A lot is made of golfers changing their swings, especially successful ones. Jim McLean said this about Rickie Fowler, “I haven’t helped Rickie with his swing, but I offered him one bit of advice when I met him a couple of years ago. I told him to never, ever let anyone change his swing.” The question we pose is, “What constitutes a swing change?” The fact is that golfers of all abilities routinely change their swings. They experiment daily with different swing thoughts or procedures to address new problems or reoccurring errors. Does this qualify as a swing change? If so, this process happens all the time, but is not always noticeable to anyone but the golfer or the closest observers.
In our world, form is function. Therefore, the recommendations we make have specific functions. In other words, if one is satisfied with the predictability in command over the ball, then one should keep doing the procedure they have adopted. However, when one does need assistance, there should be some logical, systematic way for golfers to address the problems they are having.
Some like to make a big deal of whether they should or should not “convert” to the Stack & Tilt® swing, as if they are crossing over an imaginary line to the dark side. The implication being that one must make some radical shift in one’s technique or understanding of the way they play golf. We say maybe, maybe not. It depends on your definition of what radical and the state of your game. For instance, would taking hand path inward a little more be radical? The problem we see is that masses of golfers make the same errors over and over again and do not recognize the problem and, therefore, do not change their swing to alleviate the issues. This is harmful in that it discourages the golfer from playing and practicing. We think learning and practicing golf is fun, not a burden. Improving, whether at golf or in life, is fun and part of the spirit of the game, with the goal being to do a little better the next time. Part of our success to the extent we have had lies in large part to the fact that players who are learning enjoy practicing and enjoy the process of getting better, therefore succeed. A well known coach on the PGA Tour told a player who had won tournaments before that it would take 18 months to reconstruct their swing. We do not operate that way.
Troy Matteson won within 1 year of practicing with us (3 months)
Eric Axley won within 1 year of practicing with us (4 months)
Will MacKenzie won within 1 year of practicing with us (4 months)
Aaron Baddeley won within one year of practicing with us (4 months)
Dustin Johnson won within one year of practice with us (2 months)
Mike Weir won within 1 year of practicing with us (10 months)
Tim Herron won within 1 year of practicing with us (1 month)
JJ Henry finished 2nd with one year of practicing with us (6 months)
Tjaart van der Walt finished 2nd within 1 year of practicing with us (3 months)
Charlie Wi won within 1 year of practicing with us (6 months)
Steve Elkington finished 2nd within one year of practicing with us (6 months)
The point of this is that we do not necessarily change everything about every student’s swing to fit some preconceived notion about the swing we may have. Steve Elkington made a comment about us saying, “Mike and Andy can fix most guys in two swings.” The point is that we do establish some order to the process and help players find a predictable pattern for playing golf, which ultimately takes less time. Sometimes players have taken what they want from the system and move on. That is fine with us. There are many other models and capable instructors other than us.