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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Default BLOG: The Stack & Tilt Pattern and Brian Manzella

    When you teach golf for as long as I have and follow every detail of the golf instruction business closely, you see a lot of things. Silly "teaching summits" so watered down that they don't even allow questions and are scared of live lessons exposing some media or association-created "top teacher." Magazine "top teacher lists" voted on in secret or tabulated in some bizarre non-scientific way, full of guys and gals who would finish closer to the front of a real horse race, than to the front of any teacher list created by any legitimate polling method or agency. Infomercials with guys wearing knickers, or funny hats, disagreeing over whether you should close the face as much as possible through the ball or keep it square for 40 inches. And methods and their teachers who temporarily rise to the top of the instruction heap, often to fall far enough to have time to count their money or go back to actually teaching for a living..

    This is my best attempt at a list of those methods and teachers since I started in this profession:

    First we had the tandem of Bob Toski and Jim Flick pulling hard with the left arm and proclaiming the Gary Wiren ball-flight laws were valid.

    Then we had the super-flat-backswing version of Hank Haney telling us to make a loop to the inside because that is what Hogan did (no he didn't).

    Then Jimmy Ballard came along and told us in Golf Digest that everything that was in Golf Digest for the last 20 years was bull turds, and that you need to load and fire the right side and stay connected.

    This was followed by David Leadbetter staying linked with a funny grip, an early set, a high right side through the ball and a massive use of the word "rawite."

    Mac O'Grady developed a system called M.O.R.A.D. that was supposedly 60% Hogan and 40% Snead or some other combination, but it always seemed to include very low hands and a look that was very un-Hogan or Snead-like.

    Tiger Woods' success catapulted Butch Harmon to stardom with a method that included and early set, a sweep release, and at least two or three other elements beside those that Woods didn't do.

    After Woods bolted for Hank Haney, Hank got his chance to show the world how it was now all about parallel planes and how it all seems to work better on Eldrick than Sir Charles.

    For about five minutes, or five months, or something close to that, Jim Hardy was the king after he came out of retirement to bend way over and pull a lawn mower cord and swing very flat and then very left.

    And then there was Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer of Stack & Tilt fame.

    For those of you keeping score, that's six of the last eight touting a flat or flat-ish left arm close to the torso at the top of the backswing—one way or the other; and four of the last six are a spin off of MORAD or The Golfing Machine.

    You'd think the upright backswing would be dead by now, wouldn't you?

    But I digress.

    As a teacher who is supposed to be a guy who stands on tables and jumps screaming, "I am the best, everyone else is stupid," yet somehow it has never happened, I am also "supposed" to not like the Stack & Tilt method either,
    and probably Mike & Andy as well.

    Not true.

    I like the pattern, or better said, I like 80% of the pattern, and I have never met Mike or Andy.

    So here is my official stance on all things Stack & Tilt.

    I teach a Rotated Shoulder Turn to lots of golfers. Not to all of them.

    I teach an inward Hand Path to almost everyone. But not everyone.

    The first two-thirds of the Stack & Tilt backswing are close to what I teach more than half of the time.

    I teach something that looks like "Stacked Centers" at the Top of the Backswing to more than half of my students.

    I prefer to have Axis Tilt to occur much later than right away on the downswing for a majority of my clients.

    The amount of Hip Slide they teach winds up being recommended by me maybe 10% of the time.

    That all adds up to a lot more good stuff in my opinion than in pretty much any of the other aforementioned methods.

    Here are the components I do not like. I don't teach a Leftward shift of the Weight on the backswing to anyone. Maybe before the top of the backswing like V.J. Trollio's stuff, but never straight off the takeaway.

    Maybe I am hearing them say "left on the backswing" and I think literally
    "left on the backswing," and maybe they really don't exactly mean that. Maybe, they mean something like the Stack & Tilt students who have been on the Dynamic Balance System do. The ones that shift their center of gravity toward the right heel going back like almost all good players. I just don't agree with moving the weight left going back - and that is after doing a decent amount of testing with it. It can work though, but I am not going to teach it.

    I have several students with flat backswings. All of those students have shortish backswings as well. I used to teach quite a flat backswing in the mid-80's and I don't anymore. I have no problem with it, from time to time try it on certain students, but anything lower than the "turned right shoulder socket plane" for me is just going to be something I allow on full length backswings when it works better. That has not happened once in a long time.

    The finish position of the Stack & Tilt method is not anything I'd teach, but really, I don't see how anyone can finish any other way with that phenomenal amount of leftward shift of the hips and the weight.

    That's about it for the mechanics of it.

    Some other loose ends...

    Back in the late 80's, a teacher named Michael McTeigue was selling the first commercially available 3D system for golf. He showed how when you are bent over at address, you have forward bend, but at the top, you have a lot of leftward bend. Otherwise, you'd lean very far to the right and straighten way up on the backswing.

    Mike and Andy have done a great job of showing this concept to folks who missed McTeigue and haven't spent any time studying Cheetham or Neal's work, or spent any time on their machines.

    I have.

    And I demoed McTeigue's system many years ago at the PGA Show.

    So what?

    So this.

    You can't use the term "left lean" in the golf business, and not have some folks think you mean "left lean" ala Colin Montgomerie.


    Also, the use of 2D images, to show the location of "the center of the shoulder turn" and "the center of the hips"—the stacked on the backswing part of Stack & Tilt, is problematic at best.

    The only way to achieve a valid "90° to the swing" still is to know the precise plane line—or Horizontal Plane Angle—of the golf swing and get 90° to that.

    There is no way on God's green earth that you can look at photos from the 50's and 60's and determine whether the still is valid.

    And, like the photo below shows, if the camera is slightly leftward of the true 90° angle of the swing, the golfer will ALWAYS LOOK more leftward leaning than he is.

    And I am talking about a leftward leaning torso—NOT left side bent torso.

    If a golfer is a right aimer, ala Sam Snead, and he swings on a
    Horizontal Plane Angle to the left of his target—which he HAS TO DO to hit it straight, which Snead did at times—the golfer will appear to have a way more leftward leaning torso at the top than he does, if the camera's lens was aligned right of his stomach or rear end.

    You know that picture of Snead from behind that makes him look like a poster boy for the one-planers, the Tripoder, and the Stack & Tilters?

    Probably way, way off.

    Am I a jerk for questioning someone's observations? For thinking that I know more than other teachers?

    More on that in a minute.

    The Stack & Tilters have a nice size group of followers, that's great, so do I.

    One difference.

    My guys, as well as myself, have no problem admitting when we have something wrong. We do it all the time.

    The J.Lindeberg wearing, sexy at P10, young
    brigade of the S&T clan, has never admitted making a mistake that I have ever read.

    Neither have Mike or Andy.

    The Charlie Rose interview is a 23 minute exhibit-A of that attitude, as well as an example of the refusal to take blame for any student who leaves or plays poorly when they are "on the clock."

    Personally, I have a lot less problem with those two details of the Rose interview than I do with the silly notion that EVERYONE thought the Gary Wiren ball-flight laws were correct.

    Geez, Homer Kelley said what they are saying in 1969. People used to write in to the old PGA magazine in the early 90's saying the same thing, and I have banged that drum since 1987 at least.

    Hey guys, THE BALL DOES NOT START WHERE THE CLUBFACE IS POINTING, it starts on the D-Plane, something else I am sure they knew about way before TrackMan came along and I told everyone who would listen.

    The other thing that is curious is how little flak they have taken for throwing pretty much every teacher in golf under the bus in that interview.

    I get lambasted for much less all the time.

    Maybe I should try "low talking," huh?

    I have a question..

    How does a method that was formulated before testing on 6° 3D, balance systems, TrackMan, and all the latest TGM mistakes were pointed out, not make any adjustments for those revelations?

    Maybe they have. If so, and they admitted it, they'd get major props for that from me.

    Anyhoo, it is always better to get it all out on the table. I hope this shows what I really think about the method and its proponents, and that I mean no ill will, but I will try to win the race.

    And it is a long, long race.

    "All you have is the HUB PATH and the force and torque you apply to the club—that's the whole swing."

    Brian Manzella is Golf Digest's 37th ranked teacher in the USA and is a three time Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Default The 2D picture answers....

    Quote Originally Posted by holeout View Post
    Left picture.
    Quote Originally Posted by davel View Post
    Left picture is the instruction material. right picture is what most of their players do.

    Quote Originally Posted by softconsult View Post
    Left Picture, but strongly suspect a trap.
    Quote Originally Posted by Clearwater View Post
    So, the thread started by Michael Finney about a Charlie Rose interview was framed incorrectly? The other debate had NOTHING to do with divergent parallax. U guys have a great day. Hopefully we can discuss this at your GTE.
    Quote Originally Posted by David Madras View Post
    my guess is they are the same model...just taken from differant angles. Model on the left was taken more from our left side...model on the right was taken from more from the right side, creating a "illusion" due to 2-d imagery.
    Quote Originally Posted by ggsjpc View Post
    No comment.
    Quote Originally Posted by starretj View Post
    I agree with David, same position different camera angle.

    Jim S.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eyeoffish View Post
    Just guessing but I think this is simply to make a point about 2D perspective.
    I remember those type of pics from another thread about distance from the camera.
    Quote Originally Posted by spktho View Post
    As for the op question, it appears to be the same swing position with different camera angles. I don't know enough about S&T to say if it is proper form or not.
    They are two differnt camera angles of the EXACT same pose of the model.

    One "Stacked" and one not.

    2d bleauxs.
    "All you have is the HUB PATH and the force and torque you apply to the club—that's the whole swing."

    Brian Manzella is Golf Digest's 37th ranked teacher in the USA and is a three time Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2003

    Default A question...

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreycharris View Post
    Since this debate is about stack and tilt, here's my question for Brian and GTE guys. . .isn't stack and tilt much better than most pop instruction (ie. haney, leadbetter, golf digest, etc.)

    Absolutely, yes!

    See above.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreycharris View Post
    I understand and agree that no one pattern fits everyone...
    Not according to many S&T followers.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffreycharris View Post
    ...but surely (Stack & Tilt) is pretty good, especially if you want to hit draws? I think NSA is a great pattern for slicers but it looks like S and T works too?
    Any pattern that produces a path to the right of the face will produce a draw.

    No offense meant, but I'll take Soft Draw with a normal "one last point' for a draw for the non-hacker masses.
    "All you have is the HUB PATH and the force and torque you apply to the club—that's the whole swing."

    Brian Manzella is Golf Digest's 37th ranked teacher in the USA and is a three time Golf Magazine Top 100 Instructor.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    Great blog, I posted my questions before I read it or there would have been no need to ask them.

  5. #5
    Senior Member cmartingolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Bend, Oregon


    Vegas is gonna be fun!
    Martin Chuck, PGA
    Tour Striker Training Products
    Tour Striker Golf Academy

  6. #6
    Michael Finney's Avatar
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    Jul 2003


    well framed

  7. #7
    Senior Member tennisdu's Avatar
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    Aug 2007


    Very well put BM!

  8. #8
    Member RIduffer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Nice post Brian. It's great to hear you give Stack and Tilt a fair shake, but also explain the components you disagree with.

    I have the S&T book and find alot of the information helpful; but I cringe when I read their S&T vs Conventional comparisons. They seem to imply that every person who uses a traditional pivot (barring exceptional athletic ability) is doomed to hang back on the right side, flip, slice, etc. I can understand how that would be frustrating for you.

    It would be be great to hear more positive discussion about golf, and less mudslinging. I think alot more gets accomplished when people are open minded and respectful, which you have proven lately.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007


    great stuff brian...cleared up a lot for me ...but i'm confused about starting direction...i thought you and s & t agreed that starting direction is more influenced by clubface but above you say d-plane????

  10. #10
    ZAP is offline
    Senior Member ZAP's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    D-plane is formed by the face and the path so it is still yes.
    The easiest way to slay a dragon is to run up to it and shove a spear in it's throat.

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