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“You guys are probably the two most knowledgeable people I’ve met on the golf swing.”
JJ Henry, PGA Tour Player, 2006 Ryder Cup Player
Video testimonial about working with Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer

Many years ago – when I was “doing my time” going through my PGA training at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield, England – the basics laid out in the PGA Teaching Manual goes something like this..

Ball Position
Club face aim

According to my PGA manual, these are the Fundamentals of golf and they should be taught first to people. Although I agree that everyone needs to learn how to hold the club and setup to the ball in a decent manner etc, there’s a problem with this approach.

Most Tour Pros have a different Grip, Posture, Stance, Alignment etc

So how do you teach these fundamentals, if most of the top players have conflicting grip styles, stance, alignment?..

Well, the guys behind The Stack and Tilt Swing – Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer claim..

“these fundamentals are not basics at all – they are variables. There is no standard pattern in how all the top players hold the club and stand and setup to the ball.”  (S&T Understanding the numbers DVD) I AGREE!


Club face alignment – square to target, left or right?
Guys that aim the club face to the right at setup would be Trevor Immellman, Ben Crane, Steve Elkington for example, and some that aim to the left would be KJ Choi and Jasper Parnevick.

To interlock or overlap the grip?
Two guys who interlock their grip would be Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Most other Pros overlap (Vardon). Some even use a baseball grip with all the fingers touching the handle.

Rotation of hands to form the grip
Jose maria Olazabal has a left hand grip that is quite weak – in the sense that his left hand is turned to the left with his thumb virtually on top. But on the opposite end of the spectrum someone like Paul Azinger has always played with a left hand that is rotated probably 90 degrees to the right.

Body alignment – square, open or closed?
Guys like Lee Trevino and Fred Couples have always aimed their body to the left. But other greats like, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead for example always aimed to the right. These are excessive examples and everyone else pretty much falls somewhere in between. If you analyze a Pros alignment you’ll always find either their toe line or shoulders for example either pointing slightly right or left of parallel to the target line.

Where many people go wrong when they enter the game is that they are taught these variables instead of some solid golf swing basics. The truth is, everyone does it a little different.

So if we are to build a system in which to teach people how to play the game and improve, what should be the basics that we teach people and in what order should we teach them?

Stack and Tilt Golf Swing Basic No 1 – according to Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer

Hit the ground in the same spot past the ball every time (Low Point Control)

According to Mike Bennett and Andy Plummers’ system the first basic should be to hit the ground with the club past the ball in the same place every time. Basically the ability to control the low point of the swing. One of the biggest differences between Pros and amateurs is in their divot patterns. Most amateurs hit behind the ball sometime or all the time, where as Pros always hit the ball first so they take a divot past the ball. Ball first contact, and the low point past the ball..

 Low Point Control

The first way to measure and control the low point of the swing (or where the club bottoms out) is though controlling the weight in the swing. Now as a little test, if you start paying attention to the center of your shoulders and the center of your hips – lets call these two axis points. If they are behind the ball at impact, you’ll feel more weight on your back foot and will be more likely to hit behind the ball. Conversely, if these axis points are in front of the ball at impact (closer to the target) you’ll have more weight on your front foot, and have the potential to hit the ground way past the ball every time.

This is why when a high handicapper comes to me for some advice one of the first things I’ll do is ask them to start with 80% of their weight forward and try and keep it their during their swing. What this does is essentially prevent the golfers upper body and lower body centers from ever moving behind the ball.

Once they start to develop some competence with regard to their low point control, I’ll allow them to move their weight back an even 50-50ish. Although with a little more emphasis on the front side so the feeling should be 55% under the forward foot.

Impact Hand Location

Although moving the center of the shoulders and center of hips more forward during the swing drastically helps with low point control, it doesn’t guarantee it. This is because if the handle (hands) aren’t also forward the club head will always get dumped behind the ball.

When the handle is forward at impact it shortens the circumference of the swing.

The problem with many golfers, during the downswing is that the club head releases too soon through a premature un-cocking of the wrists and actually then lengthens the circumference of the swing radius. After a while most people get sick and tired of hitting the ground behind the ball and start to develop a movement pattern where they pull there body up before impact, which then leads to hitting thin shots.

If this sounds like a lightbulb moment to you – the reason you hit fat and thin shots are exactly the same. The handle and weight are not forward enough at impact.

When I talk to people during the course of a lesson or through the message center inside my online academy, many people tell me about all these weird and wonderful moves and explanations they have come up with to stop hitting the ball thin and fat and stop their excess movement patterns with their body. But all is needed (most of the time) is an understanding of how to guarantee the weight and handle are forward at impact.

Guaranteeing the weight is forward at impact

First off, the idea that we have to shift our weight from one foot to another is a myth! Unless you are a seasoned golfer and have trained your weight to move from under one foot to another, I’d highly recommend you start with a little more weight under your front foot and keep it there through the entire swing.

Baseline weight distribution

Setup55% front foot —- 45% back foot
Top of backswing60% front foot —- 40% back foot
Left arm parallel with ground on downswing70% front foot —- 30% back foot
Club parallel with ground on downswing80% front foot —- 20% back foot
Impact90% front foot —- 10% back foot
Finish95% front foot —- 5% back foot


Old fashioned teaching

Historically, and certainly the way I was coached growing up in England – was to load my weight onto my right side. This then moves the center of my hips to the right of the ball, which in-turn moved my head (center of shoulders) to the right. From this position and movement I’ve got to work very hard to get back on my front side in the less than .3 of a second it takes to get back to impact.

Also, I was taught to release the club head coming down into impact to control and square the face. But this made me dump the club behind the ball frequently.

So this swing I was taught growing up, with an emphasis on hitting the ball the furthest, and rolling my wrists through impact – I soon learned was flawed. It was causing was a divot pattern that was so inconsistent that I couldn’t possibly compete properly. My ball striking simply wasn’t good enough. Most of the time (because of my coordination) I would time it just right and hit a great shot. But a handful of shots per round would be terrible. These are the shots that landed me in trouble and I didn’t recover (sound familiar?..). This is why, after numerous attempts at Q-school in Asia and Europe I never broke through.

Since 2007 I’ve been pretty much focused on teaching the game instead of playing it, and that’s when I first read “The Stack and Tilt Swing” by Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer. I thought they had wrote that book just for me! Everything inside made compete sense, and I thought it was the best explanation of why most golfers do what they do and never actually make any improvement in their game. Since then, I’ve purchased their DVD’s (where you’ll find all of the information listed above) and also decided to dive deeper into where they learned much of their information. This has since lead me to guys like Mac O Grady (who was of-course Seve’s teacher click here to watch my analysis of mac O Grady’s swing) and the classic book “The Golfing Machine” by Homer Kelley (click here to grab it inside the store), and this, I’m sure is where Mike and Andy learned their geometry and form is function based system of coaching the game.


The basic golfing machine – from Homer Kelleys famous book.

They now have over 300 golf instructors from around the world coaching their system. This isn’t a fad – this is a major paradigm shift in golf teaching and you are either on one side or the other.

The stuff that they are teaching, they’ll be teaching in 30 years. It won’t go out of vogue.” Brad Faxon – 8 Time PGA Tour Winner


Controlling the handle (hands) and ensuring they get back to the impact hand location under the left shoulder is essential. But this doesn’t happen unless you train your hands to do that. From your perspective (your eye line) your hands should appear past your left foot at impact. Make a note of this spot on the ground past your left foot and aim/drive your hands to that spot during your downswing. This is called the aim-point drill.

But just driving your hands to this spot on the ground is useless unless you have achieved and maintained LAG. A great way to achieve and feel LAG is to try and make the club feel light in your hands going back, and heavy in your hands coming down. This is achieved by the clubhead staying slightly outside your hands during the takeaway, which will produce a slightly steeper plane going back and a lighter club. And then, allowing the club head to drop at the top the swing (click here to watch a video on gathering the club at the top), shallowing the plane out and feeling a much heavier club coming down.

This heavy feeling keeps the club head behind your hands for longer during the downswing and increases the angular momentum and therefore potential power into the ball.

Secondly, ensuring the weight is forward at impact is essential. Every tour pro has the majority of his/her weight forward at impact. As mentioned transferring the weight from one foot to another in a myth, it doesn’t have to happen if you don’t want it to. So develop some drills and exercises where you keep your weight forward.

Here’s one of the drills inside my online academy (click here to join up) where I keep the weight forward and get used to hitting shots on one leg. Once you can do this competently go back to both feet on the ground but with a little more bias on the front foot.

Now, whether you want to call it a S&T swing, a modern swing, a modern centered swing, it doesn’t really matter. Putting a name to something is simply a smart way distinguishing yourself and building a brand. The golf swing is still The Golf swing.

If you’d like to learn more about Mike and Andy’s system of learning golf you can pick up their book “The Stack and Tilt Swing” and their latest dvd “Understanding The Numbers” inside my Online Store, Click here. As you’ve probably guessed I’m a big fan..