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“The Stack and Tilt Swing” Book Review

Dec. 11, 2009     By     Comments (36)

If you consider yourself a student of the game, you owe it to yourself - and your golf game - to own this book.

Stack and TiltI'll plainly admit it (and have, a few times, in the forum): when Stack and Tilt first came out in Golf Digest in 2007 I said things like "I don't know much about it, but it seems like they're trying to sell it pretty hard and I'll wait a little while to see if it's still around in a few years before I really devote much thought to it." I didn't look into it, I didn't seek understanding, and I kept tinkering away at my own "conventional" swing.

Ooops. My bad.

Earlier this year I hooked up with a Stack and Tilt instructor in my hometown - and given that there are only about 20 truly qualified instructors, I am fortunate to have one nearby - and my opinions about Stack and Tilt changed as I gained insight into the swing pattern built by Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer.

Throughout the summer, my instructor applied a few "pieces" of the Stack and Tilt pattern to my golf swing. The more instruction I got the more the information made sense to me, and the closer I got to "full conversion." Any objections or disinterest I had regarding Stack and Tilt slowly dissolved away in the face of information and consideration.

The Swing Itself
The first piece of that information came when my instructor pointed out that Ben Hogan was often used by Stack and Tilt instructors to demonstrate several of the pieces of the Stack and Tilt swing. Not all, mind you, but most. I'd previously mentioned to him that I was keen to swing like Ben Hogan. Like so many others, I own a tattered copy of Five Lessons and have pored through the information in it countless times.

That Ben Hogan's swing resembles the Stack and Tilt swing emphasizes that S&T isn't some new thing thought up in a lab. Rather, it's a swing that came from careful study. Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer cast aside everything that people have said a golf swing should be and looked at what a golf swings actually were. They studied actual golfers - pros and beginners and everyone in between - and paid attention to the things they were seeing.

This information led to a complete re-evaluation of the golf swing during which Mike and Andy threw out every convention and, essentially, started from scratch. They watched video and examined images of good and bad players. They discarded conventional "fundamentals" like the grip or "alignment" in favor of new fundamentals like "striking the ground after the golf ball," something the average player doesn't do with any consistency at all but which the best players do incredibly well.

Fat Demo
Look like anyone you know? The average golfer rarely hits the ground in the same place twice in a row. "Good contact" is a new fundamental as explained quite well in The Stack and Tilt Swing.

Eventually, they saw light at the end of the tunnel. They classified the components of the golf swing exhibited by the best players and noted how they connected. Though no one golfer in history exhibited 100% of the "new" swing, every great golfer in the past exhibited a high percentage of the moves and every poor golfer a low percentage (or none!).

Armed with this information, Mike and Andy released a DVD. It sold well, and people began Stacking and Tilting as best they could based on DVDs. Web sites slowly began seeing more posts from people talking about how they've begun hitting the ball better.

The Book
But Stack and Tilt remains a bit of a "closet" swing. It's still subject to ridicule from the poorly informed and the majority of golf instructors don't teach Stack and Tilt. Students who are interested in Stack and Tilt have, with the exception of the DVDs, been left to fend for themselves.

Fortunately, we now have a book. Titled The Stack and Tilt Swing: The Definitive Guide to the Swing that is Remaking Golf, this book is exactly that - the definitive guide.

The book starts off with a shocking but simple proclamation:

If all of the golf instruction books, videos, and lessons for the last hundred years had taught people to keep their weight on the left side and to swing their hands inward, we would have generations of golfers drawing the ball instead of slicing. Golf would be a different game. Instead, most instruction today teaches moves that lead not only to a slice but also to hitting the ground behind the ball, which has inhibited the development of players and the game itself. Golfers are either learning the wrong things, or the right things in the wrong order. Either way, their games are not improving.

Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer in The Stack and Tilt Swing

If you keep reading, Mike and Andy quickly lay out that even the most commonly accepted fundamentals - grip, alignment, posture - aren't true fundamentals. Consider Lee Trevino. Paul Azinger. Ben Hogan. Jack Nicklaus. Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer, Gary Player… each one of them had a different grip. Some aimed right, others left, and some right down the middle.

Deep Hands
Were these golfers wrong? The conventional swing pushes your hands back straighter away from the ball, but these guys did okay with a swing that kept their hands on a tilted circle.

The book quickly points out that the true fundamentals are hitting the ball before the ground with enough power and control to play the golf course. The Stack and Tilt swing isn't the swing model that would solely create maximum power, but it generates more than enough power to satisfy, say, Troy Matteson (top ten in driving distance this year). It's also not the most controlled swing out there either, but that'd be a chipping motion. Instead, Mike and Andy suggest that it's the best blend of power and control.

Hogan's Five Lessons is loved by so many not just because Ben Hogan wrote it but because the book laid out Hogan's understanding of the golf swing in five very simple sections. It's easy to digest, easy to read, and well illustrated. The Stack and Tilt Swing follows a similar pattern of simplicity, ease, and illustration.

The first two chapters ("Golf's Real Fundamentals" and "Stack & Tilt: The Basic Form") should be read by every golfer on the planet. Seriously - stop in at a Barnes & Noble, read the 40 pages, then ask yourself if it's worth twenty bucks to find out more. These chapters lay out the basis for the Stack and Tilt swing and do a mighty fine job of not only dispelling misconceptions but also demonstrating how much of Stack and Tilt was derived from the best players to ever play the game. It's part sales pitch and part pep talk - it leaves you feeling exhilarated at what the rest of the pages contain.

The next two chapters ("The Setup and Backswing" and "The Downswing and Follow-Through") contain the entire Stack and Tilt swing. Two chapters, 50 or so odd pages, heavily illustrated. That's it, and frankly, that's another of the selling points. It's a simple motion; even Five Lessons took more pages than that, and modern golf books often go on for two, three, or even four times as long (with fewer illustrations). The remaining chapters continually reinforce the key things shared in these chapters, often in new ways that virtually guarantee it'll sink in at some point.

The fifth chapter ("Stack and Tilt Versus the Conventional Swing") might seem misplaced at first, but when reading the book you'll notice that the differences were hinted at in earlier chapters while the full-on detail was appropriately held until the S&T swing was explained. This chapter does a wonderful job of outlining the differences between Stack and Tilt the conventional swing at several key points throughout the swings. This chart, which appears at the end of the chapter, summarizes things nicely:

Versus Conventional Swing Chart

Chapter six ("Circles and Cones") discusses shot shape. It's here that you'll learn how to hit bigger draws, how to hit a fade, and how to determine what an acceptable shot is. I've never seen the idea of a "cone" in any other golf book, and yet the idea is so simple that you'll find yourself wondering why nobody's thought of it before.

The "cone" is a key piece of information that sets up the remaining chapters, seven through nine ("Priorities and Drills," "Fixing Common Faults," and "Tracking Progress"), which gives the golfer the power to understand and diagnose problems in his own swing. The drills Mike and Andy provide are easy to understand and require little in the way of added gear or equipment. They each have a clear purpose and are specific in how they should be performed, and as you'd expect, are illustrated nicely.

Though Hogan briefly addressed common faults and issues throughout his text, The Stack and Tilt Swing's chapters on fixing your faults and tracking progress push this book into an entirely new territory. In fact, most golf instruction books ask the golfer to hit the proper positions and seem to assume that if your swing is off, fixing it is as simple as finding where you get out of position in order to fix things.

The Stack and Tilt Swing switches things up. It asks the golfer to observe his ball flight, then provides a checklist of possible faults based on the types of shots the golfer's hitting. The checklists are simple and inspire confidence, unlike "flavor of the day" swing keys that golfers typically resort to. It's tough to over-emphasize how different this approach is from most golf books.

In the end, the book does everything a good instructor can do. It sells the student on the idea and pumps them up for what they'll learn, it explains the basic swing simply, it explains variations on the swing to hit shots with a different shape, it provides drills to ingrain the swing, and then it helps the student to be self-sufficient and correct flaws when they pop up.

Throughout, it's wonderfully illustrated, both with images of world-class golfers from the PGA Tour (Hogan, Nicklaus, Trevino, Woods) and of Plummer and Bennett demonstrating the principles. Sprinkled throughout the pages are quotes from current Stack and Tilters on the PGA Tour describing their feeling for a particular piece of the swing or telling a short story that aids in understanding. The language is concise, easy to understand, engaging, and friendly.

Perhaps I said it all in my review on Barnes & Noble's site:

I've played to a low single digit handicap for years, and though I enjoyed the process of working on my own swing, I'd go through lengthy periods of time when I was searching for the key to my swing. Invariably, I'd find something, play well for a few rounds, and then enter another lull.

This year I decided to work with a Stack and Tilt instructor. Like many, I misunderstood a lot of the principles and had a lot of misconceptions about the swing, but with 20 or so PGA Tour players taking to it, I reconsidered. I'm glad I did - this year has been one of the most productive in my golf career. Not only do I know how to swing, I know how to fix it when things go awry.

Stack and Tilt is a fairly simple method of playing good golf, but nobody can do it alone. If you can't find an instructor nearby, this book does a great job as a stand-in (and if you can find an instructor, this book is a great reminder between lessons). The book's photos wonderfully illustrate the concepts and the instructions are simple, clear, and concise. Not only are the positions and ideas explained thoroughly, but PGA Tour pros contribute their "feelings" and "sensations" to help players who are helping themselves.

The book is more than a "here is how to swing the club" guide as well. The last third of the book is invaluable to golfers as it contains drills, common faults and their fixes, and much more. This book does more to actually help the golfer in 240 or so pages than most golf instructional books do in 400. It's not much of a stretch to call this potentially the most beneficial golf instruction book since Hogan's "Five Lessons."

Even if you're not a fan of the Stack and Tilt swing, I encourage you to pick up this book. Read the first chapter - I think you may change your mind. Implement some of the principles of the swing and, when you start beating your buddies, the book will pay for itself in no time. :-)

My review at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble

I wrote that on November 12 (I had the book a week before its general release), and I'm more convinced of the importance of this book now than I was then.

Spine Tilt
Look at these great players. Still confident that S&T is as radical as you may have thought?

Conclusion
The Stack and Tilt Swing is a complete guide to the golf swing. The book, like the swing, is simple to understand, and the main points are continually revisited in new and different ways that help it really sink in. Not only that, but the golfer is given the tools to understand their flaws. No longer will you be forced to say something like "I think I rushed that one" or "I didn't release the club well enough there." No longer will you visit the range, hit 100 balls, and leave more frustrated than when you showed up. Instead, you'll be able to practice with a purpose and work on specific things to improve your swing based on your contact and the ball flight. Five Lessons never gave you that.

Remember the opening statement Mike and Andy make? They conclude the book in a similar fashion that hints at how revelatory Mike and Andy believe Stack and Tilt to be:

In the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City, a student-athlete from Oregon State named Dick Fosbury won the gold medal in the high jump using a new technique: He went over the bar backwards - and shattered the Olympic record. The "Fosbury Flop," as his method became known, revolutionized the sport. At the Munich Games in 1972 more than two-thirds of the high-jump competitors went over the bar just like Fosbury had years earlier.

Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer in The Stack and Tilt Swing

Stack and Tilt is probably not as huge as the Fosbury Flop, but it's up there, and the book belongs on the shelves of any and every golfer who considers themselves a student of the game. Whether you adopt the Stack and Tilt swing for yourself - and I'd wager that if you read the first two chapters with an open mind you will - the book is virtually guaranteed to offer at least one or two bits of information in exchange for the measly $18 or $19 retailers are charging.

Discussion

  1. misty_mountainhop says:

    Good review. I still definitely plan to get the book this Christmas but I was interested in the graphic comparing "conventional" with "S&T" swings. I kind of do a lot of that (or aim to!) and barring "5 lessons" and Jack's "Golf my way" and maybe half a dozen lessons when starting out, I'm fairly self-taught with a lot of input over the years from friends and other golfers who I've played with. We took what worked and it's interesting that a lot matches those S&T fundamentals.

    Maybe I haven't read enough instruction books or had enough coaching but some of what is (apparently!) considered the conventional wisdom seems self-apparently wrong or at best, muddled.

    Not sure about the Fosbury Flop analogy though. That's over-hyping things. The Flop was genuinely different from what went before; dare I suggest that S&T is simply codifying what makes good ball striking possible under one banner taken from what was already out there? Kind of sorting the wheat from the chaff of golf theory maybe. No less transformational perhaps for those it markedly helps but let's keep our feet on the ground.

    Looking forward to reading it over the cold Winter months.

  2. Scott Hurst says:

    Maybe I haven't read enough instruction books or had enough coaching but some of what is (apparently!) considered the conventional wisdom seems self-apparently wrong or at best, muddled.

    The old "pivot and slide right, then pivot and slide back" swing was popular for awhile. And when a lot of the current, say, 50-year-old teachers were learning the golf swing - the golf swing they're still teaching people today - there wasn't a lot of video. So they'd hear a PGA Tour pro talk about "loading into the right side" and they'd do what the pro said and not what they did.

    At least, that's my theory. These two people seem to have used old pictures and whatever video existed and just not listened to what pros said, but what they did in the photos.

    Not sure about the Fosbury Flop analogy though. That's over-hyping things. The Flop was genuinely different from what went before; dare I suggest that S&T is simply codifying what makes good ball striking possible under one banner taken from what was already out there?

    I see your point to some degree. But then again if you look around on the Internet, you'll see all sorts of FUD and silly talk about how you'll need a chiropractor and you'll lose three clubs of distance and so on.

    Plus I don't think the authors were saying their swing was as revolutionary as the Fosbury Flop. Erik only quoted a little bit here. I hope it's okay but the next paragraph says:

    "We remind you of this historic feat because it demonstrates two points. First, the sport of high jumping had room for improvement. The leading techniques of the day were more about convention than invention. Second, Fosbury found a better way. He figured out how to create more thrust and to arch his body over the bar in a more efficient manner."

    "These points describe how we feel about golf. Players of all skill levels are grinding away at swings that can take them only so far."

    So no, I think they're just using an extreme example to make the point, because it is a) an improvement, and b) flies directly in the face of a lot of what people have been told. If they had chosen, I don't know, a more efficient way of cupping your hands to get an additional 1.3% more drag in freestyle swimming, that wouldn't make their point quite so well.

  3. misty_mountainhop says:

    So no, I think they're just using an extreme example to make the point, because it is a) an improvement, and b) flies directly in the face of a lot of what people have been told. If they had chosen, I don't know, a more efficient way of cupping your hands to get an additional 1.3% more drag in freestyle swimming, that wouldn't make their point quite so well.

    I think you're probably right. I wasn't trying to rubbish what Erik said if it came out that way.

    I was/am a sceptic re. S&T but having done a LOT of recent digging re. S&T I realised that:

    a) a lot of it is what I took for common sense or stuff I take for granted because my friends and I over the years have practiced a lot and simply taken what worked best (interestingly, we were all trying to develop a swing with a natural draw)

    b) a lot of "accepted wisdom" is anything but; wisdom that is

    Most of what I've dug up makes me more intrigued in having a read of this book; I'm sure there's plenty to take from it even if I don't end up becoming a 100% pure S&T Disciple.

  4. golfanatic says:

    I was very interested in learning more about the S&T after first reading about it in a golf magazine, but did not want to order the DVD because I prefer to have an illustrated book that I can underline and constantly refer to, when working on swing techniques. I read about this new book and pre-ordered it from Amazon prior to publication. I've received the book and cannot wait to "study" it. From your write-up, it sounds like I may already be using some of their very important instruction tips. My current "swing" involves using a Very Strong LH Grip / Neutral RH Grip, maintaining Club-Face Square-To-Plane from beginning of Back-Swing to Past Impact, Maintaining Left Wrist Fully-Cocked from TBS (Top of Back-Swing) Through Impact, and in essence, trying to hit a Controlled "Push-Shot" by not allowing the Club-Head to "Release" until it has to -- past impact. I figured this was the easiest way to obtain the desired Impact Position that all pros obtain while "opening" and "closing" the club-face. Very Anxious to study this "new" swing method.

  5. Shark says:

    Erik...would you say the book is enough...to get things going...vs the DVD? I will look into what is available instructor wise if i end up interested...but would you get the book first then dvd if still interested..or does the book alone pretty much take the place of the dvd?

  6. Erik...would you say the book is enough...to get things going...vs the DVD? I will look into what is available instructor wise if i end up interested...but would you get the book first then dvd if still interested..or does the book alone pretty much take the place of the dvd?

    I think that if you had to buy just one, the book is the better choice. But that may be more about how I learn best (or maybe it's a subconscious cost consideration). I think that having both is better than having only one (either), but if you had to get one, start with the book.

  7. Shark says:
    Erik...would you say the book is enough...to get things going...vs the DVD? I will look into what is available instructor wise if i end up interested...but would you get the book first then dvd if still interested..or does the book alone pretty much take the place of the dvd?

    I think that if you had to buy just one, the book is the better choice. But that may be more about how I learn best (or maybe it's a subconscious cost consideration). I think that having both is better than having only one (either), but if you had to get one, start with the book.

    Thanks, it sounds like you still recommend both. So i will buy the book then if it connects with me the video as well. With the long winter about to start round here, it will give some winter food for thoughts.
    Thanks.

  8. Kevin says:

    Is there a list of certified S&T instructors?

  9. Perry Gill says:

    I'm stationed over in Italy for a few years and can only get out once every 3 weeks or so. Im having a heck of a time maintaining contact.

    Does this S&T book help simplify the swing if I can't get out several times a week anymore?

  10. David Wedzik says:

    Is there a list of certified S&T instructors?

    There isn't a list but let me know where you are located and I will get back to you with a name if there is someone within reasonable distance. Email me or post it here and I'll have Erik edit the comments.

    Owner/Director of Instruction
    Golf Evolution - A Stack and Tilt Academy

  11. CaptainSpaulding says:

    Earlier in the summer I made the switch over to ST. I must admit that it's been an interesting journey. But overall my ball striking is much improved. I've lowered my handicap from a 10 to a 7.

    My biggest gripe with the Stack and Tilt were the videos. I found myself falling asleep because the presentation left a lot of be desired and the wealth of information was a little too overwhelming.

    Well I happened to be able to check out this new book and definitely added it to my golf book collection. This makes up for all the shortcomings of the ST Videos. Clear, concise, and easy to understand. This has helped me realize things that I just couldn't grasp from the video series.

    I definitely recommend this to anyone who is thinking about moving over to ST.

  12. Kevin says:

    David - E-mail sent.

    I purchased he Kindle version yesterday. So far I'm intrigued. The logic makes sense. I toyed around a little today with the concepts I do "understand" and had some positive results. I've always struggled with hitting the ball with my weight on my left side. The S&T method seemed to help. I'll be interested to see how it addresses the driver.

  13. Phana24JG says:

    I am not an S&Ter, but encourage everyone to look for alternatives to conventional instruction. I will certainly leave it open as an option, but I was finally getting some progress with an instructor teaching the "conventional swing" with some very unconventional twists.

    With the advent of Trackman launch monitors and MATT and AMM 3-d systems, many instructors are relearning ball flight laws according to the REAL laws of physics, which is a big plus of the S&T system.

  14. Palm Beach County says:

    It's ironic that conventional swing terminology such as "pivot" is really more applicable to S&T. Further, the pivot in S&T is facilitated by decreasing the spine angle to zero in the back swing and then returning to setup angle at impact. In my opinion, the freedom of motion associated with this move will be the greatest benefit to most golfers who are justifiably confused about how to turn behind the ball which leaves an enormous "margin for error" to amateurs and pro's who must constantly blend together a checklist of moves, "feel"s, and swing thoughts which ultimately are only trying to accomplish what S&T establishes at it's core- returning to consistent impact point with suffient angular momentum to powerfully draw balls placed aft in the swing arc and fade balls placed forward. Even golfers who have no interest in S&T should study the philosopy to gain clarity regarding the additional challenges they impose on themselves with more traditional swing components.

    One word of caution regarding S&T...ultimately one returns to setup spine angle which demands discipline (or simply think about always keeping the tailbone up and out through impact)...Mike and Andy don't emphasize this requirement which is particularly troublesome given that there IS so much emphasis on continuosly changing the spine angle. That being said, if you are a student of the swing, you will love their insights, justifications, and recommendations. I look forward to others comments and any additional technical thoughts.

  15. Ken says:

    Have been looking at the articles, DVD's for a few years and now almost through the book. There is nothing like an instructor to put it all together but it is hard to get instructors to look at different techniques when they are used to teaching the standard way. Would like to find someone in the central/eastern PA area if possible if someone has any ideas. Thanks

  16. Further, the pivot in S&T is facilitated by decreasing the spine angle to zero in the back swing and then returning to setup angle at impact.

    It's incorrect that you return to the setup spine angle at impact. You return to that position roughly when the club is parallel to the ground on the downswing and are again beginning to stand up and "pounce" after that (i.e. at impact).

    Additionally, drills like "keep your head on this wall" make ingraining the proper amount of spine extension, side tilt, and rotation fairly straightforward, and it's here that the book excels in my opinion - not just telling you how you should swing but how to achieve that swing with simple, easy drills and "feelings," checkpoints, and so on.

  17. Gary Lewis says:

    Very nice review. Thanks. I just got the book the other day and have read over a 3rd of it. Very interesting book and quite unique for a golf instruction book, and it seems to make good sense. At the very least I am going to try to incorporate some pieces of it, if I can't convert to it completely.

  18. Phil says:

    The more I read about S&T, the more I like the concept. I cannot wait to receive my copy for Christmas!

    I have one question, why hasn't this new way to swing the club reached other parts of the world. The reason I ask is because I live in Europe. I've asked around and no one even seems to have heard of it. It certainly isn't being taught here yet.

  19. Kent says:

    After looking at the comparison chart between the stack & tilt and a conventional golf swing I couldn't help but be struck of how similar S&T is to the One Plane swing taught by Jim Hardy. I know its not exactly the same but couldn't help notice how much alike they were, especially the circular path around the body which also causes the club head to remain square to the target.

  20. Jeff says:

    Erik, I have visited your site many times over the past few years and truly appreciate the information that you and your staff share - I find it credible and well written.

    Thanks especially for your follow-up article on S&T. I have enjoyed significant success with S&T over past few months, however have hit a wall and now slipping backward, causing some of my golfing buddies to say, "See, I told you so."

    I continue to believe in the new swing as I managed to get into the 70's with it, however I really need some instruction at this point. Can you recommend a teacher in Raleigh/Greensboro/Charlotte NC area or Myrtle Beach, SC, where I sometimes vacation?

  21. Scott says:

    For those of us with left hip replacements, is the S&T, or conventional better -health/hip wise?

    Thanks!

  22. Eric says:

    As a golfer with some lower back issues (compressed discs), I'm concerned by wear and tear from the impact position through the finish. I've played around on the range before hitting balls with weight on the front side, inside takeaway and whatever other "fundamentals" I picked up from watching Aaron Baddeley, Mike Weir, etc...and I have to say, the swing works very well for iron shots. I wonder what you devoted S&T guys would say about hitting the longer clubs (i.e. Driver, fairway woods, hybrids) using a S&T approach? Didn't Baddeley go back to his previous instructor after a few years?

  23. Palm Beach County says:

    Apologies to Erik (above) on the timing of the changing spine angle - you are correct and I'm glad you pointed this out as I realized my error shortly after posting (you really do need to be coming out of flexion through the ball). This is probably a good point to emphasize to Eric (with a "c"). I'm tinkering with the same issue (irons versus woods, and especially fairway woods). What I've found helpful (appreciate feedback once again) is that I establish my desired iron (up to "3" iron) ball flight. I Then use same movements with the woods. I usually will hit lower trajectory balls with solid (not thin) contact. I then only focus on the move through impact which usually requires additional emphasis on the thrusting of the hips in order to shift my trajectories higher. I try not to move my ball position too much to either side of the arc (make sure your centers of gravity remain stacked on the ball).

    One additional tip (which might be obvious to others here) would be to give yourself a "head start" in achieving adequate thrust angle through the ball by presetting the brim of your cap aftward at setup, and focusing on a spot on the ground behind your driver (also at set up) and maintaining this focus as your clubhead returns through this point only noticing contact using your peripheral vision. If video reveals your head and eyes set left (for right handers), or cheating back to the left on the pivot, in my "humbled" opinion, it will be more difficult to sufficiently come out of flexion to achieve your desired trajectory with the woods. I've read that others have had success moving the ball forward although I'm not sure what their resulting trajectories/flight patterns look like, and I'm not sure if they are moving the ball forward more than the width of the respective clubhead.

    I've become very dependent on maintaining the integrity of my arc's in order to move the ball left or right and would rather struggle with flexion to achieve "up or down" ball flights than move the ball around at set up very much. That being said, I'm really uncomfortable with my fairway woods off the deck, particularly off any variations of non-level lies. I'm giving myself a pass on this right now as I might just need to develop more comfort and balance moving through impact. Also, my 2 and 3 irons (I use blades) are uncomfortably volatile right now (I feel like I want to "cover" through impact and when I try to emphasize a move out of flexion to raise trajectory, I'm living on the edge of disaster if I let my cg's shift even the slightest bit aft (too stubborn to give up the long irons). Appreciate any feedback on these thoughts.

    Thanks

  24. Eric says:

    As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I should report that I decided to pony up and purchase the book. WOW. I was blown away by the theory, how it was presented, and how utterly logical the S&T approach was laid out for me.

    I've always been a better than average ball striker (current handicap 3.2), but never realized how much I (or many of the best tour pros for that matter) was naturally following at least some of the basics of S&T.

    After reading the book, I spent two or three sessions at the driving range working on some of the other elements the book espouses, and I have to tell you, it was tough!! Particularly difficult for me were the feeling of the circular arc around my body on the backswing and follow through (I have always taken the club back "outside" the arc on the way back. As I improved as a player, I became able to re-route the club to an inside path through impact - not quite Furyk like, but a definite re-route). The other big challenge was maintaining the "flying wedge" right wrist angle through impact (I have always struggled the most with "releasing the club," being cupped at the top, or otherwise having to manipulate the wrist angle to improve my impact position).

    This past weekend, I played in a team match play event, and I was initially unsure whether I would really focus on S&T, or my "traditional" swing since there was something actually riding on the outcome. After reading most of the book, I decided to do both, using the S&T elements to complement my "natural" swing, and the results were very impressive.

    There were a few keys mentioned in the book that really made it easy for me to apply S&T:

    1. 55/45 weight distribution, shoulder "center" in front of the ball
    2. left shoulder "down" (level with right shoulder)
    3. club grip pointing to inside of left thigh
    4. maintain upper-arm pressure against ribs throughout swing to promote circular arc
    5. front knee bend, back leg straighten during backswing
    6. elongated spine (stand-up) into shot and elevate belt buckle through follow-through

    Applying these steps took much of the guesswork out of the process for me, and the results were really something. I had one of my best ball striking rounds in quite a while, and, while I didn't set the world afire score-wise, I can honestly say I flushed just about every shot. I pushed a couple (1 driver, 1 5-iron), and pulled a few (short irons), but even those were hit well, and with distance. Divots were all perfectly rectangular, not too deep (nor shallow), and, as long as I kept those keys in mind at setup, I didn't really have to think about anything but keeping my swing tempo smooth and even.

    There was one other thing that really helped me that I wanted to share, with the driver in particular. On short and mid irons I was consciously putting my shoulder center in front of the ball to promote hitting the ball on the "back side" of the arc (meaning toward my back foot). With the driver, however, I put my shoulder center even with the ball, maybe two or three inches short of where it would have been with a 6 iron. I didn't hit every driver great, one sloppy hook (my arms came off my torso), some were low (boring trajectory) bullets that still gave me adequate distance, but quite a few others were absolutely bombed, mid to high trajectory, tight draw spin.

    I may not be the average chop trying to figure out how to stop slicing, but I can tell you, I was immediately impressed by the presentation of the S&T book. I enthusiastically recommend it to anybody looking to make the game easier for themselves. Thanks, fellas.

  25. Phil says:

    I have just finished reading the S&T book and before posting reread the other posts. Well, I am glad I did and read the last one as my one-round experience of S&T almost exactly matches Eric's. Incredible, it is almost as if we played the same round!

    The only difference appears to be our swings. I have always taken the club back inside, as that felt natural to me, and is probably why I was so keen to learn more about this method. I've also always straightened my right leg on the backswing, another natural move for me and lifted up through impact. Unfo, I did these actions at the same time as moving off the ball and the predictable result was an OTT swing.

    All year I have been trying to take the club straight back, keep my right knee in place on the backswing and turn the club over through impact. Everyone has told me that's the power package. Well...the results have been disastrous. Not only have I been hitting the ball all over the clubface but lost a lot of distance too. I was ready to give up.

    So the other day I was ready to give S&T a chance. I didn't even hit balls before the round! Right from the first hole I started hitting shot after shot right out of the middle of the club, straight or with a slight draw, more penetrative and gained 10-15% distance with each club. I was truly amazed! I was initially concerned with the driver as I have struggled in the past with skying the ball and the S&T method looked as if it could exacerbate this problem. But having read the book, I now know why S&T actually prevents this! After 21 years of playing golf, I am now relearning the swing! I cannot wait to keep working on this new swing.

    Regarding the book, I have to be honest and say chapters 3 and 4 were heavy going, far too detailed for me. The rest is a masterpiece! All I did to get the results mentioned above is follow the 5-6 points mentioned in the opening 2 chapters. I think they are very self-explanatory.

    As far as feelings went, all I did after I took the recommended stance was swing my old swing (inside and straightening right knee) feeling that I was leaning to the left throughout the swing. Amazingly, as I felt I was too on top of the ball at the moment of impact, my hips would react naturally thrusting upwards and getting out of the way.

    So there you have it, change your swing to S&T and start play golf the way it should be played!

    My only worry now is why have so many people tried it, had success with it and then abandoned it saying they've started playing badly?

  26. Doug says:

    I'd read about the S+T technique in a maazine and went out and tried it and immediately started hitting the ball crisper. My real appreciation for the technique came from hitting long irons out of fairway bunkers. Hitting the ball first is critical and my success was astounding.

    Then I purchased the video after at least a half dozen attempts to speak to people whose first language was definitely not English. Every time I would mention Stack And Tilt, they'd be totally confused and ask more questions. Whenever I'd say golf, they's say Medicus driver.

    I finally received the DVDs and was hugely disappointed. The quality of the production was horrible. The instructors were showing you techniques at what appeared to be a public driving range and I kept losing concentration on what was being taught to watching the fat guys in the background hacking at ball after ball at the range.

    Then the instruction got very long winded and went on and on and on. I think that anyone with decent presentation skills could put out a comprehensive S+T DVD on one disc and not lose the student along the way.

    I will however say that the most impressive part was when one of the instructors hit about 17 iron shots in a row and took exactly the same divot for each, leaving a straight line of missing turf in fron of the line the balls had been placed on. That is what consistant ball striking is about.

    I've been wanting to read the book, but the DVD was such a disappointment that it would be hard for me to give these guys any more of my money. My advice to them is to hire a professional presentation company before more people watch this amatuerish attempt.

    I did try to get my money back, but to no avail.

  27. Lucas says:

    Ok, ok. So, I hope that this review wasn't the result of money exchanging hands and was an honest opinion on the book. After reading the review and other's comments (which I'm always skeptical of paid "reviewers/commenters") I've purchased the book. It should be here by the end of the week and I plan to give it an full read and see if it can provide some help.

    My main concern is I'm already lacking in the distance/power department. I've heard Faldo and Miller talk about S&T tour players and how its accurate but not very powerful especially with the driver. I hope any changes made based off the book doesn't further decrease these numbers.

    I'm still mystified at my lack of distance (I'm a fairly young, atheletic man) when comparing to Kenny Perry's geriatric looking swing. How is he one of the longer players!?

  28. Ok, ok. So, I hope that this review wasn't the result of money exchanging hands and was an honest opinion on the book.

    Once and for all, it's not. You're required to divulge that information these days, and this was not a paid review of any sort.

    Every golfer will benefit from at least a few things in this book.

    Funny timing on Nick Faldo: check out this thread which I created just this morning. Suffice to say you shouldn't lose any power - and many PGA Tour pros got a bit more power after switching. Troy Matteson is in the top 20 in driving distance on the PGA Tour.

  29. Infocus says:

    I have the book and would like to get started practicing this swing. Big question: being that it's pretty early in the season and most ranges are using mats-only...can you practice this swing using mats and not regular grass?

  30. I have the book and would like to get started practicing this swing.Big question:being that it's pretty early in the season and most ranges are using mats-only...can you practice this swing using mats and not regular grass?

    Yeah - no reason you can't. Just don't use a really high tee - like most PGA Tour golfers you'll want a slightly lower tee than you're probably used to for the driver.

    But I recommend you work with a 6-iron.

  31. jeff brown says:

    I have studied and practiced for many years. Many teaching pros, books, videos and have kept many pages of notes. Struggled, with only occasionally a good shot in spite of having an encyclopedic knowledge of the game and biomechanics. I had some money from a book store gift card and saw the Stack and Tilt book, which theory I remembered from a Golf Digest article several years ago. Having nothing to lose, I decided to try it, although the particular course of the day had no driving range. I suddenly hit everything hard and far, including irons, which had always eluded me. Knocked 10 full strokes off my usual score in spite of an ordinary putting day. Back to back birdies and just missed the 3rd in a row. My partners were impressed. My second round was the same. I now have a solid game, and so far without time to practice. Every struggling golfer would be foolish not to give Stack and Tilt a fair test.

  32. Jade says:

    I've read this book for the 3rd time. One of the greatest books on golf. I've switched, as they say and have been very satisfied for the last year and a half. Was glad to get the book though, for I found there were a few things I didnt previously understand.
    Are the guys planning any new books? I would like to see one on how best to practice sing S&T.
    By the way-I caught part of the Charlie Rose show back in Dec. with these guys. First time I had a chance to listen to them. Powerful and sincere and true gentlemen. I give the book the thumbs up-and same for these 2 two guys.

  33. My wife got me this book last Xmas (along with the DVDs) and after power-reading it I took it out to the range early in the year, trying the highly-unrecommended-full-swing-makeover-in-a-day. Of course, as one would expect, everything felt wrong, and I thought "This is ridiculous. I'm hitting it good with my swing now, why should I change anything?" So I didn't, and I kept trundling along shooting 85-87-88, thinning the ball one day, hitting it a bit chunky the next, slapping my driver out there somewhere and praying for fairway. Which was okay; I only picked up the game 4 years ago, and I went from 105 to 85 my way, so it wasn't like I wasn't making some progress. But I've been dying to break 80 for the last 8-9 months, and after subjecting myself to Ray Romano's televised struggle, I decided I'd had enough, and started in on Stack and Tilt book again with more effort and thought. After practicing a few simple things -- (1) staying left, (2) simply turning with my arms held lightly against my body, and (3) letting my right leg straighten on the backswing -- I started nutting the ball. I hit career drives today on three holes, found 11 of 14 fairways (and the other 3 were just in the light rough or unluckily found a bunker) and almost every swing felt like money. I sh*&ked an easy approach and missed a 200 yard forced carry into the wind, but virtually every iron was a baby draw about 10 yards farther than I normally hit it.

    So, not to blather on, but solid striking + more distance = I'm now a Stack and Tilt convert. If I could have bought a putt today I would have broken 80 for the first time.

  34. Ken May says:

    Have been playing golf for 14 years and have been to a few golf schools ,some under the name of famous top 100 coaches. Got to see them as they walked by with a wave but no instruction so I wasn't sure what would happen when I attended the Stack and Tilt Clinic with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer this weekend. Details can be seen on their website. I had read the book above and viewed the DVD's. In short- best golf experience ever. Unbelievable one on one coaching. Their method clearly works as I watched Mike Bennett and the other coaches pound their shots in a consistant manner with irons and the driver( can you say high deep draws ) with a 9.5 degree driver. I could not believe they were so interested in improving a 14 handicapper or spent so much time working with me but I am truly grateful. These guys are a class act and I hope their method continues to rise to the top.

  35. Puttsalott says:

    I have the book and have used the S&T method to various degrees of success, I'd point most of the lack of success directly back at myself for forgetting parts, adding parts that didn't belong, etc. The one flaw of the book for me is how much time was spent on how NOT to do it. From my time spent teaching skiing, WW kayaking and other sports. Plus reinforced from Harvey Penick's little red book. It's best to just talk about what you DO want the student to do and not even mention the DON'T. It's like telling yourself, don't hit into the pond, splash, there it goes. The book would be much smaller but it'd be worth more to me without the long explainations of what not to do. Larry

  36. Mr. Desmond says:

    The more I re-read this book, the better it gets.

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