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“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new”

Note – Click here To read about The Stack and Tilt Basic No 1 – The ability to hit the ground in the same spot past the ball every time

Golf is obviously a game where power is needed. The best players are not only the most accurate but also the longest. But we don’t want to get caught up in this “He-Man” mind set where all we are thinking about is trying to propel the ball the furthest down the fairway. The golf swing is an art-form, so there has to be some degree of control to make sure we don’t lose our balance.

The Stack and Tilt Basic No 2 is to – Hit the ball a reasonable distance to play the course and score well.

To me, this means if you can hit your 7 iron 150 yards, and hit your driver about 250 yards – you have plenty of power to potentially play the game well. But if the whole idea is to never shift the weight to the back foot, how do we generate enough power in the swing to get the ball around the course?

Angular momentum

I love using this “Basic Golfing Machine” model as laid out by Homer Kelley in his famous book “The Golfing Machine”



The inclined plane illustrates the plane the club should be swung up and down on. This means that both the hands and club head should move back, up and inward during the backswing, and forward, down and outward during the downswing.

Unfortunately for most amateur golfers they take the club back too straight and also come down too straight, and this robs them of much of the potential angular momentum of the hands and club head (sweet spot).

Generally speaking, most of the guys who have maximum angular momentum such as Sergio Garcia – hit the ball the furthest. This is because coming down into impact their club head is still behind their hands for a much longer period.

Golfers that don’t hit the ball very far at this point in the swing (see Sergio Garcia to the right) already have the club head outside of their hands, producing a swing that is too vertical and generally come across the ball from out-to-in through impact.

The more you can keep the club head behind your hands on the downswing = more angular momentum


Try to feel as though your club is light on the backswing and heavy on the downswing.

This will promote a figure of 8 swing pattern with the clubhead and also promote a shallowing out of the club coming down.

Steeper going backFlatter coming down

I prescribe this figure of 8 feeling of the club head because it tends to eliminate an over the top move coming down. A very common problem I see with golfers is when they take the club back too much on the inside and come down over the top, and hit the outside of the ball. This is caused by flipping the club head behind the hands too soon during the takeaway (losing left arm connection) and also by not moving the left shoulder down enough on the takeaway – (which we’ll get into a little more in a minute). But this shape of swing is the opposite to what you want to feel.

We want to feel a light, steeper plane going back – and a heavy, flatter plane coming down. Again this goes back to a comment I’ve been making for years “What you feel isn’t always real”. Get your I-phone out and start using your V1 app more. I promise you, what you will be feeling will not be what is actually happening on camera. Click here to learn more about a modern swing and using the V1 app.

How The Machine Works to Produce Angular Momentum

Lets start with the lower body and work our way up. First of all, the right knee shouldn’t stay flexed. If it stays flexed it will restrict the amount the hips can turn (ala old fashioned teaching) and also drastically restrict the amount the hands can move inwards during the takeaway. It also prevents the left shoulder from moving down and around properly. I’ve witnessed literally hundreds of guys and girls who I have coached over the years start the swing in a decent enough way, but about half way through their backswing they have to lift their hands up too high. This is yet another reason why most golfers come over the top coming down.

What we are after is to move both the club head and hands on concentric circles on the backswing, which means the hands and club head have to move inwards during the takeaway (see the inclined plane in the basic golfing machine diagram above).

To allow this motion to happen in one piece (ala a true one piece takeaway). The right knee should straighten and the left knee should flex. This essentially releases the hip joint to allow the hips to keep turning on a tilted angle.

The right hip moves upThe left hip moves down during the backswing (Click here to see a video I made about it and to learn the tailbone drill)

Once you start to understand the lower body action a little better it then becomes much easier to produce the upper body action. The left shoulder should start to move down more during the takeaway and backswing, this then allows the hands to move inwards (up the inclined plane – see the basic golfing machine above).

A real one piece takeaway

A real one piece takeaway is where everything described above is moving incrementally during the takeaway. Therefore the amount of left knee bend and right leg straightening should coincide with the amount the club and hands have moved. For example, if you were hitting short pitch shots you would only flex the left knee a short amount and straighten your right knee a little.

Bubba Watson's back knee straightens, front knee flexes

Bubba Watson’s back knee straightens, front knee flexes

If you wanted to hit the ball the furthest with your driver. You would obviously flex the front knee the most and straighten your back knee the most, and the best example of this would be Bubba Watson on the PGA Tour – who actually straightens his back leg completely and is able to achieve an almost 90 degree turn with his hips. He’s also the biggest hitter on tour..

Keeping the head still – Side Titling, Extending and Turning

I’ve spoken to different people over the past few years who are put off because they don’t understand or SEE any side tilting to the left during the backswing by some of the best players. So let me nip this one in the bud..

Historically, all that has been mentioned about the upper body in the backswing is the turning aspect. So when someone is flexed forward (in flexion) to assume their posture, and just turn – they stay in a flexed forward position (flexion) and inevitably move their head to the right.

One of the cornerstones of a good golf swing is the ability to keep the head relatively still, and we can only do that if we keep the center of the shoulders in the same place.

We want to turn both the hips and the shoulders in a circle, and every circle has a center. If we can keep these centers relatively still when we move during the backswing it makes the downswing so much easier to produce.

Most people move their head during the backswing. This is because they don’t understand or produce any side tilting to the left or any extending with the spine.

The difference between feel and real

As mentioned most people only turn during the backswing, which causes their head to move to the right and also limits the amount the spine can actually turn – because it is only moving in a forward flexed position (flexion). To keep the center of the shoulders in the same place and therefore keep the head still there has to be a tilting to the left, and an extending of the spine. Now again, when you look at this movement while filming yourself on your V1 app, I promise you’ll be shocked at what it looks like. You will feel as though you are leaning/tilting so far to the left (towards the target) but if your I-Phone is positioned face on – you’ll clearly see that you are not. You will only tilt your spine to the left if your head moves, and we don’t want it to move.

But while we are on this topic, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to actually practice moving your head towards the target and feel some excessive side tilting. As mentioned most people move their head to the right during the backswing because of a lack of left tilting and extending. Here’s a video of Steve Elkington practicing side tilting and extending and allowing his head to move in the process. He’s simply trying to get the feel for the correct movement of the spine going back. But in his actual swing his head doesn’t move an inch during his backswing.

 Side Titling is a huge power source

As long as the hips move laterally during the downswing the spine will once again change it’s side tilt. So in effect the spine should tilt left during the backswing and to the right during the impact and follow through. This sliding of the hips towards the target on the downswing and the right tilting of the spine is a huge power source. You have now turned your spine into a lever capable of producing lots of power.

Flexibility and moving correctly

The idea of working on your core muscles, building up your big muscles and increasing your flexibility is all good and well. But unless you are trying to earn money from playing the game I think you are probably barking up the wrong tree if you think that becoming a little more flexible will help you produce a better golf swing. I can categorically say that everyone who I’ve worked with over the years can side tilt, extend and turn simultaneously during the swing, once they are shown how to do it properly.

It isn’t a flexibility problem it’s a technique problem

Hip Slide on downswing

As mentioned, as the hips slide towards the target during the downswing this will eventually change the tilt in the spine. At the top of the swing the spine should be tilting to the left but by the time the club reaches impact the spine is tilting to the right, and the spine tilts even more to the right during the follow through. This changing of tilt in the spine caused by the hips sliding towards the target starts to act as a very powerful lever system A great way to achieve this is by trying to get your hips moving both forward and upwards on the through swing.

Move your hips forward and up.. Andy Plummer Stack & Tilt®

Andy Plummer Stack & Tilt®


When you film yourself on the range and you see that your head is moving, note exactly when it starts to move. It’s at this point that you have probably stopped extending and tilting your spine. Start to incorporate some more side tilting and extending in your spine at that point in your swing going forward. You’ll find your head stays pretty still.

Use the ground as a springboard 

Here’s a video I made a while back about using the ground as a springboard

Now truth be told, although I’ve had a love affair with the weight staying on the left leg, if you’re a seasoned player a little weight shift isn’t going to throw a spanner in the works – as long as the machine is working properly. But what has to happen just before you complete your backswing is an increase in pressure/weight under the forward foot. This then starts to drive the hips laterally towards the target and you can feel as though you can spring upwards/extend your body post impact.

being able to pull energy out of the ground is so important. So an understanding of how the knees and spine should be constantly changing throughout the move is critical. The spine is constantly extending, tilting and turning and the knees are constantly flexing and straightening to provide the correct three dimensional spine movement (extending, tilting and turning).

During the backswing the left knee flexes and the right knee straightens. During the first part of the downswing both knees are flexed as the spine goes back into flexion. And through impact and the follow through you tend to see both legs straighten up as the hips drive forward to produce the side tilting (to the right) and extension in the spine.


Let’s be honest, the swing and game aren’t simple. So trying to teach simple things is only going to infuriate most people because there isn’t enough information to warrant the complexity. If can understand and produce the moves listed above, as well as not forgetting about the secret to golf – LAG – you don’t need to ever focus on moving the weight from one foot to the other.

If you enjoy my blogs and want to continue to take your learning and knowledge of the game to a higher level, I encourage you to join my Online Academy and take advantage of all the learning material inside. Click here and join up

To continue your education with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer’ excellent system for learning and improving your game, visit our online store and grab the Stack and Tilt Book or DVD. Click here to visit the store

Also, just incase you’re unsure about the “figure of 8” drill. Here’s a short video I recently made for my members and subscribers. Enjoy..