The beginner golfer spends their limited time, money, and formative hours learning “fundamentals” that are not remotely standard among the game’s best players. This means that they are not fundamental at all. We believe the game of golf is fundamentally misinterpreted.
The progression for learning golf is out of order because the fundamentals of the game are poorly defined. Furthermore, the rules that govern how the ball flies are fundamentally misunderstood. Thus, golfers have no understanding of the essential mechanics of the swing and do not understand how to correct their ball flight. Consequently, they default to bits of jargon, handed down dogma, or cliches that have little to no bearing on the problems that afflict them.
All of this results in a barrier to entry to golf that is too high for most beginning players. Golfers routinely leave the game out of frustration, lack of direction, or improvement that is too slow to justify. Golf needs to be presented as a workable challenge for the beginning player that adds sophistication as the players desire to improve increases or as the expert players situation necessities.
To make this increase in sophistication or progression workable requires a system of explaining and organizing the game. It must be a system that is broad enough to explain variations in all players but simple enough for the beginning player to use effectively. The science of classification is known as taxonomy, and through it we can organize all swings to understand the essential elements.
The problem is that the word system in golf has been used with a negative connotation.
The insinuation is that everyone using the same system is given the same lesson or swings exactly the same way. This is short sighted and naive. In fact, any serious discipline has a system of measuring and standardizing procedures. Doctors learn to use systematic diagnosis to treat the ill, yet not all illnesses are the same. Patients are given systematic directions to follow to implement the doctors orders, yet the medicines are different. A surgeon has procedures they must allow for surgery, yet not all surgeries are the same. These systems are designed to make the procedure easier and more reliable. The same is true in golf.
Not everyone wants to know the intricate details regarding this classification. Golfers just want to know which portions apply to them. This is fine when it comes to training a player as many of the game’s best players are not necessarily the most sophisticated at understanding how the swing works. What they do have is predictable pattern on the ball and a reliable set of feels that they recognize to project the ball in a familiar way.
After all we recognize ultimately all golfers are feel players. Developing a reliable feel to project the ball in a predictable way is what we are all about.
The name Stack & Tilt® has made it easy for our critics to dismiss us as a fad (Wall Street Journal). To that criticism we would ask this question, “What is the difference between a fad and a paradigm shift?”
We see the way golf is being played is in the process of changing. The way the game is being taught to the masses is changing. The interpretation of the game is changing. We believe a paradigm shift is taking place. A paradigm shift can be defined as a dramatic shift in methodology or in a practice that has been universally accepted. The term was first used by Thomas Kuhn. He stated that paradigm shifts do not just happen, they are driven by agents of change. We believe the process of changing from one way of thinking to another in playing golf has been set in motion. As far as golf instruction is concerned, these agents of change are the early adopters, who will apply new techniques without risk to their reputations as they differentiate themselves. There are many coaches who have adopted many of our techniques but have been exempted from the criticism because the label Stack & Tilt is not attached. Scores of players have adopted a number of these techniques in their swing.
Others of higher esteem will quietly implement the techniques as they re-brand themselves. Often, the paradigm shift does not come from the establishment as they have a vested interest in keeping the status-quo.
What are the paradigm shifts in golf? They start with the most basic questions about golf. That is what determines the start line and curvature of the ball. The rules that govern how the ball flies are being rewritten. Next, the fundamentals or standards for recognizing how golf is played are being reorganized. How force is applied to the ball is being reexamined. Specifically, in the swing itself, a three dimensional understanding of how the spine works for a golfer to catapult the ball is changing the lexicon of golf terminology. This is why we chose the name Stack & Tilt to convey this concept of the spine changing its flex while keeping the axis of its turn stable.
At its core those who are familiar with the Stack & Tilt® swing know it as a system of measuring, more than just a set of recommendations on how to swing. As for us we use Stack & Tilt as an accurate description of a traditional swing. We want to make golf easier and more enjoyable for golfers while still being able to offer a sophisticated explanation when one is warranted as we share a passion for playing golf with millions of people. We do not want to represent that we are the only ones with any good ideas about playing golf, or that our recommendations are the only way to play well and enjoy the game. However, we do believe masses of golfers can benefit from this interpretation. Therefore, we recognize a golfer can use as little or as much of our material as they deem important, while still having the knowledge available to them if they need it. Keep the spirit of the game alive, today, tomorrow, always.
-Michael Bennett and Andy Plummer