Thursday, April 16, 2009

TGM, S&T and SliceFixer

I've seen a lot of questions in regards to three popular teaching methods, 'The Golfing Machine', 'Stack & Tilt' and the 'SliceFixer' method and people want to know the differences and similarities. So, here's my shot of trying to explain it.

Most people do not understand the concept and spirit of 'The Golfing Machine.' First, it's not a 'method.' It's basically stating that there are almost countless ways to effectively hit a golf ball and then it catologues all of the ways. Homer Kelley looked at the golf swing as a 'machine' (hence the name) and stated that there are 24 parts to this particular machine and each of those parts can have 12-15 variations.

Furthermore, there are only 3 imperatives that the 'machine' must have:

  1. Flat Left Wrist

  2. Clubhead Lag Pressure Point

  3. Straight Plane Lines

In essence, The Golfing Machine goes over every different method to hit a golf ball effectively and can explain each method which includes the Stack and Tilt and the SliceFixer method. And the spirit of The Golfing Machine is not to say that one method is the best or the worst, but that there is a best method for each individual, thus it's a customizable method. To add, The Golfing Machine does not care for wholesale swing changes, but more or less finding the parts of the 'machine' that are producing unsatisfactory results and make tweaks and adjustments to those particular parts so the golfer can start developing satisfactory results.

What it comes down to is that a person who understands 'The Golfing Machine' can take a look at a swing and break it down. Fred Couples has a very different golf swing from Sergio Garcia. But from it, I could categorize their grips, hinge actions release actions, plane shifts, delivery paths, etc.

The Stack & Tilt is one method of hitting the golf ball effectively. Unlike 'The Golfing Machine' which goes over almost every method under the sun of hitting the ball effectively, the Stack and Tilt is just one particular method of hitting the ball effectively.

The inventor of the Stack & Tilt is still a bit unknown. Some say that Mac O'Grady invented the Stack & Tilt and is indeed one of the patterns he developed mostly for short iron shots with a low trajectory window. Others say that Mike Bennett & Andy Plummer came up with the idea after working with O'Grady and taking some of the knowledge that he gave them.

Either way, O'Grady, Bennett and Plummer are all well versed in 'The Golfing Machine.' One of the aspects of The Golfing Machine is 'low point' which is the lowest point the clubhead will travel in the golf swing. The Stack & Tilt method promotes a way of 'ensuring' the golfer's low point will be correct so the can properly compress the ball.

So again, the Stack and Tilt is one method to hitting the ball effectively that was developed by people who used their knowledge of 'The Golfing Machine' to create the Stack and Tilt pattern.

The SliceFixer (aka Geoff Jones) method is based mainly around the '9-3 drill.' This drill consists of swinging the club back until the left arm is at '9 o'clock' and then swinging down until the right arm is at '3 o'clock' in the follow through. One of the main keys is that after impact the hands are supposed to go 'low and left', creating a 'centripetal release.' This type of pattern is very much based off they style of swing Ben Hogan utilized.

Like the Stack & Tilt the SliceFixer method is just one method of hitting the ball effectively. It's actually very much like the 4-barrel hitter pattern described in 'The Golfing Machine.' The 4-barrel method means the golfer uses all 4 of the power accumulators as described in 'The Golfing Machine.' Homer Kelley described this as the most dynamic golf swing available. However, Mr. Kelley made sure to note that a golfer with a well executed and consistent '3 barrel' swing (only using 3 of the 4 power accumulators) would be more effective than an improperly and inconsistently executed 4-barrel swing.

And as Homer Kelley describes, there is no 'best' or 'worst' golf swing, but there is a 'best' type of swing for each golfer. Just as the Stack & Tilt method may not work best for some people, the SliceFixer method may not work for many people (personally I believe most golfers need to get on the elbow plane on the downswing to use the method and/or have quite a bit of forward shaft lean at impact).

Where The Golfing Machine sometimes fails is that many Authorized Instructors tend to fall in love with or only feel comfortable teaching a particular type of swing pattern or two. Also the Stack and Tilt and the SliceFixer method really preach the pivot action in the swing and many Authorized Instructors tend to focus more on 'educating the hands' while the pivot takes a backseat.

But again, think of it this way:

The Golfing Machine = catalogues and understands almost countless patterns.

Stack and Tilt = one method of hitting the ball.

SliceFixer = one method of hitting the ball.

The Golfing Machine = explains the S&T and the SliceFixer method (along with the countless other patterns).



Anonymous said...

Interesting post....

I think all are viable information...but even more important is the instructor's ability to effectively communicate what they are teaching and student's commitment to not mix/match messages from other methods into what they are working on

Rich H. said...

Perhaps, although TGM is not a method (at least in my opinion). I do have a hard time believing that a golfer who is learning the stack and tilt or any method cannot take a message from another method.

TGM sort of works in the way of 'if you do this in your swing, then you can have this, this or this variation of a particular component, but stay away from doing that particular variation of the component because it won't work. Then if somebody has a different type of swing, they may be able to use that variation of a component that we just told the other golfer to stay away from.

So the instructor's ability to communicate is important. It's important to have many different ways to get your point across because some 'swing thoughts or swing feels' won't click with a golfer. And it's important for any instructor, be it the wide range of swings that TGM has or the particular swings of S&T or SliceFixer's to find the swing that works best for that particular student.

Anonymous said...

Well said. Thanks for the breakdown.

DHC1 said...

Do you have a suggestion on how to determine which swing method (S&T, Slicefixer, Jeff Mann) fits with any particular person / swing? Right now, I'm in the precarious position of taking things from each and suffice to say that they're not mixing well.

Thanks in advance. FYI - I think you answered my original question on OrrGolf (quixotic quest for a golf swing).