The question has been raised in a few places, some as a curiosity and some not as nicely, about whether 5 Simple Keys® is a "copy" or progression from Stack and Tilt. Parallel to that is the question of what or who influenced the 5SK project.
As many know, 5SK is a joint effort between myself and Chuck Evans as part of the Medicus team, and as such, our list of influences is quite long. I would start with the following: Homer Kelley, Mac O'Grady, Mike Bender, Randy Smith, Seymour Dunn, Percy Boomer, Jim Hardy, Davis Love Jr., Trackman, Flightscope, Swing Catalyst (none of the other pressure point systems quite frankly measure up, no pun intended), Sam Balance Lab, AMM, etc. AND most importantly our desire to know more and not be satisfied with one pattern or one set of data. To this point, I would also, most definitely, say that Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer (The Stack and Tilt Swing) had an influence as I have done many schools with them and we have been friends for a very long time. I can assume from our conversations that they, personally, are happy to see a friend and colleague have the opportunity to share information with golfers in the manner in which they choose.
If you got their full list of influences, you'd see a very similar list as mine, so I can understand why some people might think that I was influenced more by Mike and Andy than I was in traveling a similar route to my current understanding of the golf swing.
Over the past few years I've chosen to do many schools with Mike and Andy as I believe they did a great job putting together THEIR TAKE on many other great teacher's ideas. What is most interesting to me is how that is EXACTLY what the PureStrike, 5 Simple Keys project is... My take and Chuck Evans's take on the clues and roadmaps left by many other great teachers... as well as the information and data that was available to us in doing OUR OWN research (and trust me we did a lot of it).
5 Simple Keys is the result of that constantly evolving research and never ending search for answers (I say at every seminar that if someone finds a 6th Simple Key please let us know and we will happily rename the system). To say it is a copy of Stack and Tilt or anything else is misguided at best. In fact it is NOT a pattern, a swing, or even a "way" to swing. We teach as many players to fade as to draw...to hit up on drivers, to even move their head slightly if it helps them... to use what they do naturally. As long as the 5 Simple Keys are covered consistently nothing else REALLY matters because the player will improve significantly.
Let's go through each of the 5 Keys (the 5 things that virtually every great player has in common) one by one to dig a bit further:
Key #1 Steady Head
We have used the example of Jack Grout holding Nicklaus's head at almost every school we have ever done. We have seen players for the past 50+ years with clubs shafts held against their head. This advice has been espoused by players at the top level for a VERY LONG TIME. Have I said enough yet? All we did was VERIFY that players were doing what they thought they were at the highest level. Once that was proven we were comfortable it was a Key.
Key #2 Weight Forward
Our pressure plate data (verified several times over) actually shows that the key here is to have the weight predominantly forward at impact. The weight is mostly centered throughout the backswing and start down, and pressure in the top players will even tend to be back, particularly during transition. There is a constant, slowish, transfer of that weight/pressure during the downswing. We are not saying weight forward throughout and believe this would be a mistake for many players.
Key #3 Flat Left Wrist
Even the term itself is from another source (TGM). This has been a staple of great ball strikers FOREVER. Enough said really.
Key #4 Diagonal Sweet Spot Path
Mike Hebron told me once that the sweetspot path had to work in this manner because of the tool itself (the club). I'm sure he was not the first one to say it and won't be the last but it has always resonated with me. We believe there are many options and variations available to keep that path diagonal and it is not a prerequisite to play a draw. In fact, I myself, play a fade as it works best FOR ME.
Key #5 Clubface Control
A very simple understanding of the true ball flight laws and how to implement them to play the best golf possible. No disrespect meant to any human but I will thank Trackman, Flightscope, and the like for this one. We are comfortable with players starting the ball left OR right within the 5SK system... just as we are comfortable with players hitting up on drivers (in fact we often recommend it).
While we are at it let's go through the three S&T fundamentals (which "overall" I agree with and think Mike and Andy did a good job organizing).
#1: Hit the ball first - makes all the sense in the world. Keep the head "still" and weight forward to help with this. I would say we 100% agree on these points but we all got our information from other, very intelligent, golf instructors and sources.
#2: Hit the ball far enough to play the course - the 5 Simple Keys do not mention this and will not. We believe it is very possible to hit the ball longer if you attain more of the 5 Keys but in no way can everyone learn to hit the ball far enough to play the course. It's simply not possible for everyone so, in our opinion, it is not fundamental to each individual playing as well as they can play.
#3: Controlling the curve - I like this wording and believe this is extremely important, but in the case of SnT it really boils down to hitting a push-draw. I don't think anyone would argue that and, again, I have ABSOLUTELY no problem with it but to say 5SK somehow copied something here is, again, misleading and unfair.
At the end of the day, to say that we've copied S&T and re-packaged it shows a severe lack of understanding for the knowledge I, Chuck Evans, and other members of 5SK have obtained throughout our careers, and completely dismisses the independent research and the knowledge and information we've obtained in doing so.
While the Stack and Tilt golf swing is a swing that adheres to the 5 Simple Keys, it's one swing, while the 5SK encompasses EVERY good swing from Jim Furyk to Luke Donald to Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell.
I named my academy "Golf Evolution" precisely because evolution is a constant and ongoing process, not a stake in the ground saying "we've arrived at the perfect swing."