Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Look At Different Swing Instruction - Part III

In this part of the series we look at the Stack and Tilt swing instruction.

The Stack and Tilt was created by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, former mini-tour pros and students of Mac O'Grady and his MORAD teaching. The S&T first came to recognition with PGA Tour pro Tom Scherrer using the swing that he learned from Bennett, who were childhood friends.

Eventually the S&T started to gain more popularity on the PGA Tour and the infamous Golf Digest article was born and the Stack and Tilt name was coined.

From what I've heard, the S&T swing is more or less MORAD's swing for the low trajectory wedge and tweaked a bit so it can be used with each club throughout the bag.

The Stack and Tilt revolves around 6 principles and the belief that every good ballstriker has at least one of those principles. It's actually very focused on the position of the cranium and what needs to happen to keep that cranium from moving around a lot during the swing. That's where things like the 'spine/axis', downward left shoulder turn, inside hand path, weight leaning leftward, etc. come into play.

As the Stack and Tilt gained in popularity, it also drew the ire from many instructors as well. Eventually it lost Aaron Baddeley and Mike Weir, but has also seen great strides in the play of Charlie Wi and Troy Matteson.

PROS OF S&T: S&T preaches D-Plane and controlling the low point much more than any other instruction that is consistently in golf instruction magazines that I've ever seen. I'm a big believer that D-Plane should be as well understood as anything in golf and the S&T brings that to the forefront. I think that the 6 principles of S&T are valid and strong, but learning them all at once is a big task. I also think that the footwork it teaches is very strong, although I think that should be introduced earlier to students.

CONS OF S&T: The S&T usually sets up for the golfer to hit a push-draw to the target. I'm more into trying to hit the ball dead straight as I can because I find that if I'm a little off, the shots can still find the fairway or the green. With a stock shot of a push-draw, overhook one or even worse hit a push fade, you can tally up strokes very quickly.

I'm not sure that some of the principles are for everybody. The inside hand path works for most, but somebody like Jim Furyk may have an issue with it.

Same with the downward left shoulder turn in the backswing or the centered pivot. So the question for me is can it be deciphered quickly when one of the principles do not work for a student and can something else be taught or can there be a compromise?

Because the name of the game to me is improvement of players, not sticking by a set of principles...regardless of who you are.

I've heard a few golfers tell me that they lost distance with the S&T. My guess is that they are hitting down too steep, particularly with the driver.

Of course, a lot of this stems from golfers who just bought the book or the DVD. One of the biggest issues with S&T is that there are not a lot of qualified S&T instructors out there so many prospective S&T golfers get it wrong by trying to do it themself.

That being said, from watching enough swings, I think S&T is a great swing for lesser athletic or inexperienced golfers and female golfers because of the tendency to not pivot well enough and get enough lag into impact.

If one were to draw a 'family tree' of the golf swing instruction, it would go TGM-MORAD-Stack and Tilt.

PGA TOUR PROS USING S&T: Charlie Wi, Troy Matteson, Anna Rawson, Alex Cejka, JJ Henry, Grant Waite

INSTRUCTORS: Dana Dahlquist, Dave Wedzik, Nick Clearwater, David Orr, Dan Carraher, Steve Sieracki



Fearlessgolfer said...

Very good work, Richie. I compliment you for your gathered knowledge as well as your skill in explaining them.

Being a self taught S&T'er like many after that now famous GD article with Aaron Baddeley, I have had my struggles with S&T,especially with the big stick.

Fortunately, I met Nick Clearwater and got some much needed answers. After practicing with him, several light bulbs went on; and all that prior to the Book and the DVD.

There are so many pieces that will help anyone, if they are willing to allow to fill the gap into their weaknesses.
My distances have gotten bit longer with irons, and from what my playing partners say, my driver have gotten longer too. I still don't push draw it consistantly, but more and more cometh.

As for that "push slice?" I've had em, maybe 100yards right of right.
Working through darkness of changes which comes to everyone and it's methods, if they can preservere, with given more S&T instructors and information, anyone can improve their ball striking,IMHO.

Somehow I think S&T gets bit of bum rap due to most ppl thinking certain negative images in their mind. Until trying with a valid instruction, people shouldn't judge by it's cover.

Thomas said...

Rich: You KNOW I'm a big fan...
However, I think you diminish the method, by trying to briefly summarize. I thought it true with MORAD, and true here as well. The S&T pattern is a NOT an overdraw pattern, nor is it a two way miss pattern (push fade and overdraws). Your notion that you'd rather have a "dead straight" pattern is too simplistic. The whole idea is too CONTROL path and face...S&T aims to do that rather than have a two-way miss. Most S&Ters have a path thats inline to slightly in to out---that's a prescription for solid contact, with a baby draw bias. Among beginners, its a way to help draw the ball, early on. As you know, I'm not S&T...but I've studied it enough to point these points out... Thanks for your summaries though, as its still a nice introduction to the conceptual frameworks

Rich H. said...

I think if you put all of the S&T'ers together, the clear majority of them would be hitting push-draws. Is that bad? No. But it's something I'm not looking for. Recently I've been hitting push-draws, but it's not really what I want...but I'm taking with what I brought to the course. But my big problem is the double cross with that push-draw where it push fades and lands me in trouble. Still get a 1-way miss, but the bad miss is too big for my tastes.

Erik J. Barzeski said...

Rich, I have to agree with Thomas - the push-fade isn't a common miss, and the push-overdraw isn't either. Worst case most good S&T players will push a ball with a little bit less draw - a straight push.

Also, the "inside hand path" isn't really "inside" of anything. It's on the plane of the golf swing - shaft plane and then elbow plane. It's just "inside" what people normally prescribe, but labeling it "inside" comes off poorly.

I also think a lot of people - regular golfers - _still_ don't quite get what S&T is about. It's a fairly normal looking golf swing... and many (who take the time to learn a little) are surprised at how standard the golf swing really is.