Foley admits that he enjoyed discussing the intricacies of the swing with Plummer and Bennett, whom he likes and respects, but ultimately, he credits them with “maybe 5 percent” of the inspiration behind his own, very similar, swing ideas.
“Andy and Mike are very bright guys, but how much of what they teach is Mac O’Grady?” Foley said of golf’s Bobby Fisher, a tortured genius who’s spent years breaking down the secrets of golf.
“And how much did they take from (Sam) Snead and (Ben) Hogan? And how much of it is taken from (Isaac) Newton?”
“Mike and Andy aren’t reinventing the wheel,” Foley said. “Like me, they watched old school players hit it good and realized there was something to what they were doing, but they didn’t invent the 1950 golf move.”When I saw this quote it reminded me a lot of David Leadbetter aping a lot of Jimmy Ballard’s work and then creating the ‘swing link’ training aid, which was really Ballard’s training aid and pocketing the money for himself. The problem was back then without the internet and without instruction being as highly marketed as it is today, nobody really cared if one instructor aped stuff from another instructor for their own profit. Plus, Ballard was/is a bit ‘rough around the edges’ when it comes to saying the right things and was/is a bit of a rebel when it comes to the PGA. In fact, Ballard hasn’t been PGA certified for 30 years.
The most obvious difference between Stack and Tilt and Foley is that all the players taught by Plummer and Bennett swing very much alike.
Foley’s three highest-profile students (before Woods), Sean O’Hair, Hunter Mahan and Justin Rose, don’t swing anything alike.
“Stack and Tilt is one method of swinging,” Foley said. “If it’s such a great system, then why are people coming for a ‘watered-down version’ from me?”
The same thing happened with a lot of TGM instruction where instructors would take bits and pieces of the stuff that they could understand for their own good and then claim TGM was ‘worthless’ or some other demeaning adjective. Dr. Gary Wiren developed most of the training aids we see today like the impact bag and that and other training aids were based very much on the core TGM fundamentals.
There’s also Mac O’Grady when guys were trying to do stuff like CP and CF Release for years on the Tour based off of what other instructors learned from O’Grady only to claim that MORAD (O’Grady’s golf research) was ‘too complicated’ and ‘worthless.’ Like Ballard, O’Grady was a rebel in the PGA circles and those who saw that his stuff was being lifted often didn’t care.
But with Plummer and Bennett, both certified by the PGA and with the internet and instruction being what it is today, I think it’s more difficult to ape somebody’s stuff and get away with it. While Plummer and Bennett have drawn the ire of many teaching professionals (particularly O’Grady and Ballard), they don’t have that rebel and ‘kook’ stigma attached to them.
So we’ve seen this stuff before and it will most likely continue to happen. Perhaps it’s something we should have seen with Foley before. Here’s a quote from Mark Evershed’s blog
At one time Sean Foley used to credit me for helping to guide his teaching. Since making it big, he has taken the attitude that no one helped him.Foley’s first assertion is that only 5% of his work is influenced by Plummer and Bennett. I call bullshit on that one.
First, Foley consistently went to Plummer and Bennett for insight, info and advice on the swing and their Stack and Tilt golf swing. From what I’ve been told he did this while traveling the PGA Tour and did it for over a year. And he approached P&B, not the other way around. And this has been noted long before Foley started working with Tiger.
So, he’s definitely discussed with them in detail about the golf swing and since he did it for an extended period of time, I will draw the conclusion that he found a lot more than 5% of their stuff appealing.
Let’s take a look at some of the changes he made to Sean O’Hair’s swing in GolfWeek Magazine.
GOLF WEEK ARTICLE, CLICK HERE
In that article we have a very similar to the S&T downswing leg actiona and inside hand path in the backswing.
Let’s take a look at some Sean Foley videos.
Here’s one of him showing Tiger about the downward left shoulder turn in the backswing and keeping the upper body centered, something that is also a core fundamental of the S&T swing.
Or this video where he talks about where the weight should be. Which is a sign of things to come as he says ‘I think I found a pretty good way to hit the golf ball.’
Or this video on ‘saving your back.’
Yet, when it comes to one of his students talking, we get this video (which we know that Foley talked to O’Hair about and Plummer & Bennett have repeatedly stated that the S&T pivot is about being *centered* at the top of the swing)
So what we know is that Foley has discussed at length with P&B about the Stack and Tilt swing and then has a lot of Stack and Tilt components in the swing he teaches. Clearly to me, the S&T has influenced his swing theories by far more than 5%. Probably more like 85%. And as we have seen from the Evershed comments, he has a history of learning from people and then acting like he came up with this stuff on his own.
Of course, Plummer and Bennett are accused by Foley of taking stuff from O’Grady and basically implies that they didn’t give him any credit for the S&T swing that they have developed/marketed. But on page XVI of ‘The Stack and Tilt Swing’, Plummer and Bennett clearly note the influence and help they got from Mac O’Grady (and others)
During this period we were introduced to The Golfing Machine, a somewhat obscure instructional book written in 1969 by Homer Kelley. Kelley was not a competitive golfer or even a teacher until later in life, but his book showed us how science could be applied to golf. The same laws that govern the universe also govern golf. The book used classification as a way of separating the individual elements or components of the swing. This was what we were looking for in our own games; a system of organization. The advice of great teachers like Larry Batosek, Tom Tomasello, and Mike Bender helped us put into context many of the principles laid out in The Golfing Machine.As far as ‘taking from Hogan and Snead’, it’s really a silly argument/statement because what they’ve done is study Hogan and Snead’s swings, which every teacher…including Foley…have done. Plus, they readily acknowledge what they’ve learned from Hogan and Snead’s swing. I’m not sure what Foley is shooting for there. It’s really an apples to oranges comparison.
With the help of another teacher, Mac O’Grady, we started to refine our perspective on the golf swing. His knowledge and guidance encouraged us to dig deeper into the patterns that exist in the game.
As far as claiming that ‘they are not reinventing the wheel’, which is implying that P&B are saying that, I disagree…although I can see where somebody could draw that erroneous conclusion. The Stack and Tilt is marketed as the ‘revolution in golf’ which gives the idea that it is ‘reinventing the wheel.’ However, in page X of ‘The Stack and Tilt Swing’, it says:
As you will see, much of the Stack & Tilt is not new. Elements like straightening the right leg on the backswing, swinging the hands on an inward path, and keeping the weight on the front side can be found in many books that predate us. What is new is the establishment of true fundamentals and the explanation of how they function.Then it’s said that the S&T guys all swing the same, which doesn’t ring true to me. Here’s some swings of S&T guys, and tell if me if their swings are all the same:
Foley’s last quote is an obvious dig at P&B, claiming that “If it’s such a great system, then why are people coming for a ‘watered-down version’ from me?”…which is very contradictory to his 5% claim. I don’t think I’d call anything that influenced me by 5% as being ‘watered down’, unless we are talking about a 6-pack of Old Milwaukee.
Of course, the issue that the public takes with P&B in this situation is that they feel that Foley shouldn’t have to credit them every chance he gets and one cannot ‘own’ a golf swing from an instruction standpoint.
I agree. However, I’m don’t believe that’s what P&B are looking for here. I think what they are looking for is to not have a guy like Foley who has obviously been heavily influenced by their work and philosophies to go out and then bash those philosophies to the public. Even if he didn’t use any of their stuff, the fact that they took the time and effort to give them their thoughts and advice deserves the courtesy of not bashing their work. If you don’t like what they tell you, just don’t bring it up. But it’s obvious that Foley not only liked their work and philosophies, but they liked them a lot.
Instead of politely saying something to the effect that ‘I learned a lot from P&B an I think they have a very valid way of swinging the golf club, I just have some different thoughts and different ways of approaching the swing’, he took the ‘they act like they reinvented the wheel’ and ‘if it’s so great, why are people coming to me for a watered down version’ route.
I think what probably happened is that much of what P&B discussed with him were things that Foley had thought about and contemplated for quite some time before he ever met them. But he could not get into the specifics about what he was thinking and just couldn’t articulate it as well as he wanted an he needed their help for that. That doesn’t mean that they were basically your thoughts anyway. That means that they greatly helped you understand your thoughts better and you should show some gratitude for that.