Is the Stack and Tilt golf swing right for you?
Can it help you hit the golf ball more consistently than standard golf instruction? Is it the key to making solid contact more so than a traditional swing?
These are all good questions and ones we’ll answer today. The Stack and Tilt golf swing is one that has mixed reactions in the golf world with some players claiming it’s the easiest way to to a more consistent swing. While others don’t want you to belive the hype.
Several years ago this was the most talked about swing method in golf. Today, the hype seems to have subsided. But there’s no doubt some pros and cons to this unconventional golf swing.
Stack and Tilt Golf Swing
The Stack and Tilt golf swing is a unique way to learn the fundamentals of a golf swing.
The creators of this system think that beginners are taught the wrong things at the beginning of their journey – including grip, stance, and posture. And aren’t taught the importance of hitting the ground in the same spot with every swing.
They claim that this is the key to playing consistent golf and is a true “game changer” in the teaching world. But not everyone has so much love for this teaching, including most of the top instructors in the world.
Some average players love it, others not so much. It’s worked for some PGA Tour winner but not a ton – some of the notable names include Mike Weir and Aaron Baddeley.
Let’s outline what makes this system different from a conventional golf swing.
- The Stack and Tilt golf swing methodology is quite different from “normal” golf swing mechanics.
- There is a 10-word slogan for the stack and tilt golf swing known as weight forward – shoulder down – hands in – arms straight – tuck hips.
- The stack and tilt swing is a good way for beginners to learn the game and has advantages for senior golfers as well.
Keep reading to learn more about this unique swing methodology and see if it’s right for you.
Understanding the Stack and Tilt
The Stack and Tilt was developed by Mac O’Grady from the book, The Golfing Machine.
We’ve talked about The Golfing Machine before as it’s one of the most controversial books in golf. It’s incredibly advanced and not meant for the everyday casual golfer – but for someone like Bryson DeChambeau, it’s a staple in his library.
Andy Plummer and Michael Bennett evolved O’Grady’s work and made it into a systemized golf swing. Even a “tour swing” for some golfers who’ve used it at the professional level.
The goal of the Stack and Tilt golf swing is to stay centered and maintain a stable axis. There is very minimal shift and swaying throughout the swing.
The three fundamentals are:
- Have enough power.
- Hit the ground in the same spot every single time.
- Match the club face to the swing path to control shot shape and trajectory (essentially master the ball flight laws).
Here are the main components to the Stack and Tilt golf swing.
One of the biggest differences between a Stack and Tilt swing with a normal swing is the weight at address position.
Most golf instructors want their players weight about 50-50 equally balanced between feet. Some coaches might advocate for slightly more weight on the lead leg when hitting irons to compress the ball.
But the Stack and Tilt method is much different. This methodology advises a lot more weight forward for these two reasons.
First, they claim that more weight on the lead leg (enough that it’s visibly noticeable to the naked eye) leads to hitting the ground after the ball. Second, this position makes it easier to swing inside to outside, thus hitting a draw.
As someone that’s never tried this method I can agree with the first part of this teaching.
If golfers hit the ball thin a lot of times it’s from too much weight on their back leg. Having more weight on the front leg makes it easier to rotate around the body and make better turf contact.
Another one of the core components of this method is the back leg straightening in the backswing. Proponents of this swing claim that it will help the hips and shoulders turn more which can lead to more distance gains.
On the downswing, the knees go back to the original flex from address position. Once you get to the impact zone the left knee straightens to complete your golf swing and follow through.
The arms also play a big role in the golf swing and can contribute (or hurt) ball striking consistency. The creators of Stack and Tilt think one of the biggest faults is that most golfers flex their arms too much on the backswing, impact, and even during the follow through.
As noted on the Stack and Tilt website, “When a golfer keeps his arms straight as the club swings downward to the ball, the radius of the swing is preserved. As soon as the arms bend or flex near impact, ball contact becomes inconsistent. In addition, straight arms help prevent a golfer from swinging too far across the ball, which can contribute to a slice.”
They claim that a left arm bending is one of the biggest reasons for inconsistent contact. It’s also why so many golfers can’t hit a draw.
Lead Shoulder Down
Advocates of this method want the lead shoulder (the left shoulder for right-handed golfers) to go downward in the backswing. This helps players not move their head position which can improve golfers hitting the ball, then the turf.
Instructors who teach this method want the shoulders turning in a circle around the body for a stable axis. This is also taught in a conventional golf swing so it’s not that different in either method.
A stable head position can also let the hands work around the body in a more circular motion. Regardless of which method you use, a steady head is never a bad thing. Too much head movement, especially laterally can lead to swaying and a lack of weight transfer.
The final aspect of the Stack and Tilt golf swing is the hand position on the backswing. It’s also one of the more controversial parts of this method as they encourage players to take the club back more inside.
The proponents of this method claim that it will create power in a similar fashion to that of a field goal kicker moving his leg in an arc motion. They also claim that sucking the club back promotes a more inside to outside swing motion to help hit a draw and avoid a slice.
Pros and Cons of the Stack and Tilt Method
As you can tell, the entire swing is quite different from a traditional golf swing.
Let’s review some pros and cons to see if it’s the swing that can lead to more consistent contact for your game.
The first advantage to this method is that it’s a relatively easy way to learn how to swing the golf club.
A lot of people try to play golf then get overwhelmed by mechanics – wondering about ball position, grip, reverse pivot, weight transfer, and a million other things. But this strategy has a pretty simple to follow checklist to learn the fundamentals.
The second advantage is that you can make better and more consistent contact.
If you’re the type of golfer who sways, has too much lateral rotation, or needs help with the weight transfer, this method can help. By having more weight on your front foot throughout the swing it should make it easier to hit the ball then turf for more consistent contact.
The third advantage is that it might be a good way to fix that slice. If you’ve read everything in Golf Digest and watched every YouTube video but still can’t fix it, this method can help.
Finally, since the swing centers around the body it can be a great option for senior golfers. If you have a lot of joint pain or other golf injuries, this method can help remove some stress.
The first major downside to this is that you can lose power.
Since there is minimal (if any) weight transfer it’s easy to lose out on distance. Don’t forget, in a traditional swing the lower body generates the power – not the upper body. The legs use ground reaction force to push off and generate power – just think of Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas.
Second, since you’re compressing the golf ball more it can lead to lower trajectories.
As Rotary Swing mentioned in this article, “This isn’t too much of an issue with the shorter irons, but mid-high handicap players will find it almost impossible to get the ball sufficiently airborne with the longer clubs and drive – a problem compounded by the very steep angle of clubhead path that stack and tilt requires.”
How to Get Started With Stack and Tilt
If you think the pros outweigh the cons here are a few best practices to get started.
Instructors use a ten word framework for the Stack and Tilt:
Weight forward – shoulder down – hands in – arms straight – tuck hips.
First, start off with 55-60% of your weight forward at address with slightly flared left foot and back foot. Then, make a big run and get your left shoulder underneath your chin. This will help the hands work more in a circular motion.
Stay centered throughout your swing – do not try to move your weight back and forward like a conventional golf swing. On the downswing try to “bump” your weight forward with your arms straight. This should help improve your swing arc and impact position.
Try it With Wedges
If you don’t want to adapt this style with every club in the bag some of the fundamentals can work well with wedges.
As Parker McLachlin said in Golf.com, “As your weight position got forward, it allows you to hit down on that ball, allowing that ball to come out low,” he says. “All the best wedge players in the world hit their wedges low; especially from 50-125 yards. So we want to flight our wedges down, probably lower than you would imagine.”
By getting more weight forward with a slightly forward ball position you can get a better attack angle. This will help flight shots lower and more consistent from short range.
If you’d like to pursue this swing methodology more it’s best to learn from a certified Stack and Tilt instructor. There are coaches throughout the world who specialize in this swing method and can be your guide if you need some extra assistance.
Visit the “Find an Instructor Page” to learn more now. Or, if you prefer remote coaching they also have an online academy and events too on their website.
Lastly, if you want to learn more about the origins of this methodology check out the Golfing Machine. Once again, I want to reiterate that this book is not meant for a casual golfer as it’s quite advanced and not easy to learn. It can definitely lead you down a “rabbit hole” that might not have the best long-term results for your swing.
FAQs About Stack and Tilt
Do you have more questions about the tilt swing stack method? If so, keep reading through the most commonly asked questions and answers below.
Is Stack and Tilt good for senior golfers?
Yes, this method seems to work better for seniors than the everyday golfer.
The main reason is that it can lead to hitting a draw which can improve distance, which a lot of older players tend to lose for a variety of reasons. It also might be easier on the body and help improve how long you can play this great game.
Did Ben Hogan use Stack and Tilt?
Yes, most golf instructors believe that Ben Hogan – one of the most accomplished players on the PGA Tour – used this method. If you watch his golf swings you’ll notice that he has minimal weight shift, hands in, shoulder turns down and around, and a lot of other similarities.
This YouTube video from Saguto Golf does a great job illustrating how Ben Hogan uses the Stack and Tilt method. Clearly it worked for him as he has one of the most sought after swings
Do any pros use Stack and Tilt?
According to the Stack and Tilt website professional golfers using this method have earned more than $50 million dollars worldwide since 2005. Some of their students to note include Aaron Baddeley, Dean Wilson, Will Mackenzie, and Eric Axely.
Aside from Aaron, these are not the most noticeable names in golf. It’s not to diminish the system at all but it’s not one that Rory, Tiger, or Phil use.
Is Stack and Tilt a reverse pivot?
There are some similarities but it depends on the player. The back leg should straighten – like a reverse pivot but in the Stack and Tilt the goal is to move weight forward. The subtle “hip bump” during the downswing gets more weight to the lead leg.
Does the Stack and Tilt swing work with driver?
Yes, it does work with drivers too.
A lot of golfers worry that it can lead to pop up shots and sky marks. But if you tuck your hips forward on the downswing it should lead to a slight shallowing motion.
Is Stack and Tilt a one plane golf swing?
No, the stack and tilt golf swing is more of a straight line, linear swing. While the one plane is more of a rotary swing. Learn more about the one plane swing here.
Does Tiger Woods use Stack and Tilt?
No, Tiger Woods does not use the Stack and Tilt method. His swing has changed a lot over his career due to injuries and different instructors. His body has limited certain moves and different coaches – like Hank Haney and Sean Foley – have had to come in to change certain positions.
Not to mention he’s had a myriad of injuries that have made practice and grooving new swing changes even harder. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see Tiger Woods with the classic Butch Harmon swing in the late 1990s and early 2000s that led to his absolute domination on the golf course.
I can’t say I’ve ever tested out this method as it’d require changing nearly every aspect of my swing.
But there are some fundamentals that you can add to your swing that can do wonders. It’s not necessarily an all or nothing commitment of conventional method vs. Stack and Tilt method.
For example, Justin Rose has one of the best golf swings in professional golf. His coach, Sean Foley, has added some of the components to his golf game and made him an even better golfer.
Plus, it’s something you can test out pretty easily on the driving range. If it works (or a part of it works) you can keep at it. If it doesn’t suit you, simply go back to a normal golf swing.
Final Thoughts on the Stack and Tilt Swing
The Stack and Tilt method is not for everyone but many golfers can benefit at least from some portions. What’s great is that you don’t need to go “all in” on this methodology to reap certain benefits. Even adapting parts of it might be just what your game needs.