both veterans and youngsters. Golfers like Eric Axley, Dean Wilson, and Aaron Baddeley have all tried the new swing model. Even some veteran golfers, like Brad Faxon and Mike Weir, have tried it. Stack and Tilt sounds like a good way to cut strokes from your golf handicap.

But Stack and Tilt is controversial. It challenges time-tested principles being taught in today’s golf instruction sessions. It’s also unique. For one thing, it looks much different than other swing models because the body never moves off the ball. For another, it has golfers tilting to the front on the backswing. This forces players to spring up through impact to hit the ball, which has some experts up in arms. So while Stack and Tilt is new and different, the question remains: Can the new swing model cut strokes from your golf handicap?

Here are three key principles of Stack and Tilt, plus a brief discussion of each to help you decide if you want to try the new swing model.

Stay On The Front Foot

In golf lessons instructors teach you to shift your weight onto your back foot on the downswing. Then, shift it back to your front foot in time for impact. That’s hard to do consistently. Thus, you often end up hitting off your front foot. Stack and Tilt teaches you to start with your weight on your front foot and stay there throughout the swing. Its proponents claim this change helps golfers hit the ball solidly-and that they say is what the new swing model is all about.

Critics of Stack and Tilt reject this idea. One of the biggest problems golfers have, they say, is coming down into the ball too steeply. If they lean forward, as the new swing model suggest, they run the risk of making their swing even steeper, unless they dramatically tilt their spines away from the target on the downswing. That’s extremely difficult in the milliseconds it takes to swing down, leading to mis-hits. It’s easier, they say, to learn to shift your weight

Tilt Of The Hips

Golf lessons also tell players to stay in their address positions through their swing. Stack and Tilt disagrees. It says that your body has a limited capacity to turn when your hips are titled toward the ball, as they are at address. If you stay in that position through impact, the body stops turning, killing momentum and clubhead speed. Stack and Tilt encourages you to release that forward tilt by having you thrust your hips upward. It’s a move you often see other athletes make, like baseball players.

Critics of Stack and Tilt say there’s definitely a weight shift in the modern swing. They also say that anything can be overdone, including lateral motion, causing mis-hits. But if you look at many of the great golf swings, like Ben Hogan’s, you’ll see there is clearly lateral motion in them.

Flex Your Spine Away

In addition, Stack and Tilt holds that players must flex their spines away from the target on the downswing. The upward thrust of the hips is coupled with the forward flexing of the upper body. The top half of the spine must then stretch back, tilting away from the target. When the spine goes back and the hips release, the body has great rotational power. Plus the arms are stretched and straightened through impact.

Critics of Stack and Tilt say the model requires great flexibility. Without that, mainly coming from the mid-back, this swing model places a tremendous amount of sheer force on the lumbar back. Sheering is the most destructive force the lumbar spine has to deal with. In addition, Stack and Till places increased load on the front knee. Players with damaged or arthritic leads knees could make them worse.

If you’re thinking of trying the Stack and Tilt to cut strokes from your golf handicap, keep one thing mind. Many of the games most noted golf instructors don’t teach a system. They teach individuals in golf lessons. These instructors don’t believe there’s one set of fundamentals for all players. So while Stack and Tilt may be right for some, it may not be right for you.