When teachers Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett introduced the world to "Stack & Tilt," they set off a major debate about what constitutes an “efficient” golf swing. It was further fueled as some PGA Tour pros adopted the swing and won with it. The basic concepts are simple, and some might consider them a unique application of short game techniques to the full swing.
The Goal: Solid Contact
In a “Golf Digest” article “The New Tour Swing,” Plummer and Bennett stressed how important it was for golfers to control when and where the club hits the ground; in fact, they called it “the first fundamental of hitting the ball.” Solid contact requires you to contact the ball first and take a divot just in front of it. Stack & Tilt was designed to ensure that players did this naturally, with a minimum of struggle.
In the short game, where hitting the ball first is paramount, players are advised to put a bit more weight on their front foot (closest to the target). This is the “stack” in Stack & Tilt: If you imagine a point halfway between your shoulders and another point halfway between your hips, you “stack” these two points vertically over the ball. This places you in a position where you will hit down on the ball, just as you would in a short game shot.
Unlike a conventional swing, where the weight shifts behind the ball, Stack & Tilt keeps your weight over the ball. During the backswing, you actually shift more of your weight onto your forward foot by tilting your spine slightly toward the target. Then, unlike a regular swing--where you shift your weight to your back foot on the backswing and then forward again during the downswing--Stack & Tilt continually increases that forward weight shift throughout the swing.
Tilting your spine forward causes you to swing more to the inside during your backswing, as well as more upward. It also causes your back leg to straighten, a move many players make instinctively during their swing. Plummer and Bennett say these result in a more natural movement that develops more power in your downswing. This steeper downswing also helps ensure that you hit the ball first, eliminating fat shots.
Releasing Your Lower Body
With the majority of your weight on your forward foot, it is natural for you to swing your hips forward to balance yourself on the downswing. Stack & Tilt uses this natural movement to help you deliver a solid, powerful blow to the back of the ball; although a player using Stack & Tilt appears to lean slightly backward in the follow through, actually there is no hanging back--no “reverse pivot”--to the swing. Since the weight is already over the front foot, it stays there throughout the swing.