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Note: To visit previous posts describing the first two S&T basics click below.

Stack and Tilt Basic No 1 | Variables and Old Fashioned Teaching
Stack and Tilt Basic No 2 | Generating Power To Play The Course

My first ever lesson

I’ll always remember the first time I understood the importance of being able to control the curve on the ball. I was around eleven years old, about to tee off in my usual Saturday afternoon ‘Medal’ at Druids Heath. I hadn’t warmed up, or hit any balls, just a few minutes getting used to the speed of the greens next to the first tee. I was eleven!

I was making some practice swings, trying to get a feel for how to make the move. When I Immediately developed a heightened state of anxiety. I realized the direction of my club head was swinging so far to the left of my imaginary ball. Then, I remembered the last two rounds I played, I was frequently slicing the ball to the right of my target. I knew something drastic needed to change in my swing right there, otherwise I was going to spend the next 4 hours extremely pissed off.

I figured out in those few minutes before I was about to tee off that – If I pulled my right shoulder, right hip and right foot back, I started to swing the club head more to the right. I remember how difficult and uncomfortable it was for me to pull my right side back and feel as though I was aiming my body a little to the right. I didn’t commit to it until the back nine, because how can you commit to something, if you have no idea of the outcome?

So I tentatively pulled my right side back a little for the front nine. The ball was still curving a little to the right of my target, so I naturally started aiming a little to the left to compensate. I scabbed it around the front nine in about 10 over par.

I had recently obtained my first handicap of 16 from the handicap committee. I submitted 3 rounds of golf, signed by myself and an adult member of the club in the previous couple of weeks, and I thought I played ok – I was feeling a little full of myself lets say.

So anyway to cut a long story short, by the time the back nine came around I convinced myself to aim my body to the right, and swing to the right. I also moved my ball position a little closer to the middle of my stance which seemed to help, and as I looked down at the club face it looked as though it was pointing a little to the right.

What followed was a back nine level par score. Some shots that actually drew instead of cut, and a relationship with two much older members who became my first mentors, Joe and Terry. They were so impressed with me that they asked me back to play with them the following Saturday, and that lasted for a good seven years or so.

So what’s my point?

1. I learned that to make a change, you have to commit to it. And, over-emphasize the change – the feeling.

2. I gave myself my first lesson in swing path and club face alignment.

I was only eleven, and I figured out that the more I swing to the left, with the ball forward – the more I curved the ball to the right.

The more I aimed my body to the right and swung the club to the right – the ball stayed pretty straight.

I was amazed at how the ball flew that day. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I was simply experimenting with the club and what I could make it do to the flight of the ball.

 

Mike Bennett & Andy Plummer Stack and Tilt®

Mike Bennett & Andy Plummer Stack and Tilt®

Stack & Tilt Basic No 3 | Controlling The Curve On The Golf Ball

One of the reasons I enjoy listening to these guys teach is because they have learned this system out of necessity. They both tried to play golf for a living, but didn’t make the grade. I feel their pain..

In their DVD “Understanding The Numbers” Mike Bennett talks about once hitting 30 shots with a 7 iron at a target and then finding out afterwards, there was no consistent pattern to his shots. Some started right of target, some left, some curved to right, some curved to left. This I think is a common problem everyone can digest.

Rules for how the ball flies

1. The first rule for how the ball flies is that The initial direction of the ball is mainly due to the direction of the club face angle at impact.

This means that – to hit a push-draw, which is a shot that starts to the right and curves back to the target. The club face and path should both be to the right. Only the club face to a lesser degree.
Example: Path = 4 degrees right – Face = 2 degrees right.

To hit a pull-fade, which is a shot that starts to the left and curves back to the target. The club face and path should both be to the left. Only the club face aiming to a lesser degree.
Example: Path = 4 degrees left – Face = 2 degrees left.

This way in relation to the target, the club face is open for a shot that draws. And closed for a shot that fades. Therefore..

2. The second rule for how the ball flies is – The relationship between face angle and club path at impact is what determines the curvature on the ball.

Pattern Development

To hit a draw that starts to the right of target and curves back on to the target you have to learn a  couple of things.

1. How to push the ball
2. How to curve the ball

So as with any good system of learning, you break (isolate) these items down into manageable pieces or chunks (read more about chunking here) and then layer them on top of one another at the end.

 

The first pattern to learn is how to push the ball out to the right. To do this we need the club face aiming to the right and the ball position back in the stance. This way the path of the club will always be to the right and as long as the club face is pointing to the right (open to the target) the ball will start to the right on a straight flight.

ballFlightBall position and its relationship to shaft angle and path

If the ball is positioned further back in the stance the shaft will be leaning forward more. This will naturally produce a path that swings out to the right and attacks the ball more from the inside.

Conversely, if the ball is positioned further forward opposite the front foot the shaft will be leaning away from the target. This will naturally produce a path that swings to the left and attacks the ball more from the outside (a pull).

Introducing Curve 

Once you are successfully producing shots that push out to the right, then its time to start adding curve to the ball. To do this simply close/hood/twist the club face a little at setup so it isn’t aiming as far right as when you were pushing the ball. That’s it, and swing normally. Now the path should be out to the right and the face should be delivered a little closed to that path to introduce the curve on the ball.

A pull and pull-fade

Obviously the opposite is true from the above for a shot that starts left and curves back to the target. Move the ball position forward opposite your front foot. This will make the shaft lean away from the target a little and also point your shoulders to the left.

Start by hitting some pull shots that start left of the target and stay there. As you look down at your club face it will be pointing left (closed) to your target. Once you have hit some pull shots, start to introduce some curve. This time open the club face a little at setup and swing normally. Now the path should be to the left and the face should be delivered a little open to that path to introduce the curve. If the ball curves to much, point the face more to the left (closed) at setup.

Conclusion

Most golfers fade, pull and slice the ball. Even after extensive training trying to swing more to the right many golfers still fail to convince themselves to do it.

As you look down at the ball there is definitely some kind of perception deception. Ben Doyle I think had the correct idea and made a mat that his students stood on to understand the illusions of the swing and path.

 

illusion_mat_1 (2)

Click here to visit Mr Doyles site and grab a ‘Facts and illusions mat’ or ‘desk pad’

So again we find ourselves saying that what we feel probably isn’t real. My advice to you would be to go out and learn how to push the ball to the right. Stand there as long as you have to, change whatever you need to from the information above, and get your ball starting right of target. Once you learn how to push the ball, then start to introduce curve by closing the face a little at setup – but still open in relation to the target.

To learn more about Mike Bennett and Andy Plummers Stack and Tilt system visit the online store by clicking here and grab the book or DVD.

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